In the tradition of award-winning, illustrated novels Pax and The One and Only Ivan, Long Road to the Circus is a girl-empowering, funny, and fast-paced historical adventure by award-winning writer and librarian Betsy Bird.

Twelve-year-old Suzy Bowles is tired of summers filled with chores on her family farm in Burr Oak, Michigan, and desperate to see the world. When her wayward uncle moves back home to the farm, only to skip his chores every morning for mysterious reasons, Suzy decides to find out what he's up to once and for all. And that's when she meets legendary former circus queen Madame Marantette and her ostriches. Before long, Suzy finds herself caught-up in the fast-paced, hilarious world of ostrich riding, a rollicking adventure that just might be her ticket out of Burr Oak.
"With its timeless messages about big dreams and the beloved people who make them possible, Long Road to the Circus takes you there. It is — sorry not sorry — a brass ring to grab with both hands."—The New York Times

“Do not read this book unless you are planning to run away and join the circus. Beautifully told by one of our best librarians. And just as beautifully, and inevitably, illustrated by David Small.” —Jon Scieszka, The First National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature

“Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride an ostrich?! This is a grand, classic tale of finding one’s own weird way through the world. Suzy—and her feathered friend, Gaucho—will become lifelong companions of the reader lucky enough to spend time with them.” —Eliot Schrefer, New York Times bestselling author

“What a cheer-worthy, galloping, heartfelt adventure! Suzy and Madame are my new inspirations. It is indeed a long road to the circus, but worth every step.” —Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Newbery Honor-Winning author of The Book of Boy and the bestselling Dairy Queen series

“An appealing main character and a quirky plot make this historical novel a page-turner. By the time kids reach the celebratory yet bittersweet ending, they’ll appreciate that it takes
hard work and determination to achieve goals.” –Parents Magazine
 
“This unconventional tale is a hoot and an encouraging call to live an adventurous life on one’s own terms.” —Booklist
 
“Readers will find Suzy an engaging protagonist, feeling simultaneously thoroughly contemporary and classic in a story whose narrative arc is well-crafted . . . A wonderful character piece.” –Kirkus
 
“[A] spirited historical adventure . . . Caldecott Medalist Small’s expressive, humorous b&w illustrations infuse the narrative with further personality.” –Publishers Weekly

"Suzy's wry, folksy first-person narration should elicit plenty of giggles, and Small's striking pen-and-ink illustrations perfectly echo the text's energy and sense of whimsy. Bird's lighthearted, earnest romp is based on real people and events and encourages readers to seize opportunity tightly, even if it comes in a strange, long-necked package . . . [A] funny, heart-warming story of chasing one's dreams." —Shelf Awareness