The Circus Comes to the Village

Museyon. (Yamo’s Village). Nov. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781940842271.
Gr 1-3–In this second book in the series, Yamo and his flute-playing friend, Mirado, are excited because the circus has arrived in Paghman, their Afghan village. They must help in the fields first, but the next day, they attend the circus in the village square where they visit the shops, enjoy the foods, and go on their favorite spinning swing ride. In the circus tent, an iron man, a fire-eating performer, and a beautiful singer entertain them. Mirado plays his flute, is invited onstage to perform with the musicians, and is eventually invited to travel with the circus. Circus musicians depicted in outline and gray watercolor washes usher readers into Yamo’s village. Employing Japanese-style illustrations, Kobayashi depicts Afghan villagers going about their daily activities. Children play, men gather to talk and drink tea, while others sell food and merchandise from carts and shop fronts, and women carry jars on their heads. Yamo’s mother makes naan with Mirado’s grandmother. A spread shows adults and children working in the fields with shovels, oxen, and carts, to harvest yams and wheat. Parts of the text: “The muffled boom of a cannon comes from afar. / Mirado’s father went to the war…” and the songstress singing of her love who has “…gone to a war in a faraway land” subtly prepare readers for the sad ending announcing that the village is destroyed by war that winter.
VERDICT This fine story introduces readers to Afghan village life, and allows them to relate with Afghan children, who enjoy many of the same things they do.

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