The latest of author Adams and illustrator Gallegos’ (The Santa Thief, 2017, etc.) Depression-era picture books shows a young boy’s connection to a doomed circus horse.
Freckled, dark-haired Georgie really wants to go to the circus. His parents scold him for asking for money for doing chores, but when his father finds out why he wants it, he offers to take him and Georgie’s friend Harley to the circus himself. In the big tent, they see a beautiful horse, Lady Roxie, and Georgie is enthralled. When he gets the chance to ride her around the ring, he’s ecstatic, but he later discovers that she’s being sold to someone who’s going to work her to death. When the new owner grabs for the reins, Roxie sprints away—taking Georgie with her. The thievery in the title isn’t Georgie’s fault, even though the new owner accuses him of that crime. Fans of the series may wonder where Papa comes up with the money that he uses to save the day, considering how tough things are for the family overall. Still, the endings for both Georgie and Roxie are satisfying, and Gallegos’ brightly colored illustrations are a joy. They also feature some characters of color—a first for the series—among the circus workers.
Another fine entry in this historical series for young readers.