Backyard Circus.


48 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 978-1-55451-011-2
DDC j791.3






Illustrations by Stephen MacEachern
Reviewed by Anne Hutchings

Anne Hutchings is a public-school teacher and librarian in Ajax,


What kid (or group of kids) has not dreamed of putting on a show for family and friends? For just one child, a neighbourhood group or even an entire classroom, Backyard Circus is the perfect guide to staging a successful show.


Each of the nine chapters deals with a particular aspect of production. “Planning” identifies the main players and their responsibilities. For example, the ringmaster serves as the announcer, the stage manager schedules rehearsals, roustabouts are responsible for setting up equipment, and so on. It even suggests where to start looking for performers for the production: “Does your cousin…take ballet lessons? Can your neighbour…bounce on a pogo stick?”


Subsequent chapters cover such topics as materials (including props and equipment), kinds of entertainment (juggling, animal acts, acrobatics, magic), publicity and promotion, right up to cleaning up after the circus is over. Everything you ever needed to know about putting on a show is all here.


In each chapter handy checklists of required materials and equipment are included. Colourful headings make it easy to locate specific information. Step-by-step instructions for such things as making your own megaphone, how to make a clown face, and even directions for performing some simple magic tricks are given. Sidebars containing circus-related trivia, tips, and jokes provide additional information and detail. Stephen MacEachern’s exuberant cartoon-like illustrations add to the fun and enjoyment.


For young entertainers for whom this comprehensive guide still isn’t enough, author Jill Bryant has included a bibliography of additional resources, some useful websites, and even a list of circus schools. School and public libraries will want to add this useful resource to their collections. Highly recommended.


Bryant, Jill., “Backyard Circus.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,