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?
"The sun has not shined for 1,728 days and counting in YA author Oliver's (Delirium) first book for middle-grade readers, a gloominess that underscores a plot in which adults seek personal gain at the expense of children. Classic fairy tale elements weave throughout this spirited, old-fashioned adventure: a young girl locked in an attic, a wicked stepmother, an alchemist, an orphan boy running from a cruel master. Add two nearly identical boxes one containing the ashes of 11-year-old Liesl's recently deceased father, the other holding 'the Most Powerful Magic in the World' and mix them up, and excitement begins to break through the bleakness. Po, a presence from 'the Other Side,' brings Liesl a message to bury her father's ashes underneath a certain willow tree, inspiring her to escape her imprisonment in her stepmother's attic and head for the train. An exhilarating chase ensues, as characters pursue the runaway children and the mixed-up boxes. Invigorating and hopeful, this novel testifies to the power of friendship and generosity to conquer greed and depression. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A wonderfully imaginative, startlingly moving and at times wickedly funny fantasy. With nods to Dahl, Dickens, the Grimms and even Burnett, the author has made something truly original. Acedera's frequent black-and-white illustrations are a perfect complement. An irresistible read: This book sings." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for Before I Fall:“This story races forward, twisting in a new direction every few pages, its characters spinning my emotions from affection to frustration, anger to compassion. Youll have no choice but to tear through this book!” Jay Asher, author of the New York Times bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why
Praise for Before I Fall:“Before I Fall is smart, complex, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Lauren Oliver has written an extraordinary debut novel about what it means to liveand die.” Carolyn Mackler, author of Tangled and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, a Printz Honor book
Praise for Before I Fall:“Olivers debut novel is raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful....readers will love Samantha best as she hurtles toward an end as brave as it is heartbreaking.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Before I Fall:“Samanthas attempts to save her life and right the wrongs she has caused are precisely what will draw readers into this complex story and keep them turning pages until Sam succeeds in living her last day the right way.” Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)
"A gorgeous story timeless and magical." Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me
Praise for Before I Fall:“Oliver, in a pitch-perfect teen voice, explores the power we have to affect the people around us in this intensely believable first novel...This is a compelling book with a powerful message and should not be missed.” ALA Booklist
"With her third book, Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall; Delirium) creates another highly original world, this one for middle-grade readers. Oliver introduces orphans Liesl and Will, a touch of magic, some delectable coincidences, and friendship that stretches from the Living Side to the Other Side." Shelf Awareness
“Classic fairy tale elements weave throughout this spirited, old-fashioned adventure. Invigorating and hopeful, this novel testifies to the power of friendship and generosity to conquer greed and depression.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver brings much-needed magic to an increasingly neglected age group. Its books like this, with its classic quest plot, intertwined with lyrical metaphysics, that can set a child up for life.” The Sunday Telegraph
Praise for Delirium:“Strong characters, a vivid portrait of the lives of teens in a repressive society, and nagging questions that can be applied to our world today make this book especially compelling and discussable.” School Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for Delirium:“In [Olivers] dystopian America, love has been outlawed as the life-threatening source of all discord. Lenas gradual awakening is set against a convincing backdrop of totalitarian horror. The abrupt ending leaves enough unanswered questions to set breathless readers up for volume two of this trilogy.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An absolute delight...Although aimed at younger readers, the lightness of touch and the tenderness of the message could make grown men weep.” Daily Mail (London)
“Resnicks warmhearted debut . . . sets a lively pace and draws tender characterizations.” --PW
"The distinctive and engaging animal characters will draw readers in and have them rooting for a succesful escape from the awful circus." --Booklist
"Appeal[s] to readers who enjoy their protagonists on the furry side." --School Library Journal
"A good old-fashioned story." --Kirkus Reviews
"A wild and wonderful circus ride." --Tor Seidler, author of The Wainscott Weasel, an ALA Notable Book; Mean Margaret, a finalist for the National Book award; and more
"I forgot about the real world when I got caught up in the charming world of the Most Magnificent Circus." --Dan Gutman, New York Times bestselling author of The Genius Files
"With a cruel guardian worthy of Rowling, Snicket, or Dahl, and animal friends as endearing as E.B. White's, Resnick's debut melted my heart." --Suzanne LaFleur, author of Eight Keys and Love, Aubrey
Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.
The Tale of Despereaux
meets Water for Elephants
in this heartfelt adventure story!
Smalls the sun bear and his friends Tilda (an angora rabbit), Rigby (a komondor dog), and Wombat (a wombat) happily while away their days under Mr. Mumford's doting guardianship. That is, until one fateful evening when Mumford, loopy from elderberry wine, loses his prized animals in a bet against Claudius Magnificence in Texas Hold 'Em. The dastardly "Grand Master Claude" seizes Smalls and the others, forcing them to join his traveling circus. In the circus caravan, they're crammed into a tiny slop car and forced to perform ridiculous tricks for money. Bertie, Claude's young nephew, is the only bright spot in the animals' otherwise miserable lives. When Bertie uncovers a dark secret about Claude, he and Smalls set in motion a heroic plot to help the animals escape their tyrant and find their way home.
About the Author
Lauren Oliver is the author of the YA bestselling novels Before I Fall, Panic, and Vanishing Girls and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages and are New York Times and international bestselling novels. She is also the author of three novels for middle grade readers: The Spindlers; Liesl & Po, which was an E. B. White Read Aloud Award nominee; and Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head, co-written with H. C. Chester, and a novel for adults, Rooms. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYUs MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the cofounder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit.