Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | January 6, 2016
Written by Cassie Beasley
Age Range: 9-12
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Dial (2015)
What to Expect: An intriguing adventure that opens up the world of magic, miracles, and the possibility of other dimensions.
Ten-year-old Micah Tuttle has always been entranced by Grandpa Ephraim’s tales of Circus Mirandus, a magic circus where the improbable is possible. No tale is as wondrous as the one about The Man Who Bends Light and his ability to make dreams reality.
Now Grandpa Ephraim is ill, and Great-Aunt Gertrudis has come to take care of him. Hearing these stories revisited makes her furious. Micah is all but banished from Ephraim’s room.
To go back in time: Grandpa Ephraim was mysteriously called to the circus when he was ten, longing for his father to come home from the war. Enraptured by the Lightbender’s illusions, Ephraim showed him a magic trick of his own, a special knot. (Tying and untying knots was—and is—a Tuttle talent.) Impressed, the Lightbender promised Ephraim a miracle, a miracle Ephraim decided to save for the future.
“The crowd seemed larger than it had before, and he worried that they might not all fit. But somehow, the inside of the black tent was much more spacious than its outside. It swallowed them whole.”
The future has arrived. Grandpa Ephraim sends the Lightbender a message saying he needs the miracle now. He entrusts his message to Micah and a chatty parrot named Chintzy. Despite meddling by Great-Aunt-Gertrudis, the magic world of Circus Mirandus opens up for Micah and his friend, Jenny, a friend as pragmatic as Micah is trustful.
The author’s graceful storytelling weaves the narrative thread back and forth, giving plausibility to other realms and other dimensions, where illusions can be as true as you want them to be. Skeptical Jenny and hopeful Micah are perfectly balanced as past and present intersect, bringing about the Lightbender’s miracle in unforeseen ways. Grandpa Ephraim is endearing, both as an old man and a young boy.
Circus Mirandus is the kind of story one revisits again and again—a classic to be enjoyed by all ages. It will appeal to circus lovers everywhere and middle grade readers who like their mysteries spiced with mystery, magic, and the unknown.
Add this book to your collection: Circus Mirandus
About the Author
Cassie Beasley is from rural Georgia, where, when she s not writing, she helps out on the family pecan farm. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Circus Mirandus is her first novel.
Circus Mirandus, written by Cassie Beasley, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan. Discover more books like Circus Mirandus by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Middle Grade Books.