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The Farmer and the Clown

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  927 ratings  ·  239 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 res
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ebook, 32 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Beach Lane Books (first published September 1st 2014)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,467)
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Erica
Awwww!

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.
Fiery Jack
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
Beth
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.
Holly
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.
Edward Sullivan
I'm not a fan of clowns but it's impossible not to like this touching, whimsical wordless picture book.
Sarah
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.
Elisabeth
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.

Amanda
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
Holly
My husband saw this book lying around and thought it looked creepy, but it is anything but. The friendship between the farmer and the clown when the clown accidentally falls off a circus train, is endearing and touching. Told without words, the story is revealed through facial expressions, muted colors with pops of red and yellow, and the playful antics and caring acts that develop a friendship. Cute twist at the end. This book would pair up well with Molly Idle's Flora stories.
Rebecca
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.
Chris
A farmer (who lives alone way out in the country) rescues a baby clown who falls off a circus train. Through days and nights they bond and become very attached to one another - until the train returns and the farmer gets to reunite baby clown to his family.
Happy? Yes. Sad? Yes! Perhaps my current loneliness makes me feel extra, ultra sorry for the poor farmer, but I'm left with such a sad feeling after reading this story!
Amanda
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
Patty Dean
At first I was skeptical of this book because so many children fear clowns. But then I saw the connection with "The Little Engine That Could" so I gave it a shot. It is a very clever, poignant story. Great detail in the artwork, conveying emotions and the inside story. Great book! Frazee just might find herself on the Honor List again.
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am in awe of authors/illustrators who can convey story and range of emotion in wordless picture books. Frazee is a marvelous story-teller and here, in her brand new book, we're treated to the story of a lonely farmer and what happens when he meets a little lost clown. This picture book is gorgeous, the palette feels appropriately subdued; it's a story full of warmth and a touch of melancholy.
Christiane
A lonely old farmer rescues a clown baby who falls off a passing train in this gorgeous, wordless book. The two form a warm, loving friendship, until, of course, the train passes by again. Luckily the book is saved from being too sad by the last image---showing a small surprise visitor.
Robin
Illustrations in pencil and gouache.
Largely monochromatic with touches of red.

So much emotion conveyed in these pictures -- how the stiff farmer's posture changes; when the little clown washes his face the reader can see that he's not smiling at all -- he's now a little lost child; how the farmer becomes the clown to cheer him up; the joy at being reunited with his clown family and then that tender hug and kiss for the farmer at the end -- so many awws.

And the final page -- a little homage to Go
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Karen
How good is this book? I don't like clowns -- at all -- but I loved this sweet, touching and achingly innocent book.
Margie
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: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...
Laura
Can we just give this woman a Caldecott already? Another stunningly illustrated story with heart.
Teresa
I would have rated this 4 stars for "love" except, you know, clowns...
Leah
The Farmer and The Clown is a wordless picture book that portrays the story of a little clown that falls off the train. The farmer takes in the little clown, and tries to take care of it. After the farmer and clown bond over some daily chores, they decide to go on a picnic. Marla Frazee is great at using lines, and colors in order to get her point across through images rather than words.

The way the author uses the colors, dull and bright, to portray the story is amazing. The clown is a bright
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NZBook Girl
http://silvertonenz.blogspot.co.nz/20...

I requested this wordless picture book from the library after seeing it listed on several 'best of 2014' book lists and I absolutely agree that it's one that should be on the top of the pile.

A farmer - beautifully simple with his black hat, trousers and suspenders, and his white shirt and beard (looking rather Amish), is in his field with his pitchfork, gathering hay. He sees a circus train go by from which a clown baby is thrown - on purpose? practising h
...more
Jocelin
When you first pick up this book and looked at the cover you are thinking; how odd is this book? The story is pretty self explanatory. A little clown gets separated from the circus and ends up with a farmer. The clown brings a little happiness (surprise!) into the lonely farmer's life. You see their time together as sweet and endearing. As with everything, their time must end and the clown must depart ways with the farmer and return to his life in the circus.
This is another "wordless picture boo
...more
Heidi
To be honest when I first heard about this book I thought it sounded kind of strange. I mean a farmer and a clown?! However the more good things I heard about it the more I decided I should probably at least look at it. And I am so glad that I did. For one thing its by Marla Frazee whose illustration style I really like and this book is no different. Cute is a good word for this book. The book starts with a farmer working in his field who is interrupted by something falling off a passing train. ...more
Mary Lee
Brilliant! Love the ending!!
David
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee is a wordless picture book in which an old farmer rescues a baby clown who bounced off a circus train, taking care of him, and reuniting him with his clown family.

While working in his fields, the lonely old famer sees a baby clown fall off his circus train. The farmer takes care of the baby, while they do chores and play together. While on a picnic, they see the circus train approaching. Running toward it, the baby clown is reunited with his family. A sur
...more
Gwen the Librarian
You will laugh, you will cry. How often can you really say that about a picture book?
Mary Ann
I absolutely love this. It took my breath away and left me with a heart-warming smile. I want to use it to talk with kids about listening with our whole heart, head, eyes and ears -- that we can learn so much, even without words. I want to see when they think the Farmer changed and what made him change. I want to see when they think the Clown changed and how they can tell.
Sharon
Despite our masks, we share a common [unspoken] bond. Story exquisitely illustrated, adroitly "told".
Vincent Desjardins
Okay, I have to get this out front - I really dislike clowns. I’ve always found them creepy and not a bit funny. But with this sweet and touching picture book, author/illustrator Marla Frazee has just but a small dent in my opinion of clowns. The little clown in her wordless picture book, who gets separated from his family when he falls off of their circus train, is probably the cutest clown ever. His simple makeup consists of a plain white face, a relatively small red nose and a painted-on smil ...more
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