Saturday, August 7, 2010

Battle of Trickum County

An egotistical lion tamer named Apollo joins the circus and brings along a trainload full of trouble in Battle of Trickum County, the third book in Kersten Hamilton’s Caleb Pascal and the Peculiar People series. First the circus calliope nearly explodes. Then an unscrupulous rival circus tries sabotage the show. Plus, divisive tension rises between the performers, forcing circus members to choose sides. However, all those misfortunes pale in comparison to the final disaster. Only Caleb, an orphaned boy recently adopted by Guillaume the clown, and his midget friend Thaddeus suspect that something even more terrible is coming. It’s up to Caleb to follow God’s leading, confront evil face-to-face, and perhaps save a few lives. Throughout the adventure, Guillaume continues to gently guide Caleb in his new-found faith while the circus freaks prove they aren’t nearly as freakish as they look.

What I Like: Like the two previous books, I didn’t want to put this one down! The characters are refreshingly complex, believable, and moving. 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:978-078-4719107; Paperback $7.99.

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Special info: Visit Kersten Hamilton's web site. Read other CCBR reviews of books by this author.

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