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BIG-TOP CIRCUS

An exploration of one of the last of a vanishing breed of travelling entertainments—the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus. Johnson (Jack Creek Cowboy, 1993, etc.) goes behind the scenes during the setting up of the big top and follows performers in their off moments as well as center ring. Skillful full-color photographs depict some of the excitement, and special terms (defined in context) give the sense of just how exotic circus life is. The text is broad and understandably superficial in scope; such an introduction should not have to dig into every aspect of its subject. But when Johnson does get specific, as in explaining how a young woman hangs by her hair, the information is so fresh and unusual as to make the rest of the book mundane by comparison. (Picture book/Nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-8037-1602-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1995

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HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE PIE AND SEE THE WORLD

What if the market was closed when you wanted to bake a pie? You could embark for Europe, learn Italian en route, and pick up some semolina wheat in Italy, an egg in France, kurundu bark for cinnamon in Sri Lanka, and an entire cow in England (butter) before coming home via Jamaica (sugar) and Vermont (apples). The expertly designed illustrations in which a dark-haired lass journeys by various means to these interesting places to get her groceries are lovely and lively, and the narrative, too, travels at a spritely pace. The journey is neither quite logical enough to be truly informative nor quite bizarre enough to be satisfyingly silly, while the rich, sweet recipe that's appended will take some adult assistance. Still, fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-83705-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1994

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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