Nell and the Circus of Dreams- Nell Gifford & Briony May Smith

This book is a thing of beauty. We couldn’t resist the hardback because it’s just so stunning and beautifully inspiring with its nostalgic story by Nell Gifford, the founder of Gifford’s Circus which is a modern reboot of the quintessential with a modern twist British circus and tours each year in the Cotswolds area.

Indeed we are going to take the girls to go and see their latest tour called Xanadu inspired by the Flower Power era with a bit of Glam Rock.

Book cover for Nell and the The Circus Of Dreams

The book is partly autobiographical, there are elements of the real Nell in the little Nell of the book. In an article on the official website Nell Gifford talks about how her mother was poorly when she was a teenager and that she and her sister had a Bantam Chicken named Rosebud.

However the story then moves into a wonderful adventure in a traditional circus that has stopped in a nearby field with kind hearted people who entertain and perform but also welcome little Nell into their home.

Spread from the book showing a circus performance
Interior spread from the book thanks to Giffords Circus

The firing of Little Nell’s imagination is contagious as the heady bloom of the rosy glowing illustrations by Briony May Smith convey transcendent joy, utter wonder and sense of magic I know many children feel about the circus and indeed maybe rekindled in many who may have read Blyton’s Galliano’s Circus stories as children.

The circus is a popular theme in recent years with The Greatest Showman and it’s greenlit sequel; a resurgence in the popularity of circus skills classes; and books embracing the circus as a setting such as the Poppy Pym series, The Diamond Thief, a Claude adventure and the upcoming The Butterfly Circus amongst others. The real Gifford’s Circus has been working on forging that path and this book adds to a sense of respect and wonder for this craft.

Highly recommended for its heady charms of faraway summers and interesting people who ignite the fires of the imagination, this book makes me want to wander through wildflower studded meadows with sequins and ribbons in my hair.

Nell and the Circus of Dreams- Nell Gifford & Briony May Smith is published by Oxford University Press


4 thoughts on “Nell and the Circus of Dreams- Nell Gifford & Briony May Smith

    1. Oh I’m more sold on it now you’ve said that just cis it sounds a bit unusual! I think I’ll have to have a flick through when I see it somewhere. I’ll let you know…!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ha! Well I hope you get a look through, I like the bohemian bit ‘experience’/dream more than story, so does Tinyfae- I’ve reread this one quite a bit!!

      Liked by 1 person

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