The Circus Ship by Chris van Dusen

I have reviewed many children’s books about the circus and circus animals. And, finally I got my hands on The Circus Ship by Chris van Dusen – a book I have been meaning to review for the past two years. Was it worth the wait?

Gorgeous Photo by Tickle Your Senses, sensory play specialists,

Five miles off the coast of Maine
and slightly overdue,
a circus ship was steaming south
in fog as thick as stew.

Fifteen wild animals are being taken by ship to Boston for another circus show. When the captain wants to drop anchor and wait out a storm, the demanding circus boss screams ‘Keep Going!’ So he does, and the ship crashes into a rock ledge and sinks.

The animals are in the water with no hope of being saved by the selfish circus boss who demands to be ferried ashore in the life boat before he dies of cold…

Fortunately, the animals swim ashore and despite causing havoc with the locals …

And Miss Fannie Feeney found –
according to the rumours-
the silly little circus monkey
swinging in her bloomers!

The brave act of the tiger wins them over when he rescues a little girl from a blazing fire.

He’d jumped through flames a thousand time
back in his circus day,
so he ran past all the people,
and he leapt into the blaze!

The animals and the locals live very happily together and hatch a very clever plan when the wicked circus owner wants to take the animals back. Can you spot the animals? The circus owner couldn’t!

The author’s note at the end of the book describes the real story of the circus ship, The Royal Tar, which sank in 1836. Whilst most animals died, there is hope that the elephant made it ashore along with several snakes.

Highly recommended.

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