Books·Canadian

Son of Happy

A picture book by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic.

Cary Fagan, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic

The boy in this story never wants to go to his friends' birthday parties, because Happy the Clown is always there. And Happy is … his dad.

He wishes his dad had a regular job, like all the other kids' parents. He didn't mind his dad being a clown when he was a little kid, but now it's just embarrassing. And even worse, since business is slow, his dad is putting a sign on the front lawn advertising his clown services!

But one night at dinner Dad announces that he's going back to his old job of being a lawyer. "You were a lawyer?" the boy asks, incredulous.

Now his dad wears a suit and tie to work, the family can buy a new car, his mom can take piano lessons, and he can have a skateboard and cellphone.

But something feels different. The boy wonders if his dad misses being a clown. Or is he the one who misses Happy?

With bittersweet humour, Cary Fagan brings us a story about a boy's growing consciousness and a father's realization that he can be himself. (From Groundwood Books)

Cary Fagan's kids' books include the popular Kaspar Snit novels, the two-volume Master Melville's Medicine Show and the picture book Mr. Zinger's Hat. He is also the author of the novel A Bird's Eye, a finalist for the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize and was an Amazon.ca Best Book of the Year, and the short story collection My Life Among the Apes. In 2014, Fagan received the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People for his body of work. His 2019 novel, The Student, was a finalist for both the Toronto Book Award and the Governor General's Literary Award.

Milan Pavlović is a Toronto-based illustrator, graphic artist and educator. He is the illustrator of several children's books in Canada, including The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle by Anne Renaud.

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