Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The dePaola Code: Clown

He often incorporates religious symbols
in his illustrations...
- from Tomie's bio in The Holy Twins: Benedict & Scholastica -
Welcome back for another round of...The dePaola Code!
Tomie dePaola's The Clown of God is a similar story to The Little Drummer Boy. How can Giovanni express his love for God when his only talent is juggling? To paraphrase a couple of monks walking by, "Duh! Juggling makes people happy, and that's awesome!"
Flip through your copy of The Clown of God and what do you notice? Yes, yes, Mr. dePaola is a genius. But what else? Something repetitive...something almost too coincidental. And remember, in the hands of a master artist, nothing is coincidental. In multiple scenes near the beginning of the book, there's a lone orange at Giovanni's feet...and how often do you find a lone orange at your feet? The orange is even seen without Gio around--all by itself--a few times. It's almost like Mr. deP. wants us to Notice the Orange.
For our first clue, rearrange the letters in Notice the Orange. What did you get? Neo Genetic Torah? So did we! Neo...New. Genetic...Living. Torah...Bible. The New Living Bible.
He's talking 'bout Jesus, people!
But wait, there's more...
In later scenes, the orange ball at Gio's feet is replaced by a golden ball. It's almost like Tomie's telling us, "Notice, the orange and gold balls are interchangeable." For his grand finale, Gio tosses the gold ball into the air and says, "And now for the Sun in the Heavens!" Hmm... Sun in the Heavens. Or Son in the Heavens? Again, we're talking 'bout Jesus, people!
So what do we have?
- some Italian clown juggling for Jesus
- Tomie makes us Notice the Orange by isolating it
- Notice the Orange = Neo Gentetic Torah = Jesus, people!
- the orange and gold balls are interchangeable
- Jesus = Son in the Heavens
Not convinced? Fine. Turn your book over...or just look at the top of this Code. There's a white bird staring at the Holy Citrus. Now, let's finish the quote we started with:
[Tomie] often incorporates religious symbols
in his illustrations,
most often the white bird,
the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
What does this mean? Let's just say the Disco Mermaids are popping Vitamin C pills like there's no tomorrow.
Stay tuned for our next installment of...The dePaola Code!!!


Anonymous said...

Okay, now I understand what the "C" in Vitamin C stands for.

This is so cool! Keep them coming.

Kris D.

Disco Mermaids said...

There is so much to discover within The Clown of God. Some Codes we didn't include simply because we didn't want a post that went on forever. For example, there is a fairly obvious Holy Trinity symbolized in the book...with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all represented.

Becky said...

My favorite Tomie book by far! Although my kids love "Charlie Needs a Cloak" simply because that mangy sheep keeps harassing poor Charlie.