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The Farmer and the Clown (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers

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Whimsical and touching images tell the story of an unexpected friendship and the revelations it inspires in this moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee. A baby clown is separated from his family when he accidentally bounces off their circus train and lands in a lonely farmer’s vast, empty field. The farmer reluctantly rescues the l Whimsical and touching images tell the story of an unexpected friendship and the revelations it inspires in this moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee. A baby clown is separated from his family when he accidentally bounces off their circus train and lands in a lonely farmer’s vast, empty field. The farmer reluctantly rescues the little clown, and over the course of one day together, the two of them make some surprising discoveries about themselves—and about life! Sweet, funny, and moving, this wordless picture book from a master of the form and the creator of The Boss Baby speaks volumes and will delight story lovers of all ages.


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Whimsical and touching images tell the story of an unexpected friendship and the revelations it inspires in this moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee. A baby clown is separated from his family when he accidentally bounces off their circus train and lands in a lonely farmer’s vast, empty field. The farmer reluctantly rescues the l Whimsical and touching images tell the story of an unexpected friendship and the revelations it inspires in this moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee. A baby clown is separated from his family when he accidentally bounces off their circus train and lands in a lonely farmer’s vast, empty field. The farmer reluctantly rescues the little clown, and over the course of one day together, the two of them make some surprising discoveries about themselves—and about life! Sweet, funny, and moving, this wordless picture book from a master of the form and the creator of The Boss Baby speaks volumes and will delight story lovers of all ages.

30 review for The Farmer and the Clown (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mischenko

    I'm at a loss for words on how to review this wordless picture book. It's rare that a book can cause me to get teary eyed, but this one surely does evoke emotion for me. A hard-working farmer is working in the wheat when I little clown falls off a moving train near by. They become friends and learn about each other. The farmer is sharing and kind to the little clown. He want's to make him happy and comfortable in his home. You get the feeling that the farmer is the type of person that would give I'm at a loss for words on how to review this wordless picture book. It's rare that a book can cause me to get teary eyed, but this one surely does evoke emotion for me. A hard-working farmer is working in the wheat when I little clown falls off a moving train near by. They become friends and learn about each other. The farmer is sharing and kind to the little clown. He want's to make him happy and comfortable in his home. You get the feeling that the farmer is the type of person that would give you the shirt off his back. It's wonderful. Follow along in the book to see what becomes of this new and unexpected friendship. The illustrations are really neat and interesting. They're detailed enough to feel realistic. The story is powerful and I loved the little surprise at the end. Children will love this one... 5***** To see this review and other Wordless Picture Books, please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Now while I do very much and heartily appreciate the main (the entire) wordless storyline of Marla Frazee's The Farmer and the Clown, I am if truth be told simply not all that much (if at all) a fan of the illustrations themselves. For although I am indeed and definitely well pleased that The Farmer and the Clown is not ever overly cluttered with too much superfluous visual details and is thus thankfully also not as potentially confusing and distracting as many other wordless picture books I hav Now while I do very much and heartily appreciate the main (the entire) wordless storyline of Marla Frazee's The Farmer and the Clown, I am if truth be told simply not all that much (if at all) a fan of the illustrations themselves. For although I am indeed and definitely well pleased that The Farmer and the Clown is not ever overly cluttered with too much superfluous visual details and is thus thankfully also not as potentially confusing and distracting as many other wordless picture books I have read in the past have tended to be (and with this I do in particular mean offerings by David Wiesner, whom many do consider spectacular, but whose wordless illustrations I have generally found so lush and detailed that without accompanying textual explanations, I tend to get majorly lost), from a personal aesthetics point of departure, I must admit that I have found both Marla Frazee's drawings, renderings and the entire colour scheme of The Farmer and the Clown much too drab and visually uninspiring for my own personal artistic tastes, and with especially the farmer also rather appearing a wee bit creepy to and for my eyes with his long and lanky almost tentacle like arms and legs. And considering that in a wordless picture book, it is of course ONLY the illustrations which count, as there are ONLY visual, there are only pictorial renderings featured, if one does not really find these all that visually and aesthetically appealing, this will (or at least can) quite naturally negatively influence and affect reading (viewing) pleasure. Now certainly there is nothing in any manner remotely problematic with regard to The Farmer and the Clown as a wordless tale in and of itself (and I actually thematically and content-wise have in fact much enjoyed visually following how the farmer and the baby circus clown he has rescued slowly become used to one another and how both learn from the other as well, with the farmer learning to act and behave spontaneously and clown-like in order to amuse and divert his rescued guest and the baby clown happily figuring out how to do farm chores, how to milk cows and work in the fields, even though with the ending of The Farmer and the Clown, I was actually kind of hoping that the farmer and the young clown would remain together, that he would not rejoin the circus when the train returned). However, as much as I have indeed enjoyed the wordless storyline of The Farmer and the Clown from a plot and themes point of departure, I really cannot grant more than a three star rating, as indeed, Marla Frazee's illustrations really and truly are not at all my aesthetic cup of proverbial tea (and I also do believe that my three stars are actually quite generous, as if I were to truly consider the pictures encountered in The Farmer and the Clown as to how much I have visually liked seeing them, I should probably only be rating this with two stars).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zoë

    [Book #24 for my grad school Children's Lit class] [Book #24 for my grad school Children's Lit class]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Awwww! The illustrations in this story without words hearken back to maybe the 1950's? They remind me of the original Curious George pictures. Baby clowns are not scary even though both babies and clowns are terrifying. Grumpy Amish-looking farmers are also not scary. And circus trains look like boxes of Animal Crackers cookies. The fifth star is missing because I was not convinced of Baby Clown's emotions that first night. Regardless, this book is adorable. Awwww! The illustrations in this story without words hearken back to maybe the 1950's? They remind me of the original Curious George pictures. Baby clowns are not scary even though both babies and clowns are terrifying. Grumpy Amish-looking farmers are also not scary. And circus trains look like boxes of Animal Crackers cookies. The fifth star is missing because I was not convinced of Baby Clown's emotions that first night. Regardless, this book is adorable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    How Marla Frazee managed to make this book endearing rather than creepy is true talent because, let's face it, clowns are creepy. This book, however, will convert even the most persistent of clown-haters. How Marla Frazee managed to make this book endearing rather than creepy is true talent because, let's face it, clowns are creepy. This book, however, will convert even the most persistent of clown-haters.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    A baby clown falls off a train and is helped by a farmer. Great story about our common humanity...a lesson for both children and adults.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Agnė

    I really like Frazee's style in general, so it's not that surprising that I LOVE her illustrations in this wordless picturebook. The very first page is probably my favorite: So simple yet so rich (which, by the way, is true of the whole book)! I also wanted to share my aha moment, which made me love this book even more. At first, I couldn't get why the little clown was smiling when he fell off the train. Didn't he just got separated from his family? And why did he get sad only when his face paint I really like Frazee's style in general, so it's not that surprising that I LOVE her illustrations in this wordless picturebook. The very first page is probably my favorite: So simple yet so rich (which, by the way, is true of the whole book)! I also wanted to share my aha moment, which made me love this book even more. At first, I couldn't get why the little clown was smiling when he fell off the train. Didn't he just got separated from his family? And why did he get sad only when his face paint got washed off? And then it dawned on me: he was actually sad all along and his smile was only painted! Just like the little clown, the farmer also wore a "mask" at the beginning as he appeared to be grumpy but deep down was a very kind man. For me, this realization added more significance to the fact that by the end the clown and the farmer managed to make each other genuinely happy. They helped each other to take off their masks, so to speak. P.S. Sorry, if my aha moment seems obvious to you but I felt genuinely happy when I finally got it :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    I really loved this. Little clown lost, finds a farmer, they connect, learn from each other, two sad sacks alone who befriend and amuse each other. I especially love the artwork, the muted color, the elongated farmer, the little clown and the train of clowns he needs to be reunited with. Has a little sentimental tug in it. That it is a farmer and a clown (huh?) is part of what makes it sweet and melancholy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    A little clown falls off the circus train in this wordless picture-book from artist Marla Frazee, and is taken in by an old, gray farmer. The farmer takes the clown-child home, and takes care of him until the train comes chugging across the prairie a second time, and he can be restored to his family... As another online reviewer has noted, Frazee accomplishes quite a bit in The Farmer and the Clown, in the sense that she makes clowns, which can sometimes be read as rather creepy, quite endearing A little clown falls off the circus train in this wordless picture-book from artist Marla Frazee, and is taken in by an old, gray farmer. The farmer takes the clown-child home, and takes care of him until the train comes chugging across the prairie a second time, and he can be restored to his family... As another online reviewer has noted, Frazee accomplishes quite a bit in The Farmer and the Clown, in the sense that she makes clowns, which can sometimes be read as rather creepy, quite endearing here. Her artwork is lovely, capturing the loneliness of the farmer, his surprise and chagrin at his new charge, and his eventual transformation, as a result of the encounter. The visuals are naturally all-important, in a wordless book such as this, and here they succeed in telling a coherent, and quietly engaging tale. Recommended to anyone looking for wordless picture-books, and to all Marla Frazee fans.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    3.5 STARS I will preface this review by saying I'm not much a fan of clowns. That said, I still found this somewhat charming but not altogether remarkable. It's a sweet little story, I enjoyed how the farmer and the toddler clown grew to enjoy one another's company and learn from one another and I was touched by the ending. (I also chuckled a little at the final page.) I will add that my three-year-old's impression was decidedly less favorable -- he did not even want to read the book and indeed 3.5 STARS I will preface this review by saying I'm not much a fan of clowns. That said, I still found this somewhat charming but not altogether remarkable. It's a sweet little story, I enjoyed how the farmer and the toddler clown grew to enjoy one another's company and learn from one another and I was touched by the ending. (I also chuckled a little at the final page.) I will add that my three-year-old's impression was decidedly less favorable -- he did not even want to read the book and indeed asked me to "take it away" --perhaps he shares his mother's aversion to clowns in general?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    Wordless picture book about a young clown who falls/jumps off a moving train in the middle of nowhere and is (luckily for him) taken in by a kindly but apparently mute old farmer until the clown clan returns for him.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A charming picture book where an old farmer takes in a young clown that gets separated from his circus caravan. The pictures are minimalist but still manage to convey a range of emotions and setting. The ending is bittersweet - but mostly sweet. :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Lovely pictures tell the story of a little clown who falls off the circus train and is found by a farmer. At the beginning the little clown is the one trying to cheer up the farmer. After all he is a clown, isn't he? But when his face is washed out he starts feeling sad. Now is the farmer's turn to cheer the clown up, and this will transform his life. A beautiful friendship has born. But the day arrives when the circus train comes back looking for the lost little clown. Then the farmer is left lon Lovely pictures tell the story of a little clown who falls off the circus train and is found by a farmer. At the beginning the little clown is the one trying to cheer up the farmer. After all he is a clown, isn't he? But when his face is washed out he starts feeling sad. Now is the farmer's turn to cheer the clown up, and this will transform his life. A beautiful friendship has born. But the day arrives when the circus train comes back looking for the lost little clown. Then the farmer is left lonely again. Or is he? We have enjoyed in the past other beautiful books illustrated by Marla Frazee, like Mem Fox's Harriet, you'll drive wild!, and Mary Ann Hoberman's The seven silly eaters. She is such a talented illustrator! Age range: 3 to 7 years old Check out more children's book reviews in my Reviews in Chalk Blog!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fiery Jack

    This is a wordless picture-book that has been been getting so much positive attention that I had to check it out. Honestly, I was a little hesitant because clowns freak me out. Thankfully, instead of being freaked out, I was perfectly charmed. It's such a warm and endearing book. Yep, I even teared up at the end. Who knew that a clown could make me cry and not because I was scared? It was a big day for me. Without sounding too sappy, this is a great example of why and how children's book are won This is a wordless picture-book that has been been getting so much positive attention that I had to check it out. Honestly, I was a little hesitant because clowns freak me out. Thankfully, instead of being freaked out, I was perfectly charmed. It's such a warm and endearing book. Yep, I even teared up at the end. Who knew that a clown could make me cry and not because I was scared? It was a big day for me. Without sounding too sappy, this is a great example of why and how children's book are wonderful for all ages. Yeah, that was pretty sappy but it's true!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I had a lump in my throat when I finished this one. It hits so many of my tender spots: farm out in the country, old farmer, homesickness, reunions. The spread where the farmer tries to cheer up the little clown when he awakes, by dancing and acting silly, right away made me think of my favorite scene in Babe, when the farmer sings and dances for the sick little pig. This is my favorite picture book of the year, and I'm going to have to buy it for myself. I had a lump in my throat when I finished this one. It hits so many of my tender spots: farm out in the country, old farmer, homesickness, reunions. The spread where the farmer tries to cheer up the little clown when he awakes, by dancing and acting silly, right away made me think of my favorite scene in Babe, when the farmer sings and dances for the sick little pig. This is my favorite picture book of the year, and I'm going to have to buy it for myself.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Second read. I still don't have much to say about it. Something seems to be missing, at least in my opinion. Maybe I'd like it better if I understood why other reviewers see the farmer as 'reluctant' 'grumpy' or 'curmudgeonly.' I see one slanted brow, that's it. Third read clicked. I saw whole sections that didn't register the other times, like when the farmer danced for the clown, and when the clown milked a cow. Now I realize that it is a great book... don't know how I was missing so much befor Second read. I still don't have much to say about it. Something seems to be missing, at least in my opinion. Maybe I'd like it better if I understood why other reviewers see the farmer as 'reluctant' 'grumpy' or 'curmudgeonly.' I see one slanted brow, that's it. Third read clicked. I saw whole sections that didn't register the other times, like when the farmer danced for the clown, and when the clown milked a cow. Now I realize that it is a great book... don't know how I was missing so much before.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    I'm not a fan of clowns but it's impossible not to like this touching, whimsical wordless picture book. I'm not a fan of clowns but it's impossible not to like this touching, whimsical wordless picture book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I would have rated this 4 stars for "love" except, you know, clowns... I would have rated this 4 stars for "love" except, you know, clowns...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Arie

    Maybe this will counter the effects of It and make clowns seem less terrifyingly creepy to me? Maybe this will counter the effects of It and make clowns seem less terrifyingly creepy to me?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    Oh how I love this tale of a small clown who falls from the traveling circus train. Landing in a farmer's field, both are curious of each other. As the farmer gently takes care of the clown, he grows to love the ways of this very special being, and likewise, the clown embraces farming and the farmer. Seamless and wordless, the author creates a magical story of loneliness, of love, and of trust. The theme is universal, and incredibly rendered. This is a book to give as a present to adults as well a Oh how I love this tale of a small clown who falls from the traveling circus train. Landing in a farmer's field, both are curious of each other. As the farmer gently takes care of the clown, he grows to love the ways of this very special being, and likewise, the clown embraces farming and the farmer. Seamless and wordless, the author creates a magical story of loneliness, of love, and of trust. The theme is universal, and incredibly rendered. This is a book to give as a present to adults as well as children. As the clown and farmer come together and then depart, they may have bounced into each other's lives, but they will forever be solidly anchored by love.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    I have admired Marla Frazee's illustration style for several years now. I really liked the somber, brownish gray back grounds against which the colors really popped. And each of the pages or panels expertly moved the story along. The story in this wordless book was very clearly depicted, so that children can readily see what is going on in each picture and how the story is progressing. The story of friendship between the old farmer and the young clown is universal, and needs no words to share it I have admired Marla Frazee's illustration style for several years now. I really liked the somber, brownish gray back grounds against which the colors really popped. And each of the pages or panels expertly moved the story along. The story in this wordless book was very clearly depicted, so that children can readily see what is going on in each picture and how the story is progressing. The story of friendship between the old farmer and the young clown is universal, and needs no words to share it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    In her newest title, The Farmer And The Clown (Beach Lane Books), Marla Frazee, without benefit of words, visualizes a single day of being lost and found for two very different individuals. It is an experience neither of them will forget. My full recommendation: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2... In her newest title, The Farmer And The Clown (Beach Lane Books), Marla Frazee, without benefit of words, visualizes a single day of being lost and found for two very different individuals. It is an experience neither of them will forget. My full recommendation: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    Just when I've slogged through my millionth "elephant gets lost" or "forest animals help a friend" or "this princess has spunk and pizazz" or "I surely really do love you, kissy kissy gag gag" book - I am rewarded with perfection. My choice for Caldecott as well as being the best thing I've seen this year. Just when I've slogged through my millionth "elephant gets lost" or "forest animals help a friend" or "this princess has spunk and pizazz" or "I surely really do love you, kissy kissy gag gag" book - I am rewarded with perfection. My choice for Caldecott as well as being the best thing I've seen this year.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    No words just pictures which technically makes it a graphic novel, but it really doesn't seem that way. It's sweet, wonderful, adorable and loving. I loved it. No words just pictures which technically makes it a graphic novel, but it really doesn't seem that way. It's sweet, wonderful, adorable and loving. I loved it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    My six year old niece was furious that there were no words. I was wishing my home was that bare and clean. It is a simple and powerful story told with pictures. I loved it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth S

    Beautiful, sweet, and fun.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Madelyn DeVorss

    Genre: Realistic Fiction because the characters are not real, but clowns could travel on a train to the circus or wherever they are going. The train could hit a bump or something causing the clown to fall off in a field and be left to stay with the farmer. Target Audience: Intermediate because the reader has to use their knowledge and thinking skills to interpret and understand the story. Text to Self: The way in which I felt this related to me is when I moved out of parents house. I was sort of l Genre: Realistic Fiction because the characters are not real, but clowns could travel on a train to the circus or wherever they are going. The train could hit a bump or something causing the clown to fall off in a field and be left to stay with the farmer. Target Audience: Intermediate because the reader has to use their knowledge and thinking skills to interpret and understand the story. Text to Self: The way in which I felt this related to me is when I moved out of parents house. I was sort of lost, but excited to meet new people just like the clown. I was a little scared at first, but I met people that I trusted to help me find my way, just like the farmer did for the clown. Text to Text: This book reminds me of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum because Dorothy is trying to find her way home just like the clown is in this book. Dorothy comes across people that help her find her way, just like the farmer did for the clown. Text to World: We all get lost at some point in our life whether it is physically lost or just lost in life. We all use our resources and seek advice and help from others on how to get back to where we were headed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    In a wordless picture book, Frazee captures what happens when a young clown falls off of a circus train and is rescued by a lonely farmer. The desolate and flat landscape is unbroken until the bright circus train passes. The farmer is clearly reluctant to take in the bright little smiling clown, but he does anyway, taking him by the hand back to his tiny house. There, the two of them sit together, share a meal and eventually wash up and the clown washes off his face paint. Now it is the little c In a wordless picture book, Frazee captures what happens when a young clown falls off of a circus train and is rescued by a lonely farmer. The desolate and flat landscape is unbroken until the bright circus train passes. The farmer is clearly reluctant to take in the bright little smiling clown, but he does anyway, taking him by the hand back to his tiny house. There, the two of them sit together, share a meal and eventually wash up and the clown washes off his face paint. Now it is the little clown who is worried and sad, his smile removed with the water. The farmer sits with him as he tries to fall asleep. Along with the light of dawn, the farmer starts to cheer up the little clown with silly faces and antics. Soon the two are living a mix of their two lives: eggs are gathered and juggled, hard work is shared, and the two head out on a picnic together. While on the picnic, they hear a train coming and it is the circus train filled with clowns. But somehow, the ending is not sad as the little clown returns to his family and the farmer returns to his farm, both changed forever. I’m not sure how Frazee manages to convey so much in a wordless format. She uses symbolism, like the face paint for removing barriers, the connection of the characters through held hands, and their very different hats being removed and shared and eventually exchanged. It’s lovely and heartfelt and very special. I’ve seen this book on a lot of people’s top book lists for the year, and I completely agree. It’s a gem of a book that has such depths to explore. The wordless format might imply a simple story, but here readers will find subtlety about friendship, caring for others, and building connections. A masterpiece of wordless storytelling, this is a radiant picture book made to be shared. Appropriate for ages 2-6.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A wordless book by Marla Frazee?? Be still my heart!! I will confess that this woman has never done a doodle I didn't like. I've always thought that her talent really shows in small vignetttes- she can tell a whole story in a facial expression- and that really shows here (even when the expression is painted on!). The pacing is wonderful: she varies double-page, full-bleed spreads with single ones, with series of small moments in quick succession. The flap copy says that it's a story about home, A wordless book by Marla Frazee?? Be still my heart!! I will confess that this woman has never done a doodle I didn't like. I've always thought that her talent really shows in small vignetttes- she can tell a whole story in a facial expression- and that really shows here (even when the expression is painted on!). The pacing is wonderful: she varies double-page, full-bleed spreads with single ones, with series of small moments in quick succession. The flap copy says that it's a story about home, but I think it's a story about sadness, both shown and with a happy painted exterior, and how friends can help each other find happiness. The final illustration was such a relief, as I was feeling very sorry for the farmer, and I didn't notice the hat switch until my second read. Really, the only problem is that Marla Frazee lives in California and we can't be best friends.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Miss

    I feel this book is meant for Key Stage Two readers. There is meaning behind the pictures that I think more experienced readers would capture and relate to more. It is a story of friendship and different cultures coming together and befriending one another. No matter how different the backgrounds, people still have the ability to build friendships and love for one another. I would use this book and relate to PSHE qualities and the building of friendships. The book also shows us that friendships I feel this book is meant for Key Stage Two readers. There is meaning behind the pictures that I think more experienced readers would capture and relate to more. It is a story of friendship and different cultures coming together and befriending one another. No matter how different the backgrounds, people still have the ability to build friendships and love for one another. I would use this book and relate to PSHE qualities and the building of friendships. The book also shows us that friendships don't always last forever and they come and go. We meet people for brief moments in our life or they have the potential to last longer. None the less though, there is some relationships that stay with us and leave an everlasting print, they change us because we have learnt things from them and they have the capacity to change your opinions and outlook on life.

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