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Circus Mirandus Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 2, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Fifth-grader Micah Tuttle has been living with his Grandpa Ephraim since his parents died when he was very young. The two are close; Grandpa Ephraim teaches Micah how to tie complicated knots and tells him fanciful tales about the magical Circus Mirandus and its many performers, including a powerful illusionist called the Lightbender. When Grandpa Ephraim becomes gravely ill, his sister, the strict and dour Aunt Gertrudis, comes to take care of the household. She severely limits Micah's time with his sick grandfather, and the boy is distraught at the idea of losing the only important person in his life. In a stolen moment, Grandpa Ephraim surprises Micah by revealing that the Circus Mirandus is real, and that the Lightbender promised him a miracle when he was a child. The protagonist begins to hope that his grandfather will get well. The Circus Mirandus arrives in town on the wind, and Micah, with the help of his classmate Jenny Mendoza, seeks out the Lightbender and tries to retrieve the miracle that Grandpa Ephraim has requested. During a whirlwind adventure in the Circus, Micah learns about his family and discovers that the miracle that Grandpa Ephraim asked for might not be the one that Micah had in mind. Circus Mirandus is not a simple story, but readers will be rewarded for delving into its intricacies. VERDICT This gripping fantasy tale will have readers hooked from the opening scene to the breathtaking—and unexpected—conclusion.—Sarah Reid, Broome County Public Library, Binghamton, NY
Circus Mirandus is a New York Times Book Review EDITOR’S CHOICE!
"A beguiling first novel"—Gregory Maguire, author of Egg and Spoon, in the New York Times
"Manifestations of belief and unbelief run through Cassie Beasley’s charming debut, which takes readers to a marvelous place.”—The Wall Street Journal
“You’ll love the chance to believe in magic again.”—Redbook
"Totally immersive (and plans for a movie version are in the works!)."—Good Housekeeping
"Cassie Beasley’s story will enthrall older kids."—Parents Magazine
* "The book is a fantastical circus romp...a delicious confection and much more: it shows that the human heart is delicate, that it matters, and that it must be handled with care."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "This gripping fantasy tale will have readers hooked from the opening scene to the breathtaking—and unexpected—conclusion."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "Readers will be left with the reminder that “just because a magic is small doesn’t mean it is unimportant” and the hope, reminiscent of Peter Pan, that those who still believe will always have magic in their lives."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Circus Mirandus is an engaging, innovative tale that balances fantastical goings-on with an exploration of love, loss, friendship and the value of being open to the unexplainable."—BookPage
"Some books take readers to different places or let us experience fantastical lands, but Circus Mirandus brings the magic to our world.” —Scholastic Instructor, “50 Best Books for Summer”
"Beasley elegantly fits together her story's many pieces, crafting a tale where magic is not an illusion but something we can all find....A+."—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"If you enjoy the magical tales of Roald Dahl, you will love this story about Micah Tuttle’s search for a powerful magician named the Lightbender, who owes his dying grandfather a miracle.”—Kiki Magazine, Summer Book Club Pick
"The tender relationship between grandfather and grandson is delicately drawn, and the family backstory, with its ties to a dark episode in the millennia-old history of Circus Mirandus, is intriguing...At the core of Beasley’s debut novel is the theme of eternal life explored in Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting."—BCCB
"Debut author Beasley has built an imaginative world in evocative, painterly prose, particularly the circus, and she’s filled it with compellingly multifaceted characters."—Booklist
"Studded with descriptions that make people and props alike come alive, this story will make readers wish so very badly that a circus, complete with gorilla balloons and mysterious bird ladies, will pop up one day in town and only accept those who truly believe in magic."—VOYA
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Micah Tuttle is the grandson of Ephraim Tuttle. Micah has spent all of his ten years hearing his Grandpa Ephraim's wonderful and magical stories of Circus Mirandus and thought that that was exactly what they were: stories. Grandpa Ephraim is now very ill, indeed, and reveals to Micah that the stories were all true. Not only that, but that when Ephraim visited the Circus many years ago, the Lightbender promised him a miracle and that he has called for that miracle to be honored.
Micah and his friend, Jenny Mendoza, battle to get his Grandpa his miracle. They have some wonderful adventures and become good friends along the way. I loved the point and counter-point of these two characters – one who believes in magic and one who believes in science.
As I mentioned, it reminds me of some of Roald Dahl's works. These books were read aloud to my class when I was eight years old. I think that “Circus Mirandus” is a wonderful book for parents to read to their like aged children – chapter by chapter each night at bedtime. I always let my children stay up a half hour past bedtime as long as they spent it reading or being read to – really created a love of reading in all of them.
An older child, or a advanced reading younger child would be able to read the book by themselves. However, I would make myself available to young children for their questions as there are some serious subjects dealt with in this story (illness, abandonment, cruelty) that a parent would probably want to explain to their child.
This is a story that would lend itself fantastically to becoming a film. The author has given the story depth and color with her wonderful descriptions throughout. I could “see” the Amazonian Bird Woman, the Lightbender, the Menagerie, Rosebud, and everyone else.
Additionally, I am sincerely hoping that this book is the first in a series. There are questions unanswered. There are adventures to be had. There are places to be seen and people to meet. I certainly hope to see Micah, Jenny, and the Man Who Bends Light (and maybe even Chintzy – who am I kidding, definitely Chintzy) again in the future.
I absolutely loved the book. I was given an Advance Reading Copy which did not contain the final illustrations, so I can't speak for those. I so enjoyed the book, I will purchase copies for my grandchildren of the final copy. I'm sure that the illustrations will add greatly to an already fantastic book. It is a book that I recommend for both boys and girls of all ages.
What I liked most about the book, I think, is its willingness to go in some strange places. In particular, Beasley doesn't pull back from some of the sadder moments of the story, or from some of the emotionally complicated moments either (e.g., the situation with a character named Victoria). That CIRCUS MIRANDUS was willing to go in those directions was refreshing and exciting without being "too adult" for younger readers.
I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't mention how fun much of the book is. When two characters go to the movies, when Ms. Chintzey gets sassy, when a character rides a balloon -- it's all a lot of fun. I do wish it was a bit longer, as I would have enjoyed spending more time with Micah Tuttle.
Most recent customer reviews
I loved all of the characters and they were so detailed, readers of all ages will bond with them within...Read more
I recommend this book to anyone who loves interesting and exciting books!
Have fun reading!!!