The Happy Hollisters

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages . . .” the lights are about to dim one last time inside the big top, as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus wraps up their last performances in May 2017, after 146 years of thrilling audiences young and old. Going to the circus will be an activity remembered only by those of a certain age who were lucky enough to have had the joyful experience of attending a live performance. No more will we hear the roars of the big cats and the trumpeting of the elephants, the cheerful calliope, the cracking of whips. Wafting away into the atmosphere are the aromas of popcorn, musky elephants, and mechanical grease. The whirling kaleidoscope of colorful costumes and lights will fade to black. Sugary sweet cotton candy will melt into distant nostalgia, and sticky fingers will be washed one last time before memories of a fun-filled evening at the circus blend into dreamland.

Despair not, however, the old-time circus lives on forever in The Happy Hollisters at Circus Island by Jerry West (pseudonym for Andrew Svenson). First published in 1955 and now available in paperback and Kindle editions, this book offers a glimpse into circus life as it used to be when the Hollister family travels to Circus Island in Florida, the home of the Sunshine Circus. This exciting adventure for the Happy Hollisters begins with the theft of a prize-winning poodle and leads to sinister goings-on with a competing (and unscrupulous) circus troupe. As the Happy Hollisters follow a trail of clues to nab the dognappers, they also make new friends among the Sunshine Circus performers who teach them to tumble, walk a tightrope, and ride an elephant.

Return to simpler times. Pop up a big batch of buttery popcorn. Curl up in a comfy chair and read The Happy Hollisters at Circus Island with a child who will never have the opportunity to see a live performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

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