The Circus ShipI’m on a rhyming picture book kick (this shouldn’t surprise anyone), so this week I’d like to highlight The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen (you might recognize his artwork from the Mercy Watson series – or one of the several other rhyming picture books he’s written and illustrated). Although the book was inspired by true story, this fantastical adventure of friendly circus animals surviving a shipwreck is truly sensational. When the animals, who are not anthropomorphic, wash up in a small town in Maine, they are befriended and welcomed by the citizens (what else would you expect from those affable Maine folks?). But when the circus owner comes looking for his property, the citizens and animals work together to fool the pompous proprietor.

The Circus Ship
is rated
Buy It!

The book is very well written, and it’s funny – both in words and pictures. But the most impressive aspect of the book is the artwork. Van Dusen’s wildlife hiding in a old-fashioned Maine village is beautifully delivered across prodigious spreads. Kids will love to read this book over and over for the rhythm, for the imagery, and especially to find the fifteen animals hiding in plain sight while the fat and fatuous ringmaster searches in vain.

Enjoy it. Then enjoy it again.


Borrow. Read. Return. Repeat.