Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights” as Want to Read:
Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In this vivid, entertaining, and authentic historical novel set in the world of a traveling carnival in 1896, two fourteen-year-old girls—one a giant and the other a dwarf—start out as enemies but soon come to depend on one another to escape the clutches of an evil carnie owner who wants to kill and stuff their beloved animals. For fans of The One and Only Ivan and Water f ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by HarperCollins
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  72 ratings  ·  33 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights
Stephanie Cress
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Randall Platt's character writing remains, to date, one of the best I've experienced in middle grade/YA fiction. She is a magician, transforming words on a page into living, breathing people who effortlessly pull the reader into their world.

Fourteen-year-old giantess Fern Marie Killingsworth (better known as "Babe") is sold as a freak by her abusive father, throwing her into the harsh world of a failing carnival owned by the sleazy "Professor Renoir." Babe quickly befriends and becomes the prote
Linda Weber
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle Grade readers and old people!
Recommended to Linda by: The author asked me to read & review
Book Review


To begin I must admit I am a real fan of Randall Platt’s writing. I am a 75-year-old woman reading Middle Grade or YA Literature! I pretend I am pre-reading it so I can decide whether one of my grandchildren will enjoy the book, and indeed, I do send the books on to them. So far nobody has given me a teenage eye roll!

I was gifted my copy of Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and De
Jessica Morrell
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Platt's story blasts off a heart-wrenching start featuring every child's worst fear: abandonment. But Babe Killingsworth, isn't an ordinary kid, if there is such thing. At 14 she is 6 foot 9 and more than 300 pounds and is especially vulnerable. Her mother is dead and her father, one of the villains in the story, sells her to Professor Renoir, the shady owner of a traveling carnival/freak show as she witnesses their cold-heartening bargaining over her worth and contract.

Leaving a home where she
Connie Claussen
I love an entertaining read that includes history and a setting that I am totally unfamiliar with.
The story takes place in the age of carnivals back in the late 1800s. The main character is Babe, who is sold to a down and out carnival by her abusive father as a freak. Babe is super tall, super heavy and super strong and through her story shows her strengths, kindness and loyalties. She has difficulty being accepted by people but finds a deep connection and need to protect a chimp, bear and an e
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yabc-reviews
See my full review here:

PROFESSOR RENOIR'S COLLECTION OF ODDITIES, CURIOSITIES, AND DELIGHTS primarily follows Babe, a fourteen-year-old girl who has gigantism. She already stands at nearing 7' tall and towers over everyone around her. She was not taught well, as she was kicked out of school when she was younger, and her father shows little to no interest in her. She sleeps in the barn, and she is happy with that as she loves animals and brings strays in
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this story about a traveling sideshow's main attractions. I worried that the ending was going to be too Hollywood, but was ultimately satisfied with the resolution.
Karen Casey
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I’ve was gifted an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Once again Randall Platt has captured the spirit and individuality of a youth pitted against extraordinary odds of existence. Fern Marie Killingsworth, born Jan 2, 1882, was barely a year old when she began growing at an alarming rate due to a condition called gigantism. In the opening pages Babe, Fern’s nickname, is fourteen years old, stands 6 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 343 pounds. She is an eye witness to her father’s dic
Mitch Luckett
Freud said, “Anatomy is Destiny.” So here we have Babe, Randell Platt’s protagonist in Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights, a big girl with a bigger heart. It’s 1896, Babe’s 14 years old, close to 7 feet tall and 330 pounds, wears men’s clothing, and her daddy makes her sleep out in the barn on straw. She’s not upset about having a barn bedroom. We learn pretty quick that Babe is adaptable. It’s not a hardship to her, it’s puts her closer to “critters” she loves ...more
Tyler Miller
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Randi Platt has given us yet another fun, colorful historical adventure showcasing characters at the fringes of society. Similar to her earlier novel, The Likes of Me, which featured an albino protagonist, Professor Renoir’s Collection of Curiosities and Delights serves up both a giant (Babe) and a dwarf (Lotty). The two heroes navigate the outlandish world of Professor Renoir’s circus as it travels across America in the c
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Randall Platt writes books for "adults and young adults and those who don't own up to being either". Here she has written a book about Fern "Babe" Killingsworth, who, at fourteen years of age (in 1896) is six foot nine, and three hundred fifty pounds of muscle. She lives in a backwater Oregon town where she is teased and picked on by other kids. She was expelled from school during her second try

As the story begins, her father sells her to "Professor" Renoir, operator of a fleabitten carnie on i
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was gifted an ARC of “Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights” in exchange for a review. And while, initially, the character of Babe Killingsworth seemed a little hokey, she soon endeared herself to me just as she does the many engaging characters (homosapiens and animals) that populate Randall Platt’s latest YA novel. Beginning in a small “jerkwater” Idaho town in the 1890s, Babe’s journey from ridiculed local freak to the confident hero of her own promising futur ...more
Denise Hall
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First will state that I received an Advance Reading Copy of the book from Randall Platt in exchange for a fair review.
I choose not to disclose the plot of the book in this review as some others have done.

On the surface it seems a simple story, but as the story evolves, its subject matter goes much deeper in emotion and topics. Ms. Platt explains as a post script to the book, that she works very hard to use the common language of the time period in which her story takes place. This use of langua
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
Happy Pub Day to this absolute gem!!

How is it even possible that this was my first Randall Platt adventure!? If it hadn't been for Harper Collins Canada this fantastic book wouldn't have been on my radar.

Professor Renoir's Collection Of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights is seriously brilliant and I loved every minute of this story! The year is 1896 and a Traveling Carnival is coming into town. The main character, Babe Killingsworth completely stole my heart. Fourteen years old, a height of 6
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Randall Platts greatest storytelling features is her voice. Each character is unique and memorable. As is Babe, Queen of the Amazons, a fourteen-year-old who is six-foot-nine inches. Can you recall oddities in your childhood years? I can! And Platt grabbed those years and made them come alive in this tale of carnival hoopla. Babe deals with her height, the pains that come with it, and her desire for acceptance and family.

What better way than relationships with animals to help her cope wi
Thomas DeWolf
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've enjoyed Randall Platt's books for a long time. I first encountered her through her Fe-As-Ko series of stories after meeting her at a Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference. I subsequently participated in a weekend writers workshop she facilitated (which was wonderful, btw), and have looked forward to each of her books as they've come out. Also in the interest of full disclosure, I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. And I will be honest and ...more
Beverly Hodgins
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lions and Tigers and Bears
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Wait, make that elephant, chimpanzee and bear. Add a giant of a girl whose name is Babe and her diminutive friend, Carlotta, and you have gathered the most interesting of the peculiar, outlandish, eccentric and sometimes lost and forlorn characters of the traveling carnival who are Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights. In exchange for a fair review, I received an Advance Reader’s Edition of this book by
Jessica F
"There's a big difference between growing up, growing confident, and growing cocky."

I'm not sure what to make of this one. I was riveted by the story. Readers can't help but root for Babe and her fellow curious cast of circus characters and animals.

But I could have gone for a lot more meat in the end notes - more resources for kids who want to learn more about animal advocacy, more about the disability community. Instead the author says "At least some of the power has shifted recently... and ind
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book did not live up to my expectations, unfortunately. I thought the setting and characters were so unique and I saved it for the last book to read while on holiday. But, it was about 200 pages too long with characters I didn't really care about. I thought the author was a male with the way the main character was written. Surprised to find out the author was female. Babe felt like the way a male author would write his assumptions for a 14 year old girl. Yes, she was a giant, but I don't be ...more
Judy Buskirk
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read a Publisher's copy before it came out.
I can always trust the amount of research this author conducts for each book. And it shows in Professor Renoir's Collection of Oddities, Curiosities and Delights. In the 1800s the circus was a destination for many "odd" members of society. They were called the "Carnie Freaks," who endured much hardship. Babe, the girl with gigantism, and Lotty, a dwarf, become an unbeatable duo, against Renoir, the inscrutable circus owner. I appreciate how Platt all
Hannah-Andrew Rios
An interesting read focusing on people that are ostracized for their differences. Babe is a 14-year old "bonafide giant" in the late 1800's, who finds herself in a travelling carnival. She struggles to find her place, but befriends many other characters who are ostracized for being different, as well as lots of animals along the way. I was fascinated to know whether the story was based on actual people, but I can't find much regarding the background, so I think it's purely fictional.
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars rounded up to 5. Unique story with memorable characters living in the late 1800s. A tale of “misfits” and the misunderstood; both human and animals. “Misfits”, Mishaps, and Mistreatment. A glimpse of the “Carnie” lifestyle and its hardships plus unexpected friendships. I loved Babe and Euclid. I did get teary eyed with their relationship.
I found this book to be a bit long. I couldn’t connect to the main character ... however, I did get quite a few chuckles in how the main character responded to other characters in the story, and how she loved her animals.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enter the world of a traveling carnival where family can be found in the ODDEST of places. A great combination of characters and circumstances. A great read for middle readers and people of all ages.
Csimplot Simplot
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!!
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love all things carnie. This needed more carnie things.

Borrowed from CCL
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
By her fourteenth birthday, Babe Killingsworth measures 6ʹ9ʺ and weighs 342 pounds. In 1896, what other options does a giant have but to join a carnival?
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Renee MA
This solid 4.5 star book looks at carnie life from the perspective of a 14 year old. Platt paints the life in a way that kids can understand yet carefully alludes to the seeder side for the more mature audience. And, while the book takes place in and around the carnival life, the story itself is about a girl growing into her body & figuring life out mostly on her own. With creatively crafted supporting characters, from lovely to down-right icky, this books makes an interesting read. ...more
Mr. Steve
Probably more like 3.5 stars. Interesting story about something that not many middle grade books have been. I wonder if kids will really like it. I'll recommend it to some.
Susanne Bacon
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been gifted an Advanced Review Copy of “Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights” by Randall Platt in exchange for an honest review.

Randall Platt’s latest novel is another page turner, this time set in the late 1800s. But it is also set in a world of its own, the world of circuses when they were still in abundance and drew the crowds at the price of a nickel or a dime. At the center of the story, which unfolds at a beautiful pace, not too fast, not too drawn, i
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Planet Earth Is Blue
  • Song for a Whale
  • Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
  • White Bird
  • Changeling (The Oddmire, #1)
  • The Okay Witch
  • Race to the Sun
  • Stargazing
  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes
  • Wolf's Brother (Reindeer People, #2)
  • The Benefits of Being an Octopus
  • Because of the Rabbit
  • When Stars Are Scattered
  • Friend or Fiction
  • Roll with It
  • The Poison Garden
  • Efrén Divided
  • Queen of the Sea
See similar books…
(hint: Not a guy!)

Randall Platt writes fiction for adults and young adults and those who don't own up to being either. Platt, a lifelong resident of the Upper Left Hand Corner, has been a full-time writer for twenty-five years which is certainly long enough to know better. But since Platt finds no shortage of fascinating characters and stories springing from the beau

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
31 likes · 49 comments