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Author: Jon Berkeley
Publication Date: August 1st, 2006
Publisher: Julie Andrews Collection, Harper Collins
My Interest: Cover love
Source: Library
Age Group | Genre: MG |magical fantasy, circus, orphan-story
Series: Um, possibly? I hope so!
Pages: 427

Another Middle Grade read about the circus/carnival? I am so there.

Lately I’ve been stumbling upon some great middle grade reads, but when the covers are so eye catching, and the titles are mysterious, how could I not pick them up?


The Palace of Laughter is  the story of Miles Wednesday (so named for the day he was dropped off at the horrible Pinchbucket House for orphans) and his chance encounter with the Circus Oscuro. After an evening conversation with a tiger and multiple attempts at trying to sneak into the show, Miles ends up rescuing a peculiar little girl name Little–who also happens to have wings.
The two embark on a journey that seems quite impossible in order to save their own magical friends who have been captured and taken to the enigmatic Palace of Laughter. Of course the journey itself is full of a crazy old explorer, rambunctious street urchins, a tree-house living dowager, and yes, the tiger.


This is Berkeley’s debut novel, and it just happens to include his illustrations as well at the beginning of every chapter. The rear jacket says he “wrote much of The Palace of Laughter in his head while walked the dog, who is not a great conversationalist” which only gives you a glimpse at his imagination. Honestly, that’s what pulled me in and kept me in the story, much like most good Middle Grade Novels. Berkley has created an exciting, fun, adventurous world with his vivid imagination, and it truly shines in this novel.
The Palace of Laughter is a beautiful story about the importance of family and the power of friendship told only the way a circus could tell a story.

Hands down I would recommend this book to anyone.

Final Thoughts:

[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]

Hopeful reading!