Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical

Overview

Freaks, magicians, psychics, and the passing strange take center stage in ten original tales by top YA authors and graphic novelists.

Molly is a bearded girl who joins the circus, only to fi nd that her former tormentor faces a far hairier plight. Tia claims that her lamented mom is a three-thousand-year-old mummy, but is it really an act? Cody sets out to foil a pop psychic, but the shocking result is not what he planned for. And Tiffany’s grandma sees something wild in her ...

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Overview

Freaks, magicians, psychics, and the passing strange take center stage in ten original tales by top YA authors and graphic novelists.

Molly is a bearded girl who joins the circus, only to fi nd that her former tormentor faces a far hairier plight. Tia claims that her lamented mom is a three-thousand-year-old mummy, but is it really an act? Cody sets out to foil a pop psychic, but the shocking result is not what he planned for. And Tiffany’s grandma sees something wild in her future, but is the girl prepared for the powerful shape it will take? Whether the sideshow touts a two-headed rat or a turn-of-the-century American jargo, whether the subject discovers an odd kind of miracle or learns that the real freaks are outside the tent, these stories and graphic tales are by turns humorous and insightful, edgy and eerie, but always compulsively entertaining.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Kristin Anderson
Like Noyes's previous short story collections Gothic! (Candlewick, 2004/VOYA August 2004) and The Restless Dead (2007/VOYA October 2007), she again presents a diverse array of themed stories by some very high-profile young adult authors. The book opens with the story of a middle school girl with a beard by Aimee Bender, who does a good job of bringing home the point of just how freakish it sometimes feels to be a teen. Cynthia Leitich Smith and Vivian Vande Velde share their takes on psychics, each with a surprising twist at the end. Annette Curtis Klause's story is a companion to Freaks: Alive on the Inside! (Margaret K. McElderry/S & S, 2006/VOYA October 2005). Of the ten stories in the collection, those by Danica Novgorodoff, Shaun Cheng, and Matt Phelan are in graphic format. David Almond, Cecil Castellucci, and Margo Lanagan also provide their unique views into freak-dom. The book's freak-show inspired theme will appeal to readers who appreciate stories with horror and magical realism elements. Although the stories are of high quality and have strong teen appeal, young adult short story collections are always a challenging sell in a library environment. Some hand-selling will be required to ensure that this title finds the audience it deserves. Reviewer: Kristin Anderson
Children's Literature - Myrna Dee Marler
This collection of tales about the supernatural and the creepy, three of which are graphic stories, will attract the fans of this genre fiction and possibly reluctant readers. Evidently, this volume was preceded by two other short story collections about the supernatural or fantasy characters which have sold well. So, there seems to be a market for weirdness among young readers. Some of the story lines are about an Egyptian exotic dancer whose mother really is a mummy, a bearded girl who likes her beard in spite of everyone else's distaste, a dead boy who accompanies his mother to a psychic reading, and bread starter, looking a lot like a big doughy worm, that must be fed gifts and offers gifts in return. At any rate, this book fills the continuing need to meet society's current fascination with the supernatural. Why that vortex is occurring now is a question best left for another venue. Reviewer: Myrna Dee Marler
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10–Like The Restless Dead (2007) and Gothic! (2004, both Candlewick), this is a masterpiece of 10 short stories by world-class authors. Contributors include David Almond, Annette Curtis Klause, and Vivian Vande Velde. Particularly noteworthy is Cecil Castellucci’s “The Bread Box,” in which a teenage girl learns the secret of her elderly aunt’s extremely vivacious bread starter. True to Margo Lanagan’s style, “Living Curiosities” is a multilayered tale that requires several rereadings to fully appreciate. Not all of the stories are traditional prose; several are graphic renditions, including Matt Phelan’s masterfully drawn “Jargo!” which portrays a mysterious circus performer who is never seen out of costume. Several of the stories pack the same punch as old-fashioned O. Henry or Roald Dahl classics and are the stuff that will fill the English literature textbooks of tomorrow. Suspending disbelief, readers of this fantastic anthology may start investing in psychics and sleeping with the light on.–Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Noyes's latest anthology (Gothic!, 2007) showcases freaks, once a celebrated standard in traveling shows and theater. The included stories range from David Almond's view into a more innocent time, when the difference between a circus Swami and God was hard to distinguish and all magic was possible, to Margo Lanagan's outstanding tale of a lovelorn dwarf who is stronger than a seemingly normal visitor. Annette Curtis Klause has contributed a stand-alone sequel to her novel Freaks (2006), while Aimee Bender's bearded girl likes her beard. Three of the entries are by renowned graphic novelists. Matt Phelan's excellent "Jargo" draws the haunting and wistful story of a creature too strange even for a sideshow tent. Strangely, two stories have nothing to do with sideshows or circus freaks-Vivian Vande Velde's ghost story features a psychic, while Cecil Castellucci's weirdly wonderful "The Bread Starter" showcases just that-and many of the stories, while "odd and magical," are only tangentially sideshow-themed. From a thematic perspective the collection is a bit of a mess; from a writing perspective it's excellent. (introduction, contributor biographies) (Anthology. 13 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763637521
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,501,391
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Editor Deborah Noyes is the acclaimed anthologist of the award-winning collections THE RESTLESS DEAD and GOTHIC! She is also the author of the gothic collection of connected stories THE GHOSTS OF KERFOL, as well as the picture books RED BUTTERFLY and HANA IN THE TIME OF THE TULIPS. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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