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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley



AR Level: 4.8
AR Points: 9.0
AR Quiz Number: 174524
Lexile Level: 710
Intended Grade Level: 4th-7th
Page Count: 292

Lately at school I have been heavily promoting the Florida Sunshine State Young Reader nominees for this year, in hopes that my students will take to the challenge and dive into some of the excellent and fun titles on the list. To lead the way, I am also trying to read as many of the titles as possible so that I can talk them up and get the kids excited about the books (works like a charm). I started out with Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, since it was recommended to me by a very excited student, and  if a student is already that in love with a book, it is probably worth a read.

This story follows Micah Tuttle, a young boy who is in the care of his sickly but beloved Grandfather, and his cold hearted Great-Aunt, Gertrudis. (Side note: What's with all of the cold and distant Aunts lately? The last few books I've read ....Some Kind of Happiness, Wolf Hollow, and Circus Mirandus... all have bitter old Aunt characters. Is the mean Aunt the new evil Step-Mother? As possibly the most wonderful Aunt ever, I object to this characterization).

With his Grandfather's health failing, Micah seeks desperately for a way to restore his family's stability. Throughout his life, his Grandfather has told him stories of an amazing magical circus (Circus Mirandus) which he encountered in his youth. There, he met a powerful illusionist which he calls The Lightbender, who promises him a miracle as a gift. Storing his miracle away, Grandfather Ephraim saves this gift for decades, and only when on his deathbed, seeks out the Lightbender once more. Can Micah find Circus Mirandus in time to save his Grandfather? Will the Lightbender keep his promise and deliver a miracle? Can magic survive in a world full of hard realities and logical explanations?

This book takes the reader on a journey through belief in the extraordinary and coming to terms with difficult truths that can not be avoided. With good hearted characters that fight for their loved ones, Circus Mirandus remains lighthearted and optimistic, with only a few dips down into darker issues with the Grandfather's backstory involving a somewhat surprisingly sinister circus performer.

While circuses might seem like a young topic even for intermediate and middle school readers, this circus holds secrets that will keep students turning pages. For more information please visit the author's homepage at:

http://www.circusmirandus.com

Or read content reviews at Common Sense Media at:

Common Sense Media: Circus Mirandus