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Mysterious Magical Circus Family Kids: 07/14/09
Mysterious Magical Circus Family Kids: The Chocolate Cake Turkey Lip Crumb Trail Mystery Adventure by R. Hawk Starkey is the first in a promised series of children's books about a family of circus performers who have as many adventures in between gigs as they do during their performances. If Roald Dahl had grown up in California and moved to Oregon, this is the sort of book he'd write. Except that this one is funnier and less crude.
The book is told from the points of view of the children who like the characters in Geek Love all have some sort of magical power and a nickname that is inspired by their abilities. There's 3D who can make figments appear, Goodnight Irene who can breath fire and do sonic screams, Bobby Sock who can make things appear and disappear, Sweet Lips who talks in rhymes and is good at tongue twisters, and Little Big who can calm any animal and has a pet elephant.
The goal of the book is to get from the last gig in California across the border to their first gig in Oregon. What the kids don't expect is to have their grandfather (Hawk) take them on a trail that appears to both enchanted and populated by magical creatures.
Starkey manages to capture the voice for each child so that it's easy to tell who is telling the story. He writes with humor but manages to make things suspenseful and sometimes scary.
Each chapter is only a few pages long and the book itself is well within the normal length of a children's chapter book. It would make good nighttime reading for a parent and child; I plan to read it to my two later in the year.
Included with the chapters are delightful line illustrations of the children and their misadventures. The artist who did the portraits had his own children pose for the drawings and that added bit of realism brings the story to life.
I have to admit that I was sad when the book ended. The next in the series will be The Vanilla Cake Twiddle Britches Crumb Trail Mystery Adventure.