In Alborozo’s curious—bordering on surreal—tale, a clown finds that attention is hard to grab these days.
A circus clown is doing his thing for the audience, teetering on three tippy chairs while balancing a vase of flowers and a ball on long poles. It’s good stuff, classic, but the clown finds that the circus-goers would rather watch Adele (she plays the accordion and a bass drum—simultaneously), Hercule the strongman, and Marguerite, who pulls lots and lots of hankies out of her top hat. Rejected and dejected, the acrobat leaves the circus and decides to set up shop in the local park. He juggles, does pratfalls and performs amazing feats of balance, but the kids pay him no attention. “The acrobat decided to feed the birds instead.” (Anything for an audience.) And lo, if you feed them, they will come, just like the baseball fans in Iowa. Soon the clown is covered head to toe with a swarm of multicolored little birds, and the kids find this pretty cool indeed. When he is just about to collapse under the birds’ weight, the clown does a great jumping jack, and the birds explode away in a dazzle of color and movement. Beat that, Marguerite and Hercule. The simple text, with its soupçon of existentialism, and the kooky artwork make this a flash of pleasure.
Success comes in the unlikeliest places, so keep on keeping on. (Picture book. 4-8)