cover image Circus Locomotive: Come Aboard

Circus Locomotive: Come Aboard

Joanne Barkan. Aladdin Paperbacks, $3.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-71674-4

Diecut in the shapes of separate train cars, these books ostensibly fit together a la jigsaw puzzle pieces to form one long locomotive. Alas, the concept exceeds the execution, and at least one book snaps into place only after some strenuous manipulation. Given this faulty performance, the books themselves are unexceptional. Circus Locomotive sums up the whole set, providing capsule summaries of the events described in the other three books--the performers rehearse and rest, the animals sleep and eat, the clowns practice their stunts--and, on the last spread, it shows the ringmaster welcoming an audience to the big top. Neither text nor illustrations pack any punch, with Barkan favoring a plain style and Ong opting for busy spreads in florid colors. Stick to Lois Ehlert or Peter Spier for three-star three-ring adventures. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)