The circus coming to town costs one mother more than she bargains for.
When the circus comes to town, 8-year-old “Tiny” Tina wants an elephant for a pet, so she befriends Charley, the Magnificent Elephant, and takes him home with the rest of the circus. After arriving home with the circus animals, Tina’s mother thinks she should sell tickets for the fiasco in her backyard to pay for the very large grocery bill. Her mother wishes she could send the animals back to the circus.
Third grader “Tiny” Tina wants to join the circus, or at least watches a few shows. After all, her mother tells her the circus is coming to town to perform in a big tent. Of all the animals, the elephants are supposed to be the largest and the most fun. Since everyone laughs at Tina for being three inches shorter than she should be at 8 years old, Tina decides if she has an elephant for a pet, then everyone would be nice to her. So, her plan is to befriend the largest elephant in the circus as her new pet. As Tina approaches the elephant circus train car, she sees a purple tail sticking out the door. She climbs up the steps on the train car and tugs at the tail until the elephant wakes up. She asks the elephant to come with her because she could use a new pillow at night. She wants to walk through the fields in the day, and he can lift her to pick apples from the trees. The elephant wants to know if she has a big backyard. In fact, she has a whole acre where they can play. The elephant decides that he’s tired of riding bicycles for cheering crowds, and he doesn’t like standing on his head. He especially doesn’t like balancing balls or jumping through rings of fire. He thinks the girl is much nicer than the nasty Circus Trainer who cracks his whip at him. The elephant roars and stamps his feet on the train car, shaking the entire train on the tracks.
Tina pulls the elephant’s tail again. She names him Charley, the Magnificent Elephant, and declares that they will be best friends. Charley swings open the train door with his snout and lifts Tina on his back. He stomps out of the train car onto the ground, waking up all the other animals. The purple elephant looks left and then right, and the Circus Trainer is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, Charley decides the rest of the circus animals are coming with them. He just can’t possibly leave them there alone. One by one, Charley shakes loose the rest of the animals on the train, and Tina holds on tight. By the end of the night, the circus animals are behind Charley in a straight line. The circus marches two-by-two down the street: unicorns, horses, lions, giraffes, and tigers. Then come the camels, kangaroos, monkeys, seals, ostriches, leopards, llamas, and grizzly bears. When the circus reaches Tina’s house, all the animals except Charley creep quietly into the backyard. Instead, Charley slips through the window of Tina’s bedroom and lands right on her bed.
Then Tina crawls through the window and climbs on Charley’s back—he is softer than a pillow. Two seconds later, the entire bed crumbles onto the floor, causing a crack in the wall. Tina’s mother runs into the bedroom crying. Tina tells her that she set the elephant free from the circus. Her mother peers out the bedroom window to find the animals munching on her vegetable garden. Since the animals need a home with a nice family, Tina asks if they can keep them. Tina’s mother wishes she would have never told her that the circus was coming to town. Since the grocery bill is going to be so large, she imagines that her daughter should sell tickets and get their money back for the expenses. Once a circus, always a circus.
Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters