Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 04/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Fifth-grader Micah Tuttle has been living with his Grandpa Ephraim since his parents died when he was very young. The two are close; Grandpa Ephraim teaches Micah how to tie complicated knots and tells him fanciful tales about the magical Circus Mirandus and its many performers, including a powerful illusionist called the Lightbender. When Grandpa Ephraim becomes gravely ill, his sister, the strict and dour Aunt Gertrudis, comes to take care of the household. She severely limits Micah's time with his sick grandfather, and the boy is distraught at the idea of losing the only important person in his life. In a stolen moment, Grandpa Ephraim surprises Micah by revealing that the Circus Mirandus is real, and that the Lightbender promised him a miracle when he was a child. The protagonist begins to hope that his grandfather will get well. The Circus Mirandus arrives in town on the wind, and Micah, with the help of his classmate Jenny Mendoza, seeks out the Lightbender and tries to retrieve the miracle that Grandpa Ephraim has requested. During a whirlwind adventure in the Circus, Micah learns about his family and discovers that the miracle that Grandpa Ephraim asked for might not be the one that Micah had in mind. Circus Mirandus is not a simple story, but readers will be rewarded for delving into its intricacies. VERDICT This gripping fantasy tale will have readers hooked from the opening scene to the breathtaking—and unexpected—conclusion.—Sarah Reid, Broome County Public Library, Binghamton, NY - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 05/15/2015 Micah’s parents died when he was just a toddler, and now he happily lives with Grandpa Ephraim, who tells him fantastic stories, the best of which are about Circus Mirandus, a circus kids can only attend if they believe in magic. When Ephraim was a boy, he came upon the magical circus and met the Man Who Bends Light, who was so impressed by Ephraim’s knot-tying skills that he promised him a miracle. Now, many years later, Ephraim is dying, and Micah is determined to make sure he gets his miracle. Joined by his skeptical, brilliant friend Jenny, Micah seeks out Circus Mirandus to see its wonders for himself and to confront the Lightbender, though in the process, he learns more about himself than he ever expected. Debut author Beasley has built an imaginative world in evocative, painterly prose, particularly the circus, and she’s filled it with compellingly multifaceted characters. Some elements don’t quite knit together, but with a sequel in the works, don’t be surprised if those loose ends tie up nicely. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 Grandpa Ephraim, who has raised Micah Tuttle for most of his ten years, is dying, but he can’t go in peace until he claims a miracle promised to him by the Lightbender, a magician in a mysterious circus Ephraim attended in his youth. Micah has been hearing stories of the wondrous Circus Mirandus all his life, and he believes that that the Lightbender will restore the old man to health and thereby send Ephraim’s officious sister Gertrudis-Micah’s resented and resentful guardian-in-waiting-packing. With the help of a skeptical schoolmate, Jenny, Micah does find the circus and share his grandfather’s awe, but the miracle Grandpa brokers with the Lightbender isn’t quite the one Micah wants, even though it’s exactly the one he needs. The tender relationship between grandfather and grandson is delicately drawn, and the family backstory, with its ties to a dark episode in the millennia-old history of Circus Mirandus, is intriguing. Monochromatic illustrations are painterly but robust, neatly enclosing their drama in bordered vignettes. At the core of Beasley’s debut novel is the theme of eternal life explored in Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, and readers will sense the rightness of Grandpa Ephraim’s final request even as they share Micah’s reluctance to let the ailing man go the way he lived-caring for his grandson to the very end. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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