Cassie Beasley's first novel, Circus Mirandus, holds fond memories for me. I remember reading it to my class in September of 2015. It was our first read aloud. The reading of it was a complete hit and some of those students still talk with me about the story. When I learned that Cassie had written a new story I was excited. I was even more excited when I had the chance to meet her in person and get an autographed copy of an ARC. This occurred at ALA in Chicago. She has done it again and created a beautiful "magical" story.
What It Is About: Tumble & Blue are about to begin a "magical" summer. Blue has been "dropped" off by his race car father to spend the summer with an usual crew of relatives. Tumble and her parents have just moved into a new home next door. She isn't sure why they have relocated, but is determined to find out. Blue feels like he is a "loser" and can't win at anything he tries. He is confused by why he has been left with his grandmother and can't be with his dad. Tumble has made it her goal to be a hero and help people that she meets. The problem is, she doesn't have much luck when it comes to helping others. When Tumble and Blue meet each other, they know there is something special between each of them and their families. Tumble sets out to help Blue overcome his path of losing at things. While the two friends navigate their summer they uncover a mystery that involves both family histories and an underwater creature named "Munch".
What I Thought Of It: I always have a sense of "hesitation" when I'm going to read the SECOND novel from an author whose first book has such a special place in my heart. That was the case with Circus Mirandus. All the positive hype was well deserved. This story did not disappoint. What I appreciated most was how different this story was from Cassie's first one. While reading I could not compare the two stories which helped me enjoy the new story of Tumble & Blue. I loved the many lessons that surrounded these two amazing characters. Each of these children were searching for something important and it was incredible to follow them on their journey. Cassie's writing is so strong and draws you into the middle of all the action. The "magical" elements were spot on and brought the story to another level.
Who Should Read It: Some readers didn't think Circus Mirandus would work with fourth graders. I went ahead and shared with my class and they LOVED it. I feel the same way about this story. In my opinion it could be used with children in grades four, five, and six. Of course the book definitely needs to be in middle-school libraries. The story would make for a strong and beautiful read aloud in the upper elementary grades. I would also put it in the hands of strong independent readers in grades four and up. I know I will use the book in some capacity during the upcoming school year. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars