When the circus comes to Willow Grove, Benny and Sam are in for more excitement than they can shake a stick at: elephants and acrobats, candied apples and a calliope, even a snake enchantress. They can’t think of anything better than helping the circus men set up for the grand event – until the Big Top boss gives them two tickets for the show! But then Sam’s ticket disappears, and it’s up to Benny to save the best day ever.
A tribute to the great occasions and small gestures that children will remember for a lifetime, this boisterous tale about fun and friendship is enlivened by David Gordon’s jubilant illustrations.To the Big Top is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
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JILL ESBAUM is the author of Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-Comin’!, an IRA Children’s Book Award Notable, and Stink Soup. She lives on a farm near Dixon, Iowa. DAVID GORDON has written and illustrated many books for children. He lives in New York City.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Set in the early 20th century, this tale about the circus has multiple layers. Benny and Sam are ecstatic when the circus train comes to Willow Grove, arriving at the rail yard where fancy wagons, wooden planks, and giant rolls of canvas are unloaded. As the tents are set up, a roustabout spots the boys watching and invites them to help. They are happy to lug water and carry boards and thrilled to each earn a nickel and a ticket to see the Big Top show. When Sam can't find his ticket and realizes that the circus monkey has snatched it, Benny kindly sacrifices his much-desired candy apple to get it back, and the boys are able to enjoy the performance. An author's note sets the stage by describing how these shows used to travel from town to town bringing animals, performers, workers, and supplies—"everything needed to construct a tent city entirely dependent upon itself." Gordon's vibrant illustrations depict the historical element while also conveying the dynamic relationship between the two friends. An inviting slice of Americana.—Susannah Richards, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT
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