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Hurrah for the Circus!
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Book Details...

First edition: 1939
Publisher: George Newnes
Illustrator: E.H. Davie
Category: Mr Galliano's Circus
Genre: Circus
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Artwork
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by E.H. Davie
Brief Summary by Courtenay Rule: The thrills and adventures of circus life continue for Jimmy and Lotta in this second book of the Galliano's Circus trilogy. Things take a dramatic turn when a troupe of tigers joins the circus. Jimmy is determined to sneak into the tigers' cage and befriend them, heedless of any warnings and meanwhile, the tiger keeper's jealous son, Fric, nearly tears Jimmy and Lotta's friendship apart. Then, just when everything seems to have smoothed over again, Jimmy's beloved dog Lucky suddenly goes missing. Lotta sets out alone on a daring mission to find and rescue Lucky but will she succeed? And with Lal and Laddo her parents and fellow performers still away, will she find a way to have her own turn in the circus ring again?


Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Terry Gustafson's Review
This is the second in the Galliano series and it contains as much excitement as the first book if not more because now that the various circus characters have been introduced there is extra time to relate other exciting moments. In the previous installment there was the terrible thought that Jimmy the Wonder Boy would lose Lotta, his close companion. She was on the verge of leaving the circus and going to live with an uncle. Currently she is still in Galliano's world but anything could happen in Lotta's life and one can't predict just what will ensue. She's boarding with Jimmy in his parents' caravan at present because her own father and mother are on the continent performing with their troupe of dogs and magnificent horses. Whilst they are away poor Lotta cannot perform in the circus and she misses it so much. She used to ride her father's horses round the ring and demonstrate how agile she was by standing on their backs and jumping from one to the other. Jimmy performs with Lucky his Wonder Dog and he's becoming quite famous.
Mr Galliano's circus is in Westsea and it's Easter. The camp has settled in amongst the bluebells and primroses which are everywhere. Jimmy and Lotta go for walks in the hills which are blazing with golden gorse and they also stroll along the nearby beach accompanied by Lucky, Jimmy's dog, and Lulu who's a black spaniel adopted by the two children after being ill-treated by former circus employees.

Things happen as they always do and it's not long before Sammy the chimpanzee disappears. There's a hunt for him and he's at last tracked down by the children and his trainer — Mr. Wally, and you'd never guess where they find him! There is a good mix of animals, and besides Sammy, there are monkeys, an elephant, Jimmy's dog — Lucky and the dancing horses which belong to Pepita, Juanita and Lou. Mr Galliano quizzes his wife, "What shall we have next? Philippo and his performing seals? Yes?" Unfortunately, that deal falls through so an even more spectacular act is located and it arrives in the form of six great tigers. In this day and age there is a changed attitude to the imprisonment and training of big cats and it appears that Enid Blyton way back in the thirties had an opinion which tended to side with the more contemporary view. Through her characters, she gives the general impression that whereas certain animals may take kindly to performing in a circus there are others that definitely aren't suited to it. Mr Wally the chimpanzee trainer, Lilliput who owns the monkeys and young Jimmy echo the sentiment. Tigers aren't suited to the ring, but they would certainly draw the crowds.

The Circus finishes its spell at Westsea and now it's off to Liverpool where the great cats will join up together with their handlers — Roma, and his nephew Fric. Fric is a little full of himself and although he chats with Jimmy he doesn't seem to have much time for Lotta. The girl feels a little left out. She wants Jimmy to herself but that boy has a goal — he wants to go into the tigers' cage and make friends with the big cats! This seems like an utterly ridiculous statement, and it would be except for one qualification — Jimmy is well on his way to equaling the powers that Philip Mannering (Bill Smugs Adventure series) possesses — namely the ability to make any creature docile and at ease in his company. We have yet to meet an animal which does not treat Jimmy as a bosom buddy.

Lotta doesn't like Fric and I can't say I blame her. When Jimmy asks Fric to join them for a walk, the young tiger-tamer says he won't come if Lotta is going with them. "Girls are silly. Always giggling and saying stupid things." The author of this very book was a girl herself once and this fact is sometimes not initially realised by a few of the newer fans. However, Enid Blyton had no problem being derogatory to the female sex and maybe she's just very honest or perhaps she would rather have been a male and this may be a way of pointing it out! Jimmy, who is loyal to Lotta, tries to persuade Fric to allow the girl to accompany them but Fric goes away in a temper, and Lotta storms off as well to so there's no walkies for poor Jimmy, and his relationship with Lotta is strained over the next few days.

The boy has one thing on his mind — he wants to meet up with the tigers but in no way would he be allowed to do it openly so it will have to be covert. He's a very good child — in fact one of the best, but all young people have to get up to a little mischief now and again because that's what happens in real life, and it's also good for story interest. Jimmy hones in on Fric. He butters him up by treating him to ice-creams which the boy laps up. He even shows Fric that one of the tigers will rub its head up against his hand and that (plus the ice-creams) is just enough to make Fric yield. He'll leave the keys to the tigers' cage just inside the window of his uncle's caravan and Jimmy can help himself to them one evening.

The long and the short of it is that readers of this book will hold their breath when the forbidden act takes place. Jimmy actually enters one of the cages in the dead of night. Lotta finds out and she is terrified something will happen to the boy so she warns Fric that if it occurs again she'll report the transgression to the circus-owner himself — the Great Mr. Galliano! Fric attacks her and a sobbing Lotta flees. Then a terrible thing happens. Lotta is looking after Jemima one of Lilliput's monkeys for a few days whilst her owner convalesces and Fric, who wants to get back at the girl, tries to grab Jemima from off of her shoulder but the monkey panics and bolts. Where does it go? It slips through the bars of the nearby tigers' cage and is struck and knocked out by a tiger's great paw. There she lies on the cage-floor with Queenie the most restless and aggressive tiger towering over her. Pandemonium reigns. Up comes Mr Galliano who cracks his great whip as a signal for all the circus-folk to rally round. The ringmaster does not move in however despite the rumour amongst the old-timers that he had once entered a cage of fighting tigers and calmed them down with a few words. Perhaps this particular situation is different — the big cats have been here only a few days and Galliano has not had time to get to know them well enough or perhaps he has wisely observed that Queenie is a very unpredictable animal. Time is running out. Roma, the handler and owner of the ferocious animals must go into the cage and rescue Jemima but Queenie is one tiger who mustn't be approached when she's aroused and right now she's at her worst! Not even a trained tiger-handler would be safe, so Roma's taking a rain-check on this one. Lilliput has heard the loud whip-cracks and rising from his bed he staggers over in his dressing gown. He'll go in. Yes, he'll enter the cage because Jemima is his favourite little baby. He grabs the keys from Roma but comes up against the Great Galliano who grapples with him and prevents a sure calamity from happening. Jemima is a few seconds away from death. Can she be saved? Then Jimmy appears — he'd been away walking his dog! What will happen now? Will Jemima survive? Tune in next week for a further exciting chapter ...
Fric is in utter disgrace for his actions and he is punished. After working out their differences, Lotta and Jimmy make up and the show moves on to Greenville right out in the country where Roma, Fric and the tigers finish their short stint with Galliano and prepare to join Mr. Briggs's circus. It's one thing after another in Jimmy's life and the next incident is a repeat of what occurred in the first book — his precious dog disappears again! He searches for Lucky and even travels with Lilliput to Briggs' circus because there's a hint that the dog may have been taken there. A clue is discovered but it can't be followed up because the circus maestro Mr. Briggs gives them the heave-ho — you can't just drop into a circus camp and make enquiries and voice allegations. Jimmy and Lilliput follow another lead and come up against a brick wall. Nothing can be done ... they have the name of a suspect but no one knows where he is so they have to turn back. The boy is heartbroken. Lotta feels for Jimmy because in a way Lucky's disappearance could be linked (just a little) to the fact that she had originally made Fric angry and his reaction may have caused the current problem. Like Jo, a circus-girl who appeared in the Kirrin books with Julian, Dick and the rest, Lotta is impulsive. She begs a pile of money from Lilliput who gives it to her with no questions asked and then she takes Lulu the spaniel and sets off to find the Wonder Dog. Lotta is a circus girl with a little knowledge of the various characters who operate on the fringes so she heads for Uptown to seek out a certain person who could be considered a little shady. Arriving by bus at night she sleeps rough in a barn on a farm near the hills outside the town. Curled up with Lulu, she sleeps the hours away and next morning she's off back to the village where she does a little detecting. Munching a breakfast of bread and chocolate she eventually locates a rambling farmhouse — a place which she recognises. Then comes a part that I always remember whenever I think about this particular book — Lotta decides she'd better disguise herself so she locates a hairdresser and goes inside to ask for her pretty black curls to be cut off! She's going to dress up as a boy so that she won't be recognised. The hairdresser refuses to perform such an operation so the ever-impetuous girl grabs some scissors and begins hacking away! There's only one thing the hairdresser can do now and that's to cut off the rest and tidy it up a bit — which she does. Lotta then buys a shirt and shorts and changes into them whereby she is reincarnated as a boy — ready to take on whomsoever she might find at the farmhouse in her search for Lucky. She explores the place unseen then ends up in a field where there are some horses. She seizes an opportunity and jumps onto one of them — making good use of her expertise to impress none other than the Great Mr. Cyrano who has unexpectedly appeared on the scene. Mr. Cyrano for those who have never met him is the owner of a show which is even bigger than Mr. Galliano's and it must be added that he had once tried to buy Lucky from Jimmy. Lotta's adventure develops and she ends up as a potential performer with Cyrano's enormous circus. She's to bed down in Tiny's caravan. Tiny is an enormous chap in reality and he takes the little 'boy' in tow and prepares a meal for them both. Whilst eating he reads the newspaper and Lotta sees a picture of herself on the front and it's labeled 'Missing'! Will Tiny see the photo, recognise the girl and claim the reward offered? There's a lot happening and the result just has to be positive otherwise all Lotta's work would be wasted. Suffice to say, Lucky is located and returned to an extremely grateful Jimmy who is so bucked that he wants to reward his loyal friend. He does. He buys Lotta a pony. Could Jimmy be rich? In a way he is (for a boy) because apart from earning money like any of the other performers, his extra flushness is due to Lucky who's an attraction in many parts of the land and Jimmy is paid accordingly for the time and trouble he has taken to train the little dog.

Keeping a constant eye on Jimmy's abilities to charm all animals, a time will have to come to decide on who is the most talented — he or the other 'Boy Wonder' (Philip Mannering). To acquire a horse for Lotta, there is a visit to a relative of the amazing riders who star in Galliano's circus — Lou, Juanita and Pepita. They have a brother who deals in horses and Jimmy demonstrates that he can charm these creatures as well with his special voice and animal-attracting noises. Out in the field where the horses are kept he manages to lure a small black pony within spitting distance. This animal happens to be an exceptional steed but it has to be understood that the pony has been bought twice and returned as 'untameable'. It's the type of horse seen racing across the plains of the Golden West — wild, free and a bundle of muscles and sinews with a fiery temperament which places it very neatly into the 'unmanageable' category. This is the one Lotta wants! No way, indicates Philip the owner and brother of Lou and his sisters, "He is wild, so wild! No one can ride him."

"I'm not afraid of any horse. I can ride any horse that's got four legs!"

"Ah, but this one might have a hundred legs, he is so wild!"

It's just after this altercation that Lotta performs a most spectacular stunt that will be talked about in horse-circles for years. Lou, Pepita, Juanita and their brother, Philip, together with young Jimmy can only watch in fear and trepidation with fast-beating hearts. Lotta gets the horse of her choice!
The story moves on — a Mr. Volla with his five bears joins the circus. Once again, Jimmy demonstrates his expertise with animals and endears himself to the furry creatures. The bear-owner is at first shocked to see the boy right up against the cage talking to the bears but the rest of the camp know Jimmy's abilities very well by now and Mr. Volla is assured that no harm will come to the lad. Such is Jimmy's fame that even Volla, when introduced, mentions that he has heard of the Wonder Boy through the grapevine that weaves throughout the world of circus-performers. The only thing left to do now is to try and get Lotta back in the ring because she wants that more than anything else in the world and it does happen but then, as is often the case, complications arise. There's Good and Bad — Lotta's parents who have been away in Europe for half a year or so, return but Lal, Lotta's mother, is ill in hospital. The little girl's father, Laddo, may have to go away to another circus because he needs a partner in his act. As in the first book of the series, Lotta is once again threatened with having to leave the people with whom she has lived and worked all her life. How can she bear to be parted from Jimmy with whom she has enjoyed so many wonderful times? Enid Blyton books always need a lot of adjusting on behalf of the characters near the end of the story and this is what happens. We must now leave Jimmy, Lotta and the rest of the troupe who star in Galliano's Circus until they arrive at their next venue where still more adventures are sure to take place.
The magazine Sunny Stories first introduced the Galliano tales.

Preferred artists are strictly personal. Some of the illustrators draw pictures that many readers like yet others may not be inspired by them at all. E.H. Davie who illustrated the original Galliano books is one that I've always liked and associated with the better Blyton books. I'm sure the pictures in the Dean editions are enjoyed by many people as well and some may even prefer them to the originals.

At one stage Lotta explains to Jimmy how circus horses dance to the music of the band — something that Jimmy was at a loss to understand. Apparently they don't follow the music — instead the band follows the horses and plays in time to their intricate foot-work.

Jimmy's affinity with all creatures is well-demonstrated in this second Galliano book and one of the reasons is presenting itself. It seems that the boy has no fear of any animal — something that he has voiced himself. The general belief is that when animals sense fear they feel confused and even threatened and it's a fairly reasonable presumption that aggression or flight is the only resource the creature possesses to counter the situation. Yes, Jimmy has remarkable powers. EB liked to dispense a few unusual characteristics amongst her flock. There were girls who could climb like cats and other females who wanted to be boys and then there were those children who could attract all kinds of animals and birds. There were also a few boys who were extraordinarily good at imitating the sounds that creatures make and in the school situation, we can't forget those children who were amazingly inventive and could create mayhem with ridiculous tricks which they played on the teachers.

It's a little imprecise as to exactly where Lotta's parents, Lal and Laddo, had gone when they left at the end of the first book in the Galliano series. To quote:

"Why aren't Lal and Laddo taking you with them?" asked Jimmy.

"Because they are going to Austria for six months to join Lal's brother there," said Lotta. He is running a circus at Budapest, Lal says — and will pay them well if they go."

Budapest?

Searching in the bookcase I came across one of those volumes with the very colourful covers that were put out by Dean & Son, Ltd. Their 1972 edition (and possibly earlier ones) of Mr Galliano's Circus has the inconsistency corrected and now the passage reads: - " ... they are going to Hungary for six months, to join Lal's brother there," said Lotta. "He is running a circus at Budapest, Lal says ..." These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.