23 March 2011

The Great and Only Barnum : the Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Ray Fenwick

Did you know that P. T. Barnum -- the "Barnum" in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus -- didn't become involved with circuses until he was 60 years old?  Did you know that one of Barnum's nicknames was "the Prince of Humbugs"?  And did you know that Barnum would have been a millionaire by today's standards even though he watched his homes and businesses crumble under numerous fires, and he even once had to declare bankruptcy?

Born Phineas Taylor Barnum, the showman spent most of his life, from a young age until his death, figuring out ways to entertain others: by making them think, laugh, and participate in the vast wonders of the word.  He was a great businessman and worked hard for mostly all that he had.  He knew how to take advantage of situations and of people's emotions and natural curiosities in order to make a few dollars in his favor.  He may have cheated a time or two, but it was always for the greater good because people almost always left his presence in a happy state of mind.  From elephants, an exhibit with a little old lady (was she really George Washington's nursemaid?!), and a friend named Tom Thumb, to the still world-famous three ring circus with acrobats, clowns, and all sorts of animals (including the elephants), P. T. Barnum truly knew how to put on the Greatest Show on Earth.

Recommended to readers of all ages!
Call number: JB BARNUM (Children's Department)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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