Book Reviews

Clown Ministry Handbook

Clown Ministry Handbook

Clown Ministry Handbook by Janet LitherlandClown Ministry Handbook by Janet Litherland

Buy from Arguably, The book on clown ministry. An excellent resource on gospel clowning (it’s not focusing intently on creating make-up or other “clown” activities, but rather how the clown becomes a gospel clown). An excellent resource with several skits as well as interviews with several gospel clowns across the country. (more…)

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Everything New and Who's Who in Clown Ministry

Everything New and Who’s Who in Clown Ministry

Everything New and Who's Who in Clown MinistryBook description of Everything’s New and Who’s Who in Clown Ministry,  with 75 skits for special events – by Janet Litherland
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The author of the first complete text on clown ministry is back by popular demand with this follow-up book. Clown ministry has grown, changed and flourished in the decade-plus since its inception. This book updates through inspirational features and dynamic new material. Part I – Who’s Who contains profiles on the “movers and shakers” in the clown ministry field, including “Where are they now?” looks at clowns featured in The Clown Ministry Handbook. Veteran clown ministers from America and abroad share performance tips and anecdotes, their philosophies of clown ministry and more. “Before and after” photographs (with clown makeup and without) and other illustrations add a delightful dimension to the clowns’ stories. Part II – Everything New contains seventy-five clown skits for all the traditional holidays and a few untraditional ones as well, such as Good Neighbor Day, National Procrastination Week and even National Nothing Day! Some contain spoken dialog and some are pantomimed. Skits are included for any number of clowns, from one to a whole troupe. Prop lists and production notes accompany each skit. Contains a wealth of fresh, funny material.

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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

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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 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 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 difference 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 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

Buy from Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola - ScholasticTomie 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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