Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monsieur Marceau

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.

Title: Monsieur Marceau 
Author: Leda Schubert 
Illustrator: Gerard Dubois 
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: September, 2012 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction - Biography/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Marcel Marceau, the world's most famous mime, enthralled audiences around the world for more than fifty years. When he waved his hand or lifted his eyebrow he was able to speak volumes without ever saying a word. But few know the story of the man behind those gestures . . .  Distinguished author Leda Schubert and award-winning artist Gerard DuBois bring their own artistry to this gorgeously written and illustrated picture book biography.  
What I Think: Clearly, Marcel Marceau will be well-remembered for his work as a mime, but this book brings to life the story of his life before (and after) he became a mime. I was so interested in his life experiences before he even became a mime. I've read lots of books about World War II and stories of people who give up so much and persevere through unbelievably brutal times and Marcel Marceau is another example of how people helped others through these horrific times.
     Picture book biographies are a great way to give kids access to history in such an friendly and inviting way. I enjoyed the quiet illustrations in this book that seemed to match the time period and the setting and even the warmth of Marceau as a mime, too. When I think of how this book would feel with sharp artwork or bright and bold colors, it just wouldn't have the same feel or tone that seems to capture Marceau's energy so well.
     I love how this book is a great way to share Marceau's story but also a way to introduce students to World War II or even historical fiction, the work of a mime, and also to how our actions sometimes speak louder than our words and how important that is as a writer. One of the biggest revelations I have had about writing is how much show and not telling has to do with showing a reader what your character is doing as much as what he or she is saying. I love using dialogue to capture a character's personality but have also found myself using actions to speak for a character and his or her feelings. I can see using this book to introduce students to mimes in general and what a mime has to do and then asking them to narrate a story guided by the character's actions. It's interesting how much what we do truly tells us about who we are.  
Read Together: Grades 3 - 6 
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 6 
Read With: The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino, Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey, Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 
Snatch of Text:  
"Off stage he loved to talk.
He once said, 'Never get a mime
talking. He won't stop.'
He said, 'The mime must make reality 
into dreams and dreams into reality.'

And he said, 'Do not meddle in the
affairs of wizards, for you are crunchy
and taste good with ketchup.'"
Reading Strategies to Practice: Visualizing, Making Connections, Activating Background Knowledge
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive, Characterization, Narrative  
Writing Prompts: Write about a person you know in real life or a fictional character by showing what your character is doing or acting. Use the character's motions and actions tell the reader about him or her. (Pretend that your character cannot talk, similar to Marceau as a mime, and narrate what your character does that shows us about him or her as a person.)
Topics Covered: Family, Dreams, Mimes, Acting, Integration - Theater/Drama/Acting, Determination, Perseverance, Emotions
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