A mother's exasperated shout of ""This place looks like a three-ring circus!"" borders on the literal in this ambiguous concoction in which a young girl's daytime nap leads to dreams of the circus. When her mother goes upstairs to take a break, a young girl dreams of acrobats and clowns, bareback riders, and a lady on a flying trapeze who rescues the child. A few imprecise clues tweak readers into questioning what's real and what's imagined: The mother carries a mysterious black hat upstairs with her; a lot of overheard thumping and bumping ensues. The story relies heavily on the suggestion of the title, for within the pages there's no mention of the mother's secret life. That the girl's cat has the smell of popcorn on his breath at the end of the fantasy is the only indication that the circus events were not just a dream. Emberley arrays the fantasy realm with bright feathers, glitter, beads, tinsel, and neon-colored mesh netting; children won't miss the details of a mother's sparkling nail polish, a broken string of pearls, or the sequined tip of a clown's shoe.