Circus Dan (1933)
Do any young kids still dream of running away with the circus? Or are even the most dim-witted of 8 year-olds now aware that carny life portends a downward spiral into speed, chain-smoking, and hiding in the trailer with an asthmatic monkey when passing through certain hot jurisdictions?
It's 1933, and cub reporter "Dan" is impressing the hell out of everyone with his smarts and superior work ethic. One day his boss at the newspaper calls him into the office with an exciting job prospect. Seems the boss has bought a huge share of the "Great United" circus and wants Dan to be the press agent for the show on its next national tour. Recognizing the need for the story to advance, Dan agrees and enlists two of his buddies as assistants.
Soon, however, much as the boss anticipated, the circus runs into trouble from its arch rival, the "Amalgamated" circus, an outfit headed by a bitter former partner in "Great United" who will stop at nothing to see his old circus destroyed. Dan recognizes the job will harder than he thinks when one night, in addition to being the press agent, he suddenly finds himself responsible for tracking down the show's kidnapped animal trainer. But because Dan is so driven at whatever task he takes on, he not only rescues the trainer, but has him back to the big top in time for the night's big show.
And so on.
Luckily, my edition came without a dust jacket. If the book had been swathed in the one pictured here, I would have never come within fifteen feet of it.