Mr Unusually's Circus of Dreams by Sharda Dean

Ruby’s mother is killed by a jealous circus bear, leaving Ruby with her cold-hearted Aunt Julia. Then the Circus of Dreams comes to town.

Will Ruby find the home she is looking for? First she must face her fears and stop sleepwalking, searching in the night for her mother.

Don Unusually wants to master the most dangerous trick of all, the triple somersault on the flying trapeze. If he does he will make circus history and prove that his mother was right to pursue this dream even to her death.

Don’s father, Mr Unusually, struggles to keep The Circus of Dreams running, as people flock to the talking pictures and dance halls.

Will Don, Ruby and Mr Unusually fulfil their dreams or fall foul of the evil Mr Mortimer who hounds them at every turn?

First part of a Circus trilogy.

Mr Unusually reached the longlist (the final 21) of The Times Children's Fiction Competition in January 2013. The shortlist will be announced in February 2013.

  • Classification: Universal
  • Work is: Fully available on Authonomy
  • First submitted March 24, 2012
  • Last updated March 24, 2012
Mr Unusually's Circus of Dreams
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  • HarperCollins's avatar
    HarperCollins wrote 2 years, 11 months ago
    The first piece in a three part circus themed children’s saga, ‘Mr Unusually’s Circus of Dreams’ tells the story of Ruby Collins, who, after her mother tragically dies in a circus performance accident, comes to live with her austere aunt Julia in Shepherds bush, London, in the late 1920’s. Just a small baby when she is adopted, too young to remember the heart-breaking reverberations of that fateful night, Ruby is haunted by dreams in which she searches for her mother, ...
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  • made's avatar
    made wrote 2 years, 10 months ago

    its werid and strange which is perfect

  • spadge's avatar
    spadge wrote 2 years, 11 months ago

    This is a CHIRG review
    Hi Sharda,
    I love your story, it's well written, moorish and a good tale. It has all the ingredients of a good children's story.
    The settings are good, the characters are good and I was hooked. Well done.
    'Merlin's Cave'

  • Retired user
    Becky Jenkins [Retired] wrote 3 years, 1 month ago

    This story grabbed my attention right from the first sentence. You are an excellent writer!

  • Retired user
    mapleyther [Retired] wrote 3 years, 1 month ago

    Belated read..6 circus story since Galliano!

  • Retired user
    mapleyther [Retired] wrote 3 years, 1 month ago

    Belated read..6 circus story since Galliano!

  • Retired user
    Daniel de Molay-Wilson [Retired] wrote 3 years, 1 month ago
    The jealous bear got my attention. Its one of those have-a-second-glance things, but could easily be true. The other thing was how one of the tags is that its magical, AND in the 1920's. So for me, I went into it with the cool, self-contained vibe I got from the Ed Norton film, The Illusionist; and the Christopher Nolan film, The Prestige. They're subjects matter, collectively, that could easily sway to be Steampunk... or rather, a post-Steampunk world given its ...
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  • Inkysparrow's avatar
    Inkysparrow wrote 3 years, 1 month ago

    I just love Ruby. She's a vibrant little girl that could not be put under her aunt Julia's basket. I'm looking forward to read more about Ruby's adventures.

  • panos's avatar
    panos wrote 3 years, 2 months ago


  • panos's avatar
    panos wrote 3 years, 2 months ago


  • Tod Schneider's avatar
    Tod Schneider wrote 3 years, 2 months ago

    So glad this made it to the editor's desk! I am so curious to hear what they have to say! Congrats!

  • LittleWhiteWolf's avatar
    LittleWhiteWolf wrote 3 years, 2 months ago

    The first chapter is brilliant--gripping and horrifying, tragic and frightening. It's a perfect length, too, for drawing your readers in and teasing them to read on. I've read the first couple of chapters and I'm eager for more!

  • Sharda D's avatar
    Sharda D Author wrote 3 years, 2 months ago
    Jan, sorry you feel this way. I am a vegetarian and have been an active animal rights activist since I was a teenager. The first chapter (set in 1920) is intended to show how even the 'best' circus care was still sadly lacking. I feel very strongly that circuses should not use animals and Mr Unusually makes the same decision in the book. But I also admire the trainers who did their best, under extreme circumstances to look after the ...
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  • Retired user
    janbeelandman [Retired] wrote 3 years, 2 months ago
    Loathing or contempt. I cannot quite decide which emotion best describes my reaction to the opening of this book. The polar bear is one of the most magnificent creatures on this planet. It is also an endangered species. To depict it in this shamefully antiquated way is disgusting and says a lot about the writer and those who applaud her and indeed this whole website. A fool’s paradise, if ever there was one. I was already heading for the exit, ...
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  • Sharda D's avatar
    Sharda D Author wrote 3 years, 2 months ago
    This comment has failed moderation.
  • Shelvis's avatar
    Shelvis wrote 3 years, 2 months ago

    Your style is graceful and engaging. I was deep into the second chapter before I realized it--I forgot I was reading! This is absolutely wonderful writing, and I'm delighted to support you with a spot on my shelf.

    ~ Shelley
    Sea of Jasmine

  • JeffBilman's avatar
    JeffBilman wrote 3 years, 2 months ago
    Hi Sharda This is wonderful. Three chapters in - a book I'd be happy to have my 8.5 year old son read, and one I'd gladly read myself. It's so rich and has so much depth, and captures the era and the feel of the circus. Another reason to convince my wife we need to get an iPad or some such (even better if it gets published in hardcopy). I know it doesn't need to be backed since it should ...
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  • stoatsnest's avatar
    stoatsnest wrote 3 years, 2 months ago

    What a good first chapter.

  • Steph Merrix 's avatar
    Steph Merrix wrote 3 years, 2 months ago

    Hi Sharda
    Sorry it has taken me a while to get to you - this is a fanstastic piece , I really enjoyed it and it was something completely different and orginial , the characters were realstic and well drawn , the plot and descriptions were effective and engaging , making you want to read on more
    Highly starred and on my watchlist

  • Retired user
    Hannah Jennings [Retired] wrote 3 years, 2 months ago

    I've only read the first few chapters so far but I'm really looking forward to reading some more. Your descriptive phrases are excellent and the idea is original.
    I wish you all the best and good luck with any other ideas
    Hannah Jennings