Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

The accompanying publicist's letter says "and you thought you hated clowns" so just to test it I showed this to our staff member with a morbid fear of clowns. She did consent to flip through it and said it was cute...but she still hates clowns.

So, it's a wordless book with Frazee's trademark cheerfully round faces. A grim farmer in the blank gray prairie (I'm guessing this is Kansas) is completely taken aback when a small clown tumbles off a circus train. When the little clown loses his painted smile, the farmer tries to cheer him up and eventually both of them relax together in friendly smiles - just in time for the circus train to return and the little clown to give one last hug and leave behind something special.

This is a story with lots of hints of underlying thoughts about family, friendship, and laughter. It's also just plain fun! Frazee's art captures how out of place the little clown is in the gray, serious prairie and how things gradually brighten up with his presence.

It will work best for one-on-one sharing, as some of the panels are small and it will take close attention to pick up all the details of the book.

Verdict: There aren't a lot of circus books out there, and this one is both sweet and funny. However, I limit the number of wordless picture books I buy since they tend to have a more limited audience. I wouldn't say this is a must-have purchase, but if you have the budget and space it's certainly a recommended addition.

ISBN: 9781442497443; Published 2014 by Beach Lane Books/Simon and Schuster; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

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