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On a scorching July day in 1950, a fabulous fat man drives into Wetumka, Oklahoma. F. Bam Morrison is selling tickets to Bohn's United Circus Shows, and the townspeople are buying--all, that is, except ol' man Swank, who says F. Bam Morrison is a two-faced weasel. Smitten with Morrison, ten-year-old Bobbie Jo Hailey--and mean Clara Jean Knox, whom she befriends--unwittingly joins the effort to bamboozle Wetumka. When Bobbie Jo realizes her mistake, Morrison is on his way out of town, leaving her disappointed but intact--and greatly enriched by her relationship with the flimflam man. Lovingly illustrated by Eileen Christelow, Darleen Bailey Beard's delightful story is based on a real episode in Wetumka's history, still celebrated annually as Sucker Day!
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Darleen Bailey Beard, author of Twister and The Babbs Switch Story, lives in Tuttle, Oklahoma.
Eileen Christelow has written and/or illustrated many books for children. She lives in Dummerston, Vermont.
Grade 3-6?Ostensibly revolving around a confidence game that the residents of Wetumka, OK, lost during the summer of 1950, this quirky novel is not quite what it first seems. Beard gives her charmless con man the catalytic power to heal stuttering and forge friendships while, of course, lying "smooth as glass" to everyone. Bobbie Jo, the 10-year-old narrator with a speech impediment, sets the scene and tells how life in the small town changes when F. Bam Morrison drives up in his fancy turquoise Chevy and announces that the circus is coming. He recruits Bobbie Jo as his promotional aide, and she eases her guilty conscience for calling the bullying Clara Jean's daddy a drunk by making the older, friendless girl her partner. The youngsters help the flimflam man peddle his "limited" advance supply of tickets. They also collaborate to fulfill the "show must go on" promise that their devious mentor made. Following the "if you get stuck with a lemon, make lemonade" philosophy, the hoodwinked townsfolk create an annual Sucker Day Festival in self-effacing commemoration of their gullibility. Some of the narration is funny, laced with delightful vernacular?"A fly could have flown in [to Clara Jean's gaping mouth] and roasted marshmallows and she wouldn't even have noticed"?but, in the end, the ludicrous idea that this bamboozler may be "true blue" sorry (he delivers a pathetic I-never-meant-to-hurt-you apology to the ever-credulous Bobbie Jo as he heads out of town with everyone's money) does young readers a disservice by validating his lies.?John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). Hardcover. Condition: New. 0374323461 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0374323461ZN
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0374323461
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 1998. Condition: New. Eileen Christelow (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0374323461