cover image Finnigan the Circus Cat

Finnigan the Circus Cat

Mary T. Wagner. Waterhorse, $8.95 paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-692-67962-3

In a charming animal story, Wagner introduces Maximilian and his cousin Leroy, who are from a “long and honorable line of circus mice.” They live comfortably at the Farnsworth Circus Museum in Wisconsin, which has been closed since Old Man Farnsworth “went to the Big Top in the sky.” When some new Farnsworths move onto the museum grounds—parents Fred and Shirley, eight-year-old Lucy, brother Charlie, and toddler Donovan—Max and Leroy’s lives become much more complicated. Observing the family from the nooks and crannies of the museum, the mice learn that the Farnsworths, including their dog Boomer, are friendly. When Lucy secretly brings home a kitten that she hides in the barn (her father is allergic), the mice must determine whether the kitten is an ally or foe. Wagner comfortably navigates animal and human worlds that exist in parallel but rarely intersect. The b&w illustrations that open each chapter are on the rough side, but the evocative setting (filled with artifacts from the golden era of traveling circuses) lends this warm story notes of nostalgia. Ages 8–12. (BookLife)