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SECRETS OF THE CIRQUE MEDRANO by Elaine Scott

SECRETS OF THE CIRQUE MEDRANO

By Elaine Scott

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-57091-712-7
Publisher: Charlesbridge

This lively tale, set in 1904, follows 14-year-old Brigitte, whose French mother has died in Warsaw, after which she is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Paris. Brigitte is impulsive and lonely. She doesn’t see much of Montmartre or Paris itself, for she works long hours serving in the café. She is fascinated by the Cirque Medrano, a circus pitched in Montmartre, and its jugglers and acrobats, and also by the young Picasso, who hangs out at her aunt’s café with his bande of writers and artists. Scott ties the story of the circus (the source of Picasso’s Family of Saltimbanques), the growth of the Russian Secret Police in Paris and the change in Montmartre from village to a vibrant part of the city to Brigitte’s adjustment to her new life. The language is sometimes jarringly modern, and there is not a lot of character development, but it places an interesting historical moment within the grasp of middle-schoolers. (Historical fiction. 10-14)