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Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 05/2016
  • 978-0692679623 B01G9KBBDY
  • 69 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2016
  • 978-0692679623 B01G9KBBDY
  • 160 pages
  • $8.95
Mary T. Wagner
Author, Illustrator
Finnigan the Circus Cat

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Maximilian and Leroy are two circus mice cousins who think they’ve got it made in the shade at the old, shuttered Farnsworth Circus Museum. There are no dogs around, there’s a safe path to the full pantry in the old house, and the barn is full of dry hay and old circus wagons to hang out in. But when a new generation of Farnsworths move in, things start to shake up. And when eight-year-old Lucy Farnsworth brings home a tiny rescue kitten and hides him in the barn because her dad is allergic to cats, Max and Leroy need to think fast if they’re going to be able to stay. With the help of Boomer—the strangely silent family dog—Max and Leroy take the new kitten under their wing and show him the ins and outs of living at the museum, and flying “under the radar.” Along the way, they all come to realize that the family that you make can be just as important as the one you came from. And when Leroy finds himself in deadly peril as the villainous neighborhood cats Hector and Godfrey some a’hunting, it is Finnigan the Circus Cat who saves the day! Inspired by a “real life” rescue kitten and illustrated by the author, this book is the first in a series featuring Finnigan, the Farnsworth family, and Maximillian and Leroy as the circus museum reopens. This heartwarming book will delight both children and adults, or in the long-running tradition of the circus ringmaster's announcement, “Ladies, Gentlemen and Children of All Ages!”

In a charming animal story, Wagner introduces Maximilian and his cousin Leroy, who are from a “long and honorable line of circus mice.” They live comfortably at the Farnsworth Circus Museum in Wisconsin, which has been closed since Old Man Farnsworth “went to the Big Top in the sky.” When some new Farnsworths move onto the museum grounds—parents Fred and Shirley, eight-year-old Lucy, brother Charlie, and toddler Donovan—Max and Leroy’s lives become much more complicated. Observing the family from the nooks and crannies of the museum, the mice learn that the Farnsworths, including their dog Boomer, are friendly. When Lucy secretly brings home a kitten that she hides in the barn (her father is allergic), the mice must determine whether the kitten is an ally or foe. Wagner comfortably navigates animal and human worlds that exist in parallel but rarely intersect. The b&w illustrations that open each chapter are on the rough side, but the evocative setting (filled with artifacts from the golden era of traveling circuses) lends this warm story notes of nostalgia. Ages 8–12. (BookLife)

Mary Wagner has a style of writing that not only visually creates the entire scene, but draws you into the characters, their story and their antics, whether animal or human! This adventuresome tale is told with much humor and compassion. Max and Leroy (the mice) have quite the relationship with Finnigan, and although this is a book for children, I found myself reading quickly at times to find out how their daring adventures were going to turn out. Max is my favorite character with his quick wit, even though Finnigan clearly became the star of the show. In addition, the sketches before each chapter were charming. This is a delightful book for children, and I can easily envision subsequent adventures for Finnigan and his pals that readers will want to follow. I highly recommend this book!


When Max and Leroy the circus mice discover a kitten in their barn, who would ever guess the adventures—and dangers—that lay ahead? Would Finnigan the kitten grow up to learn he should prey on mice? As it turns out, a warm camaraderie develops as Max and Leroy, the old-timers, teach young Finnigan the ropes. Though accustomed to human heroes, I found myself rooting, cheering, and biting my nails as this cat-and-mouse tale unfolded. Definitely a keeper – with plenty of delight and intrigue for kids and grown-ups, too!


I got this book to give as a gift and didn't get to finish it before I had to wrap it up and give it away!! A delightful read, though. I love the characters and the delightful descriptions. Sure to mesmerize any child. It would be a wonderful read for children, boys or girls. I enjoyed the banter between Max and Leroy and the development of otherwise unlikely friendships among the museum animals. I'm anxious to purchase another copy for myself so I can see how the story ends!

Amazon "Vine Voice" reviewer

Maximilian and Leroy are two cute circus mice with a lot of personality Their interactions are rather comedic and this tale explore their relationship with Finnigan a cat who is adopted by a little girl living on a farm that used to be a circus museum. The man who owned the farm dies so he leaves his property to Lucy's family. Lucy's dad is allergic to cats so he doesn't know about the new kitten in the barn. The mice and Lucy keep this secret from the family.

Together the mice and Finnigan have many adventures that children will love reading about. Even as an adult I was amused by the antics. I felt the story was very creative, original and fun. The pencil sketches illustrating each chapter added to the appeal. There is a reason Mary T. Wagner is an award winning author. She knows how to write from the heart and tells stories all ages of readers can enjoy. The only thing is kids will probably want you to make some of the food mentioned in the story when you read them this delightful book.

So if you love mice and kittens as much as I do, you will really enjoy this book. The descriptions of the kitten are adorable. I did also like that all the animals talk.

Authors Den reviewer Marjourie Hassan

I originally wanted to read this book as a bedtime story for my 2-year-old and my 8-year-old can do the reading for us at bedtime. I ended up reading the story myself and finished reading ahead of my kid. Growing up with a love for cats, I have always had cats of my own so it is easy to fall in love with the story. I like that the story creates a feeling of belonging. That no matter how different we are from each other, whether we be cats or mice, we are still family.

Bookworm for Kids

With delightful characters, this story explores an extraordinary friendship and the fantastic adventure which ensues. Already in the first pages, Max and Leroy are introduced as characters young readers will wish lived in their home. ... The situations are ones kids will understand and sympathize with, and enough surprises are built in to keep the reader glued to the pages. 

FINNIGAN'S 1st Amazon review in Britain!!

I cannot praise Finnigan the circus cat highly enough. I read it in one sitting and then turned back to the front page and read it again. Max and Leroy are two highly amusing mice living at the circus museum. When the owner of the museum dies a new family move in, and it isn’t long before the daughter of the family brings home a kitten. This is where the fun starts! The naming of the kitten is inspired and truly delightful as is the rest of the story. I’m quite sure I will be reading this adorable book many times and when I go to visit my granddaughters in Australia (from the UK) it will be going with me. Buy it, read it, share it with your friends and family – you won’t be disappointed.

Readers' Favorite


Finnigan the Circus Cat (Volume 1) by Mary T. Wagner is an entertaining story that revolves around Finnigan, the cat, and Max and Leroy, the mice. Things change for Max and Leroy, the two mice cousins who have been living at the Farnsworth Circus Museum, when the once quiet place is occupied by a new generation of the Farnsworth family and their dog, Boomer. What scares them most is when Lucy, the eight-year-old daughter, brings in their enemy, a cat! She hides the cat in the barn as her dad is allergic to cats. Will Max and Leroy be able to become friends with Finnigan, the cat?

This heartwarming story will win the hearts of all animal lovers. It’s a story of friendship, trust, and overcoming fears, and young readers will be able to connect well with it. All the characters are well portrayed and they are real, memorable, and relatable. The silly moments between Max and Leroy, the unlikely friendships the mice form with Boomer, the dog, and Finnigan, the cat, and the surprises in the story will fascinate readers till the very end. The narration is detailed and descriptive, making the scenes and characters come alive. I wish the author had some illustrations to make it even more engaging for young readers.

The book is good for bedtime story-telling and can also be used for read aloud sessions in classrooms and school libraries. The adventures, the danger, the intrigue, and the fun in the story make it a delightful read.

The Saffron Tree

A warm tale about a simple life that can have its own adventures, this book can be fun for cat-loving kids.

Cousins Max and Leroy, two circus mice, live a well-settled life at the old Farnsworth Circus Museum. They have comfortable place to rest, enough food to eat, no bothersome dogs or cats. But when little Lucy Farnsworth and her family move in, along with their dog Boomer, things start to change a bit. To add to the annoyance, Lucy hides a rescue kitten in their barn, which totally aggravate Max and Leroy, naturally.

This little kitten, which is not allowed in the house as Lucy's dad is allergic, seems oblivious to the disturbance he must have caused in the status quo at first. But, Max and Leroy take him under their wing and show him the best spots for hiding, the best hidden route to the stream on a hot day, all the nooks and crannies in the circus wagon...

Things can't be this idyllic for long, and sure enough Hector and Godfrey show up which is not a good sign for Leroy and Max. When Leroy almost falls into Godfrey's mouth, Finnigan, leaps to his rescue, hangs by his long fluffy tail, and saves his from certain death.

The pencil illustrations in the book were done by the author herself. The story flows smoothly and predictably with engaging dialog and not a lot of fast-paced adventure or rising action or conflict. This might be the first in a series where we follow Finnegan along with his new adventures.

A kitten, a circus, a new chapter!

Read my "Growing Bolder" account of how this Finnigan project expanded to see me drawing the illustrations inside the book! Not on my "to do" list when I started, but never say never...

A long but lovely blog post about Finnigan

Sharing a lovely blog post about Finnigan by the books-and-reading website, "Good Books for Young Souls"!

Finnigan crosses the Atlantic!

Finnigan the Circus Cat picked up some new fans in England recently, after I accepted the invitation of British book lover and erudite blogger Barbara Fisher to do a guess essay on her charming books-and-reading blog March of Time Books!


Stay tuned for news, folks. Finnigan the Circus Cat has been named a finalist in the "children's fiction" category of Florida's ROYAL PALM LITERARY AWARDS. Results will be announced at the annual awards dinner on October 22, 2016. The RPLA contest is both prestigious and rigorous when it comes to judging--all entries are judged completely "blind," based onlyon the anonymous written words submitted with identical formatting. There's no swaying the judges with a snazzy cover, or past writerly reputation, or endorsements from other writers. So I'm pinning my hopes on "the little kitten that could," and have booked a flight to Orlando!!

Finnigan is Instagramming!

Follow the adventures of our intrepid circus kitten as he dips a paw into the digital age with his own Instagram account! From Art Deco to a basket of flowers, you never know where he'll turn up next!

Finnigan wins First Place in Royal Palm Literary Awards!

The manuscript for Finnigan the Circus Cat won First Place in Florida's prestigious Royal Palm Literary Awards in the category of "children's chapter books"! The RPLA contest is a tough one to conquer--entries are judged entirely "blind" by teams of judges, and formatted to be identical and anonymous. While the Finnigan book won in the "unpublished" category of entries, the author took the bit in her teeth just a couple of months after submitting it to the contest, and self-published (and illustrated!) the book in June, 2016. 

Finnigan's a finalist in a British book award contest!

Finnigan the Circus Cat has made the list of finalists in Great Britain's The Wishing Shelf Book Awards in the category of "Children's Books, 6-8 year olds". In a twist on the usual judging of children's books by adult readers, the books entered in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards were judged by...wait for it...ACTUAL CHILDREN across several schools in United Kingdom primary and secondary schools. Winners will be announced on April 1, 2017.

Free Kindle downloads this weekend!

I'm celebrating Finnigan's first place finish in Florida's Royal Palm Literary Awards with a free Kindle download weekend. Enjoy! 

Milwaukee daily features Finnigan the Circus Cat!

As if a page and a half spread in the Sheboygan Press wasn't enough in early December, the largest daily newspaper in Wisconsin--The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel--reprinted the feature article/interview about Finnigan the Circus Cat and the life of a self-published author in general just before Christmas. What a way to greet the holidays!! 

USA Today Network paper features FINNIGAN THE CIRCUS CAT!

In an interview ranging from making room for a "guest" cat to the world of self-publishing, author Mary T. Wagner shares the journey and inspiration behind bringing her first chapter book, "Finnigan the Circus Cat," to life. 

Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 05/2016
  • 978-0692679623 B01G9KBBDY
  • 69 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2016
  • 978-0692679623 B01G9KBBDY
  • 160 pages
  • $8.95