PPBF Looks at Marcel Marceau Master of Mime

Most of us, at one time or another, have silently acted something out. Maybe when you were a child or as an adult you pretended with friends or played charades. For most of us, this fun activity lasts only a short time, but for one man, pantomime became his life.

Title – Marcel Marceau Master of Mime – view on Amazon here.

Written by – Gloria Spielman

Illustrated by – Manon Gauthier

Published by – Kar-Ben Publishing 2011

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/theme  following one’s dream

Opening – Little Marcel searched for a jacket. Father would have one. Pants, too…and shoes. A hat, and Marcel’s outfit was complete.

Jacket copy  – From the age of five, little Marcel Marceau knew he wanted to be a silent actor, just like Charlie Chaplin. World WarII came, changing Marcel’s life. But it didn’t stop his dream of becoming a mime artist and entertaining the world.

Amazon Review – From the age of five, Marcel Marceau knew he wanted to be a silent actor, just like Charlie Chaplain. When World War II intervened, he joined the resistance, helping to get young Jews to safety during this dangerous time. But Marcel never forgot his dream of being a mime artist and entertaining the world.

Why do I like this book? What I learned stunned me. Honestly, all I knew of Marcel Marceau, before reading this book, was that he was a  French mime and performed on stage in white face makeup with a striped shirt and funny hat. As it turns out, Marcel was not French at all- only his last name, which he adopted later in life, was French. When Marcel was a boy he had a big, compassionate heart. During the time of Hitler, he helped to save many children from being sent to labor camps as well as helping to bring a number of Jewish children safely to the Swiss border (a dangerous task which he creatively and successfully carried out). More than an entertaining story of one man’s life, this biography opened my eyes to what can be accomplished when you don’t lose sight of your dream.

Author – Visit the Gloria Spielman’s blog here.

Illustrator – Visit Manon Gauthier’s blog here.

Would you like to watch Marcel Marceau perform? View a video here.

Pantomiming with Children – Cut slips of paper and write animal names and activities on some: flying bird, hungry mouse, chattering monkey, stretching cat, a giraffe with an itch, etc… On other slips write activities: opening a birthday present, baking cookies, writing a letter, brushing teeth. On other slips write emotions: happy, sad, angry, confused, frustrated, and excited. Shuffle the slips of paper and each take turns drawing a slip and seeing if, through pantomime, you can get others to guess what you are pretending.

Visit Susanna Hill’s blog for more ‘Perfect Picture Book Friday’ reviews here.

14 thoughts on “PPBF Looks at Marcel Marceau Master of Mime

  1. Aren’t nonfiction picture books amazing! Not only for children! Uncovering these gems that history has all but forgotten is like mining for gold…and you struck it rich with this story, Leslie. It makes me want to write great nonfiction picture books all the more! I’m not sure if this is the one I read…but I will hurry over to reserve it now. I love your activities and resources…awesome PPBF review!!!


    • I’ve always focused my writing time on fiction, but after delving into picture book biographies, I have to say, I’m rather intrigued at the thought of writing one. It’s easy to browse the library and feel that every notable man and woman has a story written about them, but I’m sure there are countless amazing people just waiting to have a writer come along and say, “Hey! Here’s someone the world needs to know more about!”

      I’m glad you liked my pantomime activity. Play acting is something my daughter has enjoyed doing since she learned to talk.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s