Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Another laugh-out-loud funny book by Adam Rex

Tree Ring Circus
Written and illustrated by Adam Rex
Harcourt, 2006

Let’s start with the cover, shall we? The title is illustrated like a Barnum and Bailey circus billboard. But then one begins to notice all of the strange things up in the bare tree on the front cover. The title page is made to look like an advertisement for the circus, complete with teasers for the author’s performance: “Written and illustrated by Adam Rex as he was bound and suspended one hundred feet above the Earth over a pit of flaming tigers.” This page alone will make the over 8 crowd take a look at this book.

The story begins with a seed in the ground and a tree that grows with only a handful of leaves on it. At first a few birds, a big bee, and a squirrel end up in the tree. Not so unusual (except for the big bee). Then a clown shows up because he has escaped from the circus. The circus shows up, looking for the clown, and in the meantime, all of the other animals escape too. Now the tree is holding a lion, a polar bear, a monkey, a tiger, and more!

You could enjoy this book on pictures alone, but much of the text looks like the announcements for the circus, proclaiming the next amazing thing you will see.

The tree is okay until an elephant climbs up too. Then the tree falls down. The plot is very predictable which makes it a gem for young readers because they can anticipate what is about to happen. But the humor and details Rex adds in makes this book appealing to older readers as well.

Perfect pacing, wonderful illustrating, a laugh-out-loud funny book!

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