The Butterfly Circus

Front Cover

When I read the introductory lines to The Butterfly Circus I was convinced that my Greatest Showman loving daughter could potentially enjoy this book along with me and so I read her the first chapter as a taster of what to expect from the book.

We are introduced to sisters Tansy and Belle, the star act at a circus, captivating audiences with the shows grand finale of a flawless trapeze act. The strong bond between the two sisters is apparent from the offset with the pair seemingly inseparable. The chapter ends with younger sister Tansy showing off mid trapeze in an attempt to impress her sister and it going wrong.

My daughter was so impressed with what she heard that no sooner had I put down the book to ask her initial thoughts she picked it up and started skim reading the first few lines of chapter two in order to find out what Tansy’s fate was when her improvised trapeze act went wrong. I asked my daughter if she would like to read chapter two to me and she was delighted to do so.

My daughter reading chapter two

In the second chapter we discover that Tansy has injured herself after her fall and that she is no longer able to trapeze, instead left watching her sister from the wings. So when Belle is performing one evening and vanishes into thin air Tansy is understandably beside herself, worried for Belle and frightened to find herself alone in the world. It really is a jaw dropping start to a story with Francesca Armour-Chelu setting an atmospheric, tantalising scene within a circus big top with two fiercely loyal sisters that are suddenly shrouded in the most unexpected mystery and it is utterly brilliant.

The story continues with Tansy leaving all that she is familiar with behind and going in search of her missing sister. It isn’t a journey she ventures on alone however as her shadow comes alive, and they get along really well. Rosa (her shadow) becomes a welcome companion on the journey across the country and adds a truly magical feel as well as an awareness to other aspects that ultimately impact Tansy given that they are one and the same like fear of being alone, abandoned and also fear of the dark.

Seeking the answers to her big sisters disappearance gets Tansy into many scrapes, whether it be with train station staff or owners of rival circuses that she believes have kidnapped Belle, but her fast thinking and help from Rosa help time and time again, ensuring that they are on the right track to find the older sister. Add kidnapping to the mix and your likely unable to put this book down, willing the characters on whilst sitting at the edge of your seat.

The story in its entirity feels extremely heart warming through the portrayal of the beautiful and genuine bond between two sisters. Tansy is relentless and determined in her search for Belle, overcoming hurdles along the way with the support of Rosa who encourages her to push beyond her boundaries and consequently growing braver and more confident along the way. The story is fast paced ensuring you won’t want to put the book down, evident with my daughter who has loved sharing this book and has asked to take it with her to school to re-read during DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) and of all the books that have passed through my house that I have shared snippets of to try to involve her this is truly the a first, and that definitely says it all.

Published by – Walker Books Publication date – 06.06.19 RRP – £6.99

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