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  • The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum
  • Written by Candace Fleming
    Illustrated by Ray Fenwick
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780375841972
  • Our Price: $18.99
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The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum

Written by Candace FlemingAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Candace Fleming
Illustrated by Ray FenwickAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Ray Fenwick

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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE & AWARDS PRAISE & AWARDS
READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
Synopsis

Synopsis

Step right up! Meet the astounding . . . the amazing . . . P. T. Barnum!

The award-winning author of The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, Amelia Lost, and Our Eleanor brings us the larger-than-life biography of showman P. T. Barnum. Known far and wide for his jumbo elephants, midgets, and three-ring circuses, here’ s a complete and captivating look at the man behind the Greatest Show on Earth. Readers can visit Barnum’s American Museum; meet Tom Thumb, the miniature man (only 39 inches tall) and his tinier bride (32 inches); experience the thrill Barnum must have felt when, at age 60, he joined the circus; and discover Barnum’s legacy to the 19th century and beyond. Drawing on old circus posters, photographs, etchings, ticket stubs—and with incredible decorative art by Ray Fenwick—this book presents history as it’s never been experienced before—a show-stopping event!
Candace Fleming

About Candace Fleming

Candace Fleming - The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum

Photo © Scott Fleming

 Why did I write Clever Jack Takes the Cake? Mostly for fun, but also because I wanted to try my hand at writing a fairy tale. I do that a lot as a writer—challenge myself to try new things—and tackling a fairy tale was definitely a new thing. So how to begin? 

I knew I wanted my story to have a classical feel, incorporating such wonderfully delicious fairy-tale elements as four-and-twenty blackbirds, enchanted forests, and hairy trolls. On the other hand, I wanted it to be totally original, a story like no other. I began writing, and within a few weeks had a tale. But let me tell you a curious truth about writers—they are the stories they write, the fictions they spin. And when I read back what I had written, I realized I had created a fairy tale about . . . me. Weird, but true! The story is filled with my favorite things—journeys and birthdays and cake. The princess, taking after my son Scott, is allergic to strawberries. And Jack? Just like me, he good-naturedly follows life’s road, gathering experiences he can spin into tales.

Spinning experiences into tales is what I did with The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School, too. I visit lots of school, and there’s nothing I like better than talking with kids, watching them in the lunchroom or on the playground, reading their essays and stories, listening to them tell jokes. And all the while I’m doing these things, I’m thinking about how I can use them in a book. Let me give you an example. A few years ago, I was visiting a school in Tennessee when a fifth-grade boy came up to me and said, “Look what I can do.” He stuck out his tongue, crossed his eyes and wiggled his ears – first the left one, and then the right one. I was impressed—but I hadn’t seen anything yet! Within seconds, the rest of the fifth graders surround me. Everyone, it seemed, had some special body trick to show me—double-jointed fingers and toes, eyelids that folded, lips that could be pulled up over noses, knuckles that cracked to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.” It was absurd and wonderful, and I knew I had to write about it. The result? Chapter five titled, “Hyper . . . Um . . . Hypermob . . . Um . . . Weird Body Tricks.”

Praise | Awards

Praise

New York Times Book Review, December 6, 2009: “Lively… an engrossing portrait…honest and fun”

Starred Review, Booklist, June 1, 2009:
“The material is inherently juicy, but credit Fleming’s vivacious prose, bountiful period illustrations, and copious source notes for fashioning a full picture of one of the forbearers of modern celebrity.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2009:
"As revealing as it is entertaining."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2009: "the extensive gallery of period photos, engravings, and advertising bills, are worth the price of admission, and bibliography, source notes, index, and web resources will assist students in turning a rousing good read into an entertaining school report."

Publishers Weekly, August 31, 2009: "Audiences will step right up to this illuminating and thorough portrait of an entertainment legend"

School Library Journal, September 2009: "An outstanding choice for all middle level and secondary collections."

Instructor, November/December 2009: "You'll want to invite readers to step right up to this three-ring circus of a biography, which not only tells the story of P.T. Barnum, but also the circus culture he helped create and his impact and modern entertainment."

Awards

WINNER 2009 Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year
WINNER 2009 Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Books
WINNER 2010 ALA Notable Children's Book
WINNER 2010 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER 2010 Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
NOMINEE 2011 Tennessee Volunteer State Book Master List
NOMINEE New Jersey Garden State Children's Book Award
NOMINEE Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fischer Book Award
NOMINEE Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
WINNER Chicago Public LibraryÂ’s Best of the Best books
WINNER ALA Notable Children's Book
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