Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 61: The Circus Ship

This fantastic book first caught my eye on the new books shelf at our local library.  The cover is brilliantly illustrated with a ship full of circus animals, and the author's name sounded vaguely familiar, though I couldn't remember why.  As soon as we started reading this story and learned it took place off the coast of Maine, I remembered that my cousin Heather, a Maine native, had recommended this author to me.  In The Circus Ship, Chris Van Dusen has written and illustrated a creatively clever masterpiece.  We just love his bold, colorful, and marvelously detailed illustrations of the circus animals who swim to safety and make themselves at home on a remote Maine island town after their ship sinks at sea.  At first the villagers aren't sure what to do.  The "animals were everywhere, and into everything.  'There's an ostrich in the outhouse! There's a hippo in the spring!  There's a tiger in the tulips!  There's a lion on the lawn!  There's a python in the pantry!'  It went on and on and on..."  But once the flame-jumping tiger rescues a little girl from a blaze, the town embraces the kind animals and will do anything to keep them.  When the cantankerous circus owner comes to reclaim his menagerie, the townspeople craft a clever plan to keep the fifteen animals hidden.  We just love looking for them and know you will, too!  The story's alliteration and lyrical rhymes make it an absolute joy to read aloud, and this is definitely a favorite of ours at the moment.  I also was fascinated to learn that this book is inspired by the true events of the circus ship the Royal Tar, which sank off the coast of Maine in 1836.  Though the real story has a far more tragic ending, it's a little bit of history that I would have otherwise never known... yet another reason why I love this book.   I'm eager to find Van Dusen's other titles at our next library visit.  If they are anywhere near as wonderful as the Circus Ship, we're sure to love them.


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