"In all the whole town, the most wonderful spot
Is behind Sneelock's store, in the big vacant lot.
It's just the right spot for my wonderful plans,"
said young Morris McGurk, "...if I clean up the cans."
So begins one of my all-time favorite read alouds, IF I RAN THE CIRCUS! "Young Morris McGurk" goes on to dream up a whole scenario about how he'll get animals and acts for his "CIRCUS McGURKUS". The zany rhymes and wacky nonsense words and pictures will draw any child into Morris' imagined plan that involves poor, unsuspecting Mr. Sneelock as his unlikely hero. If this won't get your kids imaginations fired up, I don't know what will!
I just saw a commercial advertising the RINGLING BROS. and BARNAM & BAILEY CIRCUS coming to our area, and was reminded of when a dear friend took our family to the circus. The whole experience made such an impression, that our kids' new favorite pastime became "Playing Circus". I made them up like clowns and they constructed a "tent" over our swing set with a bed sheet and sent their stuffed animals tumbling down the slide. We pretended their jumprope, lying on the grass, was a tightrope. My oldest son, David (then about five) illustrated a "book", dictating to me the experience of his afternoon at the circus. We still have it and I can't believe how he captured what he saw that day in his artwork (especially the elephants!).
"Circus Day" with Dave and Mary in our backyard.
MORE PICTURE BOOKS:
SEE THE CIRCUS (Lift the Flap Series) by H.A. Rey, author/illustrator of the CURIOUS GEORGE books. (Baby-preschool)
CIRCUS written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert (ages 3-6)
OLIVIA SAVES THE CIRCUS by Ian Falconer (ages 3-7)
MADELINE AND THE GYPSIES by Ludwig Bemelmans (ages 3-7)
PETER SPIER'S CIRCUS (ages 4-8)
THE CIRCUS IS COMING (a Golden Classic) written and illustrated by Hilary Knight. (ages 4-8)
PADDINGTON BEAR AT THE CIRCUS by Michael Bond. (ages 4-6)
INDIA, THE SHOWSTOPPER by Kerry Argent (ages 4-8) Young circus (and elephant) fans will enjoy this story.
THE PAINTED CIRCUS: P.T. VERMIN PRESENTS A MESMERIZING MENAGERIE... by Wallace Edwards. (ages 6-8)
WHO PUT THE B IN BALLYHOO?The Most Amazing, Bizarre, and Celebrated Performers, by Carlyn Beccia. (ages 7-10)
CIRCUS by Linda Granfield. (ages 12 and up)