cover image Clowning Around

Clowning Around

Cathryn Falwell. Orchard Books (NY), $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05952-4

This trip to the greatest show on earth begins with a red-nosed clown who juggles the bold black letters of the word ``clowning'' above his head. The clown continues to rearrange the order and manipulate the shapes of each letter to form new words, while concurrently producing a ``dog'' to jump through hoops, a ``doll'' to dance with and a ``ball'' to balance during his act. In one of the later spreads , an enthusiastic ``crowd'' cheers for the star to take a ``bow.'' Falwell's ( Where's Nicky? ; Nicky 1-2-3) vibrant cut-paper collages demonstrate great fluidity and help maintain the book's exciting pace. The wordplay here is fresh in its emphasis on both spelling and letter formations, making this a good choice for alphabet newcomers. The circus setting lends panache to the artist's imaginative and skillful metamorphoses. Ages 3-6. ( Aug.)