Kevin Hawkes

Wordless Wednesday: Sidewalk Circus by Paul Fleischman

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circus

Sidewalk Circus

Written by Paul Fleischman

Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Published by Candlewick on May 8, 2007

Ages: 5+, 32 pages

Genre/Topics: Wordless, Circus

Ladies, gentlemen, boys, and girls The Garibaldi Circus is coming to town! There are many busy preparations for the circus, but if you look closely you may get a sneak peek. A young girl watches across the street at the bus stop as people prepare for the upcoming circus. The girl witnesses a tight rope walker who is actually a construction worker balancing pails. She sees clowns who are kids skateboarding into the market. There’s a sword swallower sitting in the dentist chair. A stilt walker balances on a ladder while painting. A dog’s shadow becomes a scary lion. The entire street ‘circus’ is viewed on the last pages. The girl boards the bus at the same time a boy sits at the bus stop to watch. What exciting things will you see at the circus pre-show?

Sidewalk Circus is an entertaining book that displays ordinary street events into an exciting show. I thought it was interesting that the girl was the only individual at the bus stop who noticed the street shows. Even though this is a wordless picture book, words appear on circus posters, shops, and billboards announcing the circus. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and show city details. I recommend Sidewalk Circus to help see the extraordinary in the otherwise ordinary daily events in your city.

Book Review: Library Lion

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Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

ages 6-8, book genre: realistic fiction with unlikely animal behavior. (The lion doesn’t talk, so not exactly fable-like book.)

This book has 40 pages with beautiful illustrations. It alternates between one full length picture and about 2-3 text paragraphs. This isn’t a fast read book, since there is more text than usual. However, it is a great book with heart that encourages reading.

I love reading and the library, so this is a perfect ‘fit’ when sharing to children that hopefully encourages them to also cherish the library. The story is about an orderly library that has a surprise when a lion enters. At first the people are hesitant, but gradually they grow to love being with the lion and often give him jobs. However, the lion makes the mistake of roaring in the library and is asked to leave. Of course, the people are sadden by this event and want their lion back. A few terms, such as card catalog, need to be explained since not all libraries contain them anymore.

Often, when I finish this book I ask children if they have their own library card. The library is a wonderful place for knowledge and further increase reading enjoyment. Many children don’t realize how easy it is to obtain a library card with parent or guardian.

opening page:

One day, a lion came to the library. He walked right past the circulation desk and up into the stacks.