Book Reviews

Be a Clown - the Complete Guide by Turk Pipkin

Be A Clown! – The Complete Guide to Instant Clowning by Turk Pipkin

Book Reviews – Be A Clown! – The Complete Guide to Instant Clowning by Turk Pipkin, Walt Chrynwski, Chris Reed

Be a Clown - the Complete Guide by Turk Pipkin(Editor’s note: this book should not be confused with the children’s book “Be A Clown” nor Mark Stolzenberg’s Be A Clown, and has no relation to Cole Porter’s classic song “Be A Clown”)

Paperback – 104 pages

A very nice book – light and lively, easily read, many photos, with a good insight into the mind & heart of a clown. This lively, humorous handbook covers all aspects of clownmanship, including makeup, funny faces, costume (including inexpensive clown-size shoes), and props (including a favorite Red Skelton routine, the Bouncing Hankie). Encourages the reader to create a clown persona with many photos and suggestions. Several getting-started routines are included. Develop your own oddball walk, swallow chair legs — you’ll always have a stunt up your sleeve. Written by the towering Turk Pipkin, a 6′ 7″ professional clown. (more…)

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Be a Clown, by Mark Stolzenberg

Be a Clown! by Mark Stolzenberg

Book review of Be a Clown!, by Mark Stolzenberg (2002)

Buy from Amazon.comBe a Clown, by Mark Stozenberg

(Editor’s note: this book should not be confused with Turk Pipkin’s Be A Clown (complete with nose) nor the children’s book Be A Clown, and has no relation to Cole Porter’s classic song “Be A Clown”)

Another good introduction to clowning, by a well-rounded professional clown. What makes this book stand apart from the crowd? In a nutshell, two things: character development and photographs. (more…)

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Creative Clowning

Creative Clowning

Creative ClowningCreative Clowning by  Bruce Fife, Tony Blanco, Steve Kissell, Bruce Johnson, Ralph Dewey, Hal Diamond, Jack Wiley, Gene Lee

Buy from Amazon.com  or  Buy from amazon.co.uk

THE  clowning book, excellent for professionals & amateurs alike.   If you have only one resource on clowning, make it this one. That’s no exaggeration. It’s a resource with numerous contributors, including sections on the history of clowning, creating a unique clown character, the mind of the clown, make-up, costuming, talents (juggling, balloon twisting, magic, balancing, stilts, etc.), marketing and being booked.

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Strutter's Complete Guide to Clown Makeup by Jim Roberts

Strutter’s Complete Guide to Clown Make-up

Book review of Strutter’s Complete Guide to Clown Makeup, by Jim Roberts

Buy from Amazon.com There is only one must-have book on clown make up — and it is Strutter’s Complete Guide to Clown Makeup. Jim Roberts, aka. Strutter (he’s the tramp clown at the bottom-right hand of the cover photo) clearly understands the basics of clown makeup.  And better yet he has the ability to impart that knowledge to the reader. (more…)

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Clown Magic, by David Ginn

Clown Magic

Clown Magic, by David GinnClown Magic, by David Ginn

Buy from Amazon.com Clown Magic, written by David Ginn, is an interesting book in several ways. First, it should be noted that David Ginn is a children’s entertainer, with several decades worth of experience. Second, he has served as an instructor at the UW La Crosse’s Clown Camp. Thirdly, he’s a comedy magician, and not a clown.

There is an enormous different between comedians and clowns, and David Ginn knows this very well. Clown Magic is an excellent book, and one of my favorite resources. (more…)

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Joseph Grimaldi as Clown

Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi

Product description of Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi by Charles Dickens, Joseph Grimaldi

Joseph Grimaldi (1778 – 1837), one of the greatest English clowns and pantomimes of all time, was born in London to an Italian ballet-master and a dancer in the theatre’€™s corps-de-ballet. The death of Grimaldi’€™s father when he was nine plunged the family into debt. He was introduced to the stage at the age of two and began performing at the Sadler’€™s Wells theatre at the age of three. (more…)

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The Clown of God, an old story told and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola

The Clown of God, an old story told and illustrated by Tomie dePaolaThe Clown of God, an old story told and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Buy from Amazon.com The Clown of God is a touching story, a children’€™s story, a Christmas story, and a clown ministry story –€“ all at the same time. In a nutshell, an orphaned street urchin goes begging from door to door, juggling for his food. He joins a traveling troupe of entertainers, and gains fame and fortune as a juggler, until he grows old, and again becomes a homeless beggar.

On one cold night, he seeks shelter in a nearby church, and falls asleep. He awakens to the site of the townspeople offering gifts to statues of the baby Jesus and his mother. The crowd leaves, and our juggler approaches, to see that the statues are sad. He puts on his clown face, and juggles as he never has before, to put a smile on the divine Child’s face. (more…)

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Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola - Scholastic

Jingle the Christmas Clown

Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola - Scholastic

Jingle the Christmas Clown, by Tomie dePaola

Buy from Amazon.com Tomie dePaola’s  Jingle the Christmas Clown  is a very sweet story, set in Italy, where a traveling circus comes to the small town where they traditionally perform on Christmas Eve before moving into a nearby larger town for a longer engagement.   This year, however, the town is nearly deserted. Crop failures have forced most of the people of the town to move away, leaving only the elderly people of the town behind.   The townspeople cannot afford a circus, and so the circus decides to move on. However that the baby circus animals have been walking all day, and need a rest first.   The circus ringmaster (or Impresario, as he’€™s called here – one of many touches of Italian  flavor  to this tale) decides the the youngest clown, named Jingles, can stay behind to take care of the animals for a few days while the rest of the circus moves on. (more…)

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