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Circus Mirandus #1

Circus Mirandus

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Do you believe in magic?

Micah Tuttle does.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn't want to keep his promise. And now it's up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

292 pages, Hardcover

First published June 1, 2015

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About the author

Cassie Beasley

6 books461 followers
Author of Circus Mirandus, Tumble & Blue, and The Bootlace Magician .

Hi there! And thanks for reading!

Exciting news:

The Bootlace Magician is coming on October 1! I'm so, so, so happy about this story. It's the sequel to Circus Mirandus, and I feel like this one is for readers who finished that book and thought, "Okay, I'm ready for more of the circus, more of Micah learning about his talent, and lots more magic."

Of course I love all of my stories, but I think Bootlace is the book that best matches my tastes as a reader. I always want to see behind the scenes of a magical world. This story was my chance to give readers a backstage pass to the circus and let people discover the nooks and crannies that I couldn't show the first time around.

And Micah's coming into his own as a magician in this book. He's dealing with all sorts of new challenges, including the return of his long-lost grandmother. The Bird Woman is back, and she's more dangerous than ever.

I had a lot of fun with this one, and I hope you will, too! October 1 is right around the corner, and you can pre-order the book now just about everywhere.

Feel free to friend, follow, or message me! It may take a while, but I try to get back in touch with everyone. (And if I'm too slow to respond on Goodreads, you can also say hello on TWITTER or on INSTAGRAM.)

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5 stars
3,925 (38%)
4 stars
3,863 (38%)
3 stars
1,805 (17%)
2 stars
374 (3%)
1 star
167 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,754 reviews
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 259 books409k followers
December 28, 2015
Micah Tuttle's grandfather has a secret. When he was a child, he visited a magical circus, the Circus Mirandus, which changed his life forever. There he met a magician who promised him a miracle -- a miracle that has yet to be collected.

Ever since Micah's parents died, he has been raised by his grandfather Ephraim, and Micah lives for stories about the Circus Mirandus, even though his sour Aunt Gertrudis insists these stories are dangerous nonsense. Now Ephraim is dying, and he calls in his magical favor from The Man Who Bends Light. Soon Micah and his friend Jenny are plunged into a world where parrots deliver messages, elephants solve calculus problems, magic is real and illusion is more powerful than reality.

Circus Mirandus is a fabulous read for elementary-aged kids who like fantasy. It is full of fresh wonders, gentle humor and sympathetic characters. Like Hogwarts of Harry Potter, the Circus Mirandus is a place you will immediately want to explore and possibly take up residence in -- a fabulous creation with surprises in every tent. I finished the book in two nights, and was excited that the author seemed to leave things open for a sequel. If so, I have my ticket ready for a second trip!
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,633 reviews251 followers
August 19, 2015
I sat on this review for almost an entire week half scared to write it because almost every person I know who's read this book has raved about it. Talk about being on the outside of a popular opinion. True, due to all those five star rave reviews and Newbery buzz, I went into this with some pretty high expectations.

As I began reading Circus Mirandus, I mostly just felt underwhelmed. It is an intriguing concept, but nothing about the way it was presented gripped me. The writing is adequate but nothing to get super excited about. I was perplexed because I read so much MG fantasy and so much of it is executed far better than this. I was perplexed because there are so many really great 2015 books that this doesn't come close to touching in terms of excellence. Why the Newbery buzz?

For about 1/3 of the book I thought this was going to be a relatively enjoyable but mostly forgettable 3 star read.

Then I started to get annoyed.

I'm a character reader. When I read a book, I want to believe the characters are real. Real people. Making real decisions. That make sense in terms of who they are. If a character does something that makes sense for plot purposes, but doesn't fit who they've been presented as a person, then I start to get annoyed. If it happens over and over again with every character in the book, the book's lost me. Beasley had a very particular story she wanted to tell, and her characters are props. I think this can sometimes be an intentional commentary in a book, but it's not here. It's just poor character development. Micah is an empty vessel into which the reader can insert himself/herself. All the supporting characters are shallow stereotypes who only briefly break from their assigned niches when the plot requires moving forward. I also had a major issue with how the book divided characters into "good" and "bad". (Those weren't the terms used, but it's what it boiled down to.) And if you're already in the "bad" camp there is no hope for your redemption. I actually really enjoy when MG authors present darker themes and characters in their books. Are there people who are mean and cruel who do terrible things to people they should care about? Yes. Are there people who hold on to grudges and never change? Again, yes. But the way all of that was presented in this, the way it was tied to the plot and the magic, really rubbed me the wrong way. It all felt so forced. (Particularly given that I think we were meant to like Micah's grandfather and see him as a secondary hero, but nope nope nope. That guy was not awesome. Are people sometimes thought of as heroes or sympathetic who don't deserve it? Yes. But again, this book isn't commenting on that. We're really supposed to root for this guy. NO.)

By the end of the book I was infuriated. The flat characters and their forced actions which ended in the conclusion all of that comes to left me wanting to hurl the book into the pool I was sitting next to. (I refrained. It was a library book.) It made me really confused about the why of it all too. What is Beasley trying to say with her symbolism combined with this forced characterization? What it the thematic purpose here? It was all too frustrating for me.
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,028 reviews374 followers
January 23, 2020
O Milagre Prometido

No Circus Mirandus

— um bilhete cordel dá para duas horas mas se fôr um peixe prateado já dá para uma semana.

— há um Sábio Dobrador de Luz que faz Milagres e tem uma papagaia mensageira que adora biscoitos de limão e emite um som malcriado predilecto - ronco simultâneo com fungadela.

— há um tigre invisível a guardar os portões, elefantes Einstein capazes de cálculos geniais e uma linda mulher pássaro que até voa e tudo!

No Circus Mirandus há Magia e ... um Milagre Prometido!...

Imaginação e muito carinho são os ingredientes base desta linda história de encantar. 🥰
É um 4 com uma fila de ‘+’ 👍
Profile Image for Gypsy.
407 reviews527 followers
August 7, 2017
سیرک میراندا رو با هزار شوق و ذوق خواهرمو مجبور کردم بخره( بله، پولای خودم تموم شده بود زورم به بچه رسیده بود. :/ ) و با ولع شروعش کردم. شروعش خیلی عالیه. فضای داستانو خیلی دوست داشتم. ولی نویسنده اصلاً از پس بستنِ داستانش برنمی‌آد به نظرم. یه همچون سیرکی با اون گذشته- بسیار بسیار از جریان ویکتوریا خوشم اومد، نقطه‌عطف داستان بود و می‌شد خیلی حوادث دیگه هم بهش ربط داد- خیلی کودکانه، در واقع زیادی کودکانه رها شد. این‌قد ما درگیر سلامتی پدر میکا شدیم که سیرک اصلاً دیگه جذابیت نداشت. لایت‌بندر و آقای هد، عجب کاراکترهایی. و حیف این کاراکترها که این‌قد به حاشیه برده شدن، در حالی‌که خیلی می‌شد روشون کار کرد. به خصوص آقای هد، خیلی ماهیت سایه‌گون و مبهمی داشت.

فلسفه‌ی ��یرک میراندا خیلی لذت‌بخش بود؛ اینکه سعی می‌کنن جادو رو توی دنیا زنده نگه دارن، هرچقدرم که افراد کمی فقط بتونن قبولش کنن. چیتسی- اگه اسمشو درست نوشته باشم، همون طوطیه، خیلی بامزه بود یا بی بی، کلاً خیلی می‌شد روی خودِ سیرک کار کرد. وقتی اسم کتاب" سیرک میراندا"ست، آدم انتظار نداره با درگیری مداوم شخصیت با دنیای واقعی سروکار داشته باشه. فکر می‌کنی مسئله سیرکه. ولی سیرک جز توی پایان، محور اصلی قرار نگرفت.

بعد عمه گروترس.( وای خدا من با املای اینا خیلی مشکل دارم) وقتی فهمیدیم در گذشته ویکتوریا چه گندهایی به زندگی‌شون زده، رفتارهاش خیلی قابل درک شد و دیگه شخصیت نفرت‌انگیزی به نظر نمی‌رسید. اما نمی‌فهمیدم چرا این‌قد به خودِ پدربزرگه بی‌توجهه. اگه واقعاً واسه اون اومده بود خونه‌شون، چرا این‌قد با بیزاری رفتار می‌کرد؟ ینی دلبستگی‌ای بین این و داداشش نمی‌دیدی. انگار از سر وظیفه انجام می‌داد. راستش من همه‌ش فکر می‌کردم عمه گروترس یه جادوی خبیثی چیزی داره که این‌طوری شده و انتظار داشتم توجیه بشه چرا این‌قد با میکا و پدربزرگه بده. آخه جریان پرت کردنشم به خاطر اینکه ویکتوریا مجبور بشه بگیرتش، نصفه ول شد. دلیل کافی واسه نفرتش از سیرک و جادو بود. اما واسه رفتاراش با میکا و بابابزرگه، نه.

خیلی دلم می‌خواست امتیاز بالایی بهش بدم. اما الآن خیلی بین دو و سه موندم. برا من دوئه. ولی می‌خوام به چشم یه کتاب کودک نگاهش کنم و می‌بینم بازم خیلی نمی‌تونه سه باشه. سیرک میراندا با توجه به پایان‌بندی‌ش، می‌تونه مقدمه‌ی یه مجموعه باشه تا تو جلدهای بعد بیشتر متوجه‌ی " سیرک" بشیم. به نظرم خیلی فضای رنگارنگ و جون‌داری داشت که نویسنده درست ازش استفاده نکرده بود. فقط انگار فکر کرده بود خب، بچه‌ها سیرک دوست دارن. یه داستانِ سیرک‌دار بنویسم. :همر: من حتی فکر می‌کردم اینکه اسمش میراندائه، یه جریان خاصی داره. ولی حتی نفهمیدم چرا اسمش میراندائه. ینی سیرک هر اسم دیگه‌ای می‌تونست داشته باشه. چرا میراندا؟

یه سری فلش بک تو داستان بود که خیلی خوب بودن. اگه اونا بیشتر می‌شدن دیگه لزومی هم نداشت به جلدهای بعد فکر کنیم. فلش بکی که به جریان ویکتوریا زد و خرابکاری‌ای که کرد، و اونجایی که لایت بندر قدرتشو ازش گرفت، خیلی خیلی فوق‌العاده بود( تازه اصلاً من نفهمیدم لایت بندر که " مردی که نور را خم می‌کرد" بود، چطور تونست قدرت ویکتوریا رو بگیره؟! اگه باور ویکتوریا باعث شده بود جادوی پرواز داشته باشه، بعد ازون فاجعه هم که باورشو داشت. لایت بندر باورشو ازش نگرفت، جادو رو گرفت و بعد گفت رفیق، تو اشتباه ملتفت شدی. جادو مال تو نبود، مال باورت بود. :/ ) و واقعاً ناراحت شدم یه همچین چیزی فقط یه فصل از داستان بود. من دلم می‌خواست درباره‌ی لایت بندر و آقای هد خیلی بیشتر بدونم. مثلاً یادمه چیتسی می‌گفت لایت بندر، اسمیه که خودش روش گذاشته. و یه جوری گفت انگار قبلاً چیز دیگه‌ای بوده. دلم می‌خواست بدونم چی بوده. شخصیت‌ها خیلی توی این داستان حیف شدن.

+ میکا؟! آخه میکا؟! مشکل از منه یا شما هم فکر می‌کنین میکا اسم دختره؟ :/ یه چل صفحه اینایی خونده بودم فکر کنم که یه جا دیدم گفته پسر! من تا اون موقع فکر می‌کردم دختره! جدا از اسم، اصن رفتارهاشم به پسرها نمی‌خورد! میکا دختر بود! :/
Profile Image for Abdollah zarei.
175 reviews58 followers
June 6, 2017
به عنوان یه کار کودک و نوجوان 4 می دم بهش
Profile Image for Andria.
88 reviews5 followers
April 18, 2015
I read this lovely (and moving) (and funny) book aloud to my boys. I'd often want to sit back and savor a perfect turn of phrase. Then a page later, my boys would be giggling at a description or a bit of dialogue. There were some tears shed (by all of us), but when we finished, my boys said, "I hope there's a sequel!" Thank you, dearest Cassie, for this book. We're all impatiently waiting your next.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews9,000 followers
November 25, 2015
This was a cute little story with some neat fantasy sequences. Nothing too exciting and it didn't blow me away, but I did enjoy escaping to the circus for awhile.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews623 followers
June 4, 2015
"Circus Mirandus", by Cassie Beasley, is a children's book - appropriate for ages 9-12.

Micha Tutte, 10 years old, lives with his Grandpa Ephraim. Micah's parents died when he was 4 years old. He has been growing up hearing Grandpa's magical Circus Mirandus stories
and absolutely loves them.

When Micha's Grandpa gets sick- his Aunt Gertrudis (grandpa's sister), comes to live
with them. Micha was hoping she would be as much fun as his Grandpa. She wasn't.
Micha thought she was as bitter like the black tea she made daily.... for him to drink with no sugar.
Aunt Gertrudis keeps trying to keep Micah out of Grandpa's room. She doesn't want him to annoy a sick man. She also doesn't want grandpa to feed silly stories in the child's head.

Grandpa and Micha work around Aunt Gertrudis. Grandpa tells Micha he has
"Something Spectacular", to tell him. "Something Magical".
He hands a letter to Micha which he is to deliver to a "Real Magician". The real magician had
made a promise to Grandpa many years ago...( when he was a boy)...
and he had not collected on his promise yet. He is ready to receive 'the promise'...,
which was "A Miracle".
Micah sets out to find the miracle

This story is charming, and touching. Immediately the reader falls in love with Micah and
Grandpa. This is exactly the type of story my own daughters would not only have
cherished at age 9... but today, too, ages 29, and 34.

Me Too! I love it!

Thank you to penguin publishing company, Netgalley, and the author! Just adorable storytelling!
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,164 reviews639 followers
September 19, 2015
Magical and enchanting.

A perfect adventure for any young reader looking to explore the world of magic and the possibilities of miracles.

Circus Mirandus is in the business of nurturing magic in the world. It is an inspirer of children that is overflowing with magical animals and performers. Entry into the circus is a special ticket that only works if you believe in magic. Micah Tuttle has grown up believing in Circus Mirandus. He’s lived with his Grandpa Ephraim since he was four years old and was raised hearing about this wonderful place. Now at the age of ten, Micah goes in search of Circus Mirandus hoping to find the Lightbender in a last ditch effort to have him save his dying grandfather.

With his new friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, they journey through adventures that only those who believe in magic and miracles can see. However, when the Lightbender is unable to grant his promise to fulfil a miracle for Micah’s grandfather, everything he believes in begins to crumble.

Circus Mirandus is a wonderful story that is full of surprises and overflowing with enchantment. If you consider the target audience for this book is children between the ages of 9 and 11, you’ll easily fall into this magical and inspiring story. There were moments when the journey seemed aimless at times, but it was always entertaining.

Filled with a diverse cast of characters, I truly enjoyed Cassie Beasley’s story. It was nothing like I expected, which is always a pleasant surprise. Circus Mirandus is the perfect novel for any young reader hoping to travel through magical adventures that are easy to imagine and believe.
Profile Image for Jonas.
194 reviews13 followers
September 23, 2017
Not at all what I expected and SO worth the read. They book is an ode to the relationship between a boy, Micah, and his dying grandfather. Both have a special talent with knot tying. I found the use of knots, as a metaphor and part of the plot, very interesting. Part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and part Harry Potter. The heart of the story is keeping your inner child/belief in magic alive. Grandfather Ephram has lived his life that way and has instilled the belief in Micah through beloved stories of his time at Circus Mirandus. As a boy, Ephram was promised a miracle from a magician, but decided to wait until he needed it. The time has come. Micah must find the circus from his grandfather's stories and convince the magician to save his grandfather's life/grant his dying wish by fulfilling the promised miracle. A beautiful story of friendship, hope, and the wonders of magic.
Profile Image for Dov Zeller.
Author 2 books108 followers
December 28, 2015
Micah Tuttle lives with his wheezing, dying, loving and magical grandfather, Ephraim. Ephraim is magical in two senses of the word. He is both an adult with the playful, mischievous spirit often associated with childhood, and he is someone who has magical talents that, had they been nurtured when he was younger, could have led him to the life of a full-fledged magical practitioner. Instead, he worked a steady unmagical gig and raised a son (there is more to this story), and after Micah's parents died when Micah was four years old, he raised Micah, too.

Here's one version of the Circus Mirandus story Ephraim tells his grandson: Ephraim grew up during wartime (World War I?) and with his father off to war, and unable to focus on school, he spent his days on the beach. One day, he was at the beach, standing in the water, and Circus Mirandus, a magical circus, called to him him, and he followed the invitation all the way to the big top, with a fish in his shoe that turned out to be the ticket needed to get in.

Micah has been hearing Grandpa's Circus Mirandus stories all his life, and they are a big part of their relationship, and a big part of Micah's life and belief system. When Ephraim gets sick, he cashes in on an old miracle owed to him by one of the circus people, The Bender of Light, (more to this story, too), and the circus comes to town. Micah finally gets to go to Circus Mirandus. But what he wants from the Bender of Light is not what the Bender of Light has to give.

Meanwhile, Micah's evil Aunt Gertrudis (Ephraim's sister), comes to help take care of Micah and Ephraim when Ephraim gets sick, and she's an ogre worthy of a fairy tale house in the wood. The sad thing is, her behavior is not inconceivable in the least. It is over-the-top fairy-tale cruelty that is also mundane. I can think of so many people who cause a world of harm to people in their care trying to control their personality and behavior to extremes. And this is not love. This is abuse. So, to some degree, this is the story of a child trapped with an abusive caretaker; a Cinderella story in which Micah is Cinderella and Gertrudis is the evil step-mother and the evil step-sisters all rolled up in one. I am sure a lot of kids relate to the fabular quality of the tale and also to Micah's relative helplessness throughout much of it, as his grandfather is dying and Aunt Gertrudis is trying to keep Micah from spending time with him, trying to sever their connection and blot out their stories.

Then there is the best friend, Jennifer. She is playing a kind of generic best friend role and doesn't feel central to the story. I think the book might be better if she were cut out completely or given more of a role, but all in all the book is good and well-edited and doesn't say too much and doesn't say too little. It still has that feeling of a YA book that I appreciate at times and at times find myself bored and frustrated with. That feeling of the well-crafted book, the story well-told, that doesn't have much depth and that is offering up the same old lessons. Sometimes reading one YA book is reading a thousand. And maybe that's just true of stories in general, but I feel it more when I read YA, all the cookie-cutter stuff. That said, I was worried the whole way through that the ending of the book would be disappointing in a certain way, and it wasn't. I don't know that it wowed me, but it was fine. I will not say more, because I don't want to get too spoilerific.

I am between 3 and 4 stars on this one.

Profile Image for Jeff Raymond.
3,092 reviews182 followers
August 23, 2015
Closer to a 3.5.

Sometimes comparisons for books can be a bit of a death knell right from the start. At a conference I was at recently, this book was quickly one of the more popular options both for the excellent cover treatment and the very obvious comparison to being The Night Circus for kids. The Night Circus was a truly wonderful read, and while Circus Mirandus is solid in its own right, the comparison is only sort of apt.

At its base, the tale is about a magical circus that a child's grandfather speaks of. All sorts of wild and wonderful things happen there, and the master of ceremonies still owes the grandfather a miracle to boot. The kid seeks out to find the circus and get some answers as a result.

For kids, this will be a fun and interesting fantasy, especially for those into circuses and magic. Adult readers of middle grade will probably find the tale lacking a bit, but some of the magic and mystery really works out well. That the comparison to Night Circus exists is ultimately the problem, as the expectations that are set up here just cannot be met in this instance.
Profile Image for Barb Middleton.
1,760 reviews125 followers
January 10, 2020
This book is like a slow boiling pot of noodles. I'm always impatient for the quiet pool of water to heat up. I forget about it and then suddenly boiling water is rushing unexpectedly to the top, steam hissing as it touches the dry sides of the metal pan before spilling over the edge onto the burner. "Circus Mirandus" simmers at the start with the nasty Aunt Gertrudis that cruelly manipulates her nephew, fifth grader Micah, from seeing his dying grandfather. The story erupts at the end with oodles of action as Micah matures into a young man willing to take risks and find happiness in whatever situation life gives him. The writing has beautiful figurative language that had me writing down favorite lines and themes that spilleth over like my pasta pot - although I found it hard to latch onto one. Good book. Thought-provoking. Just hard for me to write about in a cohesive manner. My fragmented sentences truly reflect my thoughts on this one.

Micah Tuttle has heard his Grandfather Ephraim's "Circus Mirandus" stories all his life who describes a magical circus he was able to visit as a boy. Micah's grandpa is dying and Micah needs a miracle to save his life. Micah knows that the Lightbender, the circus's greatest magician, promised Ephraim a miracle as a young boy that he never used. Micah wants Ephraim to use that miracle now for a cure so he doesn't die and Micah will have to live with the unimaginative and mean-spirited Aunt Gertrudis. Grandpa Ephraim cashes in his "ticket" for a miracle and Micah goes to the circus trying to figure out the miracle. He discovers magic in illusions that give him hope when things look bleak. Micah makes friends with Jenny, a girl in his class that doesn't believe in magic but science. She's a loyal friend and grounds Micah in reality as he gets lost in the world of magic.

Illusion in Circus Mirandus is supposed to inspire hope and goodwill in children who represent the future. Not everyone understands the power of illusion. Aunt Gertrudis felt deceived by the world of illusion as she never got to see Circus Mirandus. Victoria believes that magic is power and should be spent on oneself and not children. She uses magic for the wrong reasons. Micah and his Grandpa believe in the good and joy that magic brings to their lives. The Lightbender is the master of illusion and a metaphor for storytelling.

Micah and Ephraim tell the Lightbender that he has "changed" them. Storytelling in its own right is a form of illusion with the goal of changing the reader. Readers must be able to enter another world and identify with the characters. In that alternate make-believe world they can interpret what is happening in the plot, apply it to themselves and develop new understandings of themselves in a complex world. In this case, Micah is dealing with death and the choices he makes in life. He realizes that he can't control the adults around him, but he can control his attitude and beliefs. Storytelling is passed from generation to generation and as Ephraim passes his stories on to Micah the tradition and history of this craft is highlighted. Stories as a form of entertainment, socialization, ethics, and education can be found in every culture from ancient times (i.e. Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Vedas, Shijing) to the present.

The friendship between Jenny and Micah reveals the complexity of relationships from acquaintances to interpersonal bonding. Jenny is skeptical of magic and at times embarrasses Micah with her lack of understanding when she meets others from the circus. She's not sensitive to what she is saying and only realizes something is up because Micah seems upset. But Micah doesn't abandon their friendship because of a fight. She helps settle him down during emotional moments and gives sound advice at critical moments. Micah knows this and reminds himself of her strengths when he feels let down or angry with her. The two disagree but they are respectful of each others opinions.

Aunt Gertrudis is an archetype like Dicken's Scrooge or more accurately Roald Dahl's Aunt Spiker. She is wicked and more of a caricature that represents human qualities than a three-dimensional character. I understand that hyperboles are a good way to to point out the details of characters, but it doesn't work for me if the character is cliched or stereotyped. Aunt Gertrudis is neither, but she was plain ole frustrating with her lack of compassion and use of authority to keep Micah from seeing his grandpa. I thought the plot's action got slightly repetitive as she kept preventing him from seeing his grandpa.

Aunt Gertrudis' description is delicious: "On the inside, Aunt Gertrudis was probably cough syrup. She wore her dust-colored hair twisted into a bun so tight it almost pulled her wrinkled skin smooth, and she starched her shirts until the collars were stiff enough to cut. She made black tea every day in a bright steel kettle. The tea was scalding and bitter, a lot like her, and she wouldn't let Micah add sugar because she said bad teeth ran in the family."

Now compare the above description to Aunt Spiker in Roald Dahl's book. "Aunt Sponge was enormously fat and very short. She had small piggy eyes, a sunken mouth and one of those white flabby faces that looked exactly as though it had been boiled. She was like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage. Aunt Spiker, on the other hand, was lean and tall and bony, and she wore steel-rimmed spectacles that fixed on to the end of her nose with a clip. She had a screeching voice and long wet narrow lips, and whenever she got angry or excited, little flecks of spit would come shooting out of her mouth as she talked. And there they sat, these two ghastly hags, sipping their drinks, and every now and again screaming at James to chop faster and faster. They also talked about themselves, each one saying how beautiful she thought she was."

Grandpa Ephraim explains to Micah that if you hold on too hard to something you break it. When something becomes too important in life such as magic, money, power, fame, it leads to self-centered choices that are distorted in reality. Victoria thought she was so important and special that she murdered animals to prove a point and didn't see anything wrong with it. For her, the future did not exist in the children she brought happiness to but existed in satisfying her own needs and wallowing in her magical powers. She desires to be special, to stand out. Like Aunt Gertrudis she is an archetype villain whose perspective is distorted in the quest for power.

Circus Mirandus nutures magic. But magic is what is inside of people. For Micah, magic is in the knots he can tie that reflect the complexity of others. For Jenny, magic is in her friendship to Micah and ability to be open to new ideas. Magic for the Lightbender is to create fantastic illusions that give hope in the impossible. Magic is the part of a person that is too big to keep to himself or herself and must be given to others in order for a person to reach his or her potential. Magic is a metaphor for giving to others. Individual talents are not for personal gain but used to nuture and share with others. Like I said, I had a hard time pulling out one strong overall theme that the character development points back to. I think its magic. In the end, I feel more like Big Anthony who loses control of his pasta pot. Perhaps someone else can take my mishmash and make sense out of it. I'm done drudging through my thoughts and I'm hungry for spaghetti.
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews64 followers
June 25, 2015
I suspected I would like CIRCUS MIRANDUS from the moment I picked it up. Magical circuses are hard to resist, after all. And it's such a beautiful book - the stepback image of two children inside a flying woman and a parrot and a white tiger is lovely. I was delighted that it is an accurate promise of what was inside. The child inside me adores an accurate cover.

Micah Tuttle is in fifth grade and still believes in magic. His grandfather, who he lives with, has told him about the Circus Mirandus his whole life, and how the Lightbender owes him a miracle. Micah knows just want his Grandpa Ephraim should ask for: a cure for the disease that's killing him. He believes that is why his Grandpa Ephraim has finally sent a message to the Lightbender. But the circus will be everything Micah imagined while still being quite different.

Debut author Cassie Beasley exerts an admirable amount of control over her story. It weaves back and forth, telling of Grandpa Ephraim's encounter with the Circus Mirandus and the story of the Amazonian Bird Woman while also moving along the present day story of Micah and his best friend Jenny Mendoza. There are many stories layered on top of each other, but I never felt lost.

The magic did falter for me at one point. I realized that the realistic and the fantastical villains were both women. At the same time I was realizing that, Jenny was embarrassing herself with her refusal to believe in magic. Now, Aunt Gertrudis did become more understandable to me as more of her story was revealed, but both she and the Amazonian Bird Woman were rather stock villains in an otherwise wondrous story. Jenny, however, is a great character. I liked how her and Micah's friendship developed, and that they both taught each other to see a new perspective.

CIRCUS MIRANDUS is yet another story about believing in magic, being good to others, and taking a chance for what you believe in. And it works, because it does it all beautifully. Come and be entertained by a magical circus like no other. Beasley's debut is a middle grade story that all ages can enjoy.
Profile Image for Linda .
3,780 reviews43 followers
July 24, 2015
It's a marvelous story, ended way too soon. "You never need an invitation to go home." After the awesome twitter chat with lots of good people excited about this book, I want to share my excitement too. The story is magical, will please so many kids who are in the midst of non-belief, maybe holding on to some magic from early childhood. Magical realism is what many call this kind of story, but there is a time when special relationships can hold magic, like this one between Grandpa Ephraim and the main character, Micah. Micah's parents are no longer there, so Grandpa is the caregiver, telling Micah fantastic stories of the Circus Mirandus,
At one point Micah says: "Grandpa Ephraim was always saying things that sounded so important Micah wanted to wrap them up in boxes and keep them forever." And one of those things from Grandpa is "Sometimes we need to let go so that other people can have their chance at the magic." It's foretelling, but also shows the love in the relationship. For a while, the tension in the house grows with Grandpa ill and Aunt Gertrudis coming to care for him, adding her bitter ways. Jenny, Micah's new friend, helps calm some of it, and receives her own reward through her willingness to believe Micah's stories. If I've mixed you up, it's because there is so much good in reading this book, and I want you to read and figure out your own life's magic.
Profile Image for Samantha.
1,767 reviews96 followers
April 4, 2020
Sweet, imaginative, and transporting...I loved it.

This was a delightful, magical tale that is kid appropriate but boast enough smarts and humor that it can be appreciated by an adult audience.

Micah and the rest of this wonderful cast of characters are just real enough to be relatable, and just magical enough to be aspirational.

Cassie Beasley has created a world where a touch of magic intersects with our own reality, demonstrating the power of the ordinary. Even a bootlace can be extraordinary, much like any “ordinary” boy or girl.

This book was just the lift that I needed right now. Five very enthusiastic stars. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
1 review2 followers
July 8, 2015
Beautifully written with the reader obviously in mind. A tale about coping, magic and following your heart. The ending so full of future, as if the story continues within me with ease. I want to live at Circus Mirandus now having experienced it. Thank you Cassie Beasley for this delightfully emotional journey.
Profile Image for Mary Lee.
3,008 reviews55 followers
June 17, 2015
So happy to have had a rainy summer morning and a comfy couch and a book that wouldn't let go of me, even when the tears were rolling down my cheeks and into my ears.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,524 reviews57 followers
October 13, 2019
I read Circus Mirandus with my son, and he loved it. He shared it with his class, and the teacher purchased a classroom library copy. Great magical story for middle readers!
Profile Image for Leanne C.
101 reviews
March 27, 2020
If you had asked me, around page 85, what I had thought of the book so far - I would have said it was okay. The last half of the book, however, blew me away.
What I loved about this book:
1) A circus manager that looks a bit like Santa, "if Santa Claus had a buzz cut and sharp eyes and liked to wear his sleeves rolled up to show off his biceps."
2) A cheeky parrot named Chintzy who has a weakness for peanut butter crackers (that, strangely, sounded like Angela Lansbury in my head)
3) A smart friend, Jenny, that needs a little help believing in magic
4) An evil aunt, Gertrudis - she is oh so cruel, but I had nothing but sympathy for her after hearing her sad story. I am still pulling for her to "hear the music"
5) A Grandpa who believes that it "is good to be ridiculous and amazing."
6) Knot tying, and mangoes, and unicorns, and fairies and MAGIC
This book's timing was filled with connections and coincidences for me. With a chapter and half left in Circus Mirandus, my family and I went to the theatre to watch The Little Prince - Oh so many connections between the two! The themes of belief and remembering are both huge in these stories.
This was truly, the right book at the right time.

Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,833 reviews427 followers
June 29, 2022
Check out my blog to see Reviews of Book and Movies, and check out some Recipes!

I read this entire book today and it was delightfully wonderful.

Te characters were ones you could connect to. It is written for a younger audience in mind (middle grade), but thoroughly enjoyable for all ages.

If you have ever believed in magic the power of faith and never giving up on what you believe in, this book is for you.

Highly recommend this delightful journey. And the cover is freaking amazing! 5 Stars
Profile Image for Debbie Ohi.
Author 22 books209 followers
March 8, 2023
Finished this middle grade book on the weekend. It was one of those experiences where I was enjoying the book soooo much that I began reading slower when I got to the last few chapters because I DIDN'T WANT IT TO END. This would make a fantastic read aloud.

I loved everything about this book. EVERYTHING.

p.s. If you have a copy of the book, don't forget to look under the dust jacket!!!!
Profile Image for Liza Nahas.
422 reviews28 followers
July 21, 2015
This reminded me of what a kids version of The Night Circus might be. Loved the magical realism and the fact that one can only find the circus if one believes in magic. Great tale of the bond between grandparent & grandchild.
Profile Image for Lynn Roulstone.
33 reviews1 follower
May 31, 2015
I am amazed at the number of five star reviews, have people not read any good fantasy lately that they think this is top notch. I found it annoying in that the magic seemed to be shoe-horned into what could have potentially been a good story about a child having to face the death of his grandfather. As it was there was far too much telling and not enough showing, I couldn't get a handle on how the magic worked and the characters were on the whole flat and un-developed.
Despite all that I think there are children out there that will enjoy it, and I'd have no qualms in putting it on my library shelves
Profile Image for Darla.
3,520 reviews621 followers
January 14, 2019
For the story itself, I award four stars. Bronson Pinchot's narration adds an additional star for me. Really enjoyed listening to him bring this story and the characters to life. Micah and his grandfather are very special to Circus Mirandus as is this magical circus to them. When Grandpa (Ephraim) was a boy, the Lightbender at the circus awarded him a miracle. Now he is on his deathbed and the miracle remains unused. The beauty of this story is the tie that binds Micah (see what I did there?)and Ephraim and the reader benefits greatly from the richness there. Highly recommended in audio form!
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,074 reviews363 followers
January 14, 2021
You know that if there is a circus in town, I'll be there and if there is a circus book to be read, then it will be in my pile. Imagine my delight when I discovered this amazingly wonderful book, Circus Mirandus, that is filled from cover to cover with wonder, awe and magic.

Micah's grandfather has told him tales about Circus Mirandus all of his life. Part of the telling is that eventually the Circus will provide a much needed miracle. When the need and time for that miracle arrives, Micah, a pet parrot and his very pragmatic friend set off on their adventure. Part magical, part realism and all of the beauty of true fantasy that younger readers love so much, the author has provided a perfect balance between the fatastical and the miraculas where love and magic blends and balances together perfectly through this tale. Meant for "middle grades," I have no idea what that really means since this very mature adult loved the book, a good starting age might be around nine years old. There is a tad bit of darkness in parts of the book but what is a good book without both light and dark? If you don't select any other book for your tween this year, make sure that the one you do get is Circus Mirandus.
Profile Image for Maggie Carr.
1,032 reviews21 followers
March 20, 2022
Middle Grade. I have looked and looked to see if any other readers have compared this title to The Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis) series before posting my review. Not a single mention which really surprises me. While fantasy, chapter after chapter is full of biblical symbolism. The last line absolutely solidified it for me "It's never too late to return home."

Magic can be deemed so negative but as a parent we encourage it in my household. Building up leprechauns traps, celebrating tooth fairies & tooth pirates to capture the unseen. Long before becoming a parent I read that raising children to follow the Lord can start with a strong understanding of the unseen. Fantasy is the perfect place to do that.
Profile Image for Lili P.
117 reviews1 follower
September 1, 2020
This book was so fun! I was skeptical at first, I’ve always found circuses kinda weird, but this one was, well, magical!
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