Book Review, Picture Books

Nell & the Circus of Dreams by Nell Gifford & Briony May Smith

Nell’s mother is ill and her farmhouse is so quiet. Then one day a little lost chick changes her life. Following her chick across the fields, Nell discovers the most amazing circus community full of excitement, daring, bright colours and, most importantly, friendship. Nell loves the circus and is swept away by the magic and wonder of the show. She watches her new friends climb, flip and soar under the big top and is filled with happiness. When she returns home, she tells her mother all about her adventure and uses her overflowing imagination to relive the joy of the circus again and again. Did it really happen or was it just a wonderful dream?

This beautiful book is one to be read over and over. From Nell’s red wellies to the flower-filled meadow to the bright ribbons and sequins of the circus, the delightful illustrations draw the reader in. There is so much to explore on every page, sparking the imagination, inspiring questions and encouraging a shared experience to treasure.

This book would be a fantastic centrepiece to an Early Years, Key Stage One or even whole school topic about the circus and performing. There is so much to draw on throughout the story and the illustrations could be used to inspire learning across the curriculum.

Written by Nell Gifford, the founder of Gifford Circus, this story offers an authentic look at a captivating traveling circus community. She lived the dream of running away to join the circus and has been able to share it with children through her lovely book. Sadly, Nell Gifford passed away in December 2019 but her story will live on through her legacy in the circus and this special book.

Originally published in hardcover in May 2019, the paperback edition will be published on 7th May 2020. Thank you to Oxford University Press for this beautiful story!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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