CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006
Sound familiar – Jill Bryant wraps up all you need to know from the lingo to the setup and finally the cleanup of putting on a successful backyard circus.
Aimed at the middle grade child, Backyard Circus is very well laid out, beginning with the fine points of organizing a circus – from getting parents’ and neighbors’ permission to use their backyard, to dealing with the dreaded “lag” time between acts (polish up that harmonica). The book’s nine chapters cover scheduling rehearsals, main acts and where to find performers (“Does your cousin Samantha take ballet lessons”), novelty acts and acrobatics. It concludes, appropriately with the final act – cleaning up.
The text is accompanied by bright simple graphics, some of them illustrating step by step techniques for magic tricks, designs for posters, as well as a make-your-own megaphone. There are sidebars of interesting circus facts and lore designed to amuse and educate upcoming ringmasters and performers.
Readable, enjoyable, practical and informative, Backyard Circus is an excellent classroom resource and reading book. There are certainly enough roles included to involve all members of a class or even a whole school. Those of us not interested in actually putting on a circus will learn a thing or two about the immense planning and preparation that goes into putting on a successful show while brushing up on our circus history and trivia.
Barb Taylor is a pre-kindergarten teacher and freelance writer living in Calgary, AB.
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