Gr 5 Up-How Barnum grew from a barefoot boy in a bankrupt family to become the wealthy "Prince of Humbugs," later "morphing" into the charitable "Friend of Children" is a fascinating story. Running neighborhood lotteries, sharpening his bartering skills, and studying how to use the foibles of humans in the good-natured give-and-take of general stores, Barnum learned to make entertainment acceptable in America's Puritan-influenced atmosphere by cloaking it as education. Warrick's mostly chronological account is wide-ranging, going beyond colorful storytelling to emphasize Barnum's early and innovative use of publicity and advertising. The author is successful at giving a sense of why her subject is important. Black-and-white reproductions, photos, and maps are included. For readers who like a sustained narrative, the positioning of text encircled by a quill-and-line device may seem slightly disruptive. While Catherine M. Andronik's Prince of Humbugs (Macmillan, 1994) is smoother and more detailed, it is for more sophisticated readers. Warrick's offering is a good and informative choice for readers who prefer a "skinny book."-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.