Cover image for Emeline at the circus
Emeline at the circus
Priceman, Marjorie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
While her teacher Miss Splinter is lecturing her second-grade class about the exotic animals, clowns, and other performers they are watching at the circus, Emeline accidentally becomes part of the show.
Reading Level:
AD 390 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 29259.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.4 2 Quiz: 21869 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



From Caldecott Honor artist and author of the best-selling How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World comes a hilarious picture book romp about the things you can learn and the fun you can have at the circus. When Emeline's teacher, Miss Splinter, takes the second grade on a field trip to the circus, she's careful to make sure it's a learning experience. While she reads -- the text of the book consists of her "lessons" -- the pictures show Emeline getting mixed up in the performances in the circus ring.  She becomes a lion tamer, an acrobat, a trapeze artist, and more, before Miss Splinter realizes what's going on. Marjorie Priceman's vibrant, saturated paintings make this dazzling sight gag a feast for the eye.  Children will applaud Emeline, laugh out loud at Miss Splinter, and painlessly soak up a few facts about animals, acrobats, and circuses along the way.

Author Notes

Marjorie Priceman is the acclaimed author and illustrator of dozens of books for children, including the bestselling How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World and its companion How To Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. . A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. In her best, wildly exuberant style, Priceman dramatizes the common fantasy of the spectator at the circus: what if I joined the show? A prim, Dickensian teacher keeps her second-grade class stiffly in their seats in the circus audience, "hands on laps," listening to her read from a pile of books about each performer ("I call your attention to the llama--scientific name, Lama glama. A member of the camel family, native to South America"). However, the action-packed double-spread pictures show a different reality as one of the pupils, Emeline, slips away to buy peanuts and gets swept up by an elephant's trunk and right into the tumult in the ring. Things get wilder and wilder as the clown gives her his tall hat, she jumps on the seesaw to avoid the giraffe, lands on the shoulders of the black stallion's rider, swings into the mouth of the hippopotamus, is saved by the strong man . . . A small bubble-frame on the side of each spread shows the strict teacher reading from her book, while the kids' expressions and swiveling heads show their delight, fear, and enthusiastic attention focused on their classmate. She is part of the gorgeously colored paintings with lots of detailed scenarios that celebrate the daring, glamour, and breathless excitement of the performance. In one great scene, Emeline bares her teeth at an immense tiger, but then she rushes away from him up the acrobat's ladder to swing on the trapeze and ends up back in her seat--much to the teacher's consternation. It's a pity to perpetuate the old stereotype of the prissy teacher who reads, but the facts she reads are actually fascinating, and kids will love the account of flashing rebellion, the contrast between the worthy, know-it-all text (what the teacher is reading) and the triumphant, neon-colored, transforming art. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Step right up to one of Priceman's (Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin; Dancin' in the Kitchen) most intriguing picture books. Ms. Splinter leads her second-grade class on a field trip to the circus for what she calls a "great learning experience." Ms. Splinter might as well be Ms. Stickler, for all the rules she imposes: "Sit up straight. No shouting. No fidgeting. No standing on the seats. No wandering off." Fortunately, Emeline can't resist breaking the rules, and wanders off to buy a bag of peanuts, which tempts an elephant to lift her and her snack right into the center ring. While Ms. Splinter, her nose buried in books, recites facts about the various animals and the history of circus acts, Emeline dons a clown outfit, rides horseback and is saved by the strongman from the clutches of a hippo. When Emeline performs a "splendid stunt" on the trapeze, she finally catches the eye of her stunned teacher just before returning safely to her seat. Kids will love the playful depiction of the two parallel experiences. Unwittingly, Ms. Splinter recites each of her dreary lessons in response to one of Emeline's wild adventures in the ring (though the teacher's running commentary isn't really so dreary; it's chock-full of interesting tidbits and some dry humor). Priceman's vivacious ink-and-watercolor paintings convey all the kinetic excitement of the Big Top as viewed from both in the ring and in the standsÄthe second graders, oblivious to their teacher, react to Emeline's antics with appropriate facial expressions in oval-shaped vignettes. Each of Priceman's colorful scenes of controlled chaosÄas animals and performers in all manner of glitzy costume tumble, prance and parade aboutÄ attests to why this is called the greatest show on earth. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Ms. Splinter is determined that her second graders' trip to the circus will be a great learning experience. She cautions them to, "Sit up straight. No shouting. No fighting. No fidgeting," while she reads relevant information about each act. When Emeline leaves the group to purchase peanuts, this simple act not only catapults her into an elephant's trunk but also thrusts her into one circus act after another. The hilarity of this story lies in the juxtaposition of Ms. Splinter's erudite explanations (e.g., "Observe the graceful horse. Latin name, Equus. A hoofed, herbivorous mammal") with Emeline's dangerous interaction with the animal or act described. In this instance the child is propelled from a teeter-totter onto the shoulders of a performer riding a horse bareback. From the endpapers striped like circus tents, to the swirls of saturated colors in the large gouache paintings within, Priceman has captured the thrill and excitement of the big top. High wires, tumbling acrobats, prancing animals abound, and the action bleeds off every page. In sharp contrast, the teacher and her students are enclosed in a small circle and placed on a quiet, beige background. The book is cleverly designed so that although a page turn is required to see how Emeline is rescued each time she faces imminent danger, sharp eyes can discover some clues beforehand. Mischievous Emeline is much like her rhymed forebear, Madeline, and youngsters will not want to miss this romp with her.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.