Back in August, I read Lois Lowry's The Willoughbys. It had a hilarious appendix with descriptions about various books her book had satirized. One such book was Toby Tyler: or: Ten Weeks with a Circus by James Otis, or as I prefer to call it An Explemary Novel as to Why You Shouldn't Run Away From Home.
The plot is a little boy's fantasy come true: Toby Tyler runs away from his "mean" uncle and joins a circus. However, circus life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Toby's boss is harsh and whips Toby and yells at him when he doesn't sell enough lemonade. Toby makes a friend, though, in Mr. Stubbs aka a bad monkey. (I think he's a naughty monkey--he throws away Toby's money and tears up all their food when they're running away for the second time.) So Toby's unhappy, wishes he had never run away and spends his free time plotting to run home. After numerous trials, Toby finally does run away, where he is utterly forgiven. (And on a side note, Uncle Daniel asks Toby to stay with him until he DIES--but in a "oh, Toby, you're like my son; I love you; stay with me" kind of way.)
Classic stuff, indeed.