Micah has lived with his grandfather since his parents died. He loves his grandfather, especially the stories he tells about Circus Mirandus, a mythical place he claims to have visited as a boy. Micah always figured that the stories were just made up. When his grandfather gets gravely ill, Micah discovers that the stories about Circus Mirandus are true and that the "Man Who Bends Light" owes Micah's grandfather a miracle. Micah's grandfather is too ill to retrieve the miracle himself, so he sends Micah to Circus Mirandus to get it for him.
I know several librarians that say that this was their favorite book last year. It is wonderfully written with a sweet relationship between Micah and his grandfather, and a deliciously and fully developed fantasy world of the circus. I liked that the characters at the circus have personalities and issues like anyone would. It somehow makes it seem more realistic than if they had been idealized, flat characters. I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the ending. There was an obvious different ending option and I think the book would have been stronger if Beasley would have taken it. Still, it was a great book, part Wizard of Oz and part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that I will be recommending to young readers on a regular basis from now on.(292 p)