Sunday, October 18, 2015

Circus of thieves and the raffle of doom by William Sutcliffe

A young boy in my school library was very keen last week to borrow the sequel to Circus of thieves and the raffle of doom. (see below for the cover)  I was curious.  I had not read this first book so naturally over this weekend I dived right in and I am so very, very glad I did.  This book is so funny!  I kept reading terrific little sections that I wanted to quote.  Here are a few of them which will give you an idea about some of the characters in this wild adventure.

Fizzer the dog - no one knows who he belongs to or where he came from but he is essential to the story
"Fizzer often felt sorry for humans.  It must be incredibly frustrating to have to do everything so slowly, and to be practically blind, nose-wise, not to mention half deaf and totally ignorant about everything of any real importance.  If it wasn't for their ability to open tins of dog food, humans would be almost completely useless."

Maurice the trapeze artist - a minor character but this description is so fabulous
"At the front was Maurice, the trapeze artist, whose name is pronounced Murrggghhheeece, as if you are gargling an espresso of pond water.  ...  Maurice was French.  In fact he was so proud of being French that he actually became slightly ratty if any other French people came with in range, causing him to increase his Frenchness in order to ensure that he was always the most French person in his immediate vicinity.  This was why he'd been forced to emigrate"

Armitage Shank - Director of the circus and villain extraordinaire
"he wore a pair of red trousers that we so tight you could read the date on the coins in his pocket.  His shirt was white and puffy, made of fabric that billowed around him as if he was walking around in a cloud of icing sugar."

I haven't described the two heroes of the story - Billy and Hannah.  You need to read the book to discover their bravery and talents.  The circus arrives unannounced.  People eagerly buy tickets to the show and sign up for the free raffle by providing their name and address.  This is a huge mistake.

Here is a short interview with the author which explains a little more of the plot and the inspiration for this story.  In this interview William Sutcliffe mentions the Mr Gum series so I guess it is not a coincidence that Circus of Thieves uses the same illustrator David Tazzyman.  The illustrations in this book are perfect in every way.

If you enjoy Circus of Thieves and the raffle of doom you will also like Fizzlebert Stump the boy who ran away from the circus.  I am certainly looking forward to reading the sequel especially since I have been left with so many unanswered questions - why does Hannah feel a strong connection to the circus, why does Armitage recognise Hannah's grandmother and will Billy ever be reunited with his dad?  I don't usually rate the books on this blog but I give Circus of Thieves and the raffle of doom five out of five!  Run to your school library or any other library or even a bookshop and grab this book today!

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