________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 8 . . . . December 11, 1998

cover Circus.

Linda Granfield. Illustrated by David Rolfe.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books, 1997.
96 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 0-88899-292-0.

Subject Headings:
Circus-Juvenile literature.
Circus-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4 - 9 / Ages 9 - 14.
Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


In the dressing area of a bareback rider, Conklin spotted a bucketful of water that was slightly pink because a pair of red tights had been rinsed out in it and the dye was not colorfast.

Since no other water was available, and thirsty patrons were waiting to pay for a drink, Conklin took the bucket back to his stand, added sugar and the lemon slices to the pink water and called his customers to sample the "strawberry lemonade."

Conklin's new drink sold out. And the lemonade batches ever after included a little bit of red dye. Pink lemonade soon became the drink of circuses.

image A fascinating glimpse into the world of the circus, and jam-packed with trivia dealing with circus life, this book has a broad audience appeal. Granfield's tremendous amount of research, as evidenced by the large number of acknowledgements and picture credits, has resulted in a comprehensive account of this thrilling entertainment medium.

      The text is divided into seven chapters which include such topics as the circus's history and development, the daily routine of the "circus family," the training, costumes, performers, superstitions and legends. Controversial issues - politics, freak shows, and the use of animals - are also discussed.

      Though the vocabulary might occasionally be a bit too difficult for younger readers, the text's strength lies in Granfield's ability to conjure up the smells, noises, colours and action under the Big Top. The author's conversational, yet matter-of-fact style, makes for an easy, interesting read.

      Hundreds of archival and contemporary photographs, paintings, postcards and paraphernalia, as well as several sidebars with additional information and illustrations, add flavour to the text. The book's layout - attractive, busy and colourful - is aptly suited to its subject matter. A detailed index is also included.

      Circus lovers, both young and old, will be instantly transported to the world under the Big Top as they turn the pages of this book.

Highly recommended.

Gail Hamilton is the teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School, East St. Paul, Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364