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Summary: This book is about a twelve-year-old girl named Maggie and her father, a circus clown. Not long after she suffers the embarrassment of her father's job, she realizes her father really is a hero and doesn’t have to fight in the war (World War II). Not only does this book teach you an important lesson, but it also makes you enjoy reading it!!
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 10 to 13
Reading Level: 4.9
Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ Read by student at Woodside Magnet High School for Arts and Communication (Newport News, VA)
Young Reader Reaction: BTSYA: This my favorite of the book reviews I've done! What can I say? This book was fabulous! I could read it more than once and would never get bored by it!! I would give this book 10 out of 10 for sure!! Woodside: I know how Maggie felt: she was sad all the time. I thought the book was sad. I thought there were a lot of words, but I liked the book and want to read it again. This is a realistic story.
Adult Reader Reaction: The story is well written, nicely weaving historical data and factual information about circus life with a pre-teen's story about figuring out life in the "big tent." The glossary of circus terms at the end was most helpful.
Pros: This is an easy read, and one that you can comfortably let your middle reader enjoy, without the usual parental fears about what our kids are reading.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. It's a great story for all ages, and one that even as adults we might reread periodically.
Educational Themes: There are lots of layers for learning: get a sense of life in the 1940s; learn more about circus life; read about the actual Ringling Brothers circus fire of 1944; and finally, give pre-teens a character they can relate to.