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LAST NIGHT I DREAMED A CIRCUS by Maya Gottfried

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED A CIRCUS

By Maya Gottfried (Author) , Robert Rahway Zakanitch (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 2003
ISBN: 0-375-82388-3
Publisher: Knopf

A circus fantasy comes to life in this unexpectedly dramatic work. Recounting a dream, the narrator pronounces that last night she juggled, flew, and roared. The text is a poem, really, its verses sprinkled delicately through the pages, maximizing the rhythm and pop of its lines. Gottfried’s musings are abstract, made literal with Zakanitch’s illustrations: the line “I spun circles round the stars” appears opposite an image of a young woman twirling from a rope amid the midnight blue of the page. The watercolor illustrations are lovely, but they are dark (with consuming black backgrounds), and could be frightening if perceived as dangerous rather than dreamlike. Both Gottfreid and Zakanitch are delving into children’s literature for the first time, and while there is no doubt that the prose is inspired and the artwork enchanting, their style is quite sophisticated for a picture book audience. Luckily, the topic is familiar and interesting, thus, while this is not a good choice for children on the meek or literal side, it would be a magical experience for mature and imaginative young readers. (Picture book. 4-7)