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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Poetry Friday--Clowns

On December 9, 1898, America's most famous clown, Emmett Kelly, was born in Kansas. Maybe his name isn't familiar to 21st century readers, but, the clown persona he made famous, "Weary Willy," is probably instantly recognizable as the face on a million black velvet paintings!

Here's a photo of Kelly as Willy, taken in 1947:

In honor of Emmett Kelly, I want to share a surprising circus picture book by Adam Rex, Three-Ring Circus [JP REX].

A quick summary from the publisher:
In a quiet little lea, several miles out of town, a tree grows. It becomes home to sparrows, chipmunks, a whopping big bee...a runaway clown? Two poodles? An ape? Wait a minute. . . .
In his quirky but realistic style, Rex creates the greatest show on earth--or at least, in a tree.
This book is a little bit of everything--a cumulative tale, a rhyming book, a counting book, and a pile of fun. (Even the credit page has its humor--"No animals were harmed in the making of this book. The cat complained of neck pain, but was later found to be faking.")

Here's a bit of the text:
The traveling circus of Barley & Brown
looks up and down for their runaway clown.

Because they both stare at the tree, they don't see
that two clever apes are stealing their key.

For a rhyming good time, also check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up being held this week at Check It Out!


  1. How wonderful, and a relief to see clowns from the past -- not the ones pestering schools and emerging from woods.

    1. Yes, I hate that clowns have been labeled as evil beings.

  2. What an interesting book. I remember having statues of Emmett Kelly. My mom collected several.

    1. I wonder if there's a big demand for Emmett Kelly collectibles? Probably!

  3. The cat on the credit page made me laugh out loud. This definitely sounds like a fun, quirky read! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kids should get a kick out of it, too.