Captain Calliope and the Great Goateenies
Bailey Fish, 11, her grandmother, Sugar, and their neighbors are delighted when Captain Calliope shows up at Keswick Inn with his Great Goateenies. The captain hopes to put together a new circus act with an unlikely combination of animals to replace his original, famous Great Goateenies that performed amazing tricks. But shortly after his arrival, Captain Calliope mysteriously disappears, leaving behind the new Goateenies with instructions for their care.
Bailey, Justin Rudd, Noah and Fred Keswick and their foster sister, Sparrow, try to train the animals and plan a backyard circus in his absence. However, the Goateenies prove difficult for Bailey and her friends to teach tricks. Other problems arise when Bailey learns of her traveling mother’s surprising news, and later confronts a bully at a party.
Nonfiction information includes American circus history, sea turtles, and farm animals.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Don’t miss the excitement of the whole adventure:
Bailey reached the truck about the same time as Noah and Fred came running from the house. They looked as if they had thrown on their clothes. The boys had apparently been in as much of a rush as Bailey, who had just realized that she hadn’t bothered to brush her hair.
Noah’s unruly yellowish hair was sticking out funny on one side and was flat on the other, where he’d been sleeping on it. Fred had covered his dark curly hair with one of his many baseball caps. He hadn’t noticed that his shirt was on backwards.
“I don’t see any problem with the animals staying here,” Mr. Will said to the man. “It won’t take long for us to make a pen in the barn. You’ll have to take care of their food, though. I don’t have any tasty tin cans.” Mr. Will grinned.
Animals? Tin cans? What was Mr. Will talking about? Bailey couldn’t wait for the man to open the truck. She held Goldie’s leash close to her collar.
“Now,” said the man, with a deep bow, “I present the amazing, stupendous, outstanding, fantastical, magical Great Goateenies.” With that, he opened the latch.
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Sample discussion question:
Bailey doubts Captain Calliope’s ability to train the animals as he plans. Do you think he is a loser? A dreamer? Why or why not?