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The Night Circus
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this fantasy novel depicts a circus where two young illusionists compete in some barely understood challenge. Some readers might find the plot slow, while many others will be impressed with how the author builds and maintains an air of suspense and romantic mystery. Also, there is one "f--k" and two deaths, which are not graphically depicted.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the latter years of the 19th century, Le Cirque des Reves ("Circus of Dreams") travels from town to town cross Europe and America, always arriving without warning and only opening after sundown. The circus is secretly the setting for a contest between two gifted illusionists, Marco and Celia, but neither one knows, at first, who their adversary is or what the exact nature of the challenge might be. As the consequences of the game become clearer, Marco and Celia must decide whether they can pursue their love for each other without destroying themselves or the circus.
Is it any good?
THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a rich, dreamy tale of theatrical enchantment and thwarted love. Erin Morgenstern writes with grace and flair and walks the fine line between the lyrical and the precious. After a while, the nebulous nature of the illusionists' challenge puts a drag on the narrative, but all the elements come together beautifully at the book's climax. The Night Circus is reminiscent of the best of Ray Bradbury, though without his darkest edge.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how circuses provided entertainment to large groups of people before the invention of motion pictures or television. How do modern audiences respond to circuses today? Do social media and amateur video make it easier or more difficult for circuses, magicians, and other performers?
The Night Circus is unusual that it never begins its performances before sundown. What is it that makes nighttime activities feel special?
A group of enthusiasts follows the circus from town to town. What kinds of popular artists attract such fans today? Is such devotion always healthy?
The illusionists feel conflicting responsibilities to themselves and the circus itself. How do people today balance their various responsibilities?
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