I would give this book 3.5 stars for plot. The story's above average but not great, yet definitely worth reading. It is definitely 5 stars for having a very positive female role model - she is hard-working, helpful, extremely responsible (she helps here widowed mother run the guesthouse and when she wants to learn to walk a tightrope, she gets up 2 hours early so she can still finish her chores and have the rest of the day to practice), diligent, and pursues and sticks to her own dreams- teaching herself even when initially rebuffed by Bellini. The book is also one of the few I've seen with a very positive image of a single mother who is very hard-working, conscientious and doing her best to provide for her and her daughter. The book definitely earns 5+ stars for its admirable portrayal of female characters! The book also does a good job of presenting more diverse occupations (the performers) that are not necessarily glamourous or prestigious for their time. (On other diversity measures such as race and heterosexism, the book is not so good but that may be more a reflection of the historical setting of the book and does not necessarily come across as a flaw.) The values modeled by the main character, Mirette, are admirable for anyone to experience - female or male, child or adult. The atypical setting - a turn of the century guest house in Paris for traveling performers - provides a not frequently encountered historical slice of life in picture books. This book is a great transition book from read-aloud picture books to read-aloud chapter books for older preschoolers/kindergardeners or precocious toddlers/young preschoolers. There is a large picture on every page to help maintain interest but the text is longer and more complex than simpler picture books. Also because there are other books in the series, reading one after the other also helps in the transition to chapter books.