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The Palace Of Laughter (The Wednesday Tales #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,317 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
On a blustery October night, the Circus Oscuro came to town. It was clear from the start that this was no ordinary circus. They did not roll into town with fanfares and cartwheeling clowns. Miles, an orphan living in a barrel, discovers that there is something very sinister about this circus in town, something sinister and rather magical.
Published June 1st 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 1st 2006)
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Sep 23, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
As much as it saddens me to say this, I can't give this book as good a rating as I'd like. If it were possible to give half stars, it's really a 2 1/2 star book, and it's a shame because it started off brilliantly. Miles, the protagonist, is hiding in a barrel with a stuffed bear named Tangerine and spying on a mysterious circus. The creepy circus element had so much potential, because isn't everyone just a little bit creeped out by clowns anyway? Throw that in with the orphan boy-makes-good plo ...more
Nadine Larter
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After spending two weeks on the last book I read it was kind of refreshing to finish this book in three sittings. Yes I admit that it's not the most brilliantly written book and neither is it emotionally poignant, but The Palace of Laughter is a great story and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something to tickle their "As sweet" fantasy. If you're like me and you prefer you YA fiction minus all the annoying teen angst then I reckon Jon Berkeley is an author to look out for. It might a ...more
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carrie
I LOVED this book. Just a good read. Why are some of the best books about orphans?
May 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tween-reads
This is the story of a homeless boy, Miles, escaped from the local orphanage, and a little angel named Little, whom Miles helped to escape from the circus. They are on a quest to find the angel, Silverpoint, whom Little followed to earth and whom she needs to find in order to get back home. They know that Silverpoint is at the "Palace of Laughter," but they don't know where or what that is.

The story is somewhat dark. The circus people are the scary kind that give people nightmares, and they are
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, childrens
The Palace of Laughter is my favorite kind of children's book, the kind that reminds me why I spent such a large portion of my childhood holed up in my room reading books instead of outside playing with the other kids. It is the kind that whisks the reader away to a foreign but familiar and intriguing land, which the reader promptly decides is much more interesting than her own life and so desires to spend as much time in said world as possible. Luckily, this is the first of a trilogy, so reader ...more
Miles Wednesday, the escaped orphan, lives in a barrel on a hill overlook the town of Larde. But that's OK, it's a large barrel, perched on its side. One night, completely unannounced, the Circus Oscuro comes to town and sets up below Miles's hill. Also making a visit is a huge tiger, who meets with Miles at the barrel and tells him (yes, I know, tells him) that he can smell a link with the circus on Miles. Smuggling himself into the space beneath the big top seats, Miles sees a young, angelic g ...more
Anne Latham
The Boy has been searching for a new series featuring an alienated boy since the Gregor the Overlander series ended, and The Wednesday Tales is definitely high on the list, currently running hard against May Bird.

Alienated Boy with Tiger trumps Alienated Girl with Cat AND Ghost, and that is why this review is about the adventures of Miles and Little and you will have to wait another week or so for a review of May Bird and the Ever After.

Miles Wednesday is an escaped, renegade orphan who lives in
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read all of this series, and let me tell you, it was worth the read.
The story is about a boy who's last name is Wednesday (because of the day he arrived at the orphanage) and how he becomes involved with a song angel and a carnival that is complicated to say the least.
On the way he meets people that are good, bad, and off putting- and learns about the parents he lost, the person he is, and the world that he lives in with all it's magic and mystery.

I love that this book is a little bit scary, a
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I swear to God, I have to re-read this book. I somehow consider this one of my favorite childhood novels, but I can't even remember a thing that happened in her. Oh my!
Sirona Leopold Montenegro Valverde
I remember receiving this book as a gift for my birthday back when I was a kid. And while I did pass as a kid who enjoyed reading, it was not often that I'd get into the books I received for my birthday. With The Palace of Laughter, however, it was one of those few occasions.

And looking back, I remember seeing it a couple of years earlyer in a bookstore, but wasn't very interested in it, because from a first glance it seemed too... underwhelming. As you might guess, that wasn't the case.

I guess
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miles is an orphan who lives in a barrel. At least, until Circus Oscuro comes to town. Arriving in the dead of night, something about it seems a little.... off. But its big top and quirky cast promise a night no one will forget. To Miles, who has never been to a circus, it's the ultimate attraction, especially after he meets a tiger. But to Little, a girl with wings, the circus isn't nearly so appealing. Soon Miles and Little are on the road, chasing the circus in the hopes of rescuing friends t ...more
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Palace of Laughter is a suspenseful, nail biting, adventure. The book starts off by introducing to us a young orphan boy named Miles Wendnesday, who has spent his whole life fending for himself. He witnesses the birth of a child's wonderland, the circus. He is so intrigued by it that he sneaks in, to quench his curiosity. While there he meets an abused acrobat named Little. Miles eventually breaks her out. Then together they go off to save her friend Silverpoint and to reveal the dark humor ...more
The Palace of Laughter is actually several years old, but it was new to me nonetheless. It’s the story of Miles Wednesday (so named for the day he was dropped off at the horrible Pinchbucket House for orphans) and his chance encounter with the Circus Oscuro. After an evening conversation with a tiger and multiple attempts at trying to sneak into the show, Miles ends up rescuing a peculiar little girl name Little–who also happens to have wings.
The two embark on a journey that seems quite impossib
Barb Middleton
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Late one night the circus comes to town and no one hears its big top go up except Miles Wednesday, the curious orphan boy, who lives in a barrel on the hill. He sneaks into the circus the next day and is fascinated by the acrobatic girl who can fly. When he discovers her locked up in a wagon he hatches a plan to set her free and the two become friends. Miles discovers that this circus has a dark side that is doing something to the townspeople. When he discovers that the circus owner has kidnappe ...more
Reilly Windsor-Daly
This book would make such a good children's movie. The whole way through I was picturing scenes from the book that would perfectly translate onto the big screen. Though knowing my problem with adaptations there is a strong chance that I would have a problem with it. That aside I still think this book would make a perfect movie.

The characters are fully animated and instantly likeable - apart from the villains, who like in every good children's book, are instantly dislikeable; creating very clear
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The palace of laughter
Bria Kirk
December 2 2011

I recently read the book the palace of laughter. This book is very good only if you want a good laugh. Sometimes laughing takes you to a whole new world. I was reading this book before bed then I looked at the clock and it was two o’clock in the morning. If you like fantasy and mystery this book is definitely for you. The charters in this book is a teddy bear that talks named tangerine also there is a boy named miles that lives in a barrel. There is
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story unfolds within a circus....enough said for those that know me. ( scary) For those that don't know me....When I was a child my parents took me and my older brother to the circus...there was a snowstorm and they would not let anyone leave. So instead of letting us find a place to rest and wait it out, they ( being the scary circus people) decided to put the show on again....and let me tell ya I have been afraid of clowns ever sense. As a wonderful bonus they let kids ride on some wagon ...more
Réka Kaponay
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those books that chose me instead of me choosing it. A cold Winter's afternoon brought The Palace of Laughter to my fingertips and it was the perfect read for an afternoon curled up by the fireplace with a mug of hot tea. Miles and Little are both wonderfully written characters and this tale was a revitalising breath-of-fresh-air from the many cliched formulas that are seen today in Dark and Epic Fantasy. I love the creativity that abounds in this novel from the unique names and ...more
April Hochstrasser
This book started off so great. Miles Wednesday, the protagonist, is living in a barrel with a stuffed bear named Tangerine. Then the creepy circus comes to town and he sneaks into the premises only to discover a captured song angel. He rescues her and then the book really goes haywire. As the elements were added to the book, including hoodlums and dictator-hungry ring-masters, the book ran away with itself. Too long and complicated. I felt like I was wasting time reading all 426 pages. Plus, th ...more
Aug 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids 10-14 into Fantasy
I really wanted to like this book but just can't give it a great rating. It's a shame because it started off so great. Miles, the protagonist, is hiding in a barrel with a stuffed bear named Tangerine and spying on a mysterious circus. The creepy circus element seems so promising, since isn't everyone just a little bit unsettled by clowns anyway? Throw that in with the orphan boy-makes-good and that has the makings of a good story in itself, but this book has too many spectacles going in too man ...more
Julie B Campbell
I enjoyed The Palace of Laughter from beginning to end and I can't wait to read the second and the third books from The Wednesday Tales.

I picked up this book because it was on sale and deeply discounted. I can admit that I judged a book by its cover and I just found that the title and images were appealing and the price was too low to make it a "risk". I couldn't be happier that I picked it up and I feel like buying the next two books has been a good investment.

The creativity, imagination, and
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Jon Berkeley has created an intriguingly dark world that protagonist Miles Wednesday stands up to, and triumphs against. The story starts with Miles Wednesday waking up in the middle of the night in his home — an abandoned barrel in the fields outside his home town of Larde. The homeless orphan is there to witness the arrival of a mysterious and sinister circus. As the circus waits until morning to greet the townsfolk of Larde, Miles receives another visitor: a talking Bengal tiger which, ...more
N. Kotnik
The Palace of Laughter is a book about a poor boy named miles and a dream that awoken him one night. A tiger appeared in the dream telling him that he was welcome to join the circus, but why him? He had no amazing ability so why did they want him? Miles makes his way to the circus to see his destiny. He was watching the show and thought he would never find the talent to become a circus act. His favorite act was a acrobat-who was an angel... Literally. Her name was Little, Little helps Miles on a ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Talk about a genuinely fun, well-written book. From the first page, it takes off with a burst of interesting, punchy darkness and weaves a story that is both wildly imaginative and full of brilliant characters. Berkeley has a unique, extremely enjoyable style of storytelling and I'm so happy I decided to pick this book up off the shelf. It didn't even read like a Youth book--it was extremely well written and the imagery was rich and colorful: the type of book that you just want to dive into and ...more
Miles Wednesday is an eleven-year-old orphan living in a barrel on a hill when late one night a circus sneaks in to town and Miles is the only one to see it. Things get more mysterious when a tiger approaches Miles and begins to speak to the child. Throw in a creepy ringmaster, a centuries old angel, a teddy bear named Tangerine, gangs of street children, and a catastrophe to be stopped and you've got this book.

It was good...and it wasn't good. The story started off great and had an interesting
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
This was a LONG JFiction book! Over 400 pages. I really liked it though. A fun story - although very fantastical. A bit along the lines of a more innocent, younger Percy Jackson. About 2/3 of the way though, I thought this is a lot of stuff to all tie together. And of course, it all ends happily. Which for these characters it should! It's called Tale No. 1 so I am about to look and see if there is a tale No. 2. I LOVED the reason the boy is called Miles Wednesday. I also was delighted to see tha ...more
Deyjah Stewart
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a homeless boy who escaped from a dysfunctional orphanage at the age of only eleven, Miles Wednesday has outdone himself in Jon Berkeley’s, “The Palace of Laughter,”his bright mind and courage lead him on an adventure to find a Storm Angel named Silverpoint who seems to be trapped in The Palace of Laughter with a four-thousand year old Song Angel named Little,and a talking tiger, who Miles suspects is the circus tiger everyone is talking about who scarred the Circus Oscuro’s ringmaster. Alth ...more

This story began when Mr. Berkeley, a noted illustrator, strolling with his dog in Barcelona asked himself,
‘What would be the story of a character named Silverwing be like?’
Now we know.
From his vantage point Miles Wednesday can see the mysterious Circus Oscuro arrive. In the middle of the night he is approached and spoken to by a huge tiger setting the scene for this dreamy tale. Miles goes to the circus and sets into motion a grand quest to help a delicate winged creature named Little find he
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5th-7th
Shelves: ya-fantasy
3.5 The first book in The Wednesday Tales series follows the adventures of Miles Wednesday. After running away from a horrid orphanage, Miles finds a friend in a circus that comes to town. Little has strange wings and an even stranger story. She says that she accidentally fell to earth along with Silverpoint and must return with him back from where they came. Miles and Little end up going the Palace of Laughter run by an evil Cortado who is stealing people’s laughter. The mystery of who Miles’ p ...more
I can't help thinking that this author loves home-brewed, around the campfire, tuck the kids in bed, spontaneous invention storytelling but does not understand any of the essentials of novel writing.

“He must shape simultaneously (in an expanding creative moment) his characters, plot, and setting, each inextricably connected to the others; he must make his whole world in a single, coherent gesture, as a potter makes a pot...”
― John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
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Jon Berkeley was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and says he went to a school where "you were only allowed go to the bathroom if you asked in Irish." His love of art led him to study at the National College of Art and Design. From there he went to work as an illustrator in Hong Kong, Barcelona, London and Sydney.

Jon worked as an illustrator for twenty years before turning his hand to writing.
More about Jon Berkeley...

Other Books in the Series

The Wednesday Tales (3 books)
  • The Tiger's Egg (The Wednesday Tales, #2)
  • The Lightning Key (The Wednesday Tales, #3)

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