CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 34 . . . . May 8, 2015
The Traveling Circus is the fourth title in a series about a quirky, adventuresome family that enjoys going on vacations off the beaten track… with the exception of one member who would really rather stay at home. Charlie is the snarky, observant protagonist who seems to be merely tagging along, being dragged around by his zany parents and overenthusiastic younger brother, Max. However, Charlie’s reluctant interest in the events and people he observes around him, and his sense of responsibility for Max (the “human vacuum cleaner,” who has a talent for getting into trouble) means that he ends up having many more adventures than his parents do.
This time, a postcard from an old friend takes them to an island in Croatia, via Italy and (briefly) Slovenia. The family visit Saint Anthony, cross the Croatian border without passports, witness an eerily halved ghost town, get very close to a number of goats, and receive some very good postal service. Charlie ruminates on war and its lasting effects, gendered labor, grandparents, and international friendships.
As before, the story is organized into short chapters labeled “My Adventures”, which focus on one or two aspects of the places Charlie visits. While each of the vignettes is vivid and contains keen observations of both the locale and the family that travels through it, the brevity of each gives a feeling of having only just touched the surface of a complex and beautiful subject. As that is how trips are in real life, it may be unfair to count this against the title. An enjoyable read that could also trigger discussions of culture, history, ethics and politics.
The text is interspersed with lively, expressive black-and-white illustrations.
Saeyong Kim is studying for a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.