Carnival of the Animals (2004), written by John Lithgow and illustrated by Boris Kulikov, was quite a treat. It even has a music CD in the back of the book. The New York City Ballet choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon, wanted to create a new ballet based on Camille Saint-Saëns’s orchestral suite Carnival of the Animals. He asked John Lithgow to help him turn it into a children’s story with rhyming narration. Did it work? Yes, it did.
This was my latest purchase from the .99¢ store believe it or not. I got three to give away as presents for the Book Club. I’ve never seen the musical, but I did like the book. Now, on to the review.
As the book begins, we see young Oliver Pendleton Percy the Third, a mischievous imp of a lad as he stows away in the Natural History Museum. As he sleeps, once familiar folks become animals and invade his dreams.
For example, the students who went to his school
Were hyenas, determined to break every rule.
And in shabby brown tweeds with an old yellow tie on,
Professor McByrd was turned into a lion!
In his dreams exist the most dreaded of all species, The Greater New York younger sibling. Next are the twins, Aspidistra & Myrtle, who went to the park every Sunday where they’d sit and they’d stare. Recalling their years with the Follies Bergère. The book goes on to tell the story of Oliver Pendleton Percy the Third’s exploits in the museum. Wanna’ know how it ends? I guess you’re going to have to read it. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.