STAR OF THE CIRCUS by Michael & Mary Beth Sampson, illustrated by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey, is a delightful story of circus performers who each claim that they are the stars of the circus. Marvelous Mouse, Cannonball Cat, Dazzling Dog, Crazy Kangaroo, Zany Zebra and Big Bear are under one big top presided over by Elegant Elephant. The book has all the elements of a great pre-school read aloud where there is repetition of dialogue and bright, vibrant illustrations. After a silly turn of events, the performers realize by the end of the story that “we are all stars of the circus.”
While this book was in extreme disrepair, (criteria for use in my collages) it called to me for a couple of other reasons. The relatively recent demise of the “Greatest Show on Earth,” where after 146 years the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folded and the ever evolving realization and understanding in our society that using animals for our entertainment as cruel and inhumane. It occurred to me as I looked through this book that the idea that a circus might include animals dressed in show clothes doing tricks would be as outrageous as me telling my students that we used to have to go in a booth and insert coins to a box with a corded handset to get in touch with another person. Change is good, but so too were the illustrations of the team of Jose Aruego and Ariene Dewey. No animals were hurt in the making of this collage, so please enjoy. Under The Big Top is available for purchase and could easily travel to your destination.