June 17, 2010

Mime Reading: Marcel Marceau's Children's Books


K2 and I enter a used book store. I scan the children's book shelves. What's this? I spy a curious book, I pick it up, open it. Flip the pages. A look of surprise, then bewilderment, then incredulous amusement, flashes across my face. I turn to the penciled in price on the front page, shock. I put it back, cursing Abebooks.

Now please imagine that instead of typing this, I was miming it for you.


It seems that Marcel Marceau, the first, last, and only name in mimes, created two children's books. The Marcel Marceau Alphabet Book of 1970 was 26 mimed scenarios in alphabetical order. Its less pedagogically resolved sequel, The Marcel Marceau Counting Book, came out in 1971 and consisted of 20 hats, each associated with a job, which was mimed.

Near as I can tell, the instigator for these projects was the prolific/profligate children's book author/producer/packager George Mendoza. Mendoza published a whopping twelve books in 1971, including the deeply creepy The Thumbtown Toad, which was once featured in a DT Bizarre Children's Book Contest.

Clearly, it was a deeply unsettled time for Mendoza, and for children's literature in general.

Buy vintage copies of The Marcel Marceau Alphabet Book or The Marcel Marceau Counting Book at Amazon [amazon]

1 Comment

i want a mime

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