Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"The Circus Comes to the Village" - a bookwrap

“Autumn has come.
The long-awaited circus has come to the village of Paghman in the mountains of Afghanistan.”


The Circus Comes to the Village (Yamo's Village Series) 

by Yutaka Kobayashi

* Ages: 5-7
* Grade Level: K-2
* Series: Yamo's Village Series ( Book 2 )
* Hardcover:  41 pages
* Publisher: Museyon
* Pub. Date:  Oct. 1, 2019
* Language: English

Yamo's Village series

Book 1: The Most Beautiful Village in the World    (9781940842257)
Book 2: The Circus Comes to the Village  

Book 3: Return to the Most Beautiful Village in the World  (9781940842455)—Coming next spring!!!

A Note From the Publisher

About the Author: Yutaka Kobayashi (1946–) is a Nihonga (Japanese-style paintings) artist and picture-book author. In 1979, his very first submission was accepted for the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition (Nitten). He was a frequent visitor to the Islamic countries of Asia and the Middle East during the 1970s to early 1980s, and the main themes of his works reflect those visits.

Unwrapping Some Illustration for You to Enjoy

Unwrapping the Story

This story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.  What child doesn't love the circus coming to town?  In countries all over the world the arrival of the circus is exciting and fun.  Yamo and Mirado are best friends that live in Paghman in the mountains of Afghanistan. They can't wait for it to appear.  

"Yamo comes home from school as fast as his legs can carry him. 
His friend Mirado follows, playing his flute."

The boys hear the drums and trumpets of the traveling circus coming closer and they want to dash off and witness their arrival.  Yama's mother and grandmother are kneading naan bread and tell the boys that there is work in the fields waiting to be done.  They must wait until tomorrow to attend the highly anticipated event.  Both friends reluctantly head out to the fields to gather wheat and yams.  War is all around them and it's important that the village has food, so gathering the crops has to be a top priority before going to the circus. Yamo's brother is fighting in the war and also Mirado's father.  Mirado is always playing the flute that his father left behind. 

Finally after all their hard work is completed the villagers get to participate in the frivolity and for a short while they can play, have fun and escape the hard dangerous realities that are surging all around them.  Yamo and Mirado ogle the sweet rice pudding, barley cookies, honey and chocolate, visit the toy shop, and enjoy the bird shop just to name a few. Their very favourite thing to experience?  The swing ride of course!  They spin round and round and go so fast their heads start spinning. They can hardly walk when they get off of the ride!  What fun! 

It's off to see the acts under the big top next.  These circus artists make everyone roar with laughter!  Then the most beautiful singer mesmerizes the audience and Mirado begins to accompany her on his flute.  The singer is so impressed with his musical prowess that she invites him up on stage with her. He blends in with her band perfectly.  At the end of the day the tired villagers return to their homes and once again focus on the harsh realities of hard work and  survival as the war is still raging on all around them.

Mirado is invited to join the circus group as a musician and his grandmother allows him to go. Hopefully he will find a better life for himself and perhaps find his father.  The other villagers are left behind to prepare for another severe winter.  The snow arrives and everyone rejoices as snow promises good crops for next year. Very good!  Then total devastation occurs.  The village is completely destroyed and everyone living there scatters.  Paghman no longer exists. 

This book is perfect to share feelings... feelings of happiness while experiencing the magical world of the circus and feelings of despair and sadness as the village disappears. The illustrations greatly enrich the text.  The author wraps up with a sentence of hope...

"However, as spring always follows a harsh winter, the village of Paghman waits quietly for everyone's return."

  Book 3: Return to the Most Beautiful Village in the World  (9781940842455)—Coming next spring will be wonderful to read!!!  I highly recommend this book.  It's good to include a story in your collection that does not have a "happily-ever-after" ending.... yet!  

Storywraps Rating - 5 HUGS!!!!!

About the Author/ Illustrator

Yutaka Kobayashi is a Nihonga artist and picture book author. In 1983, he received a Special Excellence Award in the Ueno Royal Museum Grand Prize Exhibition. He was a frequent visitor to the Islamic countries of Asia and the Middle East from the 1970s to the early 1980s, and the main themes of his works reflect those visits.

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