Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sidewalk Circus

I didn't understand this book the first time I went through it. The only words in the book are the ones that are one signs of buildings and ones that have been put up to advertise the Garbaldi Circus is coming. I thought, "How easy..." But, the second time I went through it I read the inside cover and the title again. How funny, there is so much more to this book.

The Garbaldi Circus is coming, but as it turns out our everyday lives are filled with the same dare devil, incredible stunts that one would see at the circus.

The illustrations tell the story. Each page is covered with people doing their jobs....flipping pancakes, walking with paint cans across a tight wire, climbing ladders with obsticles all around. Each page shows the chaotic world we live in and how we completely overlook it, yet we are so excited pay to see someone walk across tightwires and juggling bowling pins for entertainment.

But, my favorite illustration is the picture of a man with a large object attached to his back with a rope. I believe the object is a large piece of meat because it appears that he is going into a butcher shop. It is obviously very heavy because the man is bent over in an attempt to carry it. And then on a poster there is a picture of a man named Goliath The Strongman. This man is shown picking up some barbells. Very ironic, but hardly a comparison.

We are in a different state of mind when this occurs.

What a clever approach to examining the realities of life.


  1. This book is an amazing piece of art. As I reflect on the concept of the book itself, I think, no way. I can't imagine how one could create all of this. However, Kevin Hawkes was able to show the parallel of life on our streets to a three ring circus. Each time I look through the book I notice something new. I just realized that we are drawn in immediately with the full bleed illustrations for the first few pages. Then there seems to be a pattern. Hawkes then illustrates the reaction of the girl. It is through his illustrations that we are able to see that it is her perspective. I noticed that she is located on the left side of the page but she is in the center and is the only one in color. As I reference our text, it says that center stage is associated with greater importance. I think the illustrator is conveying that this story is through her eyes. The text also makes reference to characters on the right that are "likely to be moving into a situation of risk or adventure." This was true for this book.

    I think the front and back of the book is unique. It appears that the people and birds are shiny like stickers. I am wondering how this is created.

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  3. I agree that I went through the book several times and as with all literature, I noticed something new each time. I think often as adults, we may not truly appreciate children's literature because we are not in the right "state of mind" when we read it. This book really does make you realize that there is so much more to illustrations than initially meets the eye. I think wordless books are so important in order to spark creativity, language, and a sense of story.