Just Clowning Around

Book review by
Mary LeCompte, Common Sense Media
Just Clowning Around Book Poster Image
Short, simple, and playful stories.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the story and writing are simple, but well suited for very early readers.

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What's the story?

A circus bear cub and her dad are clowning around with their latest routines--until Dad accidentally hits something on his bike. What will Dad do? Beginning readers will have fun tackling these two simple stories featuring soft, descriptive watercolor illustrations. An absolute delight for kids who are just starting to read books on their own.


Is it any good?

This book is exactly what a fledgling reader needs. Its stories are short, simple, and playful. It uses familiar words and language patterns, and it boasts endearing illustrations in soft watercolors from award-winning illustrator David M. McPhail.

But this book is most appropriate for kids at the very beginning stages of reading skill development and would not be appropriate for those who have mastered the task of reading longer, varied sentences. The text is basic and repetitious, and reads less like a story and more like captions for the expressive illustrations. The strong link between text and McPhail's charming images will aid comprehension, but even the youngest readers may quickly grow out of this book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the bears get into -- and out of -- a jam. Have you ever found yourself in a tricky situation? What did you do?

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