Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (2015)

Grandpa Ephraim liked to say that Tuttles and knots went together like toast and cheese, and Micah had always been proud of how easily knot tying came to him (p 43).

CircusMirandusA young boy’s belief in magic is severely tested when his grandfather becomes seriously ill.

Since the death of his parents six years ago, Micah has lived with his whimsical Grandpa Ephraim. All the while, Ephraim has nurtured in Micah a strong belief in the magical, enchanting him with stories about Circus Mirandus and its denizens: Mr. M. Head (the owner), the Amazing Amazonian Bird Woman, the Strongman, and the Man Who Bends Light among others.

The narrative opens with Ephraim sending a message to the Lightbender (aka the Man Who Bends Light), calling in a miracle promised to him by the magical man. Micah’s great Aunt Gertrudis, a practical and mean-spirited woman, has moved in from Arizona to care for Ephraim and knock sense into Micah, creating discord in the once peaceful house.

In chapters that shift from Micah’s present struggle to find the Lightbender in a desperate attempt to save his grandfather to Ephraim’s past experience with the circus, a rich story of harsh truths, fragile beliefs, and deep loves unfolds.

Young readers will have no trouble accepting this magical circus while adults will gladly toss aside rationality and cheer for Micah in this touching story of an unbreakable bond between grandparent and grandson.

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