Eugenio

Eugenio

by Marianne Cockenpot, Lorenzo Mattotti
     
 

On a dark and turbulent night a baby, Eugenio by name, is left on the doorstep of the most beautiful trailer in the circus grounds by his desperately poor parents. Eugenio is adopted by the circus magician, and he grows up to be the most popular clown in the circus. However, one day something strange happens--Eugenio is overcome by a deep sadness. He can no longer…  See more details below

Overview

On a dark and turbulent night a baby, Eugenio by name, is left on the doorstep of the most beautiful trailer in the circus grounds by his desperately poor parents. Eugenio is adopted by the circus magician, and he grows up to be the most popular clown in the circus. However, one day something strange happens--Eugenio is overcome by a deep sadness. He can no longer entertain his adoring fans. He has lost his laughter, his talent for joy.

What is to be done? Eugenio seeks the advice of his friends in the circus, but nothing they say can help him. Finally they take him to Madame Cobra, the fortune-teller, who gives him extraordinary advice�

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Packed with the wisdom of folklore, this impressive, oversize picture book pulsates between laughter and sadness, sunlight and shadow. A magician discovers baby Eugenio outside his circus trailer and, over the years, transforms him into ``the one, the only, the fabulous clown'' who brings delight to others wherever he goes. But something is missing from Eugenio's life, and he asks his circus friends for advice. Finally Madame Cobra sees ``his past repeating itself'' and counsels him to return home, predicting that a surprise will await him. Debut author Cockenpot warmly unfolds Eugenio's plight, spiking her text with wordplay (`` `Why, you're all twisted up,' said Mash-Mish, the contortionist''). Mattotti's spectacular artwork dazzles with its bold use of color, capturing the excited air of the big top. His figures form pleasing, almost sensuous shapes, curving against a backdrop of billowing velvets and canvases until they appear as figures in dreamscapes. He locates the darkness in this tale as well as its mirth, expressing its sadness in deft use of black tones and in swirling thunder clouds. The sophistication of Mattotti's childlike art emphasizes the powerful undercurrents of Cockenpot's story. Ages 4-8. (May)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A beautiful couple, too poor to care for their infant, leave him on the doorstep of a circus magician, and he grows up to become the famous clown, Eugenio. One day, when he is too sad to perform, his friend Madame Cobra tells him to go home, where he will discover what is missing in his life. There he finds an abandoned infant, history repeating itself. Mattotti's illustrations, done with what appear to be oil crayons, are thickly colored and full of distorted, exaggerated figures. They have the look of benign delirium, and overwhelm the bland, somewhat condescending story. The author begins by saying the lesson of the story never changes. If she means that people need someone special to love, the double abandonment is both improbable and disturbing enough to obscure that message for most children.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Kathryn Broderick
Eugenio is a very loved child born to a very poor mother and father who abandoned him at the big top because they cannot care for him. At the circus, he lives a happy life as a clown and makes other people happy, too. But one day, he becomes sad. Seeking a remedy for his pain, Eugenio goes from tent to tent asking each of his friends for what is missing from his life. Each responds characteristically: The tightrope walkers say, "Life is a balancing act"; the strongman says, "You must be strong." Mattotti's paintings of these encounters are wild displays of color and composition, but nonetheless, his surrealistic circus is a real home. The circus people are big and bold, and they care about Eugenio. Mattotti matches the strong emotions in the story with his grand characterizations, and his sad clown seems so very sad in such a setting. In the end, his friends help Eugenio, and he makes himself and others happy again.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316149228
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
04/15/1994
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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