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Touch of the Clown
     

Touch of the Clown

by Glen Huser
 

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Cosmo the clown is the first bit of light to come into Barbara's life in a long time. At home, she takes care of her abusive father, her grandmother, and Livvy, her sick sister. Cosmo encourages Barbara to join a teen clown workshop he is leading, and there she finds true friends for the first time.

But she is soon in desperate need of his gentle guidance,

Overview

Cosmo the clown is the first bit of light to come into Barbara's life in a long time. At home, she takes care of her abusive father, her grandmother, and Livvy, her sick sister. Cosmo encourages Barbara to join a teen clown workshop he is leading, and there she finds true friends for the first time.

But she is soon in desperate need of his gentle guidance, when her family situation implodes, and her own resilience and resourcefulness are put to their greatest test.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Barbara has learned to make her own way in the world. Her alcoholic grandmother and father rely on her for the care of her little sister, Livvy, and she accepts this responsibility and many others. This is just the way life is since her mother died. So, Barbara tries very hard to please everyone. When Barbara meets Garson Farber, officially known as Cosmo the clown, some wonderful changes happen in her life. She joins Cosmo's clown class and Livvy gets to be part of a painting class. Barbara meets new friends, some with troubles as big as her own. One of her friends is Nathan, a young man on the verge of joining a gang just to get away from the drinking and violence of his home life. But Barbara's world falls to pieces when her father finds out that she has been sneaking off to the clown classes. Barbara also discovers that Cosmo, who has become her best friend in the world, is dying of AIDS. Cosmo brings such richness to children's lives. He is a warm, multi-layered character who offers security and hope. His sickness does not deter him from his mission, which is to bring light, love and insight. The treatment of AIDS here is handled with sympathy and intelligence. As this book winds to its end, the reader is sad to say goodbye to these wonderful characters. Even the father and grandmother, vividly drawn, manage to evoke our sympathies. Huser has succeeded in bringing us a terrific story of struggle and survival against high odds. He has created characters you hope will appear in other stories. Barbara is as spunky and determined as Cynthia Voight's character Dicey in Dicey's Song. An easy read and a wonderful story, this book will be enjoyed by readers in grades 6 and up. KLIATTCodes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1999, Publishers Group West/Douglas & McIntyre/A Groundwood Book, 223p, 19cm, $5.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Sally M. Tibbetts; Audio Visual/LRC, Maine West H.S., Des Plaines, IL, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
Library Journal
Gr 5-9-This poignant novel deals with child abuse and neglect as well as how individuals deal with death. Following the death of their mother several years earlier, Barbara Stanwyck Kobleimer and her six-year-old sister Livvy live with their father and grandmother, both alcoholics. Livvy has only one kidney and Barbara, 13, has taken over the mothering role for her. She also does most of the cooking, shopping, and housework. When Livvy runs in front of a bicycle, Barbara finds a friend and ally in the man who was riding it. Cosmo teaches at a clown workshop for teenagers and invites Barbara to take part. Unable to get her father's permission, she forges his name on the form. There, she makes other friends including Nathan, whose home life is as bad as hers. She also discovers that Cosmo has AIDS. Trouble ensues when Mr. Kobleimer discovers Barbara's subterfuge and beats her up. She flees to Cosmo who, despite being gravely ill, gets her the help she needs before he dies. The resiliency of the human spirit is exemplified in Barbara's strong character. Her ability to rise above the situation and discover good in others makes her admirable rather than someone to pity. The story mixes a strong plot and likable characters in such a way as to appeal to adolescent readers.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554980628
Publisher:
Groundwood Books Ltd
Publication date:
04/01/1999
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Glen Huser’s novels include Touch of the Clown (shortlisted for the Mr. Christie’s Book Award), Stitches (winner of the Governor General’s Award) and Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen (nominated for the Governor General’s Award and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award).

A former teacher-librarian in Edmonton, Glen has taught writing for children at the University of British Columbia. He recently explored his passion for musical theater in Time for Flowers, Time for Snow, a picture-book retelling of the myth of Demeter and Persephone (with a CD featuring a 180-voice children’s chorus).

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