Illustrator: Kimberly Bulcken Root
Published by: Philomet Books division of Penquin Young Readers Group NYC
Ages: 6 and up
Theme: Home, family, love, gratitude
Opening Lines: in 1910, when cotton candy was called “fairy floss,” a clown child named Olivia travelled with her father in a small mud circus known across the prairie as the Crystal Caravan.
Synopsis: As stated on the jacket flap: What could be better than being a clown child? You can juggle eggs all day and eat dinner every night with the Tallest man East of the Missouri – and you don’t even have to go to school! But to Olivia, a real-life clown child, the glitter and glam of the circus life leave something to be desired. Her dreams are filled with simple things like bathtubs and rocking chairs and homes that don’t bump all over the prairie. She begs her father to settle down. But then a sudden blow down storm roars over the big top, Olivia sees an unexpected glimpse of life outside of the circus. What would it mean to give it up? At once funny and touching, Clown Child offers a colourful glimpse at a wisdom that can’t be learned from books, and reminds us that home is more than the place you live – it’s the people you love.
Why I like it: “Home is where the Heart is.” With the love of travel I find I am happiest in strange new surroundings, different countries, different cultures, learning to understand different ways of life, with my husband. But there is also another side to it to. Understanding that often we are not aware of how lucky we are or value our lives until it is no longer there. I have experienced that to. Although I love to travel, there is also a part of me that is acutely aware of how privileged my life is here, away from war, away from extreme weather temperatures, with the fresh clean green image, and so many other wonderful things we have here that many can only dream of. This book reminds us of all those things, and sometimes having the people around us we care most about, is all we need. It has a touch of humour and it’s whispy painted illustrations give depth. A lovely story that teaches above all, gratitude!
Findings and Resources: There are no real resources for this particular book but teaching children the art of gratitude is something we must encourage and can first be learnt at home, here is a website setting out some ideas, such as keeping a gratitude journal, making gratitude cards, etc….
Ways to teach children gratitude and kindness……
also a website for building children’s creativeness both within the classroom and outside the classroom in creative performing arts….. http://imagineproject.org/index.php