From the age of five, Marcel Marceau knew he wanted to be a silent actor, just like Charlie Chaplin. 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.
About the Author
Manon Gauthier lives in Montreal, Canada, where she works as a professional illustrator. A graphic designer by training, she decided to devote herself entirely to books for children in 2006. She likes mixing techniques and media. Her work has been recognized by the Governor General of Canada Awards and has won the Illustration Jeunesse Prize.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Growing up watching The Ed Sullivan Show, I knew nothing about Marcel Marceau's World War II experiences. Spielman's text and Gauthier's illustrations combine to share not only historical information, but also the lesson that communication comes in many forms.
Marcel smiled as he searched his father's wardrobe for an outfit he could borrow. When he donned his father's jacket, pants, shoes and hat, he was no longer a boy, he was "Charlie Chaplin, star of the silent movies". Ladies in the streets of Strasbourg would smile and clasp their hands in front of their chests in awe of his budding talent. Marcel's father had taken him to see one of Chaplin's movies and the impression was so strong, it was at that point he decided he "would grow up to be like Charlie." Other children were in awe of him and loved to see him perform, but the winds of war were stirring and happy times would soon change to times of fear and dread. Hitler "had come to power in Germany and wanted to rule the rest of Europe." Strasbourg was evacuated by the French Government and Marcel and his older brother found a safe haven in Limoges, "a center of French Resistance." As a Jew, Marcel began to use his drawing skills to alter the identification cards of young people so they "would seem to be too young to be sent to labor camps." Marcel did a few alterations of his own and his last name became Marceau. He began to take children to the Swiss border in order to save him from the Nazis. His newly formed boy scout troops were on their way to a fictitious camp. Marcel had a new life smuggling children out of France, but was he ever going to be able to live his dream of becoming another Charlie Chaplin? Would he even survive the war? This is an amazing story of the dangers Marcel Marceau had to face as a young man during WWII. Many people have heard the silence of Marcel, but have never heard the story of his struggles during the war. The story is one of bravery, struggle, and one of the heartwarming tale of his work in the French resistance. The artwork is simple, but speaks volumes as it intertwines with the tale. If the reader simply flips the pages after reading the story, one can silently listen to the story of Marcel's early years. In the back of the book is a brief commentary on his career and a four photograph portrait of him practicing his craft as Bip. This is an unusually well crafted biography for the intended age group (9-12) you really should consider adding to your library or classroom shelves! This book courtesy of the publisher.