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Author: Ponder Goembel

Illustrator: Ponder Goembel

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish, 2010

Material: hard cover

Summary: Let's go to the animal fair! Fun illustrations highlight the things you'll see: bears in 4th-of-July attire juggling purple bears, parrots on the backs of chairs, and a little boy skunk, dressed in his finest hat to bring his ballerina lady-skunk flowers. From the Chimpanzees on the Trapeze to the Seals singing with pink balloons, this book really puts on a show! This is a picture book adaptation of the children's song

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 6; read yourself: 7 to 10

Interest Level: 2 to 8

Reading Level: 2.5

Age of Child: Read with two boys, ages 2 and 4.

Young Reader Reaction: My boys enjoyed discovering the fun elements in the illustrations. Each page had so much to see, just like a real circus! All the animals were wearing some sort of costume (hat, skirts, dress, vest, etc.), and there were always extra animals in the scene other than the ones directly mentioned in the text. The illustrations were VERY exciting to them.

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved this book. There was so much color and excitement on the page that there was always a deeper story to tell. I appreciated that the author altered the phrase I grew up with: "The monkey, he got drunk..." to "Next came the mischievous monk..." I also appreciated that additional lines were written to extend the length of the book. After reading it the first couple of times, we just focused on looking at the pictures.

Pros: WONDERFUL, rich, colorful, creative and FUN pictures draw you to this book. Add a song packed with animals who are full of personality and you have just the ZANY read young kids love!

Cons: None, really. The only *minor* complaint I have is that because each line of the song expresses such vivid and wonderful imagery, there aren't very many words on each page. Because you want to linger so long on each page to explore the illustrations, the text gets disjointed and choppy. However, if you make the text flow, you are turning the pages too quickly.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is just a wonderful picture-book that is sure to engaged your toddler and preschooler. I love how it stimulates the imagination.


Educational Themes: Elements on the page allowed us to explore colors and counting. We worked on naming different animals. We had the chance to learn about novel animals like skunks and toucans that are not overly common in standard children's books.

In a classroom: take the pictures and have the children create their own story about what is going on! Or, have the children create a NEW picture that would fit into the book -- with animals wearing people clothes and doing silly things.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, music, humor, rhyme

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2013, April 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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