Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-2015

Resources for the TBA Nominees

Monsieur Marceau


Monsieur Marceau
by Leda Schubert

Scroll down to find Related Activities & Resources, Book Talk Teasers, Read Alikes, and Book Reviews.

Readers Theater Script – Monsieur Marceau (PDF)


Leda Schubert website:

Leda Schubert blog:

Book trailer from author website:

Marcel Marceau performing (6:30):

Interview with Marcel Marceau about WWII and mime (7:23):

Interview with Marcel Marceau about religion and mime (6:22):

Interview with Marcel Marceau about great artists (1:45):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on education of mime (2:54):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on WWII and being part of the resistance (1: 23):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on good and evil  (:56):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on the conventions of character (6:56):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on Bip and the butterfly (4:12):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on Charlie Chaplin (3:52):

Interview with Marcel Marceau having a bit of fun (:44):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on what is funny (2:33):

Interview with Marcel Marceau on what is the future of mime (1:31):

Teacher’s guide and activities by Leda Schubert:

Charlie Chaplin homepage (click on arrow to see him perform):

Biography of Marcel Marceau:

Marx brothers’ mirror scene (2:51):

Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx and the Mirror scene (3:46):

Emmett Kelly sweeping up the light (2:19):

Red Skelton slow motion tennis mime (1:45):

Actor remembers Red Skelton putting on a girdle (2:28):

Red Skelton pantomime the old man playing golf (3:26):

Discuss how body language and facial expressions speak. Have children try to mime some of the actions from the list at the back of the book Monsieur Marceau.

You might have the children put on a performance in white face. White face paint is inexpensive and can be bought at any local clown/magic shop. (White face comes off with Crisco or cold cream.)

Have children draw on paper what they would like their face to look like. Have them lay on the ground and close their eyes. Have them picture a face. Then they can draw the face with the eyes, eyebrows and lips they envisioned. This is how beginning clowns come up with their faces.  Clown faces are always original and is their trademark.

Have children try some clown routines. Most clowns are mimes.

Show children Harpo Marx doing the mirror scene then have them pair up and do their own mirror scene.

Show clips of Red Skelton, Emmett Kelly, Harpo Marx and Marcel Marceau and just sit back and enjoy laughing.


Read inside front flap of dust jacket.

Perform readers’ theater from the TBA website.


Picture biographies for children on musicians:

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Duke Ellington: the piano prince and his orchestra. A brief recounting of the career of this jazz musician and composer who, along with his orchestra, created music that was beyond category. (NoveList)

Sis, Peter. Play, Mozart, play!. Introduces very young children to the child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in a tribute to the beauty of listening, looking, imagining, and, above all, playing. (NoveList)

Picture books for children, Biography, Actors and Actresses:

Mochizuki, Ken. Be water, my friend: the early years of Bruce Lee. A biography of Bruce Lee focusing on his early years in Hong Kong, where he discovered martial arts and began developing the physical and mental skills that led to his career as a legendary martial artist and film star” –Provided by publisher. (NoveList)

Weatherford, Carole Boston. Oprah: the little speaker. Documents the disadvantaged but loving preschool years of the Emmy-winning talk-show host, describing how as a toddler she performed in churches before adoring crowds and spent time on the family farm. (NoveList)

Fiction picture books on actors and actresses:

McCully, Emily Arnold. You lucky duck!. Zaza is embarrassed by the unusual life she and her family of actors leads, until a friend helps her regard it as wonderfully exotic rather than weird. (NoveList)

McCully, Emily Arnold. The show must go on. A family of theater bears leaves the stage to live on Uncle Max’s farm but soon miss the thrill of putting on a show. (NoveList)

Christelow, Eileen. Letters from a desperate dog. Feeling misunderstood and unappreciated by her owner, Emma the dog asks for advice from the local canine advice columnist. (NoveList)

Slate, Joseph. How Little Porcupine played Christmas. Even though the other animal children exclude him from the Christmas play because of his quills, Little Porcupine still ends up in a starring role. (NoveList)

Waber, Bernard. Evie & Margie. Best friends hippopotamuses, Evie and Margie, are surprised to experience jealousy when they try out for the same part in the school play. (NoveList)

Blumenthal, Deborah. Charlie hits it big. Charlie the guinea pig becomes a Hollywood star but finds that stardom does not compare to the comforts of home. (NoveList)

Loewen, Nancy. No lie I acted like a beast!: the story of Beauty and the Beast as told by the Beast. The Beast relates the true story of how he was unintentionally rude to a fairy while preparing for an audition, then won the heart of a beautiful girl despite his appearance and odor. (NoveList)

Schwartz, Amy. Starring Miss Darlene. Much to her surprise, a young girl’s on-stage mishaps are reviewed favorably by the theater critic. (NoveList)

Bell, Cece. Sock Monkey boogie-woogie: a friend is made. Sock Monkey, the famous toy actor, tries to find a dance partner for the Big Celebrity Dance. (NoveList)

Bell, Cece. Sock Monkey rides again. Famous toy actor Sock Monkey finds it almost impossible to kiss his costar while filming the singing cowboy movie “Hubbub at the Happy Canyon Hoedown.”. (NoveList)


★Monsieur Marceau. By Leda Schubert. Illus. by Gerard DuBois. 2012. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $17.99 (9781596435292). 792.3092. Gr. 2–4. (Booklist, October 15, 2012).

This handsome picture book tells the story of Marcel Marceau, “the maestro of mime.” Born in France, he was 16 when WWII broke out and shifted his life. He changed his last name to hide his Jewish identity and worked with the French underground. After the war, he studied mime and created his signature character, Bip. Quotes from Marceau connect the silence of those who returned from concentration camps (where his father had died) with his own “choice of silence” on stage. Schubert distills his complex life story into a short, pithy text that reads aloud well. While she discusses his art and his worldwide fame, a series of images bring Marceau’s movements and emotions to life on the page. Well thought out and varied in composition, DuBois’ paintings illustrate the text literally while expanding it visually and emotionally, particularly in the haunting sequence of narrative scenes during the war. An afterword offers a somewhat more detailed account of Marceau’s life and suggests activities for children who would like to try mime. Even readers with an unfavorable view of mime as a medium will find plenty to admire in this picture-book biography of the man behind the whiteface makeup.— Carolyn Phelan

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Schubert, Leda. 2012. Monsieur Marceau.  Illustrated by Gérard DuBois. New York: Neal Porter Books / Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. Hardback: 9781596435292, Audiobook: 9781427232298, eBook: 9781466818149.

If young readers missed the opportunity to meet world-renowned mime Marcel Marceau in Gloria Spielman’s picture-book biography (Marcel Marceau, BCCB 10/11), here is a second chance. The white face of Marceau’s signature character Bip peeks coyly from the folds of a red velvet stage curtain: “Look at this man. He climbs imaginary stairs. He bows to an invisible person. . . . He does not speak.” A page turn reveals Bip, whiteface nearly indistinguishable from the pure white background, holding a shushing finger against his crimson lips: “He uses his whole body onstage . . . but never his voice. His body talks for him.” Having established the essence of mime, Schubert segues into a child-accessible account of the years before Marceau’s stage career, when he was Marcel Mangel, a French Jew active in the Resistance during World War II. Although DuBois conveys the strictly biographical aspects of Marceau’s story, particularly his experiences throughout the war, in soberly hued scenes replete with period detail, he pares away all background when he focuses on Marceau’s craft, allowing viewers to appreciate the mime’s superbly controlled poses without distraction. Oversized font and rhythmic, present tense descriptions of Bip’s performances invite newly independent readers to enter the text confidently: “Sometimes he is one person on stage and sometimes many. Sometimes there is music, sometimes not. He never loses the crowd’s attention.” An afterword provides additional information about Marceau’s wartime activity, Bip’s creation, and even a few tips for children who want to try their hand (actually, their whole body) at mime; source and quotation notes are also included. Review Code: R — Recommended.  Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, December 2012 (Vol. 66, No. 4))

Horn Book:
Monsieur Marceau

by Leda Schubert; illus. by Gérard DuBois

Preschool, Primary     Porter/Roaring Brook     40 pp.
9/12     978-1-59643-529-2     $17.99     

The childlike humor of Marcel Marceau’s white-faced alter-ego, Bip, naturally appeals to many young children, making the famous mime a good subject for a picture-book biography for the very young. And Schubert knows just how to write for this audience (“Look at this man. He climbs imaginary stairs. He bows to an invisible person. He tames a lion no one can see. He plays a violin that isn’t there”). Her simple declarative sentences artfully capture the essence of Marceau as a performer, as do DuBois’s vigorous illustrations, which strikingly cast Marceau as a mostly white figure against a black background, giving us a sense of his stage performances and the singular way he communicated with his body. Everywhere are those expressive eyes, wide open and outlined in black, inviting us to see what he sees. The emphasis here is on Marceau as an artist, but Schubert does not shy away from the facts of his early life as a persecuted Jew during the Holocaust, and her understated style is all the more powerful for her crisp account of these events. Gloria Spielman’s Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime (rev. 11/11) is a more thorough biography in picture book form, but this one has so much more passion and gives a better sense of Marceau’s art. An afterword provides additional background, sources, further reading, and tips for getting started in mime. KATHLEEN T. HORNING – Reprinted from The Horn Book Magazine by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
★Schubert, Leda. Monsieur Marceau.

Gr 1-3—It is fitting that this superb picture-book biography is short on words and long on visuals. The spare text marvelously captures the essence of the artist, depicting a man whose choice to be silent was born of an awareness of the damages of war. Born in 1923 to a musical family who lived near the French/German border, Marceau idolized Charlie Chaplin and began emulating him at a young age. When World War II broke out, residents of Strasbourg were forced to leave their homes, and later Marceau joined the French Resistance. After the war, he changed his original surname, Mangel, to Marceau “so that people wouldn’t know he was Jewish.” Marceau studied mime and created the character Bip, whose smashed stovepipe hat, white makeup, red carnation, and sad eyes became known the world over. The stunning oil pastel paintings are as somber, joyful, and expressive as the man himself; they depict him fighting a bull, chasing butterflies, or crumbling in sadness. Covering much the same ground as Gloria Spielman’s Marcel Marceau (Lerner, 2011) but more compelling, this exquisite book has an informative afterword and a page on the art of miming. A noteworthy choice for all collections. —Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library 


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