Baby Clown

Thierry Dedieu, Author
Thierry Dedieu, Author Hyperion Books $12.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0075-9
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Despite the circus setting, both the paper engineering and the overall tone of this pop-up book are curiously bland. In a spare design that gives no hint of big-top gaiety, brief text (``Riding a unicycle takes a lot of practice. Don't look down, Baby!'') is set against white ground on each verso page; on facing pages, Baby Clown shows off tricks of the trade (juggling, tightrope-walking, etc.) against scumbled, generally monochromatic backgrounds. Not only is this Baby ``the star of the circus,'' he is the only character visible throughout. His unadorned white, nearly expressionless face and plain costume render him an abstract protagonist, and he is only slightly redeemed by his performances. Kids will appreciate the sound effects accompanying the sawing in half of a worm (``Baby's favorite trick''), and Baby's throwing a pie in his own face (``Uh-oh... Baby forgot to duck'') will surely elicit giggles. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)
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