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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Circus Mirandus is a fantastical novel in which children delight in a magical circus that exists solely to enchant them. The novel alternates between the present-day story of a fifth-grader named Micah Tuttle, who's grappling with the impending death of his beloved grandfather (and sole guardian), Ephraim Tuttle, and Ephraim's experiences as a boy at the Circus Mirandus. Micah, with the help of his no-nonsense friend Jenny, embark on a quest to save his grandfather with the help of the circus. Although Micah is about to be orphaned and left in the care of a cold and humorless great-aunt, the wonders of faith, hope, and magic assuage any lingering sadness.
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What's the story?
Micah Tuttle, orphaned at a young age, is about to lose the only parent he knows: his grandfather Ephraim, who raised him on fantastical stories about the Circus Mirandus. Ephraim was lucky enough to have visited the circus as a child and even luckier to have received a promise of a miracle from the circus' main attraction, the Man Who Bends Light. Ephraim saved his miracle and now tells Micah that he's hoping to redeem it. Micah and his practical and disbelieving friend Jenny set off to find the circus and convince the Man Who Bends Light to make good on his promise of a miracle and save his grandfather.
Is it any good?
The true magic of this gripping fantasy, besides the wondrous world conjured by its author, lies in its ability to make the reader crave to believe in the impossible. You want to be on the side of those open-minded enough to suspend rational disbelief and delight in the sights of butterflies that turn into fairies or a woman who flies with birds -- and not the practical, often cranky (and usually adult) disbelievers who aren't allowed into the Circus Mirandus in the first place.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the power of belief. Do you think magic is real? Why is it so important in the book to believe in it?
The story weaves in and out of the past and present. How does knowing Ephraim's story as a young boy change the way you think about what's happening in the present day?
Why is Micah's great-aunt Gertrudis so mean to him?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love fantasy and magic
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.