See the Circus: Review

See the Circus
By H. A. Ray
Published 1989, 1998 by Houghton Mifflin Books
This copy is from Lottie’s collection.

Today is not a serious book review. I won’t even try to pull your leg for a little while– though I was tempted, the truth is, even my usually undeterrable adult circademic criticisms largely melt away in the face of my inner child squealing with delight, opening all the flaps.

To justify this completely shameless “book review”, I’ll do my best to look at this from a couple perspectives.

For children in general: It’s so delightful! Look how cute Rey’s drawings are– all these characters like plush toys, smiling in a world where a curious little monkey will always turn out alright and all the neighbors will always have a laugh in the end. It’s the kind of feelings we all need from time to time. The flaps hold no terrible surprises, as long as you’re ok with a lot of performing animals who seem pretty happy.

For raising circus children: It’s a fun and adorable peek into circus history. Circuses may not look like this anymore, but it’s a lot of what circus lore looks like. I can’t say that the book teaches any useful skills, or gives any real insight into circus life, but it might inspire a youngin’ to daydream about traditional circuses and perhaps plant the seeds of inspiration to try out a circus life later. (Maybe I should’ve included that as a warning in the previous section for all children.)

For adults of all kinds: See the ‘For children in general’ section.

Circademic commentary: This book is a little dated. Performing animals are not currently accepted as they were in the late 1980’s when this was originally published and most big circuses still primarily featured such. On a human note, there’s not much apparent diversity, though there are some pretty bossin’ ladies.

Bottom Line:

*inner child flips all the flaps and makes up long crazy stories about all the characters*

How do we decide which books to review? These book reviews are not paid by either the authors or publishers. We do sometimes receive a free book though, which is pretty great. We love books. We are not obligated to post any review, positive or otherwise; we post reviews because few others seem to be doing so and we wanted to read circus book reviews. We hope they’re helpful to you as well. Some books were already part of our collection and we wanted to show them off. Some books we found in a small free library or the thrift store or bought for ourselves like capable adults. If you’d like us to review your book, or a book of your choosing, email us at

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