Micah has lived with Grandpa Ephraim since his parents died – and that seems like forever. Now Grandpa Ephraim is dying, and his grouchy sister, Great-Aunt Gertrudis, has taken control of their home. She even regulates the time Micah can spend with Grandpa Ephraim. She does not want him telling Micah any more stories about Circus Mirandus.

Grandpa Ephraim discovered the magical Circus Mirandus when he was a boy. Micah cannot imagine ever seeing it for himself, and Aunt Gertrudis would certainly not approve. Grandpa Ephraim has other plans. The Lightbender promised him a miracle all those years ago. Young Ephraim decided to hold it in reserve at the time, and now he intends to claim it. A summons brings the Circus to town. Micah is sure the Lightbender can save his grandfather. With his friend Jenny, Micah tries his best to convince the Lightbender to help before Grandpa Ephraim’s time is up.

Cassie Beasley’s first novel is a touching story about sacrifice, love and friendship. Micah is devoted to his grandfather, willing to help him at any cost to himself. This trait is clearly one he inherited from Grandpa Ephraim, who chooses to forego his own desires for the sake of others. Over the years, Grandpa Ephraim has instilled in Micah a sense of loyalty and understanding and the capacity to see the “magic” in even the seemingly most insignificant talents. Micah’s relationship with his grandfather enables him to appreciate Jenny, in spite of her apparent shortcomings. It also gives him the courage to face unforeseen challenges and disappointments.

Note to parents: Jenny lies to her parents in order to get out of her house and help Micah. While this is a small incident, parents may want to discuss it with young readers.

Jennifer Minicus is a teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.

Jennifer Minicus

Jennifer Minicus lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. A former French, Latin and mathematics teacher, Jennifer currently enjoys the responsibilities of a "domestic engineer", particularly making...