cover image Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime

Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime

Gloria Spielman, illus. by Manon Gauthier. Kar-Ben, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7613-3962-5

Reaching well beyond his role as a mime, Spielman’s (Janusz Korczak’s Children) picture-book biography puts a fascinating new face on Marceau (1923–2007), tracing his career in entertainment back to his childhood idolization of Charlie Chaplin, who “could make his audience laugh and cry without ever speaking a word.” As a boy in Strasbourg, Marcel amused peers with his impersonations of animals, but WWII changed the tenor of his life. Gauthier’s (The Tooth) airy illustrations become (at least briefly) more somber as they portray the evacuation of Marceau’s hometown, and his work with the French Resistance as a teenager, which entailed leading Jewish children across the Swiss border to safety, often disguising them as scouts on their way to camp. After his father was deported to Auschwitz, Mar-ceau’s mother sent him to a children’s home, where he pursued his dramatic aspirations, eventually studying, perfecting, and teaching mime. Terrific photos of Marceau on stage close out this well-rounded biography and complement Gauthier’s more abstract portraits of the man who took Chaplin’s flair a step further to revive “the ancient and almost forgotten art of silence.” Ages 8–11. (Sept.)