Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Jester Lost His Jingle by David Saltzman

From The The Jester Has Lost His Jingle was written and illustrated by David Saltzman as his senior project at Yale before he died of Hodgkin's disease on March 2, 1990, 11 days before his 23rd birthday.
The 64-page hardcover full-color book has reached the best-seller lists of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly. The self-empowering message of the story - "When you're feeling lonely, or sad, or bad or blue, remember where laughter's hiding…It's hiding inside of YOU!" - is never lost on youngsters.
In David Saltzman's charming tale, The Jester awakes one morning to find laughter missing in his kingdom. So he and his helpmate, Pharley, "a piece of talking wood," set off on a quest to find it. They ultimately discover that not only can laughter redeem a weary world, it also can provide the best tonic for anyone facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

In a moving Afterword, Maurice Sendak, the esteemed children's book author-artist of Where the Wild Things Are, writes about David's Jester:
"Our lives briefly touched. But I remember him among all the eager, talented young people I've bumped into along the way. I remember the face - the enthusiasm - the intelligence and unaffected extraordinariness of David Saltzman. It is difficult to remember all the bright, promising youngsters. It is easy to remember David.
That he died before his 23rd birthday is a tragedy beyond words. That he managed through his harrowing ordeal to produce a picture book so brimming with promise and strength, so full of high spirits, sheer courage and humor is nothing short of a miracle. Even the rough patches that David the artist would surely have set to right had he been given the time become all the more precious for the wild light they shed on his urgent, exploding talent.
David was a natural craftsman and storyteller. His passionate picture book is issued out of a passionate heart.
David's Jester soars with life."

Here is a tribute to David Salzman.