Creative Editions, Hardcover, 9781568462219, 32pp.
Publication Date: March 28, 2012
A particularly poker-faced clown searches far and wide for happiness after the circus closes, only to find it after a most unexpected and unpleasant event. - Kirkus Reviews
From the cover of this book, children can see that something is definitely wrong with Bobo's smile. It's been erased right off his face. In very brief sentences, the clown tells about his life in the circus. He loves entertaining the crowds-in the first pages, his smile is wide and welcoming. Then the circus closes, and Bobo has to find something else to do to make himself happy. He tries many things, including traveling the world visiting new cities, mountain climbing, and elephant riding, but nothing works. He finally returns to the city, where he is overwhelmed by the traffic and noises. When it seems his smile will never return, something unexpected happens. The text is purposefully simple, and it would be fun for new readers to tackle as the vocabulary is easy without seeming leveled. Chwast's illustrative choices are also simple. There are spacious, colored backgrounds, with little detail to distract from Bobo's sadness. No matter where he is on the page, he is always the focus, yet Chwast is also able to depict his experiences throughout his journey with just a few spare lines. Readers will be glued to Bobo's face throughout the story, hoping to see his smile return.-Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ , School Library Journal
Chwast's (My Daddy and Me) instantly recognizable style makes every jaunty spread of this episodic story worth framing. Its hero, Bobo the clown, looks part human and part doll-his ruffled collar, striped pants, and white makeup never come off. After Bobo's career comes to a sudden end ("One day, they closed the circus"), he travels the world, taking photographs of pagodas and riding elephants. Yet not even a ride in a submarine can cheer him up. A thief robs him after he returns from his trip, and the buttons pop off his costume; instinctively, he begins to juggle them, a crowd gathers, and he's back in business. "I smiled," he says at last. -Publisher's Weekly