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The Clown of God Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 6, 1978


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 6, 1978
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$19.95

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1st edition (September 6, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152191755
  • ASIN: B006TQVVF2
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,250,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In this retelling of the old French legend, a juggler offers to the Christ Child the only Christmas gift he has. “The full-color pictures with subtle tonal modulations are an integral part of the design of the lumious pages full of movement and vitality. The Italianate aspects of the setting are beautifully realized."
(The Horn Book )

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
90%
4 star
7%
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2 star
3%
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See all 73 customer reviews
Great addition to your library.
BlueSkye
My 3 and 5 year old children love the book and want me to read it again and again.
George J. Kloss
The book is full of beautiful illustrations.
NotATameLion

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 77 people found the following review helpful By "readertoo" on November 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Giovanni is a orphaned street urchin, begging from door to door and jungling for his food. One day he joins a traveling group of actors and begins his career as a juggling clown, spreading laughter and joy wherever he goes. His fame spreads far and wide, until a day comes when he is no longer young. His special talent, and his admiring audience, leave him and he finds himself once again a poor beggar, homeless and alone. Then on a bitterly cold and windy night he seeks shelter in a church and falls asleep. When he awakens he is surrounded by the beautiful sight of the towns people offering gifts to a statue of Mary and Baby Jesus. When the crowds have gone, Giovanni goes closer and sees that Mary and Jesus have quite sad expressions on their faces. He puts on his clown face and juggles for the lovely child to make him happy. He juggles better than he ever has before. He puts all of his love into his act, and at the pinacle of his performance, dies of a heart attack. The monks in the church, who thought that his performance was a sacrilage, turn to see that the statue of Mary and the baby Jesus are now smiling. A miracle of love. The message of the story seems to be that it is not what you can offer the Lord, but the spirit in which you offer it, that really matters. I bought this book because it was recommended to me and the first time I read it I had my two year old daughter on my lap. When we got to the part where Giovanni begins to juggle for the baby Jesus, I got so choked up with tears that I could barely continue to read. My daughter held my hand and said "it's O.K. - see the baby is smiling." To me that says it all. Five stars isn't enough for this beautifully illustrated and deeply moving story.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Clown of God is one of the most powerfully moving books I have read in a long time. This is the story of the adventures of Giovanni, a poor boy whose ability to entertain brings him renown.
The book is full of beautiful illustrations. Tomie de Paola brings real love to the pictures. Giovanni, the people he meets, and the Italian countryside come alive in de Paola's renderings. The visuals in this book dance with color and emotion. However, there are things that run deeper than pretty pictures in these pages.
Henri Nouwen once wrote:
"There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss. You will never succeed in filling that hole, because your needs are inexhaustible."
Nouwen essentially said that the only solution in this life is to work near the hole. To avoid the twin temptations of dwelling in your pain or working so much that you drown your pain out with the noise of an overly busy life.
Giovanni is representative of all those who get caught in the snare of these temptations. He carries the hole, yet denies its nature. In his youth he believes his hole to be mere physical hunger. Allowing the rumbling of his stomach to overpower the groaning of the Spirit, he begins performing in order to try and fill his hole. Unfortunately, treating the symptom never cures the disease. As Giovanni grows older he avoids his hole by allowing the din of worldly success and the cheering of the crowds to drown out the insistence of the still, small voice.
Only in the end, broken and unwanted by the world, does Giovanni heed the call within. It is a truly beautiful scene when he does. Get the book and witness it for yourself.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By George J. Kloss on May 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
This easy to read and beautifully drawn children's story shows the intensity and power of God's love. The book's vision is that God's love is simple, straight-forward and more powerful than we could ever expect.
My 3 and 5 year old children love the book and want me to read it again and again. They say "'Read God's Clown' again daddy ...".
The ending deals with death but it is not death in misery or emptiness. The Clown of God reaches God's heart and I think it will reach your heart and your child's heart too.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Karen Spring on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Tomie de Paolo's The Clown of God is by far, one of the most beautiful stories for children around. I was read this story as a child and it still is one of my all time favorites. The beautiful, soft-colored prints throughout the book will delight children along with the story about Giovanni, the poor boy who becomes a juggling clown in a circus. Giovanni goes on to become a famous juggler, but towards the end of his life, he once again becomes poor. He finds himself back home in Sorrento on Christmas Eve and performs a miracle in his local church. A story that will delight both children and adults.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
What an astonishingly beautiful story! The messages that it gives -- that God is pleased with our gifts, even if they seem simple in comparison to the gifts of others; that it is our heart that matters, not what we give; that God values everyone, even someone who others look down on -- is simple enough for a child to quickly grasp, yet complex enough that many of us adults forget it...and need to re-learn it. My children loved this book, despite the sad fact that the clown dies in the end. They were able to see the joy and beauty of the book. Copies of this book are going to lots of people this Christmas!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Classic film buff on October 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was a Christmas present in 1998 to my then four-year-old son from his aunt. She had wanted to give him books for Christmas and had asked my wife and I for ideas, we had given her two suggestions: "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg (another wonderful, highly recommended book) and anything by Tomie dePaola, since our son loved the "Strega Nona" series and other titles by Mr. DePaola. She gave him both "The Polar Express" and "The Clown of God" and they became not only favorites of my son, but also my wife and I as well.

The story is Mr. DePaola's interpretation of "Le Jongleur de Notre Dame"("Our Lady's Juggler") by Anatole France that in turn was based on an old medieval legend. In Mr. DePaola's version, the setting is early Renaissance Italy; Giovanni, a young orphan boy in the town of Sorrento, has a talent for juggling. He leaves Sorrento to join a travelling troop of players, where he refines his art and becoming increasing successful, deciding to strike out on his own when he grows into a man. Giovanni travels the length of Italy far and wide performing for audiences ranging from peasants to royalty amazing people with his effortless juggling routines, culminating in the wondrous "sun in the heavens" a gold ball juggled after a rainbow of many colored balls. However the years pass, Giovanni is now an old man, times have become harder, and audiences are bored with his routines after all this time. In addition, with age Giovanni's skill is ebbing away, his reflexes no longer as quick and as lithe. At last it happens; Giovanni drops some balls ruining his act, the audience turns on him, running him out of town. Sadly he takes off his clown makeup and costume, and decides to go back home to Sorrento.
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More About the Author

"Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.
It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.
He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his ""singular attainment in children's literature,"" the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his ""continued distinguished contribution,"" and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.
Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.
Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.
- He has been published for over 30 years.
- Over 5 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
- His books have been published in over 15 different countries.
- He receives nearly 100,000 fan letters each year.
Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition for his books in the children's book world, including:
- Caldecott Honor Award from American Library Association
- Newbery Honor Award from American Library Association
- Smithson Medal from Smithsonian Institution
- USA nominee in illustration for Hans Christian Andersen Medal
- Regina Medal from Catholic Library Association

"

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