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The Man Who Loved Clowns

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,184 Ratings  ·  165 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,826)
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Sep 24, 2011 Sameena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. :)
Oct 04, 2011 JoDee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-again
Best book, EVER!!!
Feb 15, 2008 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Wolters
Apr 08, 2016 Sarah Wolters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 12, 2012 Marcie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Brianna Rickard
Mar 25, 2012 Brianna Rickard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire Davis
Dec 11, 2015 Claire Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking story that is both heart wrenching and heart warming. I fell in love with Delrita and Punky! Tear jerker...
Taylor Laird
Oct 21, 2015 Taylor Laird rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edrd314
The Man Who Loved Clowns was a book that I read when was I lived in Missouri. June Rae Wood is an author who was born and raised in Missouri and my school, at that time, put together a field trip for us to listen to one of her seminars, and for us to meet her in person. My teacher had all of us read this book together, and those who enjoyed the book could go on the field trip. The Man Who Loves Clowns is a novel that elaborates how close your family truly is, even if it means that you get made f ...more
Susan Love
I decided to read this children's novel after seeing the emotional response it elicited from my professor and fellow classmate. This book teaches so many wonderful life lessons to readers of all ages and it has triggered a lot of personal reflection on my part in regards to how I live my life. The novel promotes the importance of not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone and live the life you want to lead. Do not worry too much about what others think because you are likely looking too d ...more
Delrita lives with her parents and Uncle Punky who has Down Syndrome. While she loves her uncle unconditionally, she is also, at times, embarrassed and ashamed of him, especially when everyone stares at his goofy actions and untimely and somewhat rude comments. Her mother coddles Punky and allows him to act out and do as he pleases. Delrita has learned to become invisible at school, church, and in town. When a new family moves into town, she realizes that she is not the only one with family issu ...more
Andrea Avila
May 12, 2016 Andrea Avila is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
***Spoiler alert*** Can you imagine an isolated elementary school girl feel so much void and pain at such a young age. Not inviting friends over because of that one time one of her friends came over and saw her uncle Punky, a 30 year old man with down syndrome. Now she feels she has to hide him from the world to prevent someone bullying punky. The genre is realistic fiction.
Delrita and Punky’s story begins with arriving in a small town in missouri, she is the isolated girl she's always been unti
Eden Meyer
Oct 03, 2012 Eden Meyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Dec 04, 2011 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
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.
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.
Apr 09, 2012 Kaitlyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 03, 2016 Sana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book "The Man Who Loved Clowns" has a lot of meaning and it really brings out the importance of family. The book is about a 13 year-old girl, Delrita and her uncle, Punky, with Down Syndrome. Delrita and her uncle are very close, but Delrita is embarrassed to show him to anyone because of previous experiences. Delrita's goal is simple: to stay invisible. The book shows how people can view someone and judge them, and how someone can be the complete opposite of what you imagine. In this book y ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Jenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good! Literally my favorite book ever right now! It made me cry so much!
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
Thomas Hynes
May 03, 2011 Thomas Hynes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awsome!!!!!!! :) :)
Tahira Hamilton
Oct 06, 2008 Tahira Hamilton rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Bryce Frizell
Apr 28, 2008 Bryce Frizell rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Mar 29, 2014 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 31, 2015 Lupe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My awesome fifth-grade teacher read it to my class and I and it was heartwarming book. My principal at that time read the book on some occasions in a high-pitched voice to make himself sound like a woman, it was disturbing, but funny. It keeps you entertained, wanting to read and know more, but make sure you have Kleenex around the last few chapters for a mucus discharge, You're welcome.
Jim Puskas
Feb 23, 2016 Jim Puskas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being presented in the voice of a thirteen year old girl, this might be thought of as a YA book but it's sure to appeal to a much broader audience. It's a simple enough story and yet it conveys a whole range of messages -- about empathy, forgiveness, self-awareness, growing up, letting go; and above all, the immutable value of an individual.
Central to the story is the intriguing counterpoint between the two main characters, each in a way being the obverse of the other: Delrita, trying to be a wo
Brynne Nelson
Apr 21, 2015 Brynne Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Nov 22, 2015 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A friend recommended this book to me, but I didn't enjoy it much at all. It did prompt quite the discussion about why you would drive a trailer down 76 to Silver Dollar City, along with where you could jackknife it and die as opposed to just causing a terrible terrible traffic jam.
Tandi Rios
Dec 11, 2014 Tandi Rios rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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June Rae 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, r ...more
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