Clown – Quentin Blake

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 point
Variety of characters: 1 point
Good story:  2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point

This is an awesome book. It’s done exclusively with images, which as you’ve probably gathered by now is something I love when done right. And Blake sure does it right. The story is completely clear, despite the lack of explanatory text, and it was great following the little clown on his mission – C loved it, and so did I.

No Bechdel pass, not even implicitly. None of the characters have names, but even then the interactions between female characters are all basically about the clown. There are a few people of colour in the illustrations, so I’ve given it a point for that, but it’s worth noting that none of them are people who actively engage with the clown or the story. They’re just, sort of, window-dressing. (This happens a fair bit in kids’ books, I’ve noticed. Where people of colour ARE in the book, they’re usually just part of the crowd, not part of the story. It’s a bit of an indictment on our canon that even this tiny nod to there being a wide variety of people in the world is notable and raises a book above the norm. Low bars, man. It sucks that our bars have to be so low. 😦 )

Apart from all this though, it’s a cute little story. C and I had fun reading it. There’s nothing particularly ideologically grand about it, apart from the idea that people (or toys in this case) have value beyond their cost, and that helping people means they might help you.

I liked the idea that you should help your Mom out. That was nice. 😉 But honestly, it’s really just a neat little story, told exclusively through pictures. Worth perusing.


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