In the enchanting world of ventriloquism, where playful silence meets dynamic voices, acclaimed ventriloquist and author Jimmy Vee has carved a niche in puppetry that’s as unique as it is captivating. With an innate ability to bring inanimate objects to life, Vee’s passion for ventriloquism ignited when his grandmother gifted him his first puppet at eight.
Over the years, he has performed at various events, from intimate birthday parties and community events to corporate events, trade shows, and comedy clubs. Constantly talking to himself, yet never alone, his companions have been his ever-growing collection of vent dummies that now exceed a hundred in number.
Now, with the release of his latest children’s non-fiction picture book, ‘How To Make Your Sock Talk: A Beginner’s Guide To Ventriloquism,’ Vee is set to take his readers on a delightful journey into this mesmerizing art form while teaching them to build self-esteem and confidence. He explained that few ventriloquism books exist, especially for children, so he wanted to create something visually engaging to draw younger people into the art.
“So, I found over the years that when you put a puppet in your hand, whether that be you as an adult or a child, you can express yourself in a way that you don’t feel like you’re able to when you’re just saying it yourself,” Vee said. “And I’ve seen miraculous things happen with children when they put a puppet on. They may be shy and unable or unwilling to express themselves without it, but once the puppet is talking, the child can say whatever they want to say; they come out of their shell and can be who they are.”
Thinking back over his journey, Vee said he would be further along if he had started earlier, and that’s when his realization that there was a gap in the ventriloquism community kicked in.
“And that’s why I created this book because it fills that gap I didn’t have when I was in third grade. It’s a much more visual, engaging teaching method than I had. And I didn’t learn back then because of that. And so, I’m hoping that this book will help kids learn ventriloquism early and get involved in it because it’s such an amazing and valuable art.”
Peter Raymundo, an accomplished writer and illustrator with ties to Scholastic, Abrams, Penguin Random House, and Marvel, brings the ventriloquism book to life with his delightful illustrations. As a former Walt Disney animator, Raymundo has contributed to iconic films such as Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and The Princess and the Frog, infusing a unique appeal.
In the 32 pages, intended for children ages 7-14, Vee teaches young readers how to create a sock puppet and perform ventriloquism in 10 steps. He explained that the book is a tribute to his son, whom he taught the craft.
Adding to the book’s uniqueness is an integrated QR code. It directs readers to a specialized website hosting video lessons that align with the book’s steps. This innovative feature allows children to learn the art of ventriloquism on their own timing interactively.
In addition to the book, Vee’s contributions to the ventriloquist community have been remarkable. As the founder of the Florida Ventriloquist Association, the assistant director for the Vent Haven International Ventriloquist Convention, and a member of the board of advisors for the Vent Haven Museum, his influence has been instrumental in the evolution of the art form.
He advises aspiring authors and ventriloquists to start their journey and join the ventriloquism community.
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself and your art out there. Because the more you put it out, the more feedback you’ll get and the better you’ll become,” Vee said. “It’s a great community because they support new people, and the friendships you make in the ventriloquism community can last for a lifetime; you get feedback and get to be with people that enjoy the same things.”
He also recommends attending the Vent Haven International Ventriloquist ConVENTion in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, which is also home to the Vent Haven Museum, the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the art of ventriloquism. In Florida, Vee works on sharing his collection on his YouTube channel and inspiring others to explore the art of ventriloquism.
The book is now available for purchase at Amazon & Barnes and Noble. For more information about the book, visit www.socktalkbook.com/, and for more information about Jimmy Vee, visit www.fivefoothighguy.com/.