. . .PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR
By Alex T. Smith
Back Cover: Meet Claude. He’s no ordinary dog—he leads an extraordinary life! When his owners leave for the countryside, Claude decides what adventure he will have. What will happen today?
Opening: In a house on Waggy Avenue, number 112, there lives a dog. A small dog. A small, plump dog. A small, plum dog who wears a beret and a rather fetching sweater His name is Claude, and here he is.
About the Story: Claude and his best friend Sir Bobblysock are back with a new adventure. They are going to the park, where oddly, Claude has never been. At Lovely Park, Claude and Sir Bobblysock—who is afraid his hay fever might act up—find themselves in one odd, yet funny, situation after another. Swept up into a group of oddly attired group of runners, Claude and Sir Bobblysock’s only chance of escape—for Claude is hungry—is to leap out, and land in a nice, soft bed of flowers, which is a great place for a nap. Five minutes into a lovely nap a park keeper rudely points toward a sign stuck in the flowerbed:
SLIGHTLY IMPOLITE NOTICE
SLEEP IN THE
Claude and his friend walk back to the ice cream van through a section of park with loads of holes and balls lying around. Ever so neat, Claude fills in the holes and picks up the balls. Angry golfers chase the two adventurers away. A few more odd occurrences occur, for that is what occurs to Claude and Sir Bobblysock. The pair finally finds themselves at the big top, guests of the circus owner. No one has arrived yet, so the two look around the filthy, grubby circus tent. Claude has the time, so he and Sir Bobblysock clean the big top. They clean the pie plates, polish the trapeze, and wipe down the high wire. When the circus finally begins, with Claude and Sir B. in front row seats, well, the strangest things occur.
What I Thought: I love Claude and his stripe-socked friend. I love how they innocently find themselves in the funniest situations, which the pair make even funnier. Claude and Sir B. do a good deed, get a reward—though the ringmaster had no idea of the good deed they’d just done—then make a mess trying to do another good deed. The best odd behavior comes not from all the characters Claude and Sir Bobblysock encounter, but from Claude’s owners who are always so oblivious. I would very much love to give an example, but that would give away part of the hilarious ending.
The illustrations, rendered in shades of blacks, greys, and reds on white, works particularly well for Claude who wears a red beret and red sweater. Sir Bobblysock fits right in, being he is a red-striped sock (similar in shape to a Christmas stocking). Even Mr. and Mrs. Shinyshoes, attired in reds, blacks, and white—and shiny shoes—do not fail to fit in. All the characters the pair runs into have striking features, many of them strikingly odd, yet humorous features.
A mummy lets go of her baby buggy—with baby—and Claude and Sir B. spring into action. The baby flies by with a satisfied smile on his face, having loads of fun . . . until our adventuring pair save the tot from rolling into the duck pond. The baby is “miffed.” The duck is either surprised to see a baby lunging toward him or angered the child failed to enter his pond. Or possibly simply shocked at what the author would dare write.
I immensely enjoy the Claude series and believe kids will as well. The action is practically nonstop and the situations are hilariously unexpected. Claude never sees Sir Bobblysock as a weird companion, acting as if he is as human as Claude himself is. Then again, Sir B. does eat, drink, and perform in circuses quite like a human. Whatever the task, Sir Bobblysock never fails Claude—or the reader. At the end of the story, there are instructions on How to be a Clown.
If you enjoy crazy, belief suspending characters in hilariously odd situations often brought on by their own innocent actions, then you will love Claude at the Circus and all the other Claude adventures. Last spring, Clause (was) in the City, reviewed here. In spring of 2014, Claude (is) at the Beach and hopefully reviewed here (then).
Released September 1, 2013
Ages 7 – 9
© 2013 by Peachtree Publishers, used with permission
Ext & Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Alex T. Smith
PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR
Claude at the Circus