The Circus Ship

by Chris Van Dusen

Other authorsChris Van Dusen (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2015

Call number

E V

Publication

Candlewick (2015), Edition: Reprint, 40 pages

Description

When a circus ship runs aground off the coast of Maine, the poor animals are left on their own to swim the chilly waters. Staggering onto a nearby island, they soon win over the wary townspeople with their kind, courageous ways. So well do the critters blend in that when the greedy circus owner returns to claim them, villagers of all species conspire to outsmart the bloated blowhard.

User reviews

LibraryThing member shumphreys
A true story about a ship containing a group of zoo animals being shipped through waters among the islands of Maine that crashes. Interpreting creatively, Van Dusen writes that all the animals struggle and swim to land. Beautiful two page spreads show native island animals watching this weird
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invasion of a giraffe, hippo, lion, and others. The owner of the circus tries to repossess any surviving animals, but they wish to remain free and hide themselves in plain daylight in the small island town.
Grades 1-8. Appeals to students learning about Maine history, group read to younger students. Positives - great vibrant illustrations, based on real story. Negatives - only known complaint -islands don't have chipmunks
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LibraryThing member karafrib
What happens when a circus ship crashes in the ocean in the 1800’s? Why, the animals swim to shore of course! Abandoned during the sinking of the ship by their cruel ring master, Mr. Paine, the animals from the ship in Chris Van Dusen’s The Circus Ship swim ashore to a small town in Maine. Of
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course, the animals are quickly noticed by the townspeople, despite their efforts to fit in. Their reputation is not helped when they are found all over town in strange situations. After all, “…Miss Fannie Feeney found, according to the rumors—the silly little circus monkey swinging in her bloomers.” The animals are effectively shut out by the towns-people, until one day a fire breaks out in a house, trapping little Emma Rose inside. The valiant tiger, which had jumped through many fire rings during his time in the circus, comes to her rescue, thus turning the tide of the town’s attitude toward the circus animals. But Mr. Paine soon comes looking for his animals because there is a show to do in Boston. What the townspeople do to protect their new friends is remarkable and absolutely hilarious.
The Circus Ship is filled with witty rhyming prose and vivid, cartoon-like illustrations. Van Dusen makes the animals look loveable, and gives both people and animals wonderful facial expressions. A spread where the animals are hiding provides a wonderful picture searching opportunity. The plot of the story is fast-paced and entertaining. It is also important to note that the story is actually based on real events, which can be read about in the back of the book, though the animals never got as far as the town in the true story. Recommended for grades Pre-K-4.
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LibraryThing member vxz001
the rhyming story of a ship full of circus animals that crashes near Boston town. The animals are abandoned by their owner and they had to swim to the little town to save themselves. When the people from the town discover the animals they take good care of them and agree on not letting the animals'
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owner take them away.
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LibraryThing member mmaher8
This book won the Minnesota State University 2010 Comstock Honor Book Award for best read-a-loud picture book for older children. This award winning book will be good for 1st and 2nd grade since the reading is very basic for any students older, but for the 1st and 2nd graders the reading is just
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the right level for them to try to read by themselves while the illustration will keep them entertained. It's about a bunch of circus animals heading to Boston on a boat during a storm. The circus manager refuses to wait for the storm to pass because all he cares about his his money and himself. So the boat crashes into a rock and all the animals fall in to the water. The captain and the manager leave the animals to swim to shore on their own. The next morning the animals reach shore and the people who live in town near that shore see these wild animals and their initial reaction is fear and anger. These animals are not only dangerous, but they are ruining their gardens and just messing up their things in general. One day a fire breaks out in a shed and the tiger decides to run into the shed to save the little girl in there because the tiger has jumped through flames many times before in the circus. The tiger jumps in and saves the girl and the town then realizes that these animals are harmless. A few days later a boy finds out that these animals are from the circus and the owner wants them back. Now at this point the town loves the animals so they come up with a plan to hide all the animals so the owner isn't able to take them away from them. This plan is successful and the town lives happily with the animals. This book focuses on treatment of animals, first impressions and respecting/befriending animals/people that are different then the norm. The students can try to read the book to their tables and they can also discuss/write about their experiences with circus animals. They can also write/draw what they would do if they saw tigers or monkeys in their towns.
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LibraryThing member michelleannlib
Although the story is alright, I could not get past the design. I found the slightly-decorative font hard to read, which was made worse by all of the text being centered. The illustrations were a bit over dramatic and hard to look at (I could not figure out why ever person had a red tint to them).
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I do see how people like the rhyming text and cadence of the story, but the design ruined it for me.
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LibraryThing member maybedog
3.5 stars

The illustrations are nice although a little too cartoony for my taste. The story is sweet if a bit daft and the rhyming is done well, not forced. The best part were the pages near the end of the book where you have to look to find where the animals were hidden. A couple were too obvious
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but some took me a couple of minutes to find. Things like that make books more interactive and therefore more fun and a better learning tool.
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LibraryThing member maybedog
3.5 stars

The illustrations are nice although a little too cartoony for my taste. The story is sweet if a bit daft and the rhyming is done well, not forced. The best part were the pages near the end of the book where you have to look to find where the animals were hidden. A couple were too obvious
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but some took me a couple of minutes to find. Things like that make books more interactive and therefore more fun and a better learning tool.
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
Another delightful find by Leeda in our gift collection at work! This is a fun rhyming book about a circus ship that sinks off the coast of Maine, and what happens to the passengers (mostly animals) on board. The illustrations are big and vibrant, and the storyline very sweet.
LibraryThing member devafagan
Beautiful, fun illustrations and an uplifting and heart-warming tale. Nice to see a picture book written in rhyme too!
LibraryThing member RachelSchillreff
I liked the non fiction premise of this book. It was enjoyable for my son to find the hiding animals. This was a good read aloud to my 4 year old.
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Absolutely delightful.  Cheerful & cheering, except for one dastardly villain.  For all ages, on one level or another.  And see how many 'hidden' animals your youngest can find by himself....
LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Cute picture book. I know a song about the actual incident that sparked this story (though this is not true to life). The story here is much more cheerful than the real one - the animals make it to shore and make friends. The rhymes are nice; the words are not particularly contorted to make them
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rhyme. I enjoyed the one spread with all the circus animals hiding in it; the other pages, with various other animals (gulls, crabs) on them are amusing too. The art is somewhat cartoony but sufficiently detailed to make it worth looking at all of it. Enjoyable.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Miserly circus owner Mr. Paine and fifteen of his most exotic animals are caught up in a shipwreck in this rhyming tale from author/illustrator Chris Van Dusen. Abandoned by their cruel owner, who decides to save himself, the animals make their way ashore on a small Maine island, where their
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kindness to the human locals soon wins them friends. When the islanders get word that Mr. Paine is headed their way, determined to reclaim his animal performers, they spring in to gear to protect and hide these unexpected new residents...

Apparently inspired by a real incident from history, in which a ship carrying a circus sank off the Maine coast in 1836, The Circus Ship pairs an entertaining read-aloud tale in rhyme with brightly-colored, immensely expressive illustrations. I enjoyed pretty much everything about this one, from the story itself to the rhyming text, the eye-catching artwork to the seek-and-find element in the scene in which the villagers hide the animals in plain sight. I know Van Dusen largely through his work on Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson books, although I have read one of his own picture-books - Hattie & Hudson - as well. I'm glad to have now read another, and I thank my boss Tim for giving me a copy. I can certainly understand why it is a family favorite! Recommended to picture-book readers who enjoy animal stories, as well as to fans of Chris Van Dusen's vibrantly colorful artwork.
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LibraryThing member knerd.knitter
One of my daughter's SantaThing books from last year, this picture book is so much fun. It has great rhythm, beautiful artwork, and even a page with hidden animals that my daughter always loves to look at!

Awards

Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2012)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Picture Book — 2012)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — Picturebook — 2014)
Monarch Award (Nominee — 2013)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Children's Picture — 2011)

Pages

40

ISBN

0763655929 / 9780763655921
Page: 0.747 seconds