“Kids, can you guess what kind of stories I have for you today?”  I point at my black and white striped leggings, skirt, and the red fez on my head.  “Where’s Waldo?” one kid guesses.  I shake my head.  “Let’s see if you can guess with this illustration…”

Draw & Tell

Clown from Vivian the Librarian

This is the circus ring…

These are the seats for the crowd

These are the small rings where the monkey and seal perform

Here’s the monkey and here’s the seal

This is where the lion performs

This the trapeze and net for the acrobats

And this is where the elephants are kept

clown draw and tell


“Now can you guess?”

“Clowns!” they all shout.

“And where do clowns work?” I prompt.




Circus Girl: a Story of Make-Believe by Clare Pernice:

When a little girl plays dress up in her leotard and socks she becomes ‘Circus Girl’, star of the show. Even her toys morph into her dreamscape of circus acts. At each page turn she jumps and tumbles, flies through the air, juggles, spins, balances and contorts. Vibrant and winsome, modern and timeless, the illustrations and words convey a captured childhood moment with directness and simplicity.

After reading the story, I asked the kids what happened. Some of them yelled out that she was dreaming, but that she was still fantastic.

Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth by Kate Klise; illustrated by M. Sarah Klise:

Upset that his mother will not let him go out until he cleans his playroom, Little Rabbit sneaks away to join the circus and sells tickets by promising the audience a view of The Meanest Mother on Earth.

This was a bit long for preschool kids, but some of the older ones found it funny.

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 truly special about her.

I finally introduced myself to the kids as Ms. Jane, and then introduced this book.

Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer:

At school, Olivia tells about her summer vacation and how, when she went to the circus and all the performers were out sick, she saved the day, becoming Olivia the Tattooed Lady, Olivia the Lion Tamer, The Amazing Flying Olivia, and more.

Olivia is always a hit. I asked them at the very end of the story whether they believe Olivia made up her tale or whether it was true. All the kids think she made it up.


Guess the circus shapes:  I arranged these backwards and pointed to each one.  The kids yelled out their answers and got them all within a minute.

circus flannel




“Stella’s Circus” from Stella and Sam: Follow Me.

Stella guides her younger brother Sam through endless adventures that transform their house and backyard into anywhere in the world!


Pasadena Central Library, Preschool Storytime 10/18/2014