The Light Bender


Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Age Range: 9 – 12 years

Grade Level: 4 – 7

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Dial Books (June 2, 2015)

I got to see the first few chapters in a Netgalley sneak peek and after tearing through the preview I ordered this book.  It arrived and the cover is just as fun as what is inside the book.  Peek through the cutout cover and see a world of wonder.  Our main character is Micah.  His grandfather Ephram once got an invitation to attend the Circus Mirandus for a week.  While there he witnessed magic and it transported him for a little while away from the turmoil of living during WWII.  Ephram’s favorite attraction was the Light Bender.  A man who could pull anything from your imagination and make it real, even if only for a moment.  Ephram did something then that earned him a miracle, and now it is time for him to collect that miracle.  Because Ephram is dying and he has one last wish, all he needs is the Light Bender to come and grant it.

Micah is the type of hero I love.  In a wonderful Cinderella story, if Cinderella was a Prince instead of a princess, Micah has just a few days to convince the Light Bender and the members of this magical circus to help his grandfather.  Because Grandpa Ephram only has a few days left and Micah needs that miracle to come true.  Micah will fight with his new best friend for that miracle and discover what Grandpa Ephram’s last wish is.  Because sometimes what we really want isn’t what we really need.

This is a story that takes place in a kind of any-town USA, and features a great cast of characters.  There are bad guys, good guys, magic, school, a brilliant elephant, and a wise cracking parrot.  I read this in one short sitting, and the end left me with a smile.  While there is room for a sequel, the end of the story does not leave you hanging.  If you read The Vampire’s Assistant and loved the beginning of the series but found the ending unsettling and unsatisfying, this story is for you. This is classic escapism fantasy and if your child likes that kind of story, I recommend this story for you. A great story for boys and girls, dreamers and adventurers.

The next part contains spoilers so Don’t read if you don’t want to know:

Parental Note:  For the age range, not a whole lot.  There is a death in the story and it is handled well for the target age range.  The Aunt is borderline abusive, and while her reason for being so mean is explained about two thirds of the way through, it still does not excuse her horrible behavior.