Book Reviews

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle, by David Saltzman -- highly recommended

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle, by David Saltzman

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle, by David Saltzman -- highly recommended

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Although this book is rated for children ages 4-8, this is one of those books like  The Clown of God  that everybody should read, whether or not you have children. In this case, especially if you or a loved one have a serious illness like cancer. (more…)

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Clowning for Christ, by Randy Christiansen

Clowning for Christ

Clowning for Christ – Revised, by Randolph J. Christensen

Clowning for Christ, by Randy ChristiansenI first heard about Randy Christenson years ago, reading the original Clown Ministry Handbook by Janet Litherland. Randy was one of the ‘featured clowns’ in the book, and I was very intrigued. Randy has been very active in clown ministry for many years now, and has written numerous short books and created several videos on the subject. This book serves as an introduction to beginning in clown ministry. (more…)

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Fool of the Kingdom: How to Be an Effective Clown Minister by Philip D. Noble

Fool of the Kingdom

Fool of the Kingdom: How to Be an Effective Clown Minister by Philip D. Noble

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Editorial Reviews

Fool of the Kingdom: How to Be an Effective Clown Minister by Philip D. NobleMidwest Book Review:   True clowns of God aren’t known by their big red noses or floppy shoes — they’re known by their hearts. In Fool Of The Kingdom, Philip Noble (a. k. a. “Rainbow”) gives an insider’s view of clown ministry with anecdotes, sketches and fun. Helpful “how-to” information is   included on developing a clown character, juggling, clown make up, gospel magic trick and much more! Also featured are 16 clown-tested sketches including: “To Receive a Heart”; “Like Sheep”; “The Snowflake”; and “Labels”. Fool Of The Kingdom is a unique contribution   to the literature of ministry — and a great deal of fun to read! (more…)

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My First Magic Book

My First Magic Book

My First Magic Book by Lawrence Leyton

My First Magic BookHardcover, 48 pages, 13.31″ x 0.44″ x 10.38″, (September 1993)

Synopsis of My First Magic Book

Buy from Amazon.com What does this book have to do with clowning anyway?  That’s probably the first question running through your mind. The answer is, not much — directly. It’s a children’s book (approximately ages 9-12) to introduce them to magic tricks. However, it’s really a book on how to create magic props.  That you can use, either in your own shows, or to evaluate if this particular prop will work for your character.  Without spending many dollars to buy a professional prop, only to realize that it doesn’t really work for your character.

It’s a physically large book , with each page composed primarily of color photographs how to make the props. It doesn’t do a good job of teaching how to perform magic tricks — I’d recommend  David Ginn’s Clown Magic for that or the Klutz Magic Book. But with constructing magic props in mind, it’s ideal. The props are: (more…)

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Order Be A Clown! Techniques from a Real Clown from amazon.com and help support clown-ministry.com

Be a Clown: Techniques from a Real Clown

Be a Clown: Techniques from a Real Clown (Quick Starts for Kids!) by Ron Burgess, Heather Barberie (Illustrator), Ron Phillips

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Paperback – 63 pages

Order Be A Clown! Techniques from a Real Clown from amazon.com and help support famousclowns.org(Editor’s note:  this book should not be confused with  Turk Pipkin’s Be A Clown (complete with nose)  nor  Mark Stolzenberg’s Be A Clown, and has no relation to  Cole Porter’s classic song “Be A Clown”)

A children’s book (grades 4 – 8) that introduces the basics of clowning, including clown types (Auguste,  White face,  Tramp/Hobo), character development, and various funny bits. Illustrated, as well as black & white photographs of Ron Burgess in character as “Silly Willy.” Catherine Perkins’s The Most Excellent Book of How to Be a Clown is similar and has color photos, but Burgess’ book has more information and greater detail. Ron Burgess is a humorist, professional clown, and second-grade teacher (more…)

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Face Painting from Klutz Press - rated 4 out of 5 clowns

Face Painting from Klutz Press

Face Painting from Klutz Press

Face Painting from Klutz Press - rated 4 out of 5 clownsBuy from Amazon.com

A basic, but well-done, book on face painting. It serves as a very good introduction to the topic, with excellent advice, and lots of useful colorful photographs. It includes over 83 examples of face painting, both small designs (cheek & hand art) and full-face designs. As normal with the Klutz series, it’s well-written, well-illustrated, and very useful. It includes one set of nontoxic, water-based Kryolan face paints and brush. (more…)

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Balloon Animals, by Aaron Hsu-Flanders

Balloon Animals

Balloon Animals, by Aaron Hsu-FlandersBalloon Animals / Book With Pump and Balloons, by Aaron Hsu-Flanders

Buy from Amazon.com This was actually the first book I ever read about making balloon animals. It has much to recommend it; it comes with some balloons (though you’ll need more; balloon twisting is a  pop  art, after all), and a simple palm pump (fits in the palm of your hand, and takes numerous squeezes to inflate a single 260 balloon), and is illustrated throughout with clear photographs and clear instructions. One of the nicest part of the book are the suggestions for changes to either make more types of balloon animals, or to customize your creations.

However, I can’t recommend it highly, simply due to its’ size. (more…)

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Under the Big Top : 100 Years of circus music, by the Great American Main Street Band

Under the Big Top: 100 Years of Circus Music

Under the Big Top: 100 Years of Circus Music, by the Great American Main Street Band

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Under the Big Top : 100 Years of circus music, by the Great American Main Street BandThe songs included on this CD include: (more…)

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Book Review - I Want to be a Clown, by Ivan Bulloch & Diane James

I Want to be A Clown

Book review – I Want to be A Clown – a children’s book introducing clowning

I Want to be A Clown, by Ivan Bulloch and Diane James

Book Review - I Want to be a Clown, by Ivan Bulloch & Diane JamesBuy from Amazon.com

I Want to be A Clown  is a short (32 pages) book  for children, aimed at introducing them to clowning. It begins by discussing the design of your clown face, and a  quick introduction to clown make up  (using face paints, not grease paint). The book then proceeds to costuming, with some simple make-at-home hats, including instructions for making paper flowers for use in the hat—my wife perked up upon seeing that,  realizing that she could use the paper/pipe cleaner flowers for her own clown character. The book spends two or three pages on clown costuming, and then spends two pages describing how to make a  squirting flower—again, a prop that ‘real’ clowns could easily use. The next two pages are a  very  brief introduction to ballooning, and the next two are spent discussing ‘taking a fall’ as one clown takes away a chair just as another clown starts to sit.  This is actually done very well, discussing the safety aspects of this, and how to ‘fall’ off the chair without being hurt. (more…)

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David Wiles - Shakespeare's Clowns - Actor and text in the Elizabethan playhouse

Shakespeare’s Clowns

Book Description of  Shakespeare’s Clowns – Actor and text in the Elizabethan playhouse by David Wiles

David Wiles - Shakespeare's Clowns - Actor and text in the Elizabethan playhouseBuy from Amazon.com

This book argues that a professional Elizabethan theatre company always contained one actor known as ‘the clown’. Its focus is Will Kemp, clown to the Chamberlain’s Men from 1594 to 1599 and famed for his solo dance from London to Norwich in 1600. David Wiles combines textual, theatrical and biographical lines of research in order to map out Kemp’s career. He shows how Shakespeare and other dramatists made use of Kemp’s talents and wrote specific roles as vehicles for him. He discerns a perpetual and productive tension between the ambitions of a progressive writer and the aspirations of a traditional actor whose art was rooted in improvisation. The book also describes the clown tradition in general, dealing with Kemp’s inheritance from medieval theatre, with the work of Richard Tarlton, the great comic actor of the 1570s and 1580s, and with Kemp’s successor, Robert Armin, who created the ‘fool’ parts in Shakespeare. (more…)

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