The One and Only Ivan

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NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER – 2013

The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

Age: 8+ (warning: dark content – read full review)

Interests: animals, gorillas, elephants, animals in captivity, animal rights, cruelty to animals, art, ethics, circus

Also by this author: Crenshaw, Wishtree, Home of the Brave, the Animorphs series, Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

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Mishka

mishka

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 1975

Mishka

by Victor G. Ambrus

Age: 3+

Interests: music, circus, animals

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Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

by Ursula Moray Williams

originally published by George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London, 1938

253 pp. – 19 chapters

Age: (read to) 4+ ; (independent reading) 7+

Interests: horses, toys come to life, travel, adventures, pirates, circus

by the same author: Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat, The Further Adventures of Gobbolino and the Little Wooden Horse

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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 2004

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

by Mordicai Gerstein

Roaring Brook Press, 2003

34 pp.

Age: 5+

Interests: history, biography, street performers, New York, circus

Next: another book about tightrope walking – Mirette on the High Wire; another true story of daring – The Glorious Flight

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Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

Annie Get Your Gun

Colour, Musical

Released: 1950

Rated: Approved (G)

Length: 107 min

Age: 4+  (5 or 6 for fuller comprehension)   (commonsense media sez 6+)

Scary Factor: nothing scary

Violence: a lot of guns, naturally, but all used for target shooting; only one re-enactment of an Indian attack, make sure kids understand it’s all a big circus act and nobody is really being shot; Frank gets mad at one point and punches somebody, but it’s a rather isolated event

Other: racial insensitivity, depicting Native Americans as uncivilized for comic purposes; lots of “ugh’ and “how”-type dialogue

Interests: famous women, history, cowboys, Wild West, circus/theatrical, musicals

Next: for girl cowboys see Annie Oakley (1935), Calamity Jane (1953); for Wild West musicals see Calamity Jane (1953), The Harvey Girls (1946), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954); or visit your library to find historical accounts of the real Annie Oakley and her times

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Kashtanka

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER -1959

Kashtanka

by Anton Chekhov

illustrated by William Stobbs

London: Oxford University Press, 1959

49 pp. – 7 chapters

Age: 8 +

Interests: dogs, circus, theatre, cruelty to animals

Note: a little dark for children – read through it yourself first…

Other: Foxie by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire is another version of the same story which is a little more kid-friendly

Also by this illustrator: A Bundle of Ballads

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Mirette on the High Wire

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 1993

Mirette on the High Wire

by Emily Arnold McCully

New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1992

Age: 4+

Interests: Paris, circus performers, tightrope walkers, plucky heroines

Next: sequels Starring Mirette and Bellini, and Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls

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Dumbo (1941)


Rated: G
Length:  64 min.
Age: 4                                     Commonsense Media sez:  6 +

Scary Factor: the sight of the elephants crashing down from their pyramid was more alarming than funny; also Dumbo has to jump from a great height in the clown act and is scared; hallucination scene is just weird enough to freak out some young viewers

Intense scenes: the scene in which Dumbo is separated from his mother is heart-wrenching; the other animals mock Dumbo, and he feels bad, though he does get the last laugh in the end

Also: the general tone of the whole film is rather depressing. Especially scene in which he visits mom in ‘jail’ – very sad! And some parents may not like the boozing and hallucinations so much… (see full review)

Interests: circus, elephants

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.