How would you feel if your dad were a clown?
The boy in this story never wants to go to his friends’ birthday parties, because Happy the Clown is always there. And Happy is … his dad.
He wishes his dad had a regular job, like all the other kids’ parents. He didn’t mind his dad being a clown when he was a little kid, but now it’s just embarrassing. And even worse, since business is slow, his dad is putting a sign on the front lawn advertising his clown services!
But one night at dinner Dad announces that he’s going back to his old job of being a lawyer. “You were a lawyer?” the boy asks, incredulous.
Now his dad wears a suit and tie to work, the family can buy a new car, his mom can take piano lessons, and he can have a skateboard and cellphone. But something feels different. The boy wonders if his dad misses being a clown. Or is he the one who misses Happy?
With bittersweet humor, Cary Fagan brings us a story about a boy’s growing consciousness and a father’s realization that he can be himself.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Cary Fagan is an award-winning author of books for children and adults. He has won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature, the Jewish Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, among others. His many books include the picture book A Cage Went in Search of a Bird, illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian (“An original and thought-provoking exploration of the rhythms of friendship —Kirkus, starred review) and the short novel The Hollow Under the Tree, an Ontario Library Association Best Bet. Cary lives with his family in Toronto.
Milan Pavlovic lives in Toronto with his family. When he is not illustrating picture books, drawing or playing the ukulele, he is teaching visual communication and illustration at OCAD University and Seneca College. His many other books include Son of Happy by Cary Fagan, The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle by Anne Renaud, Moon Wishes by Guy and Patricia Storms, Seamus’s Short Story by Heather Hartt-Sussman (“The illustrations, in rich watercolor and colored pencil, are elegantly patterned —School Library Journal, starred review) and The Snuggly by Glen Huser.
Praise for Cary Fagan, Milan Pavlovic and Son of Happy:
“[An] impressively entertaining story for young readers.” — Midwest Book Review
“[A] heartwarming story … Milan Pavlovic’s mixed-media illustrations have a childlike feel with scribbly lines and crayon shading. … Cary Fagan’s text is ideal for early readers — simple with lots of short sentences and a pleasing rhythm.” — Quill & Quire, starred review
Praise for Cary Fagan, Banafsheh Erfanian and A Cage Went in Search of a Bird:
“An original and thought-provoking exploration of the rhythms of friendship.” — Kirkus, starred review
Praise for Cary Fagan and The Hollow under the Tree:
“An excellent read … [T]his short chapter book will please animal enthusiasts and readers of tales about brave girls alike.” — Kirkus
“[A] quick read for younger middle-grade readers looking for slightly offbeat mysteries.” — School Library Journal
Praise for Heather Hartt-Sussmann, Milan Pavlovic and Seamus’s Short Story:
“The illustrations, in rich watercolor and colored pencil, are elegantly patterned and arranged on white backgrounds. The illustrations of Seamus joyfully grabbing the remote and absconding with his embarrassing baby picture are particularly exuberant.” — School Library Journal, starred review
Praise for by Rolli, Milan Pavlovic and Kabungo:
“[G]rayscale illustrations by comic artist Pavlovic make this surreal tale seem almost real … Fresh and original …” — Kirkus, starred review
Praise for Guy and Patricia Storms, Milan Pavlovic and Moon Wishes:
“Pavlovic’s spreads slow down the reading experience with mixed-media artwork that dances like the northern lights, each colour blurring and rippling into the next… . Moon Wishes embodies complete calm in its textual and visual lyricism.” — Quill & Quire