Paul Fleischman, , illus. by Kevin Hawkes. . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1107-1

In a new direction for the team behind Weslandia, Hawkes provides studied, atmospheric paintings to go with Fleisch-man's wistful, nearly wordless story. In the sunlight and blue shadows of the waking day, a girl arrives at a city bus stop as a poster-hanger starts putting up circus advertisements. "Coming soon... World-renowned... Garibaldi Circus!!!!" announces the theater marquee across the street. Small, oval spot paintings show the waiting passengers in shades of gray. Only the girl appears in color; only she sees that the circus has already started, and that admission is free. One-and-a-half-page, full-bleed spreads portray the performers, ordinary working folks every bit as talented as the circus acts whose posters they mimic. Near a poster for "The Great Tebaldi, Prince of Tightrope Walkers," a construction worker walks an I-beam while carrying two buckets. A burly deliveryman hauls a side of beef into the butcher shop right next to a poster for "Goliath the Strongman." Skateboard-riding toughs ape "The Colombo Clowns"; the girl laughs and applauds their tricks. Hawkes's paintings combine in a most distinctive way a feeling of weight with the dreamy light of early morning. The girl's bus comes, she leaves; a boy arrives, and the "circus" begins again. Children will take pleasure in the story's appreciation of their own ability to see the wonder of the world around them. Ages 5-9. (Apr.)