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The Jester Has Lost His Jingle Hardcover – October, 1995
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4?A court jester wakes up one morning to find that despite his clowning, no one is laughing. He is banished from court and sets off to find out why the world has lost its sense of humor. After a long journey he arrives in a modern-day city where he questions a homeless man and a subway traveler about why people have stopped laughing and is told that the world is full of pain and tears. Finally, he asks a little girl in a hospital ward, "I wonder if you can tell me, how come laughter's not with you?" She explains that she has a tumor and just feels like crying. The jester goes to work with his routines, however, and soon has the child guffawing. With that "laughter leaped out of the window" and back into the world. The jester is soon restored to his palace position and everyone learns that "when you're feeling lonely or sad or bad or blue, remember where laughter's hiding...it's hiding inside of YOU!" The story is told in rhyme that is uneven in meter and awkwardly constructed. Interlaced borders used for some of the pictures may fit the Middle Ages setting that the book begins with but seem out of place with the cartoon figures. Furthermore, the pictorial change from ancient castle to a modern-day city is not explained. The simple line drawings with watercolor washes reflect the author's experiences as a comic-strip artist and editorial cartoonist. Saltzman's message that laughter is good therapy may be an important one, but it is just too heavy handed here to make a good children's book.?Barbara Kiefer, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 6^-8. In this nicely produced picture book, a jester banished from court for failing to amuse sets out to rediscover laughter in the world: "Then it isn't me at all! / It's the world that must be sick. / We must find that sense of humor, / and bring it back here quick!" The book is longer than most for the age group (possibly too long), but the bouncy rhyme of the text will keep the pages turning sufficiently, as will the shining colors of the double-page-spread paintings, peopled with comic-book-like characters that have an unsophisticated charm some children will like. The narrative doesn't always scan well, and the story's undisguised message will strike some readers as cloying, but the book's heartfelt optimism is difficult to ignore, and its celebration of life and laughter is a lesson for all. Stephanie Zvirin
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