Claude at the Circus by Alex T Smith

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Claude at the Circus by Alex T Smith

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Another wonderfully funny, silly, entertaining story from the brilliant Alex T Smith which made my five-year-old laugh out loud many times!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: January 2012
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0340999035

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Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013

It's no secret that I am a big fan of Alex T Smith. I first discovered him in Claude's first story, Claude in the City and fell in love with the little dog in the red beret and his best friend, Sir Bobblysock. I know, I can already sense some of you rolling your eyes at the thought of a story featuring a dog and a sock, but really you'd be doing yourself a favour to just stop being a grown-up for fifteen minutes and let yourself revel in the pleasure of a highly enjoyable story!

In this adventure we see Claude and Sir Bobblysock heading off to the park. You wouldn't think they could get up to much mischief in a local park but of course, Claude is no ordinary dog. There are entanglements with some joggers, a spot of bother on the golf course, a dashing rescue and then an impromptu performance at the visiting circus. The story has a good pace to it with lots of things going on and, of course, plenty of very silly humour.

My favourite character is Claude, who is very well-intentioned but often gets himself into a bit of a kerfuffle. My daughter, however, seems to love Sir Bobblysock best and it's always at his antics that she laughs the most. (It's brilliant how much character Alex T Smith manages to give a stripey sock!) When he and Claude go into the circus tent by themselves and start tidying up (throwing away the old cream pies on plates, polishing the tightrope, that sort of helpful thing...) she could already sense what was going to happen and covered her eyes, nervous about what would go wrong!

The illustrations are wonderful throughout, still using black, white and red colours. Claude and Sir Bobblysock are perfectly depicted throughout and I like all the quirky humans in the story too, sometimes complete with hairy legs! The artwork has a great style, lots of character and humour in the rather retro-looking pictures.

The length is perfect for a nice cosy read with my five-year-old who likes something a bit longer than a simple picture book now she's at school, and it is also a great length for those slightly older, more confident readers who are able to sit down by themselves with a book. Still, I love these books so much I'd be sad if I didn't get to read them aloud so I'm rather glad my little one isn't quite yet reading by herself! We will be happily re-reading the three current Claude books until the next one is published - definitely recommended!

You don't need to read the Claude books in order, but this is the first one Claude in the City. You might also enjoy Don't Read This Book! by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright. Younger children will love Claude All at Sea by Alex T Smith.

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Buy Claude at the Circus by Alex T Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Claude at the Circus by Alex T Smith at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Claude at the Circus by Alex T Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Claude at the Circus by Alex T Smith at


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