The amazing circus-trained acrobat Esme Miranda-Maclinkey thinks nothing of somersaulting out of a castle window, doing a trapeze act between two of its towers or evacuating a crowd of penguins from the castle down a helter skelter that she has helped build. Her eccentric cousins, Magnus, Cosmo and Gus who live in Maclinkey Castle also have their own very individual talents – Magnus, for example, is the designer of the helter skelter.
Esme’s confidence and fearlessness are reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking (although she isn’t as stroppy as Pippi…) and young readers will similarly relish her daring adventures. Although she doesn’t, like Pippi, have a monkey, Esme does have a horse. Called Donk, Esme’s rather mangy pet is perhaps more donkey than horse but she loves him just the way he is. Also like Pippi, Esme’s circus parents are absent (off to Russia to collect some horse jugglers) but the four children are, despite their ‘badly behaved’ tea parties where much food is thrown, under the thumb of the ‘cuddly-looking’ but firm Mrs Larder who of course supplies sustenance when needed.
Divided into ten short chapters and liberally illustrated with lively black and white tone illustrations, this short novel is ideal both for reading aloud and for newly confident readers to try for themselves. With so many delicious elements to relate to – animals of all kinds, freedom to have adventures and extraordinary circus skills – this fast-paced and entertaining narrative will be much enjoyed.