June 22, 2015

Life under the Big Top

by Linda Granfield

Summer is the time for baseball games, theme parks, and circuses. For those who wonder how circuses began, this book has all the answers. It's jam packed with information about early Greek and Roman circuses, the growth of modern circuses, and all the hoopla associated with circuses - the marketing, the acrobats, the artistry, and the controversies. An entire chapter on clowns will either fascinate or terrify, depending on the reader. 

One of the book's drawbacks is the dense amount of text, which may be intimidating, especially when spread over nearly 100 pages. I can't see kids reading it cover to cover unless they were really interested or working on a research project. Another disappointment is the use of standard, conventional fonts which don't match the excitement of the circus atmosphere.

However, the pages also feature a wealth of photos, paintings, programs, posters, and ticket stubs that kids will want to scrutinize closely. They'll also gain an appreciation for the international appeal of circuses.

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