This is a book that children want to hear over and over again! I am a library director in a small town and a grandmother of ten who is very discerning about what I read to children. This is a heartwarming tale of fifteen circus animals who are shipwrecked off the coast of Maine. They swim to an island and soon become friends with the inhabitants. The circus owner, who initially abandoned the animals in the shipwreck, wants them back to work for him and visits the island to find them. The islanders help the animals elude the circus owner, aptly named Mr. Paine. In an ingenious interactive picture, the animals are hiding in plain sight from Mr. Paine around the village. The children love looking for the animals and pointing them out. Although Mr. Paine is the villain of the story, his appearance in caricature and his bumbling Keystone Cop type behavior makes him non-threatening to children. Rollicking rhyme makes this a fun book to read and to hear and the illustrations are bold, colorful and detailed, with charming Victorian-era characters.
I don't agree with the review stating this book comes on too strong or is frightening to children. The proof is in the pudding. I've heard time and again from other librarians, both public and school, that this book is loved by children and many feel it is destined to become a children's classic. I've never heard anything but praise from my patrons about The Circus Ship.