The Clown Said No

Translated by David Henry Wilson $ 17.95 US / $ 23.95 CAD 8.5 x 11 32 pages / ages 4 to 8 ISBN: 978-0-7358-4476-6


The Clown Said No

Good things happen when you speak up for yourself!

Petronius is the funniest clown in the world, but he’s tired of being told what to do by the ringmaster. He would rather tell stories for children and poets! The animals are tired of being bossed around too. So, Theodore the donkey, Ferdinand the horse, Gustav the lion, Luise the giraffe, and Otto the dog follow him to realize their dream of their own circus, in which no one is forced to perform. Will the band of friends perform the show they’ve always dreamed of doing?

This picture book classic from 1961 has been newly illustrated by award winner Torben Kuhlmann for a whole new generation to enjoy.

Originally translated by Anthea Bell, with updated translation by David Henry Wilson.

Read the preface for the 2022 edition on our blog.

Now with stunning new illustrations, this classic picture book centers on a circus clown who’s tired of being “the funniest.” He learns a word that everyone should be brave enough to wield: “no.” ...Everyone realizes that letting living beings speak and live their truths makes for the best spaces possible.
Foreword Reviews, starred review

Those who turn the pages will find a sweet mix of action and reflection as they cheer on the earnest gaggle of performers. Part storybook, part pep talk to anyone with a dream in reach.
Kirkus Reviews

It’s a quest worth taking, this move toward authenticity; children will understand why the clown and his merry followers say no, and love how small changes can lead to big satisfaction.
School Library Journal

Children ages four to eight will learn to be true to themselves and let their unique personality shine.
San Francisco Book Review

[S]o old this children's book is, it is also timeless.
Anna Vollme, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Newspaper, Frankfurt, Germany)

Expressive, full-color illustrations, several of them covering double-page spreads, complement the story.
Midwest Book Review

  • Society of Illustrators Original Art, 2022