My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Micah is a young boy whose guardian and grandfather Ephraim has become very ill. Micah’s great-aunt Gertie, Ephraim’s sister, has come to assist him in his final days. She is a hardened woman who dislikes Ephraim’s famous stories of Circus Mirandus, a magical traveling show complete with magicians, strongmen, and the Amazing Amazonian Birdwoman. Only children may attend and you cannot buy a ticket. If you are lucky enough to hear the pipe-and-drum music and let the wind guide you, you may present an item that you feel is special in order to be admitted. But if you don’t believe in magic, you simply won’t even know it is there. “You have to believe it to see it.”
“A favorite to those who enjoy Big Fish, Peter Pan, and Roald Dahl”, indeed. I could see the twinkling lights, see the golden glow surrounding the Circus at night, smell the hay, the popcorn, the candy, and hear the music. This book was marvelous. I cannot WAIT to read this with my children. I cried multiple times at the beauty of the story. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter where whimsical and so fitting to the tale. And the red-and-white stripped circus tent dust jacket was divine, too.
My problems with it are mostly boiled down to this: there aren’t many “good” female characters in this book which is disappointing. Clearly, Jenny is the exception. We are given some back story eventually on both Victoria and Gertie that give some depth to their stories. But I was hoping for some resolution for both of these women that was not given.
But I can’t end on a bad note. This is a beautiful story wrapped in an exquisite package. The bow is an intricate Tuttle knot. And I believe in magic!