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by Nina Laden & illustrated by Nina Laden

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8027-8780-0
Publisher: Walker

What do clowns do to unwind? Following a family of performers permanently decked out in wildly patched outfits and bulb noses (even the dog), the author/illustrator of Bad Dog (2000) and other free-spirited romps proposes a more-or-less rhymed string of alternatives. Laden asks intriguing questions: “Do they play in the sand / Or read in the shade? / Can clowns get a tan / And drink lemonade? When clowns get hungry, / What do they eat? / . . . What’s a clown’s favorite treat?” Stretched out on a beach or shivering on an iceberg, visiting roadside attractions or trying to find them (“Welcome to LOST,” reads a billboard, “Population: you”), climbing cliffs or exploring caves, Laden’s motley vacationers, with a permanently nonplused elephant tagging along, caper through scenes replete with jokes both verbal (a beach novel bears a “Quirkus Review” cover quote) and visual. In the end, it’s back to the Big Top, though, thanks to a massive glue spill and other mishaps, the clowns make a late, not entirely controlled, entrance. Ladeeeeez and Gentlemen: better sit down, before you fall down laughing. (Picture book. 6-8)