Micah Tuttle needs a miracle and he needs it fast because his beloved grandfather, Ephraim Tuttle, is dying. Micah turns to the mysterious Lightbender and the magic of Circus Mirandus for help. Only people who believe in magic can see Circus Mirandus, a problem for Micah's smart but skeptical new friend, Jenny Mendoza. The Lightbender (or Man Who Bends Light) at Circus Mirandus once promised Micah's grandfather a miracle and Micah knows what that should be - to restore his grandfather's health. The story describes his struggles to get that miracle and introduces us to a cast of fabulous characters including Chintzy the irascible talking parrot, Mr Head the mysterious head figure at the circus, and Micah's miserable mean-spirited Aunt Gertrudis. "On the inside, Aunt Gertrudis was probably cough syrup." Micah thinks.
Author Cassie Beasley breaks our hearts as she subjects Micah to the despicable ministrations of his aunt and describes the "blub glub" of his grandfather's failing lungs. Thank goodness for Jenny, Micah's only friend!
Will the Lightbender give Micah the miracle he wants or the miracle he deserves? You'll have to read the book to find out, but you won't be disappointed.
Micah is an endearing character, selfless and determined in his attempts to help his grandfather - we're rooting for him right to the end. His friend Jenny is equally endearing when she steps out of her comfort zone to help Micah - we see her intellectual struggle as she tries to find rational explanations for the magic at Circus Mirandus. Cassie Beasley tackles a difficult subject, the death of a loved one, with great sensitivity but not sentimentality. We children's writers want to protect our characters from harm and shield them from sorrow - they are our children after all - but in the real world bad things do happen. Cassie Beasley leaves us with hope for Micah and the expectation that he will find happiness. Her story is nothing short of "magic." .