There are lots of great series available now for newly independent readers to choose from. There are books about monsters, fairies, horrible boys, unicorns, stinky dinosaurs and much more. Something there isn’t a lot of for younger readers is mystery books. This is where Maureen Crisp’s wonderful Monsieur Charles’ Circus Quest series comes in.
Monsieur Charles’ Circus Quest follows a circus troupe who have been together for many years, but believe this year may be their last together. In the first book in the series, The Playbill, they receive an invitation to the circus conclave (a gathering of circus troupes) from The Puzzle Master. However, they must solve the clues to discover its location. Monsieur Charles has said that if they received the invitation this year, it would be his last as head of the circus, which would mean the circus would split up. Everyone agrees to do anything they can to solve the clues and try to save their circus. Last year, the clues were stolen, so this year it is up to Kestrel to keep the clues hidden and safe. Meanwhile, Stanley, one of the circus workers, is being paid by a shadowy figure to make some accidents happen to try and shut down the circus. Kestrel must work together with his brother Peregrine and his friend Skye to solve the clue and figure out where to find the next one. The second book, Magician’s Moustache, follows Monsieur Charles’ circus as they travel to the island of Papenton to perform and try to solve the second clue.
Monsieur Charles’ Circus Quest is a clever and fun series for younger readers. It’s a series that gives younger readers a taste of mystery and adventure, but at a level that they can understand. Kids will enjoy trying to solve the clue in each book and figure out what exactly the clue means. Maureen has written the books in such a way that you don’t find out the answer to the clue until the next book. That way you have to read the next book to find out if you’re right. I was a bit stumped by the clue in book 1 but when I started book 2 it was clear straight away.
There is something in the books for all readers, whether they want mystery, adventure, laughs, suspense, or interesting characters. I’ve read the first two books in the series but I need to know what happens to the circus so I’ll be hunting down the other books. There are currently five books in the series, with another five planned. You can buy them from The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie or from Wheelers.