Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review: Circus Mirandus

Circus Mirandus
By Cassie Beasley
Dial, 2015
Reviewed from NetGalley
Audience: Grades 3 to 7
ISBN:  9780525428435
Expected Publication Date:  June 2, 2015

Micah Tuttle is dismayed at his aunt's behavior.  Ever since she has come to live with him and his grandfather, she's been changing everything and she's nothing like them.  Micah and his grandfather Ephraim believe in magic.  Micah adores hearing his grandfather's stories about the magical Circus Mirandus, and as things are looking very bleak, Ephraim asks the circus' Lightbender for a miracle.  Micah, with the help of the very rational Jenny, must find the circus and try to find the miracle, whatever it may be.

Do you know how annoying it is to love a book, then have someone say "If you liked X, you'll love this book", then you don't love it?  Not here, folks!  If you were an adult that loved The Night Circus, then hand Circus Mirandus over to your children, but not before you read it first!

The circus itself is sufficiently magical.  I'm especially fond of the elephant that can do long division.  She's feisty.  And all of the tents are described in such stunning detail that you can't help but long to go.  The circus also brings up some wonderful questions about childhood.  It's long been believed that children can believe things that adults just can't, and no where is that shown more than the brief moment when the circus is discovered.  It's a sad fact, adults are too rational for our own good.

Micah's story was compelling enough, but the undercurrent of Victoria was heartbreaking.  Here is a woman with talent, but she's cruel and only seeks power.  What a villain!  This isn't really an adventure novel, but it could easily become one if her character was teased out a little bit more.  Instead, it's a quiet novel about family, belief and belonging.

And a giant gorilla balloon, but you should really read the book to find out why.

This was another home run for NetGalley.  I've been quite lucky with them lately, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Happy Reading!

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