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The Daring Escape of the Misfit Menagerie (Misfit Menagerie)by Jacqueline Resnick
Synopses & Reviews
Smalls the sun bear and his friends are an unusual bunch. That's why they're known as the Misfit Menagerie. The four oddball animals live on Mr. Mumford's farm, where they play games and do tricks for neighborhood children. It's an idyllic existence--until a cruel circus owner named Claude Magnificence comes to town, and life as they know it ends. The Menagerie is snatched away to a traveling circus, where Claude and his buffoonish sidekicks force them to perform death-defying tricks.
At the circus, Smalls and his friends only have slop to eat. They live in filthy, cramped cages. And they're bullied by a rough band of trained animals called the Lifers. It's worse than awful--it's despicable! But then young Bertie Magnificence comes along, and he and Smalls form the kind of friendship that inspires hope. They decide that something needs to change...and fast. With the help of an acrobat named Susan, Smalls and Bertie set in motion a heroic plan.
Can a lonely boy and a misfit bear hoodwink cruel Claude and save an entire circus of captive animals?
"Resnick's warmhearted debut features a cocoa-loving villain, a kind but lonely orphan boy, and a bevy of talking animals (who cannot be understood by humans) that lives happily together as the star attractions of Mumford's Farm & Orchard. While the title is misleading (the 'daring escape' doesn't occur until the last few chapters), the book is filled with secret plots, adventures, and acts of bravery and loyalty — as well as dastardly deeds. Resnick's third-person narration peeks inside the heads of several characters, both human and animal, including the gentle bear Smalls, de facto leader of the 'misfit menagerie' that suddenly becomes part of a cruelly managed circus, and 10-year-old Bertie, the orphan, whose heartless uncle is its owner. Stopping just short of slapstick and caricature, Resnick sets a lively pace and draws tender characterizations (the animals each bear a distinctive, lovable personality), creating a spirited tale that cleanly separates the good guys from the bad without getting too dark or frightening. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 — 12. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Four animals must find their ticket out of the circus.
Smalls the sun bear, Tilda the Angora rabbit, Rigby the Komondor dog, and Wombat the wombat are the four animals that make up "the misfit menagerie."
Together theyve always lived a happy life on Mr. Mumfords farm. That is, until one fateful evening when Mumford, loopy from elderberry wine, accidentally loses them to the dastardly circus owner Grande Master Claude. Suddenly, these animals are forced to perform death-defying tricks and live in filthy, cramped cages as members of Claudes traveling circus. But all hope is not lost! Claudes nephew Bertie and his friend Susan, a circus acrobat, are equally fed up with Claudes evil ways, and together they might just have what it takes to find their ticket out of the circus.
It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows - a fascinating boy who's not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.
Together with Ian Schoenherr's breathtaking illustrations, this is a truly stunning package from cover to cover.
About the Author
Maile Meloy is the author of the story collections Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009, and the novels Liars and Saints, shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize, and A Family Daughter. Meloy's stories have been published in The New Yorker, and she has received The Paris Review's Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2007, she was chosen as one of Granta's Best American Novelists under 35. She lives in California.
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Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories