Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Painted Circus: P.T. Vermin Presents a Mesmerizing Menagerie of Trickery

The Painted Circus: P.T. Vermin Presents a Mesmerizing Menagerie of Trickery

Wallace Edwards
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Kids Can Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-1553377207

P.T. Vermin, the famed circus ringmouse, has brought his circus back to town and he promises us that under his big top we are going to see all kinds of "marvelous merriments that will puzzle the mind." In all, there are twenty-two "mysteries" to watch, each one of which is unique and confounding.

P.T. Vermin begins by introducing Zippy the Zebra Racer and his companion, the bicycle riding alligator. Across the ground the duo race and we are invited to make the wheels of their conveyances spin.

Later Daisy, a lovely "dragon of distinction," balances balls with great skill. Somewhere on her person she is hiding an orange ball. Can you find it?

Later still, a collection of elephants comes out to perform, balancing on a ball in the most extraordinary way. Can you tell where one elephant begins and another ends?

In this distinctive and cleverly conceived picture book, Wallace Edwards not only takes his readers to a wild and wacky circus performance, but he also presents his audience with optical illusions and conundrums to explore. How does he make things appear and disappear on the page? How does he make a clown's sad face turn into a smiling one? To find the answers, readers can take a look at the last page in the book where they will find the "Mysteries Revealed."

With fabulously rich and detailed illustrations to look at, and illusions and puzzles to ponder, this is a picture book that will attract readers back to its pages again and again.