Tuesday, September 24, 2019

8 Books to Read If You Loved Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley [Contributor: Megan Mann]

Over the last few years, I have walked by the middle grade section in numerous libraries and bookstores and stared down Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley. I said, each and every time, that I would pick it up the next time and would finally read it. Of course, it took until this year to do so, but it was well worth the wait!

The story follows Micah as he navigates the end of his beloved grandfather Ephraim’s life. All of Micah’s life, his grandfather told him stories, grand and small, but his favorite stories were of Circus Mirandus: a circus that was made of pure magic. He learned of The Man Who Bends Light and the miracle that this person promised his grandfather many moons ago. After Ephraim falls gravely ill, despite what his cruel Aunt Gertrudis and his disbelieving friend Jenny Mendoza says, Micah writes to the Man Who Bends Light and begs him to make good on the miracle. 

What ensues is an adventure every child dreams of having with a magical circus. As Micah seeks out the truth about Circus Mirandus, he sees that life truly is filled with magic. But sometimes, that magic isn’t spells and illusions; some of that magic is the love we share with one another. As the book comes to a close, we learn that Micah is going to follow the circus. 

And there’s a sequel to this book on its way! On October 1, 2019, The Bootlace Magician will hit shelves and let us eager readers know exactly what awaits Micah and the Circus Mirandus.

If you’re unable to wait that long once you’re finished with the first delicious installment, here are a few books that are similar in theme to sustain you! 

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Kyle learns that world famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed his town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock in. He knows he has to be there. However, the real game isn’t played until it’s time to get out of the library. In a romp through the history of literature and decoding the Dewey Decimal System, Kyle and the other kids have to solve puzzles in order to find themselves on the other side of the library doors. 

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

A classic, of course, but Willy Wonka created a world full of pure imagination. The story worked on a specific sort of magic that has mesmerized audiences for decades. Charlie Bucket finds himself destitute and dreaming of a better life: one where he can have Wonka candy whenever he wants. When the Wonka Factory announces its golden ticket contest, Charlie keeps hope alive to participate. When he finds that last golden ticket and enters that factory of delicacies and delights, his world completely changes.

The Candymaker by Wendy Mass

It’s every kids dream, like Charlie Bucket’s, to have an endless supply of candy. But four kids’ dreams are about to come true when they learn they’ve been selected to compete in a national candy-making contest. Logan, Miles, Daisy, and Philip each tell their own unique perspective of a story that is filled with mystery, intrigue, and delicious revelations. Who will make a candy more delicious than ever before? Who will crack under the pressure?

The Book Scavenger series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

This fast-paced adventure follows friends Emily and James as they play the game of Emily’s literary idol, Garrison Griswold. He created Book Scavenger, a game that’s played around the world. The object of the game is to solve puzzles and follow the clues to hidden books. When Emily learns that Griswold has had an accident leaving him in a coma just before his latest game is launched, Emily and James find an odd book that they believe is the new game itself. As they race against the clock, they wonder if the same people wo attacked Griswold are after them as well. Will they beat the clock and finish the game?

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt

Bingo and J’miah are your average brothers, except for the fact that they are also raccoons. And they’re now the newest Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp. This high honor to serve the Sugar Man is also a huge responsibility for the brothers; they have to relay all of the important information to the rest of the swamp in a swift manner. When they learn that the swamp is about to be turned into an Alligator Wrestling Arena and Theme Park, they know they have to wake the Sugar Man. Don’t worry. He’s only been asleep for a few decades. Can they do it? Can they save the swamp?

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Felicity arrives in Midnight Gulch, a town that used to be consumed by magic but was cursed and is now just as ordinary as any town. But Felicity can see words everywhere and Midnight Gulch is the first place she’d ever seen the word “home.” Does this mean that her luck is about to change? In an effort to keep that word floating around her, Felicity will do anything to bring back the magic to Midnight Gulch. Can she lift the curse of the town and of her mother’s wandering heart? Can Midnight Gulch finally be home?

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

Theo does not want to be in Destiny, Florida with an uncle he hardly knows. But due to circumstances beyond his control, that’s where Theo finds himself. Luckily, he’s managed to find solace in Miss Sister’s Boarding House and Dance School where the piano calls him. He loves playing but when he meets Anabel, a baseball enthusiast, the two find themselves on an adventure to uncover the mystery of the town’s connection to former baseball players who may have lived in Destiny years before. It’s melodic prose will have you excited for the adventure, but staying for the heart.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Much like Micah’s friend Jenny in Circus Mirandus, Ophelia hardly believes in anything that can’t be proven with scientific fact. After her mother passes, her father moves her and her sister to a snowy town for a job in a museum. Ophelia comes upon a boy locked in a long-forgotten room. He claims to be a prisoner of the Snow Queen and is in desperate need of Ophelia’s help. But will Ophelia be able to suspend her belief and go against everything she knows in order to save him? It’s an elaborate story-within-a-story that is sure to charm many readers. (Including this reader because I loved it.)

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley is available now with the sequel, The Bootlace Magician, following on October 1. 


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