cover image Circus


Lois Ehlert. HarperCollins, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-020252-1

Performers of all descriptions cavort across Ehlert's ( Color Zoo ; Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf ) pages, rendered as iridescent geometric shapes against dramatic black backdrops. Along with classic circus acts--a bareback rider, a fierce lion, ``the world's biggest elephant''--are unusual, eccentric choices: a pair of leaping lizards, a band of marching snakes and ``those marvelous musclemen, the Pretzel brothers, who form a towering human pyramid.'' These dazzling artistes are introduced by a ringing text that captures the voice--alliterative, hyperbolic, a tad bombastic--of a grand circus master. Ehlert's characteristically vibrant colors and exhilarating style find even broader scope under the big top. Performed with panache, her junket gives new life to a favorite children's venue and is well worth the price of admission. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)