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Janeczko, Paul B.
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2004.
IL 5-8, RL 4.8
ISBN 0763622354

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Hurry, hurry, hurry!
Step right up!
Friends and fans of freak shows,
see mysteries to beguile the innocent,
to confound the doubtful!
There is nothing like a circus to take your mind off your worries.  And on July 6, 1944, that is just what the crowd was looking for.  The country was at war and people needed an afternoon escape.  There was no way for them to know that their lives would change that day.  Forever.  When the flames broke out on the big top and spread so fast that there was no escape.

Booktalk #2

Harry King, war veteran, went to the circus to take his mind off things, Eddy Carlyle, sideshow fan, came to see the freaks, and eleven-year-old Polly McDonald, who wanted to stay outside with the animals, went in anyway because Aunt Betty didn’t want to miss the Greatest Show on Earth. Then a tragedy occurred. Firefighters were called, but they were too late to save Harry or Eddy, or Polly and her Aunt Betty, because the canvas tent, waterproofed with gasoline and paraffin, caught fire like “one huge candle/ just waiting for a light.” These haunting poems of dreams and disaster, heroism and heartbreak, draw their power from a true event: the  Hartford ,  Connecticut , circus fire of  July 6, 1944, in which 167 people were killed and more than 500 injured. (Prepared by: Sandy Bailey, SCASL Junior Book Awards)

SUBJECTS:     Fires -- Connecticut -- Hartford -- Fiction.
                        Circus -- Fiction.


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