Review Blog

Jul 31 2013

Omar the strongman by Gregory Rogers

cover image

Scholastic, 2013. ISBN 978 1 74283 436 8.
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Circus. Strength. Unemployed Omar applies for the job on offer at the local circus. He knows little about the circus but is strong and willing to do all he is asked to do. After being shown the circus and introduced to the characters who perform there, Ringmaster Rose sets him to his tasks. They are varied and will interest the readers as they learn of the range of things which happen in a circus. Omar counts all the money, moves the animals to their positions, cleans and dusts, shovels the animal droppings, and cleans the elephant. He watches some of the rehearsal, wondering to himself what it would be like to be the centre of everyone's attention.
The night the mayor makes a visit to the circus, Omar rushes from one job to another, making sure that everything is spick and span for this important visitor. All is going well until Omar notices that Mavis the elephant is performing without her lucky bow. He takes it out to her, but she sits down on him with unexpected results.
Award winning Rogers has a deft touch illustrating the circus in soft muted tones. The pencil outlines filled with water colour and coloured pencil give an understated look to the circus and its inhabitants. Just perfect for this wonderful tale of finding a place.
Readers will love to hear about the circus with its array of acts and personalities, and read aloud the book will win hearts as Omar finds his feet. Discussions about circuses and the different ways in which circus acts are presented could ensue, with students taught some circus skills, or better still, taken to the circus when it comes to town.
Fran Knight

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