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The Farmer and the Clown

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  2,591 ratings  ·  493 reviews
Whimsical and touching images tell the story of an unexpected friendship and the revelations it inspires in this moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee.

A baby clown is separated from his family when he accidentally bounces off their circus train and lands in a lonely farmer’s vast, empty field. The farmer reluctantly rescues the l
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Beach Lane Books
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4.21  · 
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 ·  2,591 ratings  ·  493 reviews

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Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To see this week's Wordless Picture Books, please visit

I'm at a loss for words on how to review this wordless picture book. It's rare that a book can cause me to get teary eyed, but this one surely does evoke emotion for me.

A hard-working farmer is working in the wheat when I little clown falls off a moving train near by. They become friends and learn about each other. The farmer is sharing and kind to the little clown. He want's to make him happy and comfortable in h
Now while I do very much and heartily appreciate the main (the entire) wordless storyline of Marla Frazee's The Farmer and the Clown, I am if truth be told simply not all that much (if at all) a fan of the illustrations themselves. For although I am indeed and definitely well pleased that The Farmer and the Clown is not ever overly cluttered with too much superfluous visual details and is thus thankfully also not as potentially confusing and distracting as many other wordless picture books I hav ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it

The illustrations in this story without words hearken back to maybe the 1950's? They remind me of the original Curious George pictures.

Baby clowns are not scary even though both babies and clowns are terrifying.
Grumpy Amish-looking farmers are also not scary.
And circus trains look like boxes of Animal Crackers cookies.

The fifth star is missing because I was not convinced of Baby Clown's emotions that first night.

Regardless, this book is adorable.
How Marla Frazee managed to make this book endearing rather than creepy is true talent because, let's face it, clowns are creepy. This book, however, will convert even the most persistent of clown-haters.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A baby clown falls off a train and is helped by a farmer. Great story about our common humanity...a lesson for both children and adults.
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really like Frazee's style in general, so it's not that surprising that I LOVE her illustrations in this wordless picturebook. The very first page is probably my favorite:

So simple yet so rich (which, by the way, is true of the whole book)!

I also wanted to share my aha moment, which made me love this book even more. At first, I couldn't get why the little clown was smiling when he fell off the train. Didn't he just got separated from his family? And why did he get sad only when his face paint
David Schaafsma
I really loved this. Little clown lost, finds a farmer, they connect, learn from each other, two sad sacks alone who befriend and amuse each other. I especially love the artwork, the muted color, the elongated farmer, the little clown and the train of clowns he needs to be reunited with. Has a little sentimental tug in it. That it is a farmer and a clown (huh?) is part of what makes it sweet and melancholy.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 STARS I will preface this review by saying I'm not much a fan of clowns. That said, I still found this somewhat charming but not altogether remarkable. It's a sweet little story, I enjoyed how the farmer and the toddler clown grew to enjoy one another's company and learn from one another and I was touched by the ending. (I also chuckled a little at the final page.) I will add that my three-year-old's impression was decidedly less favorable -- he did not even want to read the book and indeed ...more
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sweet-petites
A charming picture book where an old farmer takes in a young clown that gets separated from his circus caravan. The pictures are minimalist but still manage to convey a range of emotions and setting. The ending is bittersweet - but mostly sweet. :)
Oct 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
Wordless picture book about a young clown who falls/jumps off a moving train in the middle of nowhere and is (luckily for him) taken in by a kindly but apparently mute old farmer until the clown clan returns for him.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lovely pictures tell the story of a little clown who falls off the circus train and is found by a farmer.

At the beginning the little clown is the one trying to cheer up the farmer. After all he is a clown, isn't he? But when his face is washed out he starts feeling sad. Now is the farmer's turn to cheer the clown up, and this will transform his life. A beautiful friendship has born.

But the day arrives when the circus train comes back looking for the lost little clown. Then the farmer is left lon
Fiery Jack
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, picture-books
This is a wordless picture-book that has been been getting so much positive attention that I had to check it out. Honestly, I was a little hesitant because clowns freak me out. Thankfully, instead of being freaked out, I was perfectly charmed. It's such a warm and endearing book. Yep, I even teared up at the end. Who knew that a clown could make me cry and not because I was scared? It was a big day for me. Without sounding too sappy, this is a great example of why and how children's book are won ...more
I had a lump in my throat when I finished this one. It hits so many of my tender spots: farm out in the country, old farmer, homesickness, reunions. The spread where the farmer tries to cheer up the little clown when he awakes, by dancing and acting silly, right away made me think of my favorite scene in Babe, when the farmer sings and dances for the sick little pig. This is my favorite picture book of the year, and I'm going to have to buy it for myself.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Second read. I still don't have much to say about it. Something seems to be missing, at least in my opinion. Maybe I'd like it better if I understood why other reviewers see the farmer as 'reluctant' 'grumpy' or 'curmudgeonly.' I see one slanted brow, that's it.

Third read clicked. I saw whole sections that didn't register the other times, like when the farmer danced for the clown, and when the clown milked a cow. Now I realize that it is a great book... don't know how I was missing so much befor
Edward Sullivan
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I'm not a fan of clowns but it's impossible not to like this touching, whimsical wordless picture book.
Arielle Walker
Jun 01, 2015 marked it as to-read-short-stories
Maybe this will counter the effects of It and make clowns seem less terrifyingly creepy to me?
Dec 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I would have rated this 4 stars for "love" except, you know, clowns...
Linda Lipko
Oh how I love this tale of a small clown who falls from the traveling circus train. Landing in a farmer's field, both are curious of each other. As the farmer gently takes care of the clown, he grows to love the ways of this very special being, and likewise, the clown embraces farming and the farmer.

Seamless and wordless, the author creates a magical story of loneliness, of love, and of trust.

The theme is universal, and incredibly rendered. This is a book to give as a present to adults as well a
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pbf-farm
I have admired Marla Frazee's illustration style for several years now. I really liked the somber, brownish gray back grounds against which the colors really popped. And each of the pages or panels expertly moved the story along. The story in this wordless book was very clearly depicted, so that children can readily see what is going on in each picture and how the story is progressing. The story of friendship between the old farmer and the young clown is universal, and needs no words to share it ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In her newest title, The Farmer And The Clown (Beach Lane Books), Marla Frazee, without benefit of words, visualizes a single day of being lost and found for two very different individuals. It is an experience neither of them will forget.

My full recommendation:
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just when I've slogged through my millionth "elephant gets lost" or "forest animals help a friend" or "this princess has spunk and pizazz" or "I surely really do love you, kissy kissy gag gag" book - I am rewarded with perfection. My choice for Caldecott as well as being the best thing I've seen this year.

Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
No words just pictures which technically makes it a graphic novel, but it really doesn't seem that way. It's sweet, wonderful, adorable and loving. I loved it.
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My six year old niece was furious that there were no words. I was wishing my home was that bare and clean. It is a simple and powerful story told with pictures. I loved it.
Elizabeth S
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, sweet, and fun.
Madelyn DeVorss
Genre: Realistic Fiction because the characters are not real, but clowns could travel on a train to the circus or wherever they are going. The train could hit a bump or something causing the clown to fall off in a field and be left to stay with the farmer.
Target Audience: Intermediate because the reader has to use their knowledge and thinking skills to interpret and understand the story.
Text to Self: The way in which I felt this related to me is when I moved out of parents house. I was sort of l
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
In a wordless picture book, Frazee captures what happens when a young clown falls off of a circus train and is rescued by a lonely farmer. The desolate and flat landscape is unbroken until the bright circus train passes. The farmer is clearly reluctant to take in the bright little smiling clown, but he does anyway, taking him by the hand back to his tiny house. There, the two of them sit together, share a meal and eventually wash up and the clown washes off his face paint. Now it is the little c ...more
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wordless book by Marla Frazee?? Be still my heart!! I will confess that this woman has never done a doodle I didn't like. I've always thought that her talent really shows in small vignetttes- she can tell a whole story in a facial expression- and that really shows here (even when the expression is painted on!). The pacing is wonderful: she varies double-page, full-bleed spreads with single ones, with series of small moments in quick succession. The flap copy says that it's a story about home, ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I feel this book is meant for Key Stage Two readers. There is meaning behind the pictures that I think more experienced readers would capture and relate to more.
It is a story of friendship and different cultures coming together and befriending one another. No matter how different the backgrounds, people still have the ability to build friendships and love for one another.
I would use this book and relate to PSHE qualities and the building of friendships. The book also shows us that friendships
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: toddler
This was displayed at story time at the library so Sawyer (19 months) brought this to me. I was a little disturbed by the cover, because, well, I'm not a big fan of clowns and this little clown was ambiguous enough on the cover to make me wary. But by the first page I thought the illustrations were beautiful, the clown was darling, and it brought a smile to my heart. It's a wordless book so some people might be turned off by that but I had no problem coming up with a story to describe each of th ...more
To say too much would be to give away too many of the wonderful details in expression and timing. I thought of the monochromatic farmland that has always existed in my head since I read the Kansas scenes in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." I thought of Helen Oxenbury's babies. I thought of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman. But really, a more perfect example of wordless storytelling doesn't exist. Dare you not to cry.
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