Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Freaky Kind of Courage

A Freaky Kind of Courage, the second book in the Caleb Pascal and the Peculiar People series by Kersten Hamilton, picks up right where book one leaves off. Previously, an old circus clown named Guillaume spent all the money he had to pay Caleb’s debts and adopt Caleb as his own son. Now that Caleb is part of the circus, he must do his part. As Guillaume teaches Caleb how to care for the circus animals, he models exactly what a father should be---wise, patient, loving, and gentle. Little by little, Guillaume’s simple and sincere love transforms Caleb’s life. However, in order for Caleb to truly embrace his new life, he must learn to deal with his past failures, avoid the plotting of evil twins, and cope with ridicule from the ringmaster’s son. In addition, Caleb must come up with a plan to save the circus camels from Twin Nightshade, who wants to kill them, stuff them, and put them on display.

What I Like: My likes and dislikes are the same as for the first book in the series, so if you read my previous review, this will sound familiar. Like the first book, I didn’t want to put this one down. I grew even more attached to the complex, believable, and moving characters Hamilton created. The story was well written and had so much emotional depth that, without being preachy, it seamlessly and powerfully wove faith lessons right into the heart of the story. In addition, Hamilton anchored a verse of Scripture at the beginning of each chapter. I believe this series will help kids understand God as our heavenly father.

What I Dislike: Nothing. I loved the whole thing. However, be aware that the villains in this book might be a bit creepy or frightening for younger readers. Also, this is not a dislike, but a comment: There are four books in the series. Because of the way the stories unfold, it is best to read them IN ORDER. If you read them out of order, you’ll miss the full and dramatic impact.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 9-12

Publisher Info: Standard Publishing, 2007; ISBN:978-078-4719091; Paperback $7.99

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