While visiting New York, ML called to tell me she was at the circus. At intermission, she called with an important message, “Mommy, I’m joining the circus.” We specifically discussed this spring how she could attend camp at Cirque de Vol this summer, with the agreement she would NOT run off to join the circus. Yesterday was the last day of camp with a performance for family and friends at the end. The group demonstrated a variety of circus arts… mime, trapeze, hoop dance, poi and aerial silks. I didn’t know what poi was until ML and two other girls performed a routine.
I cannot rave enough about this camp. When you hear the words circus camp… you may think flashy, showy, even over-the-top. It wasn’t. ML learned flexibility, concentration and how to take risks in a safe, supportive environment. Lots of creativity in this camp too. Every afternoon when I picked ML up, she was hiding from me. In forts she and her friends built using parachutes, hula hoops, gym mats and all the other cool things in the studio.
Below are some great books about the circus.
Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison – “Jane the dog doesn’t have a unique talent in the circus like the rest of her family, until the ringmaster discovers what is special about her.” The illustrations in this book are extraordinary. ML insists I add it to our Mock Caldecott 2015 list. Even though she’s a little miffed with the author/illustrator for copying her. ML put a bandage on her ostrich stuffed animal’s neck long before reading this book.
Circus Girl by Clare Pernice – When this book arrived at the library this spring, I didn’t take it home. Instead, I saved it to read the week of Circus Camp. “When a little girl dons her leotard and socks, she becomes “Circus Girl,” the star of the show that incorporates her toys and stuffed animals.” ML’s favorite illustration… when the girl performs using aerial silks. Amazed is the only word to describe watching ML on the aerial silks demonstrating “the birdcage” and “diaper dropdown.”
Simple Steps to Drawing: At the Circus by Helga Bontinck – Sometimes ML draws in bed before lights out. Tuesday night she yelled, “How do you spell Paige?” Knowing she climbed in her bed with the At The Circus drawing book, I guessed Paige was a teacher. ML did a rough sketch of an elephant on a scrap of paper. Then, used a crisp, white piece of paper for the final product with extra details not shown in the book.
Three-Ring Rascals: The Show Must Go On by Kate Klise with illustrations by M. Sarah Klise – I’m a big fan of the Klise sisters. When their new series,Three-Ring Rascals arrived at the library, I was excited to see I could add a chapter book to the mix for our circus-themed reading. “Two mice and an old crow, who travel with a circus, cleaning up the spilled popcorn after every performance, come to the rescue when a greedy con artist takes over the management of the circus.”
I’ve decided The Show Must Go On will be the first book for ML’s bookclub this school year. Every member will need to bring the circus application from the Three-Ring Rascals website. Thanks to ideas from the website, the meeting is planned. Food… popcorn. Activity… performance of special circus tricks. Discussion questions… available at Algonquin Young Reader’s.
We won’t meet until October or November. By then, there will be three books in the series published. I’m betting several of the girls will read all three before the meeting.