Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Finnigan the Circus Cat by Mary T. Wagner

by Mary T. Wagner
Waterhorse Press LLC
Middle Grade Fiction
ages 8+
160 pages

Maximillian and Leroy are two circus mice cousins who think they’ve got it made in the shade at the old Farnsworth Circus Museum. There are no dogs around, there’s a safe path to the full pantry in the old house, and the barn is full of dry hay and old circus wagons to hang out in.

But when a new generation of Farnsworths move in, things start to shake up. And when eight-year-old Lucy Farnsworth brings home a tiny rescue kitten and hides him in the barn because her dad is allergic to cats, Max and Leroy need to think fast if they’re going to be able to stay.

With the help of Boomer—the strangely silent family dog—Max and Leroy take the new kitten under their wing and show him the ins and outs of living at the museum, and flying “under the radar.” And when Leroy finds himself in deadly peril, it is Finnigan the Circus Cat who saves the day!


With delightful characters, this story explores an extraordinary friendship and the fantastic adventure which ensues.

Max and Leroy aren't just any mice. They are the inhabitants of a wonderful circus museum. When the owner dies, and a new family moves in, their worst dreams come true. The daughter sneaks in their most feared enemy, a cat.

Already in the first pages, Max and Leroy are introduced as characters young readers will wish lived in their home. They are funny, caring, smart and a tad bit adventuresome. It's easy to picture them lying in the hay in their calm world and scampering through the yard and house when the story really gets going. Their emotions are brought across naturally and fit the situations perfectly. Even their banter is a real treat, often coated with a slight bit of humor.

This isn't a high-tension packed adventure, but more of a subtle one perfect for the intended age group. The situations are ones kids will understand and sympathize with, and enough surprises are built in to keep the reader glued to the pages. There are lovely details and quirky comments throw in, exactly the kind which will grab kids' attention. And the kitten packs a little magic all of his own.

The writing is smooth, and the vocabulary fits well. The chapter divisions are placed nicely, so that this can be read over several sittings without losing the flow. The only thing missing, perhaps, would be a few illustrations, but even without these, the imagination has no trouble taking control.

Summed up, this is a lovely read for kids ages 8 to 10 and is sure to become a favorite for some younger book worms.

And here she is. . .

Mary T. Wagner is a former newspaper and magazine journalist who changed careers at the age of forty by going to law school and becoming a criminal prosecutor. However, the joy of writing inevitably drew her back to the keyboard and she has authored several essay collections. A Chicago native, this mother of four and grandmother now lives in "coastal Wisconsin," where she draws much inspiration for writing from the nearby shore of Lake Michigan. She based the character and personality of “Finnigan the Circus Cat” on a REAL rescue kitten who became part of her family.

Author website:

1 comment:

cleemckenzie said...

Who would be able to pass up a book with a kitten like that on the cover. Sounds like a sweet story.