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ISBN 9781946071309.
K-Gr 3–This whimsical exploration of the hereafter follows the near-fatal mishaps of all 10 of the Galaxy Circus stars. Balancing on a tightrope, they fall one by one into the afterlives of their varied belief systems. Each instance touches lightly on the character’s cultural vision of what’s “out there.” Anubis weighs hearts and feathers in the Egyptian Realm of the Dead while Ramses the scarab looks on, and a Day of the Dead scenario welcomes the unfortunate “canine cannonball” Juanito the Chihuahua. The open-ended question on which the ruminations end, “And you.... What do you believe?” invites further discussion against the backdrop of the performers in bandages, on crutches, and slings—having happily survived their near-death experiences. The Spanish Fernández siblings’ text is neither didactic nor contentious and pairs well with Barcelona-born López’s alternating spare and fantastical illustrations. Her diverse group ranges from hijab-wearing Fatima the camel to Frida the cat, who morphs into Frida Kahlo. However, some of the characters portrayed are out of sync with the text. Houdini the bull is described as an escape artist but is presented as a unicyclist. Unfortunately, Native Americans are portrayed as a monolithic culture. Gerónimo the coyote is portrayed in a Plains Indian tipi in the Southwestern desert next to a shadowy Pacific Northwest totem pole. An original Spanish edition is also available.
VERDICT A light-handed and thoughtful exploration of the hereafter marred by the lack of specificity of Native cultures.

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