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Title, Author, Keyword , ISBN
Circus and Other Stories (The) by Samuil Marshak
Title: Circus and Other Stories (The)
Author: Samuil Marshak
Translator:
Illustrator: Vladimir Lebedev
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Date Published: 2013
Format: Hardback
Genre:
Book Category: Picture Book
Age Range: 6-8
Original Title:
Country of Origin: France

Circus and Other Stories (The)

by Samuil Marshak
Age Range: 6-8

The Circus and Other Stories contains four remarkable children’s books that were published in Russia during the 1920s – ‘The Circus’, ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Yesterday and Today’ and ‘How the Plane Made a Plane’. All are written in verse by Samuil Marshak with distinctive artwork by Vladimir Lebedev.

‘The Circus’ was the first collaboration between Marshak and Lebedev who were leading figures of a new movement founding a school of artists and writers known as the Leningrad School. The clever verse is complimented by the illustrations which appear as a series of circus posters with each page staged as a performance revealing a new act – clowns, acrobats and jugglers. The clear, sharp images in strong primary colours are placed on a black background.

‘This man, like a bird on the top of a tree,
Can perch on the spine of the admiralty!’

‘Ice Cream’ is a complete contrast with its playful nonsense verse. The protagonist is a greedy man who eats so much ice cream that there is no more left for anyone else and all the sellers in the town run out. The rotund, larger than life character fills the page and is portrayed dressed in a bow tie, bowler hat and cane, everything that represented one of the condemned classes in Russia at the time. Lebedev’s illustrations are a combination of fine coloured dots with the primary colours and perspective helping to enhance the funny verse.

`Hey, there, colleagues, say
What’s business like today?
A fat man’s bought my stock
And he’s gobbled up the lot!’

‘Yesterday and Today’ is a story about the most important changes in everyday life that children would have witnessed at the time. It shows a clever confrontation between the past and present. Lebedev uses symbolism to demonstrate this contrast. The existing world is shown in vibrant, colourful concise images while the contrasting world of yesterday is shown as vague and decrepit. Lebedev uses a variety of typefaces as visual objects, choosing a specific typographical look to illustrate the meaning; such as the page with writing from an ink pen, the paper covered with ugly ink spots, while on the opposite page there is a typewriter with neat typed text above the image. Another comparison is the image of a kerosene lamp versus the shiny new electric light bulb.

‘How the Plane made a Plane’ was created to introduce children to a profession. The artists wanted to show the traditions of a trade whilst turning it into an experience of play. Lebedev’s illustrations show tools in a very matter-of-fact way with the drawings looking like they are from a professional manual, but the amusing verse ensures that it will appeal to a young audience.

`”What causes you grizzle
In this matter?” asked the chisel’

The author/illustrator team was known in revolutionary Russia for their innovative new ways of creating children’s books. Marshak was fascinated by English nursery rhymes which he translated into Russian and in ‘The Circus and Other Stories’ he experimented with form and style for each of the four books.

This new translation into English by Stephen Capus has captured the witty verse of Marshak perfectly and together with the stunning Avant-garde illustrations of Lebedev it has made this a very special book that can be enjoyed by a new generation of readers. At the back of the book there is an afterword written by Olga Moeots of the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow which provides some of the background to the creation of the stories.

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To Market Toby Alone Toby and the Secrets of the Tree Today is MY Day Tooth Gnashing Witch (The) Topsy Turvy World Tortoise Who Wanted to Sleep Toucan Can! Town Mouse & the Country Mouse (The) Tow-Truck Pluck Toys and Tales with Everyday Materials Trail Game (The) Traitor Trash! On Ragpicker Children and Recycling Travels of an Extraordinary Hamster Treasure Thief (The) True Friends: A Tale From Tanzania Tundra Mouse Mountain Twelve Dancing Princesses (The) Under the Spell of the Moon Up and Away with the Little Witch Upside-Down Reader (The) Vango: A Prince Without a Kingdom - Book Two Vango: Between Sky and Earth - Book One Vendela in Venice Ventriloquist's Daughter (The) Very Best Dad (The) Very Hungry Lion (The) Victoria Virginia WOLF Visitor (The) Vitello becomes a Businessman Vitello carries a Knife Vitello Gets a Yucky Girlfriend Vitello Scratches the Car Vitello wants a Dad Waffle Hearts Waiting for Goliath Waiting for Mama Wake Up, It's Easter! War of the Witches War Without Friends Watch Out for the Crocodile Watcher in the Shadows (The) Watching Wave Runners (The) We Are All Born Free We Were Not Like Other People Welcome to Mamoko Whale That Fell In Love With A Submarine What am I? What Colour is the Wind? What Does Baby Want? What Dog Knows What Happens When ... What is a Child? What's Hidden in the Woods? What's Inside? What's That Noise? When Dad Showed Me the Universe When Findus Was Little and Disappeared When I am Happiest When I Coloured in the World When I Was a Boy Neruda Called M Policarpo When I was a Soldier When I Was Born When Mama Can't Sleep When Night Didn't Come When Owen's Mom Breathed Fire When Pierrot was Young When Santa Fell to Earth When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw When the Earth Lost its Shapes When the Snow Fell When We Lived in Uncle's Hat When We Were Alone in the World Where Are They All Going? Where Do They Go When It Rains? Where Do We Go When We Disappear? Where Does Pepper Come From? Where Is My Friend Where is my Sister? Where is Pim? Where is Rusty? Where is the Cake? Where is the Frog? Where Were You, Robert? Where's Asterix? Where's Dogmatix (Asterix) Whisper Who am I? Who Can Crack the Leonardo da Vinci Code? Who Hid the Easter Eggs? Who Will Comfort Toffle? Who's Driving? Who's Hiding? Whose Eyes Are These? Whose Lovely Child Can You Be? Why There is No Heaven on Earth Why We Took the Car Wild Animals of the North Wild Animals of the South Wild Swans (The) Wildcat Under Glass Wildest Brother (The) Wildwitch 1: Wildfire Wildwitch 2: Oblivion Wildwitch 3: Life Stealer Wildwitch 4: Bloodling Will & Nill Will Gets a Haircut Will You Still Love Me If ...? Wings Winter Afternoon Winter Song Winter When Time was Frozen (The) Wish You Were Here Wish You Were Here Witch in the Broom Cupboard (The) With a Sword in My Hand Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame (The) Wizardling (The) Wolf and Dog Wonderful Adventures of Nils (Kochka) Wonderful Adventures of Nils (The) Wooden Camel (The) World of Mamoko in the Time of Dragons (The) World of Mamoko in the Year 3,000 (The) World of Mirrors World's Best Karlson (The) World's Worst Mothers (The) Yellow & Round You Can Do It, Bert! You Can't Be Too Careful! Young Werewolf Yours and Mine Yours Sincerely, Giraffe Yum Yum! Yumi (Kokeshi) Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo ZOOology Zou Zou and the Box of Kisses Zzzzz A Book of Sleep
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