God bless Tom Thumb for having the amazing skill of being able to pluck a gem from the shelves of our library every single week! This week we bring you The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. Chris Van Dusen is the illustrator of the Mercy Watson books (which are delightful reads about an adventurous pig for the grade 1-3 set) and he wrote this book in rhyme about the circus ship that meets a rock in the sea and subsequently sinks. The real fun begins when the animals come ashore to a village in Maine and save the day. But will the villagers save them when the unkind circus owner returns to reclaim them?
My favorite pages are here:
All fifteen of the circus animals are hidden from the owner somewhere in the picture. Tom Thumb and I had a ball as he easily identified the easy ones like the gorilla on the far left side of the page and I helped him find the more difficult ones like the alligator.
I love books like that this that have delicious illustrations and an interesting story. Can you believe the author loosely based the story on a real event? There actually was a ship called The Royal Tar that sunk off the coast of Maine in 1836. Van Dusen includes a page at the back of the book describing the event's influence on this fictional tale. I can't wait to see what Tom Thumb uncovers next! :-)
Speaking of circuses, I visited Erin Morgenstern's blog today. She's the author of one of my fave books, The Night Circus, and I wanted to check and see what she was up to. I appreciated the refreshing blog post she posted the other day. Being a novelist has always sounded very glamorous to me and I have romanticized it in my mind to the point of ridiculousness. I have visions of the author sitting pensively at her laptop, looking out her window over some sumptuous mountain/ocean/forest view. She takes a sip of her coffee and continues on writing her literary feast of brilliance. Okay---maybe not that romanticized. It must be the day I'm having, but it nice to hear that someone else was struggling to get it all done---even if I'm just a stay at home mom and she's a novelist with her first book optioned for a movie.
I've also had an undue obsession with pot roast lately. I've been eating 99% vegetarian for the last year, but over the last couple of days all I can think of is tender, cut with your fork beef pot roast and mashed potatoes completely covered in salty brown gravy. And a side a salty canned green beans wouldn't be too bad either. Somebody slap me...