cover image Monsieur Marceau

Monsieur Marceau

Leda Schubert, illus. by Gérard DuBois. Roaring Brook/Flash Point, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-529-2

While some readers may know Marcel Marceau’s work, they are likely unaware of his WWII heroism. Schubert (The Princess of Borscht) places Marceau’s Jewish heritage at the heart of his art. As a young man in occupied France, Marceau helped Jewish children escape, hid U.S. parachutists, then changed his name from Mangel to Marceau to conceal his identity. “I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence,” Schubert quotes Marceau as saying. In the first half of the book, DuBois’s (Stories for Young People: Edgar Allan Poe) stately paintings pay homage to Marceau’s bravery. In the second, Schubert details Marceau’s phenomenal success (“He traveled the world—appearing on television and on stage, for presidents and princesses, kings and queens”), and DuBois’s portraits help explain mime to those unfamiliar with it (“He walks against the wind, but there is no wind”). Schubert gives depth and compassion to a performer whose art might otherwise be mistaken for clowning. One afterword provides more information about Marceau; another describes mime and supplies some easy exercises. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Chudney, the Chudney Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Marlena Agency. (Sept.)