Synopses & Reviews
Orphaned eleven-year-old Miles Wednesday and his companion, a Song Angel named Little, are helped by a talking tiger as they set off to find a missing Storm Angel and Miles's beloved stuffed bear, ending up in a peculiar circus where the audience cannot stop laughing.
"An ominous traveling circus makes for a splendid setting in Berkeley's (Scarlette Beane) first book in the Wednesday Tales. Ten-year-old orphan Miles Wednesday lives in a barrel, having escaped repeatedly from the Pinchbucket House orphanage, where laughter is forbidden. When the Circus Oscuro arrives in town one night, Miles sneaks in and witnesses a tiny girl falling from a precarious height, only to be saved by the two wings on her back. Miles befriends the girl, whose name is Little and who turns out to be a 400-year-old angel, held by the circus against her will. Silverpoint, Little's mentor angel, was captured by the same circus and taken to the 'Palace of Laughter.' Miles decides to help her find him, but his quest becomes less selfless when the circus master kidnaps his beloved teddy bear, which Little only recently brought to life. At the Palace, the adventurers discover the charlatan the Great Cortado, who hypnotizes the masses and 'sucks the laughter out of their souls' their laughter can be reinstated with a serum that Cortado makes a fortune dispensing. Berkeley weaves painterly details into his depiction of this night-shaded Big Top world, where danger can be imagined around every corner. But he also injects an ample measure of humor to keep the darkness at bay. Ages 8-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Jon Berkeley was born in Dublin at a time when there were no bootprints on the moon. At the age of two he picked up a pencil and began to draw. He drew dragons, giants, oddballs, castles, car races and lost aliens. He drew everything, in fact, except horses. Their back legs go funny in the middle, he says, and he still gives them a miss whenever he can. Jon has worked for twenty years as a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and occasional columnist in Sydney, Hong Kong, London and Dublin, and now lives in a small town near Barcelona with his wife, Orna, and their five children, along with six cats and a dog named CúChulainn. He illustrates for Time magazine, The Sunday Times of London and The Economist, among other publications, and he has taken to writing when he's not illustrating. He is the creator of Chopsticks and has illustrated several picture books by other authors. He is the author of The Palace of Laughter, the first book in the Wednesday Tales trilogy.