Thomas, the Circus Boy

David Merveille, Author, Zidrov, Author
David Merveille, Author, Zidrov, Author Henry Holt & Company $14.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2953-6
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Readers with an affinity for animals will envy this story's young hero, a tumbler with two left feet who eventually becomes a veterinarian. In what would seem an idyllic life, Thomas travels with the Circus Stromboli and spends time with ``Bavarotti, the performing elephant.'' But all is not blissful under the big top: Thomas is ``clumsy, very clumsy'' and can't juggle pins or ride a unicycle like his father, ``king of the acrobats.'' Dejected, Thomas runs away, but returns just in time to diagnose and cure an ailing Bavarotti--thus recognizing his own true calling as an ``animal doctor.'' Gentle, voluminous illustrations have gradually curved outlines and carnival colors blended over a seemingly corrugated, corduroy-like surface; with or without the text, these strong images effectively tell the story. A star motif reminds readers of Thomas's goals and hidden talent, and although Bavarotti bears an initially distracting resemblance to Babar, the likeness diminishes as the spotlight shines more intently on the boy. Merveille and Zidrou's ( Ms. Blanche, the Spotless Cow ) tale proves winsome in its simplicity. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)
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