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on 25 November 1998
Although I liked the idea of the child and the father enjoying themselves at the circus, the kind of circus displayed is slowing, thankfully dying out. Using elephants, bears and tigers to entertain humans is becoming less accepted as they are replaced with domestic animals. Presenting to the children in the 90's images of wild animals performing gives this practice a stamp of approval it shouldn't get.I feel the authors and publishers of children's books should be more responsible for the images and ideas they project to children. Putting a light-hearted spin on what is basically the imprisonment and forced performance of wild animals is wrong. If they were to research it a bit, they would find the elephants are shackled 22 out of 24 hours a day, let off their chains only for the daily performance and many end up going insane from their lack of freedom. The dancing bears were taught this un-natural act in cruel ways, especially if they are from Russia and were tortured with yanks on a nose ring until bullied into these jigs for profit. Tigers are simply whipped, poked, shocked and caged.A modern type of circus would be a more aware and humane choice to present,like the troop from France that uses mostly people for the acts,like contortionists, jugglers, clowns with the occasional poodle who jumps hurtles.The same basic story could have been told and the same opportunities would exist for colourful illustrations, without continuing to validate the idea of using wild animals for our means to our children. Thanks, LeeAnn Baker email:montel@interlog.com
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on 27 November 1998
This set of books wonderfully illustrates the values of putting others ahead of yourself and the joy that can come from making others happy. The illustrations are engaging to children and the stories hold their attention. I have used these three books with children from three years to twelve years of age in a childcare setting and was very pleased with the way they held the children's attention and at the discussion generated during and after the story.
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