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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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If I Ran the Circus (Classic Seuss) Hardcover – October 12, 1956

4.8 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If I Ran the Circus is a grand rhyming Seussian hymn to every child's grandest and wildest plans. Behind Mr. Sneelock's ramshackle store, there's an empty lot. Little Morris McGurk is convinced that if he could just clear out the rusty cans, the dead tree, and the old cars, he would have no further obstacles to using the lot for the amazing, the world-beating, Circus McGurkus. The more elaborate Morris's dreams about the circus become, the more they depend on sleepy-looking, innocent Mr. Sneelock, who stands outside his ramshackle store sucking on a pipe, oblivious to the fate that awaits him in the depths of Morris's imagination. He doesn't yet know that he'll have to dispense 500 gallons of lemonade, be lassoed by a Wily Walloo, wrestle a Grizzly-Ghastly, and ski down a slope dotted with giant cacti. But if his performance is up to McGurkian expectations, then "why, ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters, your heads will quite likely spin right off your shouldsters!" Welcome to the big top. (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr

From the Inside Flap

Illus. in color. Young Morris McGurk lets his imagination run wild with his circus McGurkus. "Fun for the entire family."--"Children's Book Center.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Lexile Measure: NP (What's this?)
  • Series: Classic Seuss
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039480080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394800806
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"A person's a person, no matter how small," Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. "Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted."

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of kids learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at that time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" which became a popular expression.

Geisel published his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937, after 27 publishers rejected it.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"If I Ran the Circus" is classic Dr. Seuss: delightful rhymes, wacky nonsense words, and bizarre creatures drawn in a playful artistic style. And, as in the best of Seuss' books, all these elements come together to celebrate the power of the imagination. The entire book takes place in the mind of young Morris McGurk, who imagines creating an extravagant circus in the vacant lot behind Sneelock's Store.
And what a circus he imagines! As the scenario unfolds, we are treated to many marvelous sights: a 500-gallon lemonade dispenser, a Drum-Tummied Snumm, a fluff-muffled Truffle, a Spotted Atrocious, a trapeze troupe, and much, much more. Dr. Seuss' distinctive rhyming style is on full display throughout. Typical lines: "Then my Tournament Knights! Noble apes without fears! / Sir Hector! Sir Vector! Sir Bopps! and Sir Beers!"
Throughout the book, young McGurk imagines store owner Sneelock performing in the imaginary circus. This gives the book a subtle touch of gentle subversiveness, since Sneelock is an adult, and thus an authority figure. But the humor is never mean, and in fact Sneelock appears both courageous and talented in the many wild scenarios spun in the boy's head. All things considered, "If I Ran the Circus" is a delight, and another triumph for Dr. Seuss.
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Format: Hardcover
If I Ran the Circus is a delightful cross between the tongue-twisting Fox in Sox and the classic Cat in the Hat. I read it to my children until they begged me to stop. Then I read it to my wife. It demands to be read outloud with the greatest of enthusiasm, almost child-like glee, drawing out the unique word combinations and stunning metre and rhyme. Fabuluous.
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Format: Hardcover
Gasp at the scale. Wince at the rhymes. Be amazed at the exploits of Old Sneelock. This book is classic Seuss and deserves to be read much more widely. I recommend it unreservedly.
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Format: Hardcover
My 6-year-old son checked this out from the library a week ago. I'd never heard of it, but I adore the best Dr. Seuss books, and The Cat in the Hat has always ranked as my #1 book to read to a kid, so my hopes were high. Even with high expectations, though, I was blown away. I have yet to make it through this book without a mistake, but that's partly because it's harder to read tricky tongue twisters when you're grinning. The rhymes are so clever, the rhythms so natural - and it's so fun to read the carnival-barker patter in which young Morris McGurk describes the circus he'll build behind Mr. Sneelock's store - that I think the Cat in the Hat may have slipped to second place. This is just a fantastic book for any kid old enough (it's longish), and especially for any grownup who loves to read aloud. (And my son? He's asked for it every night since he got it, so I haven't had to beg.)
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Format: Hardcover
"If I ran the circus" starts off with a boy and an empty lot. I had a lot similar to this near my childhood home. This book played perfectly into my wild imagination of what one could make out of a seemingly uninteresting place. It made me see things in a different way, the possibility that was in every place and every thing. This book is wonderful. Calm Sneelock is worked into the plan. (Isn't it just typical that kids think of shopkeepers as friends?) This book is a big part of my childhood and now I am happy to share it with my kids to help them see the potential in everything. One just needs to use a bit of imagination -- a lesson for young and old.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If I Ran the Circus pairs perfectly with If I Ran the Zoo. They make delightful gifts, but be sure to keep a copy for yourself.
I have difficulty getting one of them without the other. That anyone made a living doing this work is a victory on several levels - and the best way I can celebrate it is to buy this book again. And again.
Guess what's on my wish list?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We bought this book for my 3 yr old after going to the circus. Being a Seuss loving family, we were all excited to read it, but my daughter quickly lost interest because there was really no reference to anything like a real circus. Cool Seuss writing, but don't get it if your looking for any circus memories...
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Format: Hardcover
A boy sees an empty lot behind Mr. Sneelock's store and imagines the circus he could run there. Of course Mr. Sneelock does a lot of the work in the boy's imagination including many death defying tricks.

It was fun following the boy's imagined circus and the many strange acts he would include. The story is sprinkled with humor about the things Mr. Sneelock will do even though he doesn't know about it yet.

The only difficultly with the story was when the words became bogged down in many spots making it harder to get through the paragraphs. There were too many made up words in a row making is difficult to figure out Seuss' meaning. If he had slowed down and simplified it would have been a far better story. But it is still an enjoyable read for grades k-4.
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