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Sidewalk Circus

by Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Published by Candlewick Press, 2004
32 pages
ISBN: 0-7636-1107-7

Ages 4-8

As posters go up for the circus that’s coming to town, a young girl waiting for a bus has a front row center seat for the performance that unfolds as her imagination turns a series of streetscapes into circus acts. A steelworker balancing on a beam becomes a tightrope walker, a woman flipping pancakes in a restaurant window becomes a juggler, a man precariously balanced on a ladder becomes a stilt walker, and so on. The only text in this almost wordless book is on signs, but the signs become part of the visual cues for what is going on. “Daring sword swallowers” reads the electronic billboard in front of the theater as the girl glances up to the window of the dentist’s office next door, where a patient—mouth wide open—is enduring the dentist’s probe. The girl’s changing expressions as she responds to the drama of what she “sees” are part of the fun, as are the shadows, which often appear as circus animals or acts in the clever illustrations of this volume that will invite repeated examination. CCBC categories: Picture Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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