Title: Burning of the Big Top
Author: Margaret Scariano
Pages: 44
Recommended Ages: 8-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

So, I’d never before read a story about the Big Top. I generally find circus stories to be unwholesome, but upon flipping through the book I thought it looked alright enough. But it was better than alright.

The Story.

Jed has decided to volunteer for work at the Big Top fairgrounds tomorrow and he thinks his friend Harv should volunteer, too. After all, Harv is the strong burly one, while Jed is a puny thing who is mostly interested in the excitement of the circus. Harv resists the idea at first, but then good-naturedly goes along with him.

But when they make it to the grounds, Harv is accepted and Jed is rejected! Saddened, Jed turns to leave but is stopped by a clown. The clown offers him a job – a real part – in the circus… As a clown! Jed is thrilled. How fun this will be!

But the fun quickly turns to horror when a fire breaks out at the Big Top. Will Jed and the other clowns be able to save all of the attendees from being killed?


I was surprised to find that Burning of the Big Top was not merely a story of gaiety and fun. The main character, Jed demonstrated real character qualities – courage  being one of the primary ones. His selfless attitude towards others was refreshing.

In one scene, a tiger gets loose at the circus and is stalking the fat lady. Although terrified himself, Jed knows he cannot let the woman die. He instead attracts the tiger’s attention to himself, risking his life, and saving hers.

Later, when the circus buildings are catching fire and people are in a panic, Jed helps dozens of people escape through a secret hole in the tent. Instead of saving himself he keeps returning for more people.


‘Gosh’ is used once.

Conclusion. An excellent story of courage and kindheartedness.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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