CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 4 . . . . September 26, 2014
A little girl, a born performer – a circus performer. Some stuffed animals forming the audience wait attentively for the show to begin. The curtain over the bed rises, and the fun is set in motion, with a “tada” from the little girl in leotards and socks. So begins Claire Pernice’s Circus Girl, a delightful adventure in imagination.
Circus Girl jumps, swings on the trapeze, balances on the high wire, and juggles. Her acrobatics are daring, dazzling, dramatic, stupendous, outrageous, plucky and sensational. Circus Girl is simply “outrageous” when she balances some teacups on her head while swinging eight hoops on her arms, legs and waist. She is “bold” while examining the inside of a lion’s mouth. Pernice provides a wonderful array of adjectives to describe Circus Girl and her performance, an important lesson in the power and use of words.
The illustrations are simple and the colour tones are soft pastels such as blue, pink, and yellow set against a primarily white background. Circus Girl executes her daring feats with an elephant, horse, and lion adorned in colourful costumes that accentuate the carnival atmosphere. Most of the text is in what can only be described as “circus font”, a distinctive style that makes one think of old circus posters or signage.
Circus Girl is the “star” of the show, and it would seem that she can accomplish anything during this night of dazzling feats which call for qualities of courage, daring and confidence. The Circus Girl is someone any young child can admire, and, while no one is suggesting playing with lions or bears, it would seem to provide motivation and empowerment to dream with gusto for whatever interests you and inspires you to greatness. At the end of it all, the talented and very busy Circus Girl reverts to a young child tucked into bed content and peaceful after a day of excitement with her stuffed animals there to provide comfort and warmth under the stars.
Harriet Minuk is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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