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Magic Coloring Book

Magic Coloring Book – a simple clown routine

This is a short clown routine using the Magic Coloring Book, also known in magical circles as the Svengali book. In a nutshell, when turning the pages of the book, the book appears to be blank. Turning the pages in a different way, it appears that the pages are now filled with coloring book images. Turning them a third way, the colors are now filled in. Here’s one way you could use this in a clown routine.

Magic coloring book trickClown (either enters, or using this as part of a larger performance), and pulls out the Magic Coloring Book. “Kids, I brought along one of my coloring books to share with you — I thought that we could color it together … but I don’t know if we’ll have enough time!” Clown starts to sneeze, then catches himself and prevents the sneeze with the finger-under-the-nose trick. “Whew! For a moment I thought I was going to sneeze! And when I sneeze with a nose this big, it’s really bad! Last time I sneezed the lines right out of my coloring book!” Sure enough, the sneeze sneaks up on the clown, who sneezes on top of his coloring book. “Oh, no!” Clown says, displaying his “empty” coloring book. “Now what can we do? Can we draw the pictures back?” (wait for the kids to respond) “By magic? Can we put them back by magic? Well, we can try!”

This gives the clown an opportunity to “clown around’ in different ways – for example, he could (ineptly) try to use magic to put the drawings back, with his magic wand — actually a breakaway wand, which falls apart whenever he’s not looking at it; whenever the children point it out, he “fixes’ it first and looks at it — it’s fine! Repeat this two times, and finally catch the “broken’ wand. The clown then goes to another “magic’ wand – possibly another wand that doesn’t behave, or a giant crayon, or whatever your imagination might suggest. Something that I use personally is to have the children reach into their pockets, and pull out the magic wands at the ends of their hands, and have them wave their wands (fingers) at the book while saying the “magic word” and presto! The book is restored.

But now how to color the pictures? There are many possible answers – you could, for example, walk through the audience and gather “colors’ from the children’s shirts, carefully carrying the (invisible) colors in your cupped hands (don’t want to spill it on the carpet, you know) and pour them into the book — and now show the book with the colored pictures.


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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