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THE CIRCUS LUNICUS by Marilyn Singer


by Marilyn Singer

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6268-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

Solomon (Solly for short) has lots of problems: a mean stepmother, two inconsiderate and lazy stepbrothers, an absent father, and an unresolved longing for mothering. Sound familiar? He also has a fairy godmother, but not the usual sort with wishes and wings and a wand. Freeble is a six-foot-tall talking lizard who conquers the highest levels of computer games and teaches Solly to transform himself into a lizard, too. Singer has created a fantastic, funny, but believable world in which intelligent alligators from planet Reptilia transform themselves into human shape when they perform on earth in the Circus Lunicus. Singer’s poetic talents are apparent in her language play with the talking lizard, who has an unusual but perfectly understandable manner of speaking. She skillfully weaves all the elements of the Cinderella mythic structure into her tale, along with the concept of a mother from another species who must return to her own kind. The story is told in short sentences and brief chapters with the appeal of a three-ring circus: laughter, suspense, and a little danger to keep the crowd wanting more. Solly wisely solves his own problems in his own way, finding hidden strengths within himself and help from unexpected sources, just like Cinderella. Luminous and humorous. (Fiction. 9-11)