Circus Ship

Circus Ship

An 1836 shipwreck off the coast of Isle au Haut, Maine, is reimagined by Maine’s beloved picture book creator, Chris Van Dusen. The Royal Tar was carrying circus animals from St. John, Nova Scotia, to Portland, Maine, when it ran aground. With his stunning artwork and rollicking rhyming text, Van Dusen shows the animals coming ashore at Isle au Haut and taking up residence (much to the dismay of the islanders). The menagerie, however, soon wins over the wary townspeople with their kind, courageous ways. When the unkind circus owner returns to claim the animals, the townspeople and animals conspire to keep them on the island.

ISBN: 9780763630904
Author: Chris Van Dusen*
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Binding: Hardcover
Age Group: 5 years

We chose this book because the engaging story and bold illustrations were made for your family in a little studio in Camden, Maine, by the talented Chris Van Dusen.

He depicts 19th-century Isle au Haut with minute detail and larger doses of humor. Readers will find many laughs in the rhyming text and much excitement as the tiger saves a child from a sudden fire.

When the animals are hidden from the circus owner with clever camouflage, the reader is in for a search and find surprise. The creatures are so well disguised that each new discovery of an animal is a small victory for your soon-to-be reader. Victories and discoveries like this build strong relationships between your child and books.


A note from Chris Van Dusen to Maine 5 year olds who received this book at their well visit:

Dear Most Excellent Reader,

First of all, congratulations! You've reached an important milestone and have officially graduated from the Raising Readers program. This is a big deal! And you know what?  It's a big deal for me, too, because the book they chose to celebrate your graduation is one of my books! Neat, huh?

This is your last Raising Readers book but don't worry! You have plenty of reading adventures ahead. Get started at one of the most amazing places in the world - your local LIBRARY!  Think about what a wonderful thing a library is: you can go there and pick out all the books you want, and they'll let you borrow them for free! Even your best friend doesn't have that many books to share with you.

Speaking of friends, that's what books are for me: good friends. I miss them when we're apart and I can't wait to see them again. I hope THE CIRCUS SHIP becomes your friend, a friend you come back to over and over. I hope you enjoy the adventure. And I hope you can find all the circus animals hidden in the picture toward the end of the book.  A couple are pretty hard to spot! 

Best wishes, have fun, and KEEP READING!

Chris Van Dusen

Check out our tips for more ways you can share this book with a child.

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