cover image The Show Must Go On!

The Show Must Go On!

Kate Klise, illus. M. Sarah Klise. Algonquin Young Readers, $15.95 (160p) ISBN

Elderly Sir Sidney loves his circus, and he pampers his animals and performers, as well as the two mice and crow who are part of its extended family. When he decides to take some time off, he hires brash Barnabas Brambles, who promises to care for the circus with the same doting attention as Sir Sidney. As soon as the kindhearted owner leaves, though, Barnabas reveals his true plans, and they do not involve any doting; the top of his to-do list reads, “Make $$$ for me.” With a terrible meanie in charge (Barnabas intends to increase the number of shows, charge more, and sell beloved animals), things look grim, but the circus folk hold onto their humor in this sweetly nutty kickoff to the Klise sisters’ Three Ring Rascals series. Cartoon spot illustrations play up the comical mood—mice Bert and Gert deploy quips left and right, and the circus train spends a great deal of time atop the St. Louis Arch—in this free-spirited story that concludes with a lesson in kindness and a promise of more fun to come. Ages 7–10. (Sept)