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Reviewed by JB McPherson for Readers' Favorite
The Life of a Rodeo Clown by Ann Drews is a picture book about the rodeo and the important job of rodeo clowns. They must keep the bull riders safe and they must distract bulls when riders fall. The story is told in a lilting verse that pleases young ears, and the illustrations by Em Vickers use soft colors that give the book a dreamlike quality. I especially liked the pictures with the rodeo clown directing the bull. There is a sense of control that is comforting to children, even during an exciting scene.
The picture book opens with a Bible verse from John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for his friends.” This verse helps children understand how the rodeo clown serves others because of his life dedicated to the Lord. When I read this book to children, I like to let them look at the cover for a few moments. I ask them who they see in the picture. Next I read the title and the Bible verse so that the story is like a parable for them. The pictures in this book are worth pausing for to let children appreciate the atmosphere of the rodeo. For those who are captured by the romance of the rodeo, The Life of a Rodeo Clown by Ann Drews is a sweet reflection on the often over-looked role of rodeo clowns, and the story points to the Lord, who keeps bull riders and rodeo clowns safe.