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Clowning Around (1999): The Most Terrifying Book of the Year

Anonymous, Clowning Around (Landoll, 1999)

[cover photo forthcoming, maybe. If I can stand the trauma.]

I have been going somewhat out of my way in reviewing these Landoll board books to make sure I’m pointing out that my generally low ratings on most of them have objective bases. That will not be the case with Clowning Around, so take this review with more salt than the rest of these. I’m giving this one one star for an entirely subjective reason. Like the majority of the people I know in my generation and below, to put it as simply as possible, I fucking hate clowns. Clowns are soul-devouring monstrosities who should be destroyed at every possible opportunity, beings from the very depths of Niflheim, Irkalla, Jigoku, Xibalba, Avernus, Hell, or whatever other Chthonic realm to which you subscribe. And okay, I will admit that whatever artist (like most of Landoll’s board books—all of which seem to have been published in the late nineties—Clowning Around is presented without either author or illustrator attribution, which I should mention also contributes to the book’s low rating) did the illustrations for this book did his or her best to present these clowns in as innocuous a way as possible, you probably know as well as I do that this is nothing but a front, and that every one of these seemingly happy, innocent circus performers desires nothing more than to rip out your spleen and eat it, glistening and pulsating, while two of its minions hold your eyes open so that you are forced to watch. So, sure, if you have voluntarily blinded yourself to clowns being the world’s foremost agents of evil, terror, and misery, and for some reason you actually like the blessed things, then by all means, take a look at this and see if it’s up your alley (though the standard warnings about Landoll books apply, of course; see my reviews of other titles like Wendell at the Mall, Digger’s Bone, or Mother Goose Rhymes for discussions about the more general flaws to be found in these Landoll volumes). But for those of us who have had the scales fall from their eyes, this is the equivalent of giving your kid a copy of Baby’s First Mythos. Oh, wait, my kid has one of those. *


About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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