This fall we have been reading and discussing books about the circus in two groups, one for older students and one for younger students. With ideas and inspiration from these picture books, the students, during Investigations, are beginning to create their own circus acts, using materials from the art room.
One book we read was The World’s Greatest Elephant, by Ralph Helfer. This true story was about a boy and his elephant who were born the same day in a small German circus town. They endured unimaginable trials together, eventually becoming stars in the Ringling Brothers Circus.
Another book we read was The Circus Train, by Jos. A. Smith. In this story, the circus train gets stuck on the abandoned tracks behind Timothy’s home. Timothy finds an imaginative way for the circus to get to town.
We read Circus, by Lois Ehlert. With her bright colored cut-paper illustrations, Ehlert presents the acts in her circus, such as leaping lizards, marching snakes, whistling parrots, and the tumbling Zucchini Brothers.
Each book offering its own perspective of a circus, we also read Extraordinary Jane, by Hannah E. Harrison; The Farmer and the Clown, by Marla Frazee; The House on 88th Street, by Bernard Waber; Moses Goes to the Circus, by Isaac Millman; See the Circus, by H.A. Rey; Circus Girl, by Michael Garland; and Lottie’s Circus, by Joan W. Blos.