Synopses & Reviews
Aside from his obsession with juggling, twelve-year-old Sullivan Mintz is as average as they come--until the night he glimpses a mysterious horse-drawn caravan outside his window and decides to follow it. He is thrilled to find an old-fashioned medicine show, with performers who are all his age. But thrill turns quickly to dread when he steps onstage for the magic act only to wake up trapped inside the caravan. As Sullivan meets the other kids and is given a chance to perform alongside them, his panic gives way to curiosity. Will he plot his escape and return to his safe but boring family? Or could being kidnapped turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to him? Perfect for middle grade boys, here is a humorous, magic- and suspense-filled story of a kid who finds an unexpected second life with a sinister yet strangely alluring traveling medicine show.
"Fagan creates wonderfully engaging characters and tackles some tough issues."—School Library Journal
A 2011 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
"Not to be confused with Cherie Priest's steampunk novel of the same name (though there is just the barest whiff of steampunk here), this historical fantasy uses the classic devil-at-the-crossroads motif as the foundation for an elaborate and intricate gearwork story set in the little town of Arcane, Missouri, in 1913...Both impressive and ambitious, Milford's first novel rarely overreaches as it lays out an eerie and atmospheric vision of early-twentieth-century Americana, electrified by supernatural traces and a generously complex look at good, evil, and the wide swath in between."—Booklist, starred review
"The tale is shrouded in mystery and explores themes of gaining confidence and recognizing evil, and Milford's detail-rich prose makes it all the more haunting ("In the gaslight and what morning sun that filtered through the heavy curtains, startling shapes began to resolve themselves into familiar objects. Seeing them clearly didn't make her like them any better")."—Publishers Weekly
"This unusual story, with elements of folklore, tall tales and steampunk, has rich details of small-town America in the early 20th century as well as the impact of budding technology. Natalie is a well-drawn protagonist with sturdy supporting characters around her. The tension built into the solidly constructed plot is complemented by themes that explore the literal and metaphorical role of crossroads and that thin line between good and evil."—Kirkus Reviews
"This lively tale . . . is more than just another story about [Halloween]. . . . It is a good book that will appeal, at any time, to anyone who, like Russell, is 'very fond of monsters.'"and#8212;The New York Times Book Review
and#160; "The mix of monsters, magic, and Halloween has a built-in appeal."and#8212;Booklist
and#160; and#160; "Bruce Coville's story is a Halloween romp, with Katherine Coville's illustrations revving up the chills and giggles . . . a junior Jekyll and Hyde."and#8212;Publishers Weekly
and#160; and#160; and#8226; ABA's Pick of the Lists and#160; and#8226; Children's Choice Award Nominee (in four states) and#160; and#8226; IRA Children's Choice
"This lively tale . . . will appeal, at any time, to anyone who, like Russell, is 'very fond of monsters.' "andnbsp;
"A Halloween romp, with Katherine Coville's illustrations revving up the chills and giggles . . . A junior Jekyll and Hyde."
A charming, humor- and heart-filled middle grade story of a misfit boy who finds an unexpected second life after being kidnapped by a colorful traveling medicine show.
“If you always feel fully and completely happy, my friends, then you do not need my drops and I will not sell them to you for any amount of money.”
Eleven-year-old juggling enthusiast Sullivan Mintz helps his family run the Stardust Home for Old People. Its not ideal: his best friend, Manny, is eighty-one years old. But life as usual turns upside down when Master Melvilles Medicine Show comes to town. Sullivans excitement at finding performers his own age dissolves into dread when he steps onstage for a magic act only to wake up imprisoned in the traveling shows caravan. As his fears subside, his questions multiply. Is his family better off without him? Would life as a juggler performing with other kids be worse than living in an old folks home? Being kidnapped could be the best thing that ever happened to him . . . or decidedly not.
Thirteen-year-old Natalie Minks loves machines, particularly automata—self-operating mechanical devices, usually powered by clockwork. When Jake Limberleg and his traveling medicine show arrive in her small Missouri town with a mysterious vehicle under a tarp and an uncanny ability to make Natalie’s half-built automaton move, she feels in her gut that something about this caravan of healers is a bit off. Her uneasiness leads her to investigate the intricate maze of the medicine show, where she discovers a horrible truth and realizes that only she has the power to set things right.
Set in 1914, The Boneshaker is a gripping, richly textured novel about family, community, courage, and looking evil directly in the face in order to conquer it.
Twist it once, you're horned and haired;
Twist it twice and fangs are bared;
Twist it thrice? No one has dared!
and#160; Russell is sure that the ring he gets at Mr. Elives' shop is just a silly magic trick, but he follows the instructions and twists the ring twice anyway--and becomes a monster! and#160; Includes an author's note.
Chet Gecko loves a good mystery. Almost more than he loves his fee--stinkbug pie. So when fellow fourth grader Shirley Chameleon asks him to find her missing brother, Billy, Chet expects the case to be as easy as pie. But Billy's disappearance is part of a larger plot, one that involves the Rat Sisters, a riddling junkyard dog, and a vicious Gila monster named Herman. If Chet doesn't solve the case fast, the entire school could be humiliated. Worst of all, Chet might not get his fee. And Chet's hungry. . . . and#8226;The first book in a zany new series that combines mystery with humor and#8226;A hip, character-based story and amusing illustrations in a fun format for middle grade readers
Table of Contents
The Magic Shop 1
With a Twist of the Ring... 9
The Battle in the Cafeteria 16
Russell v. His Father's Mouth 25
Eddie's Revenge 31
Double Whammy 39
Russell Goes Berserk 47
The Beast Within 54
The Third Twist of the Ring 62
Russell to the Rescue 70
Return to the Magic Shop 83
Home Run 93
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR 103