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The Man Who Loved Clowns

4.41 of 5 stars 4.41  ·  rating details  ·  1,026 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Delrita Jensen, 13, has no friends, and she prefers it that way. She doesn't want anyone to meet her uncle who has Down's syndrome and lives with her family. When her parents are killed in an auto accident, Delrita and her uncle go to live with relatives--and everything changes. Wood has created an engrossing story with a universal theme--the struggle to come of age and fi ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 25th 1995 by Hyperion Books (first published October 21st 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,501)
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Sameena
This book was one of the most touching, heartbreaking, thought-provoking books I've ever read. It makes you wonder what life is like with a person in your family that has a disability, and makes you have so much more respect for those people. It makes you look at the people around you differently. I loved it, and highly recommend it. :)
JoDee
Best book, EVER!!!
Nate
Ok well, this one took me some time before I got up enough guts to read. I am into fantasy and sci-fi books; I do not love clowns, but I don’t hate them either. The book cover’s McDonald’s color scheme didn’t really grab my attention either. However, I thought I should give it a try, remember what they say, “You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

WOW, this was a very emotional, humbling, and uplifting book. I am NOT an overly emotional person, but my eyes did get a wee bit moist now and then
...more
Sarah Wolters
This book is one of my absolute favourites. It's both heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time. Delrita's character is very shy and quiet, and with me being the same way, she was very easy to relate to. Wood writes about Delrita's relationship with her Uncle Punky, who has Down's Syndrome, and how Delrita deals with the troubles that she has with the kids at school in a realistic and interesting way, which makes the book a worthwhile read. It is a relatively short book, but the story it ...more
Marieke vanErven
This was an amazing book. June Rae Wood did an incredible job bringing emotion into this book, it was hard for me to put down. I laughed with this book, cried with this book, and it brought a smile to my face. It is a great way to show that even though many of us are different, we are all the same, we are all human beings, and being different is what makes us unique. This book had amazing detail, and I thought that there was a great amount of thought put into this book, the hard work truly comes ...more
Marcie
This book has a very special place in my heart. We read it aloud in my 6th grade English class and when we got to the final chapters, I think the majority of us were sobbing. It's the first book that made me realize how powerful stories can be.

I've read it every year since then and while some people say that the writing style is very simplistic, I think that it is very powerful and captures a confused pre-teen beautifully. I absolutely fell in love with Punky and when I pick the book up again, i
...more
Megan Anderson
A book for young adults; designed to turn on the water works.

I read this in the first grade because it was that year’s William Allen White Award in Kansas (we live on the Missouri side of Kansas City now, but Jake & I both grew up on the Kansas side of Kansas City). I’m a life long nerd and I always made a point to read the award-winning books as a kid. When I found this while thrifting, I had to get it for the ever-building young-adult section of our home library. I didn’t enjoy the book as
...more
Brianna Rickard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eden Meyer
I read this book back in elementary school, and it was my first "real" book. I love it because I live very close to where the story actually takes place. I felt bad for Delrita at times and I wanted to sympathize with her frequently throughout the book. I found myself disliking Aunt Queenie more than once, but near the end of the book a new side came out and it just added a sense of happiness to the book.
Leah
I read this book for the first time back in 7th grade and I still remember most of this book. Punky is a man with down syndrome. It sends a message of how it is to grow up with someone who has special needs. I grew up with an aunt who was mentally challenged, and it was very relatable. Good read for people of whatever age, in my personal opinion.
Nicole
This is one of the greatest stories ever written! June Rae Wood came to visit our middle school (about 20 years ago) to talk with us and I will never forget this book. I have it on my self ready for my daughter to read when she is old enough. If the right child reads it, it can change your whole outlook on life.
Kaitlyn
This wonderful novel was well written, and the characters are so lovable and imaginative! Life lessons about honesty, friendship, and undying love are expressed in this delightful story. A touching novel such as this one is always on a bookshelf I can reach.
Stephanie Weeks
God, I Just finished & that was hella depressing. Without spoiling, basically Delrita has a shit time. Ugh. Feels. Sucky.

I really loved Punky's character and I think this is a great read for young readers. I have a sister with Angelman's Syndrome and I totally related to Delrita's feelings on everything, especially the staring. It gets old SO fast. & I've seen little kids run from my sister, terrified. It really is heartbreaking. I really appreciate this book. It's a bit dry reading at
...more
Tahira Hamilton
Oct 06, 2008 Tahira Hamilton rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn about people with special needs
This is a book about a little girl who lives with her parents and her uncle who has Down syndrome. This book tells a tale of what it is like to grow up with someone who has special needs. The book gets its title because the uncle with Down syndrome does love clowns and the girl in this story carves clowns out of wood for her uncle to keep in his special box.
This book could be used as an art lesson to discuss both the historical and art history of wood carving. Students could do research into ho
...more
Bryce Frizell
Apr 28, 2008 Bryce Frizell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is one of the few things that might actually be able to make me choke. The fact that someone with downs syndrome was so misunderstood to begin with was disturbing but when the plot thickens and the parents of the little girl and her challenged brother die, was nearly unbearable. the fact that the man had no idea about what to think of his current situation was a great touch and making the family have to work together to try to get by was extremely touching. At first when the family sen ...more
Hannah Carlson
This is a very touching book about relationships. I got so attached to the characters, so I shared in their grief whenever one of them passed away. Though it was an extremely sad plot line, Punky's joy was very contagious. In the face of trauma, Punky was the one to hold the family together with his extremely happy outlook on life. This book gave me the vicarious experience of loving and looking after a person with downs' syndrome.
Joanna
I'm really not a fan of realistic young adult fiction, but that's just a personal preference. I wasn't really all that into this book, BUT that doesn't change the fact that it is well written and a great novel for young readers that explores such issues interacting with people that are different from you, death, and the timeless horror of adolescence. Man, more novels really should take place at Silver Dollar City though.
Brynne Nelson
No other book on the subject of Down's Syndrome has ever touched me more deeply. What's more, I read this book half a dozen times as a teenage girl because I so connected with Delrita's day-to-day struggles. Beautifully written, with compelling and believable characters, this book is a must-read for everybody!
Tandi Rios
Still to this day, I remember my 6th grade teacher reading this book to the class. Finishing the last chapter with tears in her eyes. Many years later, I read this book to my own kids. Emotional, humbling, heart warming, heart breaking, all around great read.
Allyson
I have loved this book ever since I read it as an elementary school student. This is a great book about a man living with Autism and his family dealing with that. I would definitely use this book in my class room because it has a great moral which is don't shut someone out because you think they won't like you.
Patricia J Wolfe
awesome sad

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Kyra
IT WAS AMAZING! I read it two years ago and again last year. It is so sad you wouldn't think you would cry over a book with clowns in it (I'm scared of clowns
Mommywest
"Delrita likes being invisible. If no one notices her, then no one will notice her uncle Punky either. Punky is a grown man with a child's mind. Delrita loves him dearly and can't stand people making fun of his Down's syndrome. But when tragedy strikes, Delrita's quiet life—and Punky's—are disrupted forever. Can she finally learn to trust others, for her own sake and Punky's? This story captures the joy and sorrow that come when we open our hearts to love."--Goodreads synopsis

I thought this book
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Lisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Chang
This book changed my life as a child, especially growing up with siblings who had disabilities.
Jenna
This book was so good! Literally my favorite book ever right now! It made me cry so much!
Sarah Daniel
I don't usually like book that are sad but this is one of the best books!
Regina Aviles
This was the first book to ever make me cry when i was in jr high.
Ananya Misra
I was an amazing heartfelt story.Cant believe he dead
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June Wood, the author of the famous The Man WHo Loved Clowns , was born in 1946 in Sedalia, Missouri . "My brother Richard was born [in 1948] with Down's syndrome and a heart defect," author June Rae Wood wrote in the Sedalia Democrat in 1995. "The doctor said he wouldn't live, and even if he did, he would never walk or talk. He advised my parents to send Richard to die in an institution, rathe ...more
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