Clown of God – A Kid Lit Giveaway of a Perfect Picture Book

Hurray…I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contribute, please go here.

The temperature here in New Hampshire has turned colder…so I’m stoking up the fire for you…pull up a chair and get cozy because I have A SURPRISE FOR YOU!


I’m participating in the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Holiday Extravaganza, sponsored by Youth Literature Reviews: and

Mother Daughter Book Reviews

There are dozens of book-loving bloggers who are offering giveaways of books, gift cards and other neat prizes.


Please viiit them for a chance to WIN! The Giveaway runs from Monday, December 6 through December 13.

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Click here to view this Linky Tools list…so you can visit some of the blogs.

I’m giving away a copy of my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking PLUS a copy of Tomie de Paola’s Clown of God, one of the most beautiful and touching Christmas books I have ever read! Just leave a comment telling which is your favorite holiday children’s book of all time. Winner will be chosen by and announced next week.

Wouldn’t you love to have a copy of this beautiful Perfect Picture Book?



Written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (1978)

Ages: 4 and up


Love, giving the gift of oneself

Opening Lines:

“Many, many years ago in Sorrento…there lived a small boy named Giovanni who had no mother and no father. He dressed in rags and begged his bread and slept in doorways. But he was happy, and he could do something wonderful. He could juggle.”


From an Amazon reviewer: “Giovanni is a orphaned street urchin, begging from door to door and jungling for his food. One day he joins a traveling group of actors and begins his career as a juggling clown, spreading laughter and joy wherever he goes. His fame spreads far and wide, until a day comes when he is no longer young. His special talent, and his admiring audience, leave him and he finds himself once again a poor beggar, homeless and alone. Then on a bitterly cold and windy night he seeks shelter in a church and falls asleep. When he awakens he is surrounded by the beautiful sight of the towns people offering gifts to a statue of Mary and Baby Jesus. When the crowds have gone, Giovanni goes closer and sees that Mary and Jesus have quite sad expressions on their faces. He puts on his clown face and juggles for the lovely child to make him happy. He juggles better than he ever has before. He puts all of his love into his act, and at the pinacle of his performance, dies of a heart attack. The monks in the church, who thought that his performance was a sacrilage, turn to see that the statue of Mary and the baby Jesus are now smiling. A miracle of love.”

Why  I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud for younger children…older kids will enjoy reading it themselves
  • Wonderful message about the gifts that are truly important – our love and ourself
  • Illustrations are by Tomie de Paola…need I say more!
  • I had to copy and paste the comments left by a reviewer on Amazon…she relays the exact sentiments I felt when I read this book for the first, second, third, it happens every time! “I bought this book because it was recommended to me and the first time I read it I had my two year old daughter on my lap. When we got to the part where Giovanni begins to juggle for the baby Jesus, I got so choked up with tears that I could barely continue to read. My daughter held my hand and said “it’s O.K. – see the baby is smiling.” To me that says it all. Five stars isn’t enough for this beautifully illustrated and deeply moving story.

How a parent can use this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Opportunity for discussion about the value of each person – we are all worthy of love and have much to give, even if we don’t have any money
  • This is a wonderful book to read at Christmas or at any time of the year

Related Activities:



Photo courtesy of  Check out Amanda’s site…she is uber-crafty!

You will need: 1 paper plate, construction paper, pompoms or yarn for hair, glue, scissors, Popsicle stick.

  1. Use pompoms or construction paper for features – cut and glue as needed.
  2. Use pompoms or yarn for hair – glue in place
  3. Attach with glue to stick.
  4. Let your child retell the story using his puppet.


Susanna Leonard Hill’s FAMOUS Annual Holiday Writing Contest

There is still time to enter…shhhhh…don’t tell anyone…I haven’t written mine yet! 

I’ll be posting my Holiday Picture Book Story and linking to her blog





I’ll be interviewing award-winning author and child-advocate Susanne Gervay. You won’t want to miss this – Susanne speaks at SCBWI and other conferences all over the world…she is funny and wise and is extremely passionate about the well-being of children.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on December 5, 2013, in Christmas books, Giveaway, Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Holiday Extravaganza, Paper plate craft, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a FUN lead in to the holidays. Especially for writers/fans of Kid Lit.


    • I don’t do too many blog hops and giveaways, Nancy…they are great…but I always feel badly if I don’t visit all of the participating blogs…and that takes a lot of time.:) Tomie dePaola is my top favorite picture book author/illustrator…and I cry every time I read ‘Clown of God’. 🙂


  2. Catherine Johnson

    Wow, what a profound book Vivian and great bloghop idea!


  3. I’ve always loved Twas the Night Before Christmas


  4. You sure can’t go wrong with Mr de Paola! Everything he does is magic. I love the look and sound of this one! Thanks!


  5. Rhythm is right. Mr. de Paola’s books are keepers. (Betting I would be crying, too, Vivian)


  6. I am soooo glad you shared this book. I had purchased it for my daughter 20+ years ago and it was one our very favorite de Paola’s books. Thank you for reminding me of it! Great activities.


    • Hi Pat…just opened today’s mail…your order for a copy of my book was there!!!! Thank you so very much…I’m going to mail it Priority tomorrow (Saturday)…so you should get it by Wednesday at the latest.

      Glad I brought back good memories…and I love using paper plates as craft materials…simple, inexpensive and easy to work with.:)


  7. What a precious book, Vivian. Giving unselfishly to others is so important during the holiday season.


    • Sometimes it is difficult to get that concept across to young kids…this book would certainly help. One of the reasons I love this kid lit community so much is that everyone gives unselfishly ALL YEAR LONG…it is very uplifting, Jarm.:) Happy Holidays to you and your family!


  8. We always read the Night Before Christmas every year.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. It’s great to have family traditions…sometimes we continue ones that our parents and grandparents did…and it’s great to start new ones. We always watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’…a big bowl of popcorn and a snuggly fleece throw…what more could you ask for. 🙂


  9. We love ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.


  10. Oh my! I had not heard of this book before. The miracle of love! I’d be in tears, too. Love your clown craft activity.


  11. I read this book shortly after it came out. It is still one of my Tomie favorites. Thanks for the tip about the blog tour. I’ll have to go hopping!


  12. Stacy S. Jensen

    Another great selection. I hope the library will have this one. Love the crafts as always.


  13. So cute! I think my son would really enjoy iy!


  14. I’ve always loved the rhythm of Twas the Night Before Christmas. You can read it and share pictures or recite if from memory which is great.


  15. I love Eloise at Christmastime. I remember reading it by the fire. This is such a great book giveaway. Thank you!


  16. my favorite is the grinch


  17. The Night Before Christmas is a must read every year, but I love Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Paws and Get Ready for Christmas.


    • I think we all know and love ‘The Night Before Christmas’..but I don’t know the Berenstain bears books about Christmas…I’ll have to check them out…thanks for mentioning them, Sherry…and for stopping by.:)


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