Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Sidewalk Circus

Sidewalk Circus

Fall 2004 Picture Books
Ages: 5 - 9 yrs.
Author: Paul Fleischman
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 0-7636-1107-7
Hardcover Price: $15.99
Author Paul Fleischman originally thought to include narration in this circus-coming-to-town story, but little by little he realized that the images themselves could convey the essence of the tale. Without a word, a cook flipping pancakes in a diner becomes a big-top juggler, a hardhatted construction worker transforms into a tightrope walker, and window washers fly through the air on a giant trapeze. Even the shadow of a dog has the ability to suggest a circus lion in this imaginative book. Kevin Hawkes’ vibrant acrylic artwork is reminiscent of Edward Hopper (minus the alienation), with strong blocks of color in his cityscapes and the same penchant for viewing figures through windows. While the book is recommended for ages 5-9, even pre-readers will find much to enjoy while poring over these pages; the wordless format allows children (and adults) of all ages to construct a narrative of their own.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2004 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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