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Edward the "Crazy Man"
Marie Day
Annick Press / Softcover / 2002-03-01 / 1550377205
Children's Books / Schizophrenia
price: $7.95 (may be subject to change)
32 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

Edward the Crazy Man is a story of triumph over misunderstanding. It is a touching and funny, humane, and dynamic tale of one boy's will to help one man and to change perceptions about homelessness and schizophrenia.

When Charlie was a boy, he would encounter a man on the streets that everyone called the Crazy Man. But Charlie saw something in him that others did not. Charlie saw the man's bright blue eyes that glittered like stars and he loved the fantastical costumes that the man concocted from things people threw away.

One night Charlie went through his own garage and carefully chose things that he thought the Crazy Man might like. Charlie left them out where the man would find them. The next day at the crosswalk the class bully made fun of the Crazy Man. Charlie and the bully began to argue, and Charlie was punched in the stomach. As Charlie began to fall, someone snatched him from the path of a speeding car. Charlie saw the Crazy Man, in a fabulous outfit made from all the treasures that Charlie had left, disappear quickly down the street. The Crazy Man had saved Charlie's life. But after that day Charlie did not see the Crazy Man around his neighborhood again.

Charlie grows up and becomes a costume designer. He creates marvelous outfits for famous people to wear. Walking home one night, Charlie recognizes the Crazy Man, homeless on the street. Wanting to do something for him, Charlie leaves a card with the message, "I would like to help you -- trust me."

Weeks later Charlie gets his chance to help. The Crazy Man is taken to the hospital, where they discover that he has an illness that affects his brain. The police find Charlie's card and contact him. Remembering the wonderful costumes the Crazy Man used to make, Charlie offers "Edward" -- for that is his real name -- a job at the costume factory.

When Edward begins to work, most people do not understand him because he talks in loud voices to him-self and is very private. After the famous rock star Krackerjack's luggage is lost at the airport, Edward is just the man to design the new flamboyant, extravagant costume -- but time is tight. Soon everyone has pitched in and the costume is ready, just in time for the concert that night.

Reviews:

Marie Day writes with great passion and concern for those who have schizophrenia.
— Zoë Johnstone Guha, Resource Links, April 2002

This book is about more than homelessness and mental illness; it is also about the difference a friend can make. Author/illustrator Marie Day's story is very readable. Children will want to know what happens to these characters. The illustrations are a little crazy too, rendered in a mixed media including pencil, markers and pencil crayons. This is an excellent book for starting a discussion with children about homelessness and mental illness. It is now becoming more acceptable and necessary to discuss these social problems with children. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for children's books that deal with these topics. The author's personal note at the back of the book allows the reader a glimpse into why the author wrote this story. Edward the Crazy Man is a recommended purchase for public libraries and classroom collections. Recommended.
— Catherine Hoyt, Canadian Materials, May 2002

About the Author:

Marie Day is the author and illustrator of two books, Dragon in the Rocks and Quennu and the Cave Bear. For many years she was an award-winning costume and stage designer for operas and plays all over North America, including the Stratford Festival.

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