Bound To Stay Bound

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Full Text Reviews:

Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2011 From his first big-screen encounter with Chaplin’s Little Tramp, young Marcel Mangel wanted to be a silent-movie actor. His timing couldn’t have been worse, since talkies were on their way in, shouldering aside their silent forebears. Hitler would also put a cramp in his plans, as the German invasion forced the Mangels from their home in Strasbourg to Limoges, where his father was deported to Auschwitz, and Marcel and brother Alain joined the French Resistance. It was while smuggling Jewish children over the border into Switzerland that Marcel began to hone his acting craft, keeping the children quiet and amused during their journey. With a new surname, Marceau, to help disguise his identity, Marcel made his way to Paris, where he would study drama, become a liaison to post-war Allied troops, and create his signature character, Bip, the white-faced, bucket-hatted Everyman who, on a bare stage with minimal props, lithely enacted ordinary life. Gauthier’s mixed-media pictures—robust cousins to G. Brian Karas’s typical cast—capture both the playfulness of Marceau’s art and the tense wartime setting in which he came of age. Children will find the final spread, comprising four photographs of Bip in action, a welcome bonus. No notes are included, but adults can easily guide kids to Bip clips on YouTube to view the real deal. EB - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

School Library Journal - 10/01/2011 Gr 2–5—Readers are introduced to the world-famous reviver of the lost art of mime in this attractive and accessible picture-book biography. Melding Marceau's childhood and evolution as an artist with world events, Spielman reveals how the young son of a kosher butcher in Strasbourg, France, pursued his dream, despite the Nazi invasion in 1939. After his father took him to see a silent Charlie Chaplin film when he was five, "The boy was fascinated that the actor could make his audience laugh and cry without ever speaking a word. Marcel decided he would grow up to be like Charlie." After his city was evacuated, he and his older brother were sent to study art in Limoges, the center of the French Resistance. There, he used his artistic talent to doctor children's identification cards. He also led groups of Jewish children to the safety of the Swiss border; one illustration shows him with a group of young charges on a train singing heartily as a clueless Nazi soldier claps enthusiastically. After his father was sent to Auschwitz, he went to a children's home outside of Paris, where he taught art and drama. At age 20, a famous actor and director saw him perform and encouraged him to study drama. After the war, he perfected his trademark character, a role he played for the next 60 years. The final spread includes color and black-and-white photographs of the performer as Bip. Gauthier's childlike mixed-media illustrations feature myriad rosy-cheeked characters and capture both the whimsy of Marceau's performances and the more somber conditions of war-torn France.—Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, NY - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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