by Ellie Becker | 1/28/2014
" Harold Beesley is a ghost. Harold is an albino, lonely and an outcast. Stuck in his sad town of Liberty, Harold dreams of heading to Oregon and meeting up with his long lost brother, David, and living as mountain men together. The problem is, David has left to serve in the war, and he hasn't returned. Also, Harold has no way to escape the sad and dull life of Liberty. Until one day, when Harold meets an old Indian man on horseback, Thunder Wakes Him, and is told about the circus that passes through Liberty each year. Later on, Harold goes to the circus grounds where me meets Samuel, a gigantic fossil, and Tine, a bubbly little princess. The two side show freaks tell Harold about the Hunter and Green's Circus. Later that evening, as Harold makes his way back home, he stumbles upon a Liberty resident, Hopalong. He tells Harold all about the Cannibal King, a tough and fierce albino king from the jungle of Oola Boola Mamboo. Intrigued by the idea of meeting another albino, Harold ditches home and starts the treacherous endeavor of catching up to the circus and meeting the Cannibal King. After travelling with Thunder Wakes Him, Harold starts to travel with the Tina, Samuel, and the Gypsy Magda. The Magda is especially interested in Harold and is curious about his upcoming future. After reading Harold's tea leaves, the Gypsy warns Harold to beware of the beast who feeds with his tail, the ones with unnatural charm, and an angry young boy. Moving on, the circus starts to travel again the next morning heading north. Along the way, the group makes various stops at gas stations and fields to get fresh air. Then, the Gypsy Magda has a strange premonission and has the group stop in an Amish village to help save a soul. The Gypsy Magda saves a farmerâ€™s daughter from dyeing, and in thanks, the farmers family offers food and a warm bed. The next morning before they left, the farmer's wife dyed Haroldâ€™s hair a jet black as a gift of thanks. Once the freak show catches up to the whole circus, Harold gets a job with Flip, a sassy cowgirl, where he trains the elephants. He quickly decides that he will teach the giant creatures how to play baseball. Furthermore, after about 2 weeks of practice and circus prep, Roman Pininski, a strong rigger who cares for Flip, returns to the circus. Harold immediately feels jealousy, because he thought that Flip and he had a relationship developing. Roman quickly learns to hate Harold and they tend to avoid each other. Moreover, the circus travels to a field on the outside of Salem. Each year, Salem has scouts from Barnum and Bailey to recruit new circus members. As the circus cleans tents and equipment, Harold finally meets the Cannibal King. He was nervous and excited, but the "king" turned out to be a regular guy. This is when Harold realizes that the beast that feeds with it's tail are the elephants, the one with unnatural charm is Flip, and he is the young angry boy. Harold is shocked that has was so naive. The king and Harold become friends and discuss what itâ€™s like to be albino. Then, in a sudden turn of events, the elephants start to play baseball - by themselves! After witnessing such a wonderful event, the entire circus joins in the game and doesnâ€™t stop. About mid-way through, Roman and Flip stop by and Roman says his last remarks to Harold as Flip chases off and trys to convince him that she and Harold had no sort of relationship. As the game continues, Conrad, the greatest of the elephants, takes his turn to bat, he hits, and starts to travel to first base. But out of the corner of his eye, he sees Tina, the "princess"; push Harold to run to home plate. All of a sudden, Conrad switches his path of direction and squashes Tina under his gigantic foot. The little princess was left with her entire bottom body paper thin. She dies in Samuelâ€™s arms while squeezing Harold's hand. After this tragic event, Mr. Hunter shoots Conrad and Harold decides he doesnâ€™t want to go to Salem after all. He's rather just go home and be with his family. So the next day, Harold catches a train home where he returns to the dull life of Liberty, but this time, he has some fascinating stories to be told.
I enjoyed this book because it had such a developing story line. In short, choppy books, it's hard to feel for the characters because you haven't seen them act for long period of time. Also, this story included one of my favorite animals, horses. Lastly, I loved the fact that this book really illustrates the personality and persuasiveness of Flip. "