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Item - The Circus

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(First printing)
(First printing)
(First printing)
(Sixth printing)
(Sixth printing)
(Sixth printing)
(Special school edition)
(Tenth printing)
(Tenth printing)
(Tenth printing)
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Combined Summary

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 1
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Skylark 1 Box Set (Collection)
Translated Into: El circ (Catalan)
El circo (Spanish)
O circo (Portuguese)
La cirque (French)
Sirk (Turkish)
Author: Packard, Edward
Illustrator: Granger, Paul (pseudonym used by Hedin, Don)
Date: November, 1981 (First printing)
ISBNs: 0553151207 / 9780553151206 (First printing)
0553152386 / 9780553152388 (Sixth printing)
0553157442 / 9780553157444 (Tenth printing)
Length: 55 pages
Number of Endings: 12
Cover Price: US$1.75 (First printing)
US$2.50 (Tenth printing)
US$1.95 (Sixth printing)
User Summary: You visit your aunt and uncle, both circus people, and are given the choice to learn to be an acrobat, a clown, or an animal trainer.
charlesdaniels's Thoughts:

I read this book to my 6 year old daughter. Her imagination was especially captured by the counting horse. I think if you are six years old this book is about right. It is just a vague collection of things that you might encounter at a circus. But if you want to introduce your very young children to the books you liked as a kid, this is a good start.

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Demian's Thoughts:

This is really just a collection of random events which lead to abrupt endings. Still, it's not too bad; the visual design is nice, with text and graphics mixing well, and there is a note at the end explaining one of the events which occurs in the story.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

Ah, The Circus. The one that started it all for the Bantam Skylark younger readers Choose Your Own Adventure series in 1981. Your aunt Alice and uncle Harry are in town this summer with the circus. Alice is an acrobat, Harry trains polar bears, and they have invited you for a behind-the-scenes tour. What will you try first? Acrobatics, animal training, and clowning are the three main categories.

Does comedy suit your tastes? Then meet Charley the clown, whose offbeat sense of humor keeps you guessing. He offers to put you in the show this very night as part of the mini-car act. Along with Fang the wolf-dog, a gaggle of clowns, and other kids, you could pile out of the tiny car at the start of the show and surprise the audience. You might be surprised yourself to find out how they manage the illusion. Or you could dress up as an eight-foot ostrich and parade around on stilt legs for the show, but you might take a spill under the bright lights. You'll feel badly, but Charley will be there later to point out that the accident may have revealed your true talent.

Would you rather learn animal training? You could watch Uncle Harry display dazzling control over a polar bear, though even an experienced hand can get overconfident. If you wish, Harry will introduce you to the Great Kamchatka, the lion tamer, who appears to keep his beasts perfectly in line. The Great Kamchatka invites you to step inside the cage, though the experience might freak you out when one lion ignores the trainer and goes directly at you. If you're too scared, you can play ball with the seals, a fun activity that easily swallows the rest of your day. Uncle Harry will let you tour where the animals live if you ask, but beware the baby bear. He seems harmless, but even a small bear can hurt a human. If you avoid that temptation, you might come face to face with an escaped tiger. Has your uncle's example taught you to react to crisis with calm confidence?

Well now, learning acrobatics with Aunt Alice seems exciting! It's a long, dizzying climb to the high wire, and if you don't think you're ready, Uncle Harry has a different sort of surprise: Clever Hank, the world's smartest horse. When asked simple math problems by Chuck Collins, his trainer, Hank taps out the correct answer on the floor. But is the feat really what it seems? Maybe you ARE prepared to try acrobatics, though the climb to the tent roof feels scary. If you're willing to jump into the net Alice has spread out for you, then you might have what it takes to be an acrobat. With your parents' permission you could travel and train with the circus all summer. If that's too much, you could wrangle the trapeze artist's safety rope just for today, or wash the elephant enclosure if you decide acrobatics isn't your gig after all. There will always be some role for you in the circus if you want it.

As template setter for the series, The Circus is a success, and Edward Packard was the right author for the task. To a kid, seeing a circus show is enthralling, but the glitz can only hold one's attention for so long; these pages reveal the actual substance to be at least as fascinating as the few fast-paced minutes you see from the audience. The hard work, creativity, and detailed planning that go into a good show are the challenge that invigorates a true performer. I love how your aunt describes Charley the clown: "(He) likes to surprise people...He never says what you expect him to say." That's the essence of an artist, purposefully straying from the conventional into the extraordinary. It's what draws people to them. The Circus is one of the best books in the series, and I've gone back for a reread many times.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Nomad's Thoughts:

Could this book be any more random? Well of course the answer is yes, if R. A. Montgomery had written it rather than Edward Packard. Still this book could have been better. It's a fun enough read for the age group it's focused toward, but it wasn't one of the stronger entries in this series. It's worth reading once, I suppose, but it's nothing to go out of your way to indulge in. Still, randomness aside, it manages to capture some of the fun and excitement a child experiences when going to see the circus, and that saved it from being a total waste of time for me. On a side note, the picture on page 27 amuses me more than it should, and usually manages to draw at least a chuckle out of me.

More reviews by Nomad

Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes (green), bobthefunny, dave2002a, Demian (first and sixth printings), duckhugger (red paperback), Erikwinslow (1st), exaquint (green 4th, green 5th), Fireguard ((green cover)), Gartax, gildedlionbooks (US, 8th Printing), Grifter (green), horrorbusiness, jdreller, jharvey79, JoshW, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, killagarilla, kinderstef, knginatl (green, yellow, red, yellow "school edition", green "book fair", green "book club"), marcfonline, nelsondesign, NEMO (yellow), newt3425, Nomad, ntar (yellow book fair ed., green cover, red cover), plowboy, Pseudo_Intellectual (yellow edition), rolipo26, RonaldFrobnitz, Ryuran333 (yellow), spragmatic, strawberry_brite, twar, Uraniborg (green cover), waktool (Original, 5th printing (green, $1.75); Original, 6th printing (yellow, $1.95)), wonderfly, YourSoundtrack
Users Who Want This Item: exaquint (yellow, yellow school edition, red), Ffghtermedic, NEMO (green&red), Trachalio (Used to own), Uraniborg (red cover)
Users with Extra Copies: Demian - 2 copies: 6th printing (orange cover)
ntar - green cover

Known Editions

First printing
Sixth printing
Special school edition
Tenth printing

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