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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Long Road to the Circus (by Betsy Bird) 7-Day Cover Reveal: Day Four!

When last we left our heroes . . .

This is day four in my weeklong run-up to the reveal of the cover of Long Road to the Circus (my debut middle grade novel, out October 5th). Illustrator David Small knew that in taking on this book he would have to draw ostriches. But another piece of the puzzle was a woman by the name of Madame Marantette. And when it comes to drawing her, David excels.

You must understand that Madame Marantette was a real person and to this day holds the high jump record on a horse . . . sidesaddle. She also holds the record for the greatest distance a surrey has been pulled by a horse and an ostrich together.

Gaucho was Madame’s ostrich and he was the one pulling that surrey. Today’s picture depicts the scene where the Madame is showing Gaucho who is in charge. Because even a tall ball of feathers knows when he’s beat.

“He was just one of the flock my husband, Daniel, bestowed upon me as a gift, but right from the start it was clear that Gaucho was different. There is a fire in him that sets him apart, and it did not take me long to realize that this was a fire I could fan.

“He is not,” she continued, “the most intelligent animal. You should note that, for reasons God alone knows, his eyeballs are larger than his brain. However, even an overgrown hen is capable of learning commands. Morever, there is a joy I feel from him when he runs.”

As you might imagine, I was so pleased to put in that detail about an ostrich’s eyes being larger than its brain. For more tidbits like that about ostriches I highly recommend that you check out Rachel Poliquin’s Superpower Field Guide series, particularly the one on ostriches.

Stay tuned tomorrow for when you’ll finally get a chance to meet my book’s heroine (and she is neither an ex-circus performer nor a bird).

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.