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Circus Girl
by Clare Pernice
Illustrated by Clare Pernice
AGES: 4 to 8
SIZE: 8.25 x 10.5
PRICES: $16.95 US/ $18.95 Cdn
HARDCOVER: 978-1-927018-36-1


Kirkus Review: A child transforms her bedroom into the big top.

The book opens with a couple of introductory views of an ordinary room featuring a bed, “a leotard / socks / and a girl.” Following this, a whirl of sheets opens the show. Changing in tandem, the narrative’s initial, hair-fine typeface turns to big, florid circus-poster type as the performance begins. Illustrations drawn in simple outlines of orange crayon burgeon into colorful scenes of awe-inspiring leaps, swoops and circus acrobatics on a trapeze or atop an elephant, a lion and other stuffed animals that have become real. Having thoroughly demonstrated that she’s “daring and /dazzling / and Oh! so / dramatic,” the young performer finally snuggles down for the night, secure in the knowledge that she is “star / of the show.” Thinly applied colors and broad areas of white space give Pernice’s pictures and the imaginary playscape they depict a diaphanous look that may seem washed-out to some viewers—and, to others, appropriately dreamlike.

A flight of fancy, verbally and visually spare, that any would-be “star” will gladly take. (Picture book. 6-8)



Nayu's reading corner: "I was attracted to this by the bright cheerful cover. The simply drawn illustrations, mostly with outlines until the girl becomes Circus Girl and sees animals which are highly detailed with colour and take up most of the page made it a pleasure to read. I like the cursive writing of the words, which changed in size, shape and colour when the words described what the girl was doing. Her imagination is huge and will encourage readers to think big when acting out pretend play (or however it’s called now).  The reader can spot how the toys at the start are all the animals that the girl meets while being Circus Girl. I only had one minor niggle which is a personal thing that perhaps the girl could have had a skirt or trousers for modesty but that is just me – the rest of the book is superb and I’ll happily reread it when I need a smile." 



CM magazine:

A little girl, a born performer – a circus performer. Some stuffed animals forming the audience wait attentively for the show to begin. The curtain over the bed rises, and the fun is set in motion, with a “tada” from the little girl in leotards and socks. So begins Claire Pernice’s Circus Girl, a delightful adventure in imagination.

     Circus Girl jumps, swings on the trapeze, balances on the high wire, and juggles. Her acrobatics are daring, dazzling, dramatic, stupendous, outrageous, plucky and sensational. Circus Girl is simply “outrageous” when she balances some teacups on her head while swinging eight hoops on her arms, legs and waist. She is “bold” while examining the inside of a lion’s mouth. Pernice provides a wonderful array of adjectives to describe Circus Girl and her performance, an important lesson in the power and use of words.

     The illustrations are simple and the colour tones are soft pastels such as blue, pink, and yellow set against a primarily white background. Circus Girl executes her daring feats with an elephant, horse, and lion adorned in colourful costumes that accentuate the carnival atmosphere. Most of the text is in what can only be described as “circus font”, a distinctive style that makes one think of old circus posters or signage.

     Circus Girl is the “star” of the show, and it would seem that she can accomplish anything during this night of dazzling feats which call for qualities of courage, daring and confidence. The Circus Girl is someone any young child can admire, and, while no one is suggesting playing with lions or bears, it would seem to provide motivation and empowerment to dream with gusto for whatever interests you and inspires you to greatness. At the end of it all, the talented and very busy Circus Girl reverts to a young child tucked into bed content and peaceful after a day of excitement with her stuffed animals there to provide comfort and warmth under the stars.