If the recent DVD release of “The Greatest Showman” has you in the mood for more circus stories than this is the book list for you! There is one at each level: picture book, early chapter book, and middle grade novel!
The Circus Ship written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
This is a fun story full of vivid illustrations. We’re a big fan of the illustrator (who we first discovered in the Mercy Watson series). This is a very frequently read book in our house! My kids especially enjoy the page where the animals are camouflaged in and they have to find them all.
From the publisher:
With stunning artwork and a rhyming text, the illustrator of the Mercy Watson books tells a tale of human-animal connection full of humor and heart. (Ages 4-8)
When a circus ship runs aground off the coast of Maine, the poor animals are left on their own to swim the chilly waters. Staggering onto a nearby island, they soon win over the wary townspeople with their kind, courageous ways. So well do the critters blend in that when the greedy circus owner returns to claim them, villagers of all species conspire to outsmart the bloated blowhard. With buoyant rhymes and brilliantly caricatured illustrations evoking the early nineteenth century, Chris Van Dusen presents a hugely entertaining tale about the bonds of community — and a rare hidden-pictures spread for eagle-eyed readers of all ages.
The Louise Trapeze series by Micol Ostow
This early chapter book series has such a fun setting with a little girl who lives in the circus and performs with her family. I loved the cute illustrations spread throughout and the way the main character had to figure out how to handle having fears. I have only read the first book with my son so far, but there are 4 books in the series.
From the publisher:
Perfect for fans of IVY AND BEAN and JUNIE B. JONES, the LOUISE TRAPEZE series dazzles and delights emerging young readers with adorable color illustrations and spunky, sweet stories of one girl’s totally brave life in the circus.
Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Feast your eyes on the one, the only, Louise Trapeze! Louise performs with her parents and her best friend, Stella, in the Sweet Potato Circus. And today is Birthday Eve! That means tomorrow, Birthday Day, Louise officially turns seven. Seven is old enough to fly on the real flying trapeze. The big one. The one way high up in the sky, that makes her stomach flip-flop at the very sight. . . . Uh-oh! Could it be that Louise is not 100% fearless after all? Might she actually—gulp—be afraid of heights . . . ?
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
I thought the concept of a hidden circus that the boy’s grandfather had attended as a boy was pretty neat and I liked seeing the tender relationship between the main character and his grandpa and new friend. This is a Middle Grade level novel.
From the publisher:
Fans of The Magician’s Elephant, Savvy, and Roald Dahl will fall in love with Circus Mirandus, which celebrates the power of seeing magic in the world.
Do you believe in magic?
Micah Tuttle does.
Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.
The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.
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