Jester 25th Ed with Medallion

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle

by David Saltzman

Author David Saltzman wanted The Jester to be there for all children going through challenging times, especially children with cancer. An art and English major, David wrote and illustrated the award-winning Jester as his senior project at Yale while coping with Hodgkin’s disease. He graduated with high honors in May 1989, but died not long after his graduation – on March 2, 1990, 11 days before his 23rd birthday.

A whimsical story in rhyme about laughter told through the colorful illustrated adventures of an optimistic Jester and his puppet pal Pharley. The determined duo search for laughter throughout the world after the king unceremoniously banishes them for not being funny one day. They eventually find laughter in an unexpected place – the heart of a little girl in the hospital. They happily return to the glum kingdom bringing color and laughter back with them. The Jester and Pharley reveal where laughter was hiding all the time – inside ourselves.

The original 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.

The captivating Spanish translation in rhyme by Natalia Aurrecoechea realizes the creative rhythm 
of the original English in the bilingual English/Spanish edition. The zingy translation makes it a delight for children learning Spanish and those learning English.

spanish book cover

The lyrical Japanese translation by renown translator Itsuko Kihara has been highly praised. “The Jester is even more beautiful in Japanese than English,” said one critic, with a smile. “David will help all of us understand how smiles and laughter can heal and support everyone,” added Tadateru Konoe, president of the Japanese Red Cross Society. He gratefully accepted the donation of 5,000 copies from the Tokyo Global Rotary Club for distribution to young patients and newborns in Japanese Red Cross Society hospitals in April 2019.  

The Jester has inspired teachers to share numerous lesson ideas. Our educator manuals offer valuable tools to reinvigorate the learning atmosphere with fun, innovative, teacher-originated activities.

Afterword by Maurice Sendak

David Saltzman with author-artist Maurice Sendak

David Saltzman with author-artist Maurice Sendak at Yale in 1986.

Esteemed children’s book author-artist Maurice Sendak met David briefly in 1986, when David was a freshman at Yale. In a moving Afterword, the 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.

The Jester & Pharley Doll

The Jester & Pharley Doll is a favorite of children everywhere because it is based on the lovable characters of The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.

The colorful award-winning two-in-one Jester & Pharley Doll immediately tells children that they have a friend who will help them find their smiles all by themselves, even on the most difficult days.

Children relate at once to the doll, for it carries the primary message of the story: that laughter is inside each of us.

The Jester & Pharley Doll was produced in accordance with David’s wishes and in response to requests from children for their very own Jester & Pharley. Once more, it was kept all-in-the-family with the same loving care as The Jester Has Lost His Jingle. In fact, David’s older brother Michael drew the faces of The Jester & Pharley for the doll.

The 21-inch fully bendable soft sculpture is recommended for children 3 and over.

The jingling Jester comes with his own detachable, jingling Pharley.

The Jester Doll

Proceeds from product purchases and contributions support The Jester & Pharley Phund's mission:

To empower ill and economically disadvantaged children facing serious challenges by sharing the universal messages of hope, joy, perseverance and resilience with Jester book and doll donations to hospitals and with literacy programs inspired by The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.