The Juggling Bear
For young readers, ages 8-11
It is 1963. School is out, and the Annual Potawatomi Fair has begun. From the top of the Ferris wheel, eleven-year-old Michael Corcoran watches a truck drive across the fairgrounds and pull into the corral. To his amazement, a black bear jumps out of the back of the truck. When he goes to get a closer look, he meets Cowboy Jack, the bear's handler, and a partnership begins. Michael collects money from the crowd while Cowboy Jack and Ursula put on a show. Michael fetches water and catches fish for the bear. He even helps teach the bear how to dance.
Meanwhile, Michael's mother becomes engaged to Mr. Van Jorgensen, a singing teacher and a very annoying man. To make things worse, two bullies—Johnny and Neil—try to take Michael's place as Cowboy Jack's partner. These things make Michael decide to run away with the carnival, but his plans are ruined when the local police chief shuts down the bear show. It is then that Ursula helps him find a way to solve his problems.
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