The Greatest Show off Earth

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Delphinium is a bored 10-year-old girl on the Space Station Vulnik, where all fun is forbidden lest the residents attract the dreaded Acropola, a group of galaxy-roaming entities that suck up amusement wherever they go. Delphinium and her librarian friend Jason Jones go zipping around the galaxy quite a bit themselves, launching themselves into hyperspace to visit the Wondershow, an defunct traveling space circus that they manage to revive for a series of performances. While taking in the show, they're attacked by a gang of pirates led by the fearsome La Mollerina, Delphinium's former maid on the space station. While Mahy's flights of fancy remain inventive throughout, the flights of her characters occur far too frequently, and all the mad rushing about seems underexplained. The scattershot results don't measure up to the standards of top-shelf Mahy (The Changeover; The Haunting), and longtime readers may be uncomfortably aware of the disparities between this book and its predecessors. Age 8-12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-On the gloomy Space Station Vulnik, fun is forbidden, but it's Delphinium's 10th birthday, and she wants it to be glorious. Pushing the forbidden ``Danger'' button, she launches herself, the inquisitive Jason, and the cowardly Mangold into hyperspace. They land in the middle of the Wonder Show, a traveling space circus that had mysteriously disappeared. Soon the friends find themselves battling space pirates led by La Mollerina (the Williwaw of the West), who is determined to stamp out all the fun in the world. In the end, of course, good triumphs over evil. With its clever title, unusual characters, and adventure-packed chapters, Mahy's story is sure to capture the interest of young science-fiction fans, but it may prove to be a somewhat difficult read for those unaccustomed to the genre. The pages are filled with invented vocabulary that generally is not explained, although some of the words can be inferred from context. The plot, while carefully constructed to tie together all the loose ends, is quite involved and sometimes difficult to follow. Another difficulty occurs when, at the end of the final chapter, the author suddenly switches tense-perhaps a device intended to bring the story from the past to the present, but jarring nonetheless. While its Dahl-like humor will appeal to those who enjoyed his The Witches (Farrar, 1983) or Matilda (Viking, 1988), this title is additional fare for fans of humorous sci-fi/fantasy.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140379266
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/1996
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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