Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
Just to catch the rest of you up, Kate is not a huge fan of clowns. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. She HATES clowns. Naturally that meant that I had to find a classic clown book for her birthday. I’m nursing a theory that they don’t exist, though, so I decided to get the next best thing. Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book category. That’s enough potential classic status for me! But trust Kate to find a way to turn this sweet little wordless book into a bit of a horrorfest. No small feat.
First and foremost, happy engagement to Kate and the Penguinologist! She’ll soon be a Coronabride with her very own microwedding.
Here is the book I pranked Kate with (in one of my finer moments on this podcast):
I quote Marla Frazee and Roger Sutton talking in this interview quite a lot in the course of this podcast. The whole talk is great but what I particularly liked was this statement about wordless books by Roger:
“Sometimes they feel too much like a puzzle, on purpose. The challenge is to figure out what’s going on. Whereas this, to me, is more immediate: you don’t have to work at deciphering the action, which allows you to just become invested in these characters and their situation. There’s no plot puzzle to solve here.”
I like Kate’s theory that this is the train from The Little Engine That Could and that the clown of this book is that clown. It doesn’t hold water, but sure.
Kate thinks that the clown has spun its head like it’s from The Exorcist in this sequence. Kate is wrong, but now I can’t unsee it.
This is a huge rooster (on the far left there), so my theory is that it’s one of the big metal roosters you sometimes see in people’s yards. Only the farmer wouldn’t go in for all those gaudy colors, so his is painted in nice rich earth tones instead.
Can YOU figure out what interpretation Kate brought to the second image seen here?
Kate says that the old man is dragging the clown and I say the clown is dragging the old man. Your call. Which is it?
I misunderstood what Kate was saying, but she’s right about this one. That tiger really has his butt in the elephant’s face.
If you’d like to see Natalie Portman’s interview with Daniel Lavery, you can find it here.
And here’s The Shining mask I referred to. If you’d like to buy it, you can here.
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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