Join Maddie as she discovers her confidence when she decides to become a mitzvah clown in order to bring smiles to the faces of Grandma and Grandma s friends.
“Can you teach me how to be a mitzvah clown?”
When Maddie sees Giggles the mitzvah clown perform at her Grandma’s senior home, she decides to join in! She puts on a big red nose and learns how to make balloon animals, sing songs, and most importantly, bring smiles and happiness to Grandma and Grandma’s friends. Along the way, Maddie learns how to overcome her shyness, too, and become a more confident and happy mouse.
A cheerful picture book, young readers will enjoy watching how the illustrations begin in black and white, and evolve into full and exuberant color as Maddie gains her confidence. A family note at the end includes discussion starters and a description of the Jewish values found in the tale.
Awards & Nominations
Maddie, a young mouse, loses her shyness when she realizes that she can make others laugh.She sees the joy on Grandma’s friends’ faces as Giggles the Mitzvah Clown performs at their senior home. He includes Maddie as he makes balloon hats, entertains with juggling, songs, and dances, and, most importantly, talks with everyone. She asks: “Can shy mice become mitzvah clowns?” and Giggles assures her that anyone can learn. Initially mostly gray-toned, the paintings with collage elements include more and more bits of color as Giggles introduces Maddie to the tools of the trade (balloons, rainbow wig, red nose), changing to full color as she takes on her new role. She dons a red wig, pink tutu, and purple, squeaking shoes, names herself “Squeakers,” and begins her visits. Her confidence buoyed by her activities in disguise, she finally makes the biggest change of all: she speaks as Maddie herself to Grandma’s friends. What seems like a didactic story improves along the way as the engaging illustrations involve readers and Maddie’s transformation takes place. In real life, young people (usually teens) can learn to be mitzvah clowns and bring joy to others in this special way. This activity and other ways to do good deeds are described in “A Note to Families,” but no specific references are provided. A different way to give back to the community (and help oneself), this cheery outing should not be confined to its Jewish context.
‘Maddie figures out a way to overcome her shyness and help others, too, in this engaging story with delightful illustrations and a sweet message.’
–Barbara Diamond Goldin, author of The Passover Cowboy, Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale, and The World’s birthday: A Rosh Hashanah Story
‘Maddie the Mitzvah Clown is a delightful story with endearing illustrations… not only will children respond to the charm of the story and artwork, but they will see that reaching out as one reaches in can lead to self-confidence and loving acts of kindness.’
–Margery Cuyler, author of The Purim Chicken