Maddie the Mitzvah Clown

Maddie the Mitzvah Clown

By Karen Rostoker-Gruber

Illustrated by Christine Grove


Jacketed hardcover, 32pp, $17.95




Anyone can become a mitzvah clown — even a shy mouse...

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, how to 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. 

About the Author

Karen Rostoker-Gruber is an award-winning children's book author and humorist. Her book, Farmer Kobi's Hanukkah Match (with co-author Rabbi Ron Isaacs) was a 2015 National Jewish Book Award Finalist. Karen is also a ventriloquist and performs with Maria, her puppet, in schools and libraries. She lives in New Jersey.

About the Illustrator

Christine Grove is an illustrator of children's books. She received her MFA in illustration at the end of 2011 and has been illustrating ever since. Christine lives in North Georgia with her family and her treasured collection of 2H pencils.

Reviews for Maddie the Mitzvah Clown

Category: Picture Books

"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."
Kirkus Reviews