|The Great and Only Barnum...|
by Candace Fleming
"Discover the true story of P.T. Barnum, the man who created the world-famous Barnum & Bailey Circus, as featured in the movie The Greatest Showman!
The award-winning author of The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, Amelia Lost, and Our Eleanor brings us the larger-than-life biography of showman P. T. Barnum. Known far and wide for his jumbo elephants, midgets, and three-ring circuses, here's a complete and captivating look at the man behind the Greatest Show on Earth. Readers can visit Barnum's American Museum; meet Tom Thumb, the miniature man (only 39 inches tall) and his tinier bride (32 inches); experience the thrill Barnum must have felt when, at age 60, he joined the circus; and discover Barnum's legacy to the 19th century and beyond. Drawing on old circus posters, photographs, etchings, ticket stubs--and with incredible decorative art by Ray Fenwick--this book presents history as it's never been experienced before--a show-stopping event!"
I read this after seeing the movie The Greatest Showman , and I have to say I like Hugh Jackman a lot better than I liked P.T. Barnum after reading this book. It is interesting that the things I didn't admire about P.T. Barnum (his treatment of his family, his lies and "humbuggery"...) were not shown in the movie, but conversely, the things I DID admire about the real man (he insisted his employees acted circumspectly and dressed modestly, he was a huge philanthropist...) were not brought out in the movie, either. I watched the movie with the director's commentary and he said, "We didn't let the truth stand in the way of a good story" (or something like that). He said they made the movie P.T. would have wanted about himself, and I think that is probably true. Who wouldn't want to be portrayed by Hugh Jackman?
Enough about the movie - the book itself was very interesting and informative. I liked the format with the circus-y font emblazoned across a whole page for every new chapter and the boxes with interesting facts on almost every page. I learned a lot, and it was never boring. But then, how could a book about the stupendous P.T. Barnum be boring?
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 10-14
School Library Journal - Grades 6+