A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E. by Penny Dolan is probably my favourite stand alone novel for children. Set in that wonderful story telling period of the late 19th (Dickens, Peter Pan etc...) the novel follows the adventures of a young boy as he attempts to find his mother.
Whisked from the privileged surroundings of Epton Towers, sent to a cruel Boarding school by his greedy Uncle Scrope, Mouse grows up without knowing his real background. A fast paced rollercoaster of adventures through a circus, a lonely journey to London, even onto the west end stage as part of a Midsummer Night's Dream, this is a magical, magical children's tale and deserves far greater recognition than it seems to have received.