Listen to the audio book

Circus Tortellini isn’t an ordinary circus.

Circus Tortellini travels from town to town with a Clever Circus School.

Circus Tortellini visits schools and puts up its Bright Big Top right next to a school, and then the fun begins.

Franco Tortellini is the ringmaster, and he knows that all children love a circus and can learn lots and lots. “Children learn special things at our Circus School…” Franco laughs.

When Circus Tortellini is ready, they begin with the show full of excitement. The children, teachers, parents, grandparents and friends are all invited.

Franco Tortellini booms– ‘Welcome to the Amazing Circus Tortellini’.

There are clowns, jugglers, acrobats, tight rope walkers, ponies, trapeze artists, strongmen, a magic show, unicycles, trampolines and popcorn.

Leon, Mia, Emma and Noah just can’t stop clapping as they watch the show.

“I’m going to be the ringmaster, I’ll be amazing!” Leon laughs

“I want to balance on the ponies in a pink tutu.” Mia beams.

“I shall juggle 10 flashing balls.” Noah whoops

“And I shall walk a tightrope high above your heads.” Emma points up high to the trapeze.

At the end of the show, with the wonderful costumes, fun and plenty of scares– Franco Tortellini and his family take a bow and Franco booms “Goodbye children, see you on Monday morning, bright and ready for Circus School!”

And that’s what happens, for the next week, there is no classroom, just the Big Top and the children Learn Project Circus!

For the four friends – Leon, Mia, Noah and Emma things turn out different to what they expect.

Franco Tortellini and his family – Gina, Francesca, Pepitto and Angelo with the other circus artists divide the children into groups in the school yard-and they throw balls, do skipping, roll out the mats and jump around – “Let’s see what you are good at!”

Franco and Angelo just walk, talk, play and mess around.

The children do lots of different things – they balance on wobbly planks, they climb up ropes, they bounce on trampolines laughing and the end of the day, they rub their aching legs and arms.

The next day, all the children are put into their Circus School groups.

Franco laughs his very loud laughs and tells them. “We watched you all yesterday, and we think we’ve found the very best groups for you all.”

“I’m a clown, I always knew it!” Leon shakes his head.

“I’m in the juggling and hula hoop team.” Mia is happy.

“But I’ve got ponies and popcorn.” Emma smiles

Noah scratches his head “Unicycles, whatever that is, and selling programs and showing people to their seats.”

They all laugh, not sure what to expect.

“Don’t let anybody ever tell you circus is easy…” At break time they fall onto a bench rubbing their aching legs.

“Well, how many balls can you juggle?” Leon turns to Mia.

“Well, we didn’t start with balls at all. We started off with bright floaty scarves. We start on balls this afternoon.”

“Ah….” The others shrug.

“Unicycles are wobbly.” Noah joins in. “We spent the morning learning how to get on and off and wobble around.”

“Well, clowns are the most important circus acts.” Leon tells his friends. “They make people laugh. But they help in-between to put things up or take them down. This afternoon we are going to learn to trampoline.”

Mia laughed. “Trampoline is easy.”

“You try it with great big floppy boots on…” Leon looked at her. “And my clown name is Loopy, clowns have clown names, and their own special make-up!”

Every day the friends practiced in their groups -– now they are starting to feel a bit nervous, their big circus day is at the end of the week.

“Have you got your costumes?” Emma joins them. “We got our pink tutus and tights today, Mrs. Tortellini is cool, she does the costumes.”

Leon has the most to do, the clowns always do, as he keeps telling them how important the clowns are.

“Yes, Loopy, the world’s greatest clown ha ha ha.” They all laugh.

At last, it is the day of the Grand Circus Show!

Leon, or, Loopy, runs around with a bucket filled with confetti, but the head clown has a bucket filled with water, just to make the audience nervous!

Leon handed out umbrellas to make them more nervous. Even his mum doesn’t know Leon under the big orange wig and baggy patchwork pants. Leon was now Loopy!

The clowns then do bell ringing, noisy and out of tune, but then, they stop, shake their heads and play a proper tune.

They also do their clown trampoline act – Crazy Bouncing in Big Boots!

Emma balances with outstretched arms on her pony.

Later, Emma slips out of her pink tutu and into her red circus T-Shirt to sell popcorn in the break, the people are happy “Lovely show, those children are so good…”

Noah first shows the audience to their seats wearing a red T-Shirt and trying to be helpful.

Later he changes into his sparkling jacket and silver hat for the unicycle show, then he starts to feel nervous.

Twisting, Turning and Weaving around – all on one wheel, not so easy. But the group manage well. The music helps and they even cycle up and down ramps.

Noah laughs as he remembers his first wobbles.

Mia’s act is juggling, all the jugglers wear bright baggy rainbow costumes and juggle with balls, rings and do plate spinning. At the end, they throw up the rainbow scarves The bright colored scarves float down and everything is magical.

“If you drop one, you just laugh, it’s all part of the act…” Gino always tells them.

Later, the jugglers leave the ring – but, they quickly slip off the costumes, they have black clothes underneath, then they slip on a black mask.

When they are all ready, they run back into the ring with all the lights switched off.

Now they have hula hoops that shine orange, pink, green and yellow in the dark.

Mia feels so good. “It’s magical, it’s ShowTime.” She smiles and twists her yellow hoop to join the pattern of the others.

The friends can’t believe it; their circus show is a huge success.

But, now, sadly, it’s the end of the show, they all troop out, back into the circus ring.

Franco in his red coat and top hat tells them to take the biggest and lowest bow-  and Franco’s voice booms loud. “Just one week, learning new things, these children are real stars!”

The clowns, the jugglers, the balancers, the cyclists, the tightrope walkers, the acrobats and dancers all take a big bow.

Leon, Mia, Noah and Emma have had the very best Circus Week, and can’t wait until Circus Tortellini is back in town again!

“Next time, I’ll be a clown, too.” Noah tells Leon. “You can wobble and fall off a unicycle…” They all laugh.

“Who would have believed it?” Mia now in her normal clothes. “We had so much fun, but my bones are aching and bruised. But, I’ve got a brilliant idea.”

They all looked at her.

“Let’s meet in my garden with the trampoline and practice our very own circus. I can teach you juggling.” Mia laughs.

“And I can teach you about Big Boot Bouncing.” Loopy Leon laughs, too.

“And we can call it Circus Pepperoni.” Noah joined in.

“Circus Pepperoni?” The others looked puzzled.

“Yes, because I love hot pepperoni on my pizza!”

Short stories for kids The Circus School bedtime stories


© Andrea Kaczmarek 2020



Motivation, Perseverance, Resilience

1. How do the children in this story approach being the stars of their very own circus?

2. Do you think they succeed in putting on a good show? Why or why not?

Short Story for Kids written by Andrea Kaczmarek

In-text illustration by Andrea Kaczmarek