The Man Who Loved Clowns
The Man Who Loved Clowns

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Annotation: A child grows up in a family with a disabled member.
Catalog Number: #189097
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 1992
Edition Date: 2005
Pages: 224 p.
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-14-240422-5 Perma-Bound: 0-605-33611-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-14-240422-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-33611-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 91033861
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Eighth-grader Delrita Jensen is one of those kids who have to survive adolescence and deal with tragedy at the same time. Midway through the novel, Delrita's parents are killed in an automobile accident, and her character is put to the test. She doesn't realize it, but she's a great girl and a perfect niece for her uncle, Punky, an adult with Down syndrome. Punky reveals himself as an impish angel whose joy in life elevates others' lives. His death at the end of the novel transforms Delrita's view of living and dying, appreciating and surrendering. The author's familiarity with Down syndrome is revealed in a touching author's note. A certain earthiness colors the universal themes pursued by Wood through the lives of Delrita and the man who loved clowns. This is a gentle yet strong story, reinforced by the cover art. (Reviewed Nov 15, 1992)
Horn Book
Thirteen-year-old Delrita works at making herself invisible around people, because she is embarrassed by her handicapped uncle, who lives with her family. An encounter with a poor family on welfare, and a series of tragedies, including the sudden death of her parents and the eventual death of her uncle, force her to explore ways of looking at her life. Flawed by too many issues, the book leaves little space to realistically deal with Delrita's grief and the growing that should follow.
Kirkus Reviews
When Delrita Jensen moves to Tangle Nook and finds kids laughing at 35-year-old Uncle Punky (who has Down's syndrome), singing and swinging in the backyard, her worst fears are confirmed. Shunned next day at school, she remains invisible until Avanelle, a new girl with her own family secret, seeks her friendship. Then Delrita's parents die in a car accident, and she and Punky must live with Uncle Bert and Aunt Queenie, who enroll Punky in a sheltered workshop in the hope that both Punky and Delrita will become more independent. Punky thrives in his new environment, but Delrita withdraws; wrongly accused of exposing Avanelle's secret, she climbs back into her ``invisible shell.'' Finally, after Punky's chronically weak heart gives out and Delrita sees how many friends pay him tribute, she finds that she, too, can ``spread my wings and fly.'' Packed with nimble dialogue, distinct personalities, and powerful emotions, a well-paced first novel that adroitly conveys Delrita's struggles to find herself. While the parents' deaths seem contrived and some events are predictable, the scenes of Punky with his peers are a delight. A perceptive look at some of the possibilities presented by life—and death. (Fiction. 10-14)"
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 5-7-- Delrita Jensen, 13, has no friends, and she prefers it that way. She doesn't want anyone to meet her uncle, ``Punky'' Holloway, who has Down syndrome and lives with her family. Although she loves him dearly, she can't help being ashamed of him. Then, when her parents are killed in a traffic accident, and she and Punky must go to live with her aunt and uncle, everything changes. In the months that follow, Delrita learns many things: that others can come to love Punky and be proud of him, that she might have misjudged her aunt, and most of all, that she wants friends. Wood has created a realistic portrait of the problems that confront a child growing up in a family with a disabled member. But more than that, she has created an engrossing story with characters that readers come to care about very deeply. It's a story with a universal theme--the struggle to come of age and find a place in the world--and because of this, it will bring pleasure to many readers. Also incorporated are the joy of discovering and exercising a talent, the warmth that can come from finding a friend, the excitement and uncertainty of a first romance, and the conflict that is always a part of life. Wood's prose is strong and flowing, with a good balance of dialogue and narrative, and with several well-developed and memorable characters. It's a hard book to put down. --Constance A. Mellon, Department of Library & Information Studies, East Carolina Univ . , Green ville, NC
Word Count: 46,581
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 8536 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:10.0 / quiz:Q07346
Lexile: 870L
Guided Reading Level: X

Delrita likes being invisible. If no one notices her, then no one willnotice her uncle Punky either. Punky is a grown man with a child's mind. Delrita loves him dearly and can't stand people making fun of his Down's syndrome. But when tragedy strikes, Delrita's quiet life—and Punky's—are disrupted forever. Can she finally learn to trust others, for her own sake and Punky's? This story captures the joy and sorrow that come when we open our hearts to love.


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