Allison's Reviews > Big Top Burning: The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and The Greatest Show On Earth

Big Top Burning by Laura A. Woollett
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bookshelves: children, nonfiction, middle-grade

This is a compelling read, well-suited to the budding true crime reader. I had never heard of the Hartford circus fire, and this book provides a fascinating look at the tragedy (crime?) and makes me want to find out more. The author does a commendable job of setting up the backdrop to the disaster and introducing key players before relating the events of the fire and its terrible aftermath. The second half of the book delves into an unsolvable true crime narrative examining the potential for arson and the mystery of a little girl who died in the fire and was never identified with 100% certainty. More questions remain than answers, but this book gives the reader an excellent introduction to the ways in which small missteps can add up to a massive tragedy, as well as the unreliability of crime solving (kind of a junior Serial podcast style story, exploring the unfortunate nature of trying to solve a mystery after much time has passed).

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Reading Progress

September 29, 2015 – Started Reading
September 29, 2015 – Shelved
September 29, 2015 – Shelved as: children
September 29, 2015 – Shelved as: nonfiction
September 29, 2015 – Shelved as: middle-grade
September 29, 2015 – Finished Reading

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