Big Top Burning: The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and The Greatest Show On Earth Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-03-05 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 17 user ratings

" It was a quick read. I thought it was interesting to read first hand accounts and learn about the tools (or lack thereof) used to investigate. It is a sad true story. " said.

" I didn't realize this was a book for middle grade readers. I could tell the author did a lot of research on the topic but the way it was laid out more like a novel than research didn't really appeal to me. However, I can see how it would make it more interesting for middle grade readers and I think it is a book that younger audiences will enjoy. " said.

" Just finished this young adult book about the Hartford, CT Ringling Brother's and Barnum Bailey Circus Fire. Was very well written about such a tragic event. Not to graphic but tells enough of the story to get the story across. If you want to learn more about this horrific story this is a good book to start off with. If you want further details about this fire I would suggest Stewart O'Nan's book The Circus Fire. " said.

" A book that shows how historical research can read like a detective story. This impeccably researched work of narrative nonfiction draws readers deep into a mysterious arson case, leading readers to examine evidence and draw conclusions. The author takes a difficult historical event and presents it to young readers in a way that invites empathy while encouraging a passion for historical investigation. " said.

" Big Top Burning is a well researched book about the Ringling Brothers Circus fire in Hartford, CT in 1944. Questions still linger about that fire, but the author lays out all the evidence and lets the reader decide. A sad story to be sure that will raise questions of safety. Pairing this with Circus Mirnadus which also came out this year to share the similarities of maintaining fire retardant tents. " said.

" Clearly I'm an outlier here, but I thought this book wasn't nearly as interesting as it could have been, and I can't really see any kid putting up with it. I think it's the structure- it got gruesome very quickly, and the endless questions about what happened went nowhere. There needs to be some kind of thread to hold it all together and give it forward momentum. The whole thing was just *sad*, not compelling. " said.

"This is a fairly riveting story of a disastrous fire at the circus in Hartford, CT in 1944. I think this book will have a lot of appeal for the kids who love to read about true disasters (Titanic, the I Survived series, etc.). I would not hand this to sensitive readers; the chapter about families identifying the bodies of dead children was especially harrowing for me (although kids who seek out disaster stories can probably handle it!). It's an interesting true story and one that's not well known down here in Indiana, so I'll be excited to add this one to my booktalking roster. " said.

"Along with the Great Chicago and Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fires, the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944 was one of America's greatest tragedies.
Well written and thoroughly researched, the author has presented a detailed anatomy of a disaster and it's aftermath. Set aganist a "cultural clip" of American life in the mid-1940's, Ms. Woollett sets out the perfect research method for solving a mystery,what questions to ask, how to gather information and where to locate resources.
Steeped in science with a touch of forensics, this nonfiction book is a "middle school must-have". They will love it.
" said.

June 2019 New Book:

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