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Chris Van Dusen Books In Order

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Publication Order of If I Built ... Books

If I Built a Car (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
If I Built a House (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
If I Built a School (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Mr. Magee Books

Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Circus Ship (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
King Hugo's Huge Ego (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Randy Riley's Really Big Hit (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hattie & Hudson (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Big Truck, Little Island (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Raising Readers(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Chris Van Dusen
Chris Van Dusen is a children book author who spent most of his childhood drawing pictures. Growing up, the Maine-born author didn’t have computers and video games to keep him busy, so drawing aliens and monsters was the only activity he and his brother could do in their free time. Van Dusen graduated with BFA from the University of Massachusetts and started his career as an illustrator a few years later. After being a freelance illustrator for over a decade, Van Dusen began to think about writing his books. The talented has created an impressive list of children’s books, and these keep getting better with time.

The Circus Ship
The Circus Ship tells the story of a circus ship, the circus animals, and their greedy owner. It is the late 1800s, and a circus ship has just run aground on the Maine coast. The greedy circus owner chooses to save himself and abandon the animals when the ship crashes. Somehow, the animals are able to swim through the chilly waters to an island nearby. The town people are wary of the strange animals arriving on their island. However, thanks to their courageous and kind ways, the animals are quick in winning the islanders over. The animals blend so well in their new home that when the circus owner returns, the villagers are ready to protect them.

The villagers first hide the animals, making it hard for the circus owner to trace them. After one of the animals made a brave rescue, the islanders realized that the animals meant no harm, and all they needed is their protection. Somehow, the circus owners get information that the animals he abandoned did not perish with the ship as expected. He takes steps to get his animals back but will soon realize that doing so will not be easy. His animals have already found a new home and are surrounding by people who treat them with kindness.

Brilliantly caricatured illustrations and buoyant rhymes characterize this book. The images evoke the nineteenth century when a real circus ship broke during a storm close to the coast of Maine, and one animal made it an island close by. This book expands on the true story by adding more animals and colors to it. While most of these animals would eat the islanders in real life, they act entirely different here. This book will make children appreciate circus animals and even champion for their freedom. The circus master arrival is funny, and it comes with an intriguing picture hunt the kids can enjoy.

This is an entertaining story that is sure to bring the children loads of giggles. The book tells of a tale of community bonds and the relationship that exists between people and animals. The book comes complete with a find page that and it is fun getting the children involved in finding the animals as they learn a thing or two about the circus. Everything from the working to the plot is simple, so most, if not all, kids will find the book easy to understand.
The Circus Ship tells the story of human-animal connection in a humorous and sweet way. The author uses rhythmic text and stunning artwork to illustrate this story turning this into a whimsical tale any animal lover will treasure. If you are looking for a fun read-aloud book for your children, this book is perfect.

If I Built a Car
If I Built a Car is a beautiful story featuring Young Jack, a boy with soaring imagination and a desire to build an innovative car. The author takes the reader through Jack’s idea of the car he wants to make. Aside from the vehicle, there is a pool, snack bar, and a robot named Robert, who will be the designated chauffeur. With Jack’s imagination behind the wheels, this book takes the reader on an adventure that includes deep-sea diving to flying above the traffic. Jack’s car is based on the future given its capabilities, and it is incredible what details young Jack comes up with.

This story is filled with bright colors, witty detail, and classic American automobiles feel. The author has managed to create an imaginative story that is far more than a children’s book. From this book, children learn that nothing is impossible as long as one can imagine what they want. The author encourages children to be limitless in their imagination and work hard to become whatever they desire. Children should also be visionaries of the future and resist the temptation to just resign to their childhood fancy.

One outstanding thing in this book is the beautiful and creative illustrations. The colors evoke the 1950s and 1960s hues, which offer an excellent setting for the story. You will also note that the vocabulary is also quite rich, providing an excellent way for the kids to learn new words. To top it all, the flow is great, and the children will be curious to see what the next page has to offer.

If you are looking for an enriching book for your child, this book is a great choice. Boys will have a lot of fun following young Jack’s adventures, while girls have a lot of things to love as well. The book is also perfect as a read-aloud for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. This book will work as a social studies unit as it transports the reader back to life in the 1950s and 1960s. It also provides a glimpse of the future and the factors that inform our thoughts. As a science unit, this book would cover inventing. The book is also great for independent reading, especially for children who love cars.

If I Built a Car is a simplistic, lyrical, and straightforward book. The premise is straightforward. Jack tells his father about his dream car, and the story includes the journey we would take his father on if his dream was to come true. At just 32 pages, this is a book you can enjoy reading with your children in one or two sittings.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Chris Van Dusen

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