A hilarious satire on small-town prejudice It all started with the Halibuts. Then came Elmira Degoochy the snake lady. Then the Flying Gambinis -- all seven of them and their mother. And Mrs. Harrison the fortune-teller, and Mr. Wydel the strongman . . . These are the new residents of Springfield, the formerly peaceful Midwestern town where up to now young Ivy's life had been pretty uneventful. Ivy becomes fast friends with Alfred Halibut, who is an aspiring writer like herself and the son of a circus publicity manager. She also befriends the other circus people who have moved into town. But many of her neighbors are not feeling kindly about this invasion of strange characters. Tensions somersault into a climactic tangle at the Springfield bake-off. In the midst of hurtling pies, one voice alone can bring peace and tolerance back to the community. When the Circus Came to Town is Polly Horvath's funniest novel to date, packed with vivid exaggeration and slapstick scenarios.