Jo-Anne Elder Reviews C Pour Cirque
C pour Cirque
Elena Martinez, illustrations by Daniela Zekina
Bouton d’or Acadie
This is the third alphabet book published by Bouton d’or Acadie, following Ah! pour Atlantique and B pour Bayou. C pour Cirque presents the world of the circus, from acrobats to zoom. It has been placed in the Poussette collection, designed for very young children up to four. In fact, this book will charm children of all ages as well as adults with its sophisticated illustrations—many of which would make beautiful posters—and unusual words.
Each letter is accompanied by one of Daniela Zekina’s colourful, detailed images, and presented in a heading and 15 words or more of Elena Martinez’s text, about half of which start with or feature the letter.
The single-word headings—Attraction! Bravo! Champion!—set the enthusiastic, superlative tone of the entries, as though the circus master (Monsieur Loyal) is shouting through a megaphone to draw in spectators.
The choice of words shows inventive creativity, more like the play of tongue-twisters than lessons in common read-aloud words. For instance, excerpts of the six-line P (Première!) text translate roughly as “On the platform, a pantomime Pierrot with a powdered face adopts a pose… and presents with poetry the prestigious cast…”
S (Sensation!) starts with “a suddenly silent stage.” Of course, X is for Xylophone, but it also introduces the reader to an xerus, and the word adrenaline pops into the description of an admirable acrobat.
Elena Martinez lives in Montréal. Her Spanish background and interest in multiculturalism is reflected in her diverse and resonant word choices. She also published Les Sept Amis with Bouton d’or Acadie in 2017.
Daniela Zakina was born and raised in Bulgaria and graduated from a fine arts academy in Sofia before moving to Quebec more than 20 years ago. She has illustrated many children’s books and exhibited work in Europe and North America.