Danger: Elephant Ahead

People have been asking me, “Why a circus book?”

Circuses have had a place in my imagination for a long time. They’re part of my family mythology. When I was two or three years old, we all went to the circus. My brother was a baby at the time, so my mother was in charge of him and my older sister. My father was tasked with keeping me in line.

Easier said than done, apparently.

I got away from him, and a moment later, I was standing in front of a large elephant on its way to the big top.

According to family legend, I was completely unafraid, though the onlookers were horrified. I didn’t even come up to the elephant’s knee. It could have squished me like a bug.

Instead, we gazed at each other silently. Nobody dared to move.

Then my father saw me, and he sprang forward, grabbed me, and yanked me out of the elephant’s path.

I have no real memory of this incident, though my parents sure do. But I grew up with the story, and I tried to instill both the terror they felt and the fearlessness I displayed into The Marvelwood Magicians.

You may well have your own circus tale. Tell me about it! Your comment will enter you in a contest to win one of two signed copies of The Marvelwood Magicians.

Write a comment on the blog telling me why you love (or fear!) the circus. Two winners will be picked by random.org on October 20.

Good luck!

About Diane Zahler

I’m the author of THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS, A TRUE PRINCESS, PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS, and SLEEPING BEAUTY’S DAUGHTERS, all published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, and BAKER’S MAGIC, new in 2016 from Capstone Young Readers.

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3 Responses to Danger: Elephant Ahead

  1. Vivian says:

    My cousins and I sat in the back row stale popcorn and spilled orange sodas section. I marveled at the gold sequin-spangled bendy-blonde trapeze artist as she swung by. She was gorgeous! Then someone passed me binoculars. My glorious goddess looked as if she were 108 years old with scary, candy red, lipstick smeared in the general vicinity of her lips, sparkly blue goop around her eyes, and absolutely not a tooth in her head as far as I could see. I ditched the binoculars. The circus was more beautiful at a distance.

  2. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    How I Lost My First Tooth: I clamped a piece of twine that was hanging from a barn rafter between my teeth and jumped from the hayloft, expecting to dangle and twirl like a circus gymnast. This error in judgement didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the circus, but the tooth fairy refused to pay up. She left a note saying that she didn’t want to waste her time looking for a missing tooth in the barn ever again.

  3. Oh my gosh. I LOVE the circus! But I have a twisted fascination with the DARK side of it. Ray Bradbury; Something Wicked This Way Comes. I love the old-age sensation, the feeling of stepping back in time, and the lurking fear that something might go wrong. This dark fantasy of mine comes out of nowhere, since I’ve never actually BEEN to a circus. But everything about them haunt me with such an otherworldly thrill of the unknown. Members of the circus are their own family, their own enemies, and their own cult. They live and breathe the circus. Growing up, I have always been disappointed with State fairs. They were too mild, too innocent, too family-friendly. Something inside me craves the mystery that surrounds each and every tent, every covered wagon, every sign flapping in the wind promising unusual amusement. I. Love. The circus. And by relation, dark fantasy books about them.

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