Picture books about circuses are usually fantasies, with made-up characters and settings. This is an exception because Gifford founded and runs her own circus, and Smith’s illustrations are based on observation. Which does not mean the book lacks magic. Enchantment is Gifford’s business, and her text, with its “bright, dusty people” and “scarlet velvets and gold cables and twinkling lights on silver ropes”, weaves a spell. It is the story of a sad girl with a sick mother, who goes in search of her lost pet chicken and finds a place of dreams and, implicitly, her happy future. Friendly, old-fashioned images, rich in detail of circus acts, caravans and countryside, show co-operation, inclusivity, loving families and, in the end, the power of make-believe.