An outsider becomes a hero and a boy becomes a man in this classic coming-of-age tale from the heyday of the three-ring circus, by three-time Newbery Honor Book author Eloise Jarvis McGraw.
The circus is all young Joe Lang knows. The third generation of a circus family, he becomes a star bareback rider by the time he turns fifteen. But when his father, a lion-tamer, is killed by one of his cats, Joe becomes an orphan and is sent away to a vocational school while the law decides whether or not Mo Shapely, an old clown, is a fit guardian for him. Meanwhile, the circus moves on. Joe escapes from the school and stumbles into the farm life of the Dawson family, who take him in.
Mistrustful at first, Joe grows to love farming and his foster family. Faced with prejudice as an outsider in a closely-knit rural community, he closely guards the secret of his past—until the day his extraordinary acrobatic talent is called for to save a life. Joe earns respect, but there is still circus is in his blood, sawdust in his shoes. Will he ever be happy away from his former life with the greatest show on earth?
The debut novel of three-time Newbery winner Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Sawdust in His Shoes is reminiscent of Ralph Moody’s Little Britches and Man of the Family, Roahl Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World, Sid Fleischman’s The Whipping Boy, and Walt Morey’s Run Far, Run Fast. Rediscover another great read-aloud treasure from the golden age of the children’s novel.