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If I Ran the Circus (Classic Seuss) Hardcover – October 12, 1956

4.8 out of 5 stars 103 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; 1St 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 (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on January 29, 2001
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 Verified Purchase
This book doesn't disappoint, after all, it is a Seuss tale. We love Dr. Seuss in our house and every one gets read aloud to my sons with different voices, expressions, grimaces, and hand gestures. This one is one of the more fun ones to read with exciting detail. I'm hoping these moments are just as memorable to my very young children as they are to me as I don't think any childhood can be called complete without vivid memories of such colorful wacky stories. This one wasn't in our collection until we threw my son a vintage circus themed 1st birthday party. We bought this to have the guests sign with well wishes instead of bringing gifts and cards. Then, we brought it into the home library and read it with great delight. It's definitely a must have for all families!
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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 Verified Purchase
When our friends became grandparents, I immediately thought of a gift for the baby - my own (now grown) kid's very favorite: If I Ran The Circus. I read it so many times to them that I could recite long stretches by memory. This edition has great color (my original is now quite faded) and I am sure will be treasured by the newbie, as well as his parents.What a Classic!
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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: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always loved this book. I would have given it 5 stars (such imagination!) but it was advertised to me on my Kindle Touch, and when I tried to download it, I got a statement that it was not available for this device. Why advertise on a device that will not receive the product? I was able to download it from the cloud to my husband's Chrome Book, but was very disappointed that I could not read it on my Kindle.
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