Book Title: The Acrobats of Agra (available here)
Author: Robin Scott-Elliot
Illustrator: Holly Ovenden
Publisher: Everything With Words
Publication Date: October 2020
Most Suitable For: Upper KS2+
Reviewed By: Caroline Waldron
Beatrice is an orphan who has been living with her Granny in Scotland. Her baby brother is staying with an Aunt in India and now the extended family has decided that Bea should go to India too. Bea tries to look upon it as an adventure but daily life in India is boring. Home, school, then home again with her unpleasant cousin, aunt and uncle. But things soon change, because this is India in 1857 and the Indian Rebellion is about to happen. Bea soon finds herself living under siege in the local fort. Food supplies are soon running short and the future is unclear. She’s desperately lonely and unhappy. But all that changes one day when she meets Jacques, better known as The Great Romanini, the boy who can walk on air. Left behind by his circus when they had to flee, he is mourning the loss of his sister to disease. Together with another orphan, Pil, they escape the besieged fort and begin an adventure of a lifetime in quest of Bea’s lost brother.
This is an action-packed adventure story set during a fascinating moment in history. It contains lots of historical detail and the friendship between the three main characters becomes all the more special when it is set against the attitudes of the time, attitudes which are made clear in the story. The book is also peppered with beautiful black and white illustrations which add even more character to the text. The book will appeal to UKS2 and KS3 but would not be suitable for those of a more sensitive disposition as it is set during a very violent episode in history and the main characters do come across scenes which some will find upsetting.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.
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