If I Ran the Circus



Seuss at his most transporting and welcoming.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the story of wild circus acts, told in a syncopated beat and drawn to loopy perfection, will appeal to a broad range of youngsters.

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What's the story?

No child can possibly escape being spellbound by the sensational Circus McGurkus, Dr. Seuss's testament to the youthful imagination. The melodious verse, the bizarre creatures, the fabulous feats of Sneelock--here is the Seuss world at its most transporting and most welcoming, with fantasy given free rein.


Is it any good?


This two-handed salute to creative thinking is absolutely afire. With a dazzling array of fey Seuss animals and verse worth setting to music -- a classroom full of 5-year-olds swayed to the cadences of the rhyme -- no interest will be caught flagging. The names Seuss has bestowed on his animals -- the Zoom-a-Zoop Troupe from West Upper Ben-Deezing, the Harp-Twanging Snarp, the Juggling Jot, which juggles twenty-two question marks -- are among his very finest. The sense of being right there under the big top is tangible: You can almost hear the calliope over the Seussian din.

Mr. Sneelock pretty much steals the show, puffing away on his pipe, his eyelids down as if he's in a doze. He starts as a drink vendor, moves up to be a fall guy for various animal acts, then takes to the center ring in a series of death-defying feats.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they would do if they ran a circus. What kind of acts would you want? Would you be in the circus? If so, what would you want to do?

Book details

Author:Dr. Seuss
Illustrator:Dr. Seuss
Genre:For Beginning Readers
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:October 12, 1956
Number of pages:64
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
Wonderful classic for all ages-I can't even tell you how many times I have read this to my 2 1/2 year old!


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