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The Circus Ship Hardcover – September 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076363090X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763630904
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1—After their steamship en route to Boston is wrecked in a storm, a troupe of circus animals escapes bad treatment and disaster, finding its way to an island off the coast of Maine. The 1800s residents are surprised to find zebras eating their gardens and alligators lounging on woodpiles. Sympathies change when a tiger saves a toddler from a blazing shed. When a messenger announces that the cruel circus owner is returning to claim his menagerie, the citizens assist the animals in disguises and camouflage that confound him, leaving the friends to a peaceful coexistence. Van Dusen's rhymed text keeps a rollicking beat. His illustrations burst with color and energy and utilize perspective and texture to add drama and humor. Period details create a counterpoint with elements like a gorilla in a lifeboat. The spread of the animals in "hiding" is pure genius. The book honors the real circus animals that inspired this story.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA END

About the Author

Chris Van Dusen is the illustrator of the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo. He wrote and illustrated IF I BUILT A CAR, an E.B. White Read Aloud Award Winner. He lives in Maine.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 123 customer reviews
What a fun book to read over and over.
Diane L. Maloy
Great rhythm, great rhyming, with beautiful illustrations... All combined with a clever story.
phish4dinner
This is one of my favorite books to read with the students when they come to my library.
Laura A. Jackson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Callender on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The fictional story, written in verse, will captivate young readers. It's about a ship full of circus animals that runs into thick fog and crashes off the coast of Maine. The animals find their way to nearby island; much to the dismay of the people who live there. They wake to find elephants walking around, monkeys hanging from their clotheslines, hippos bathing in the streams, and exotic snakes peeking in their pantries. At first the people are worried and annoyed at the chaos the new arrivals have created. Then a brave rescue of one of the children changes their minds. Just as they all begin to live happily together, the circus boss returns to bring his animals back to work. Will the people be able to rescue them? You'll have to find out.

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen is intended for children ages 4-8 years old and makes a great book for beginner readers. My daughter loved the story for its rhyming lines and the animals. I really enjoyed that this book was based on a historical event. It encouraged me to learn more about The Royal Tar. Any book that inspires actions after reading is sure to be a big hit with kids, parents, and teachers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Library mom on October 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Others have summarized this book, but I'd like to add that as an elementary school librarian, this book was a big hit with my 1st-3rd graders. They were totally engrossed in the story, cheering the townspeople who took care of the courageous animals and protected them from the circus boss who callously left them behind when the ship sank. They loved finding the "hidden" animals. After hearing the original story that inspired this book, they looked forward to a happy ending. I'll have to get multiple copies for the library and would love to see this made into a movie! It's a roller coaster of a read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Make it Funny on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book was a lot of fun to read with my 6 year old. The rhymes are perfect for reading with a young child who is learning to read. I would read a page and then she would read the same page independently using the rhyme as a guide to 'remember'. A great help in learning how to read and learning how to predict the words to come. Rhyming books are great exercises for that.

The story is also a lot of fun to read. There was a page where all of the animals are 'hidden' by the townspeople who are trying to prevent the abusive circus owner from finding the animals and taking them away. It was fun searching for all of the hidden animals.

I highly recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Davis on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We've had this book for a couple weeks now, and read it every day. Chris Van Dusen writes great books for children, with wonderful rhyme, and interesting pictures. This book is an excellent addition to our Chris Van Dusen Collection (we have all his other books). My two boys love the story, and especially the surprise involvement towards the end. . .Great book! Thank you Mr. Van Dusen!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Freeman on November 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great. It's an interesting and historic tale with great animations. Our kid loves it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen A. Walker on October 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the first time I read the book by Chris Van Dusen, 'If I Built a Car' I was so impressed with his imagination.
I have bought all his books since then. The kids I have read his books to really liked them. He is a great kids author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Dellapenna on October 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid Van Dusen fan, I have to say that this book is Chris' best! Now that my son is older and has enjoyed, yet out grown, the Magee series, I look for any opportunity to share with others a book written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen- so anyone I know who is having a baby gets one or more of his books as a gift. When I recently purchased The Circus Ship for a friend of mine, I was extremely impressed with the lyrical text and outstanding art work that made the story "pop" with energy, emotion, and suspense. I loved it so much, I might just have to purchase a copy for myself!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brigette on October 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is *beautifully* drawn. The rhyme works, too - not too sing-songy and not too off-beat. It's a joy to read and the kids loved looking at and for the animals.
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