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The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous,…

The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T.…

by Candace Fleming

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I'm really torn about this book. I wanted so badly to love it. But, it just fell short in some ways. I'm going to make a pros and cons list about this book to help me decide how many stars to give it. I keep wavering between two and four!

-It's based on many primary sources
-It has quite a few pictures
-It has tons of valuable information
-Every picture has a caption so you know what's going on in it

-The pictures are difficult to see. Some of this is because the pictures are simply old, but some of it is because the size is so tiny, it's hard to pick out details that would have been nice to see
-A lot of the pictures are either drawings or they're old photos of boring-ish buildings
-It's written in incredibly simple, almost insultingly so, language (I realize it's for children, but it's also 150 pages long, and I think that children that are going to be reading books of that length can handle and should be exposed to a little bit more sophisticated language and sentence structures.)
-It's designed similar to a textbook, with sidebars of information that don't really seem to fit in with the text

Overall, I think it makes a nice reference book for a kid doing a project or something, but I do not think it has a wide appeal because of its contrasting simplicity and complexity. I would probably add it to a large library for reference, but I would not add it to my personal collection. ( )
  amyolivia | Oct 25, 2013 |
This biography takes a look at the life of the entrepreneur and showman P.T. Barnum, the man behind The Greatest Show on Earth. From jumbo elephants to three-ring circuses, the story follows Barnum from his childhood to his amazing success to financial disaster and back again.
  KilmerMSLibrary | Apr 30, 2013 |
A fun and interesting biography of P.T. Barnum. I liked the inset text boxes and abundance of images, especially all of the curiosities that Barnum featured in his museum and at his show. I also appreciated that his neglect of his wife and children and his drinking problem were addressed, but they seemed to be resolved overnight. I also liked that the book addressed the cultural and historic context of the sideshows and Barnum's treatment of the museum and circus animals. I think this would be a great biography for the upper elementary grades. ( )
  JessieP73 | Apr 6, 2013 |
No HUMBUG here! Amazing!! Stependous!!! Enthralling!!!! ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
This book is about the life and times of P.T.Barnum, considered the greatest showman on earth. He is best know for the creation of the modern circus that takes his name. He was also known for his famous museam. This book ties together those events with the moments that made up the rest of his life. It take a straightfoward look at his life, from birth to death. Interwoven within many pages are side topics and addition facts that liven up and add to Barnum's life as well as the period of time that he lived in. Almost every page is filled with period ilustrations and photos to help support the reading. The biography helps sugest additional books dealing with Barnum and the 19th century timeframe. My main problem with the book would be its constant use of breaking up the main text with all of the side notes.They are all show inside large black boxes that contrast with the white background of the main text. I find that it causes the reader to lose focus from the main text. Each of the side notes could have been added to the main text or at the very least, used a similar format in order to not distract the reader. ( )
1 vote jmsummer | Apr 9, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375841970, Hardcover)

Step right up! Meet the astounding . . . the amazing . . . P. T. Barnum!

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!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Biography of P.T. Barnum, showman and founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Readers can visit Barnum's American Museum; meet Tom Thumb, the miniature man (only 39 in. tall) and his tinier bride (32 in.); experience the thrill Barnum must have felt when, at age 60, he joined the circus; and discover Barnum's legacy.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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