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My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me about Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud
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My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me about Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  570 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
Meet Kevin Clash, the man behind the Muppet and the unassuming heart and soul of Elmo. At last, the puppeteer who has performed Elmo for nearly twenty years comes out from behind the stage to share his story. Weaving together his memories of growing up with the life lessons gained from his furry red alter ego, Kevin reveals himself to be as caring, and as eager to grow and ...more
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published September 30th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jennifer Johnson
May 25, 2009 Jennifer Johnson rated it really liked it
I don't really like Elmo from Sesame Street, in fact he's kind of taken over, thanks to his overall "I played the cute card one to many times" popularity. Yeah he's cute, but I have other favorites. If you ask me there was NEVER enough Oscar on that show. I loved Oscar, and Bert (WHO DOESN'T LOVE AN ANAL RETENTIVE MUPPET?) and Snuffy **. I grew up with Sesame Street as a kid, and so when I saw this book I was intrigued.

My Life As A Furry Red Monster immediately grabbed my attention as it offered
Jul 25, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I found about this biography after I blogged about the Muppets yesterday and put a link to the Muppet Wikia, which listed this book. I had already seen the documentary "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey." I absolutely loved the movie and it gave me a little more respect for Elmo, whereas before I just found him to be incredibly annoying. Kevin Clash has had a fascinating career and he is doing something that he loves doing (and it gets paid for it!). If only all of us were that lucky. In the boo ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Mallory rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Sesame Street lovers, fans of Elmo/Kevin Clash
Recommended to Mallory by: Elmo?
There's something about Kevin Clash that I just like. Elmo is not my favorite Henson character, but he is awesome as Clifford. I have been on a CTW/Henson/Sesame Street kick since I read Street Gang, and, while I liked this book, it didn't do much for me but serve as a time killer.

The anecdotes from Clash's life are very interesting, and follow him from childhood into his puppeteering career. It's always interesting to find out how a boy from Baltimore ended up in such a different profession. I
Jul 06, 2013 Molly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Tori - 50 Books a Year Group
Shelves: memoirs
“When children tell Elmo that they love him, they all have different styles of expressing their emotion. Some of the more demonstrative kids throw their arms around his neck, snuggle their faces against his, and with an eyes-closed, sigh-heaving, hand-me-my-Tony-Award gesture that projects to the very last row of the theater’s balcony, they proclaim their undying devotion to Elmo in prose as purple as Telly Monster. ‘Oh, Elmo, I love you more than chocolate ice cream! More than I love the new ba ...more
Dec 27, 2016 Ella rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book as it's written really well and provides a really nice look at the kind of stuff that Kevin Clash has done. I'm pretty sure the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I was comparing it to Carroll Spinney's book, 'The Wisdom of Big Bird', which I thought was better.
The Book Man
Dec 13, 2016 The Book Man rated it liked it
This little furry red monster called Elmo can inspire you in many ways.
He 'teaches' a lot of lessons on love, creativity, tolerance, courage, cooperation, etc.
Highly suggest it to kids...but not only! Lol
Bridgette Redman
Feb 08, 2012 Bridgette Redman rated it it was amazing
These days it is rather remarkable to read a memoir of an actor/performing artist that is unrelentingly upbeat, positive, and optimistic. Then again, would you expect anything less from the puppeteer who creates Sesame Street’s Elmo?

Kevin Clash’s memoir, My Life as a Furry Red Monster, co-written with Gary Brozek, is a warm autobiography of a man who has made a career out of being three-and-a-half. Like Elmo, Kevin Clash’s enthusiasm jumps off the page. He is sensitive, caring, and possesses a
Mar 03, 2014 Hattie rated it it was amazing
Some times a book cover is deceptive. The attractive cover is exciting. While inside the book there is a boring plot. However for "My Life as a Furry Red Monster by Kevin Clash, this is not the case." The book cover is bright and happy. The memoir of Mr. Clash is just like the cover. It's filled with his and Elmo's excited voices.

Over the years while my children were growing up, I might have forgotten about Kevin Clash and only thought about the misadventures of Elmo. There is no mistake after
Oct 08, 2007 Raja99 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mcpl
Why I Read This Book: My two-and-a-half-year-old son is a huge fan of Elmo, and I was curious about the man who performs him.

Review: This is an excellent and heartwarming book by and about Kevin Clash, the man who performs Elmo. It includes nice line drawings by Louis Henry Mitchell.

The book opens with a short "Welcome to 'Elmo's World'--and My World Too."
After this, the book is divided into nine sections: "Love", "Joy", "Creativity", "Tolerance", "Courage", "Friendship", "Cooperation", "Learnin
May 24, 2011 VeganMedusa rated it liked it
Shelves: bc-copy, non-fiction
I did like reading this guy's story, how he grew up as a black kid obsessed with making puppets. He had great parents that never forced him to go out and play with other kids, they were happy as long as he was happy doing his thing. I don't think there would have been many parents that understanding back then, or even now.
I didn't enjoy the preaching from Elmo so much. "Elmo has taught me..." Um, you do know that Elmo isn't real, right? Seeing your hand is up his butt, I really hope Elmo isn't
Mar 24, 2015 Hannah rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I'll give this book one thing, it was certainly adorable. It was playful, spunky and I loved the little illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.


The writing was atrocious. I felt that he tried to make each sentence powerful and moving, which is not always a good thing in this case. There would be so many sentences just about Elmo's view on the world, and then he would go back to his childhood stories and the transition from Elmo to Kevin did not flow well at all. And the majority of
Dec 05, 2012 Megan rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
As a curious mom, the more my daughter watched Sesame Street and Elmo, I started wondering about the puppeteer who played Elmo. I noticed his name for not only Elmo but as a director or producer of many of the Sesame Street epidsodes. So I got interested and googled him only to find that he is this 6 foot something black man! Not at all what I expected for this little furry red monster. Then I found this book about him and decided to read it.I was blown away and touched by this book. I expected ...more
Oct 18, 2012 C rated it it was amazing
I often think it is interesting how someone found out about a book. Often I will be walking in the Library and see a cover and take it from there. With this book, it was a series of events. A few months ago I was skimming Netflix and saw this documentary. Eh Elmo's not my favorite character but the documentary was not only about him. I fell in love. Oh the movie was so cool! Time marches on, I am listening to NPR's Wait Wait dont tell me... and Kevin and Elmo are guests, which they mention this ...more
Jan 13, 2009 Andrea rated it liked it
This was a cute book I picked up at the library, I couldn't resist knowing more about the 6 ft tall black man that is the ebullient voice behind Elmo, who I came to love when my kids were very young, though he wasn't on the Sesame Street of my youth. A great book for young readers, I think, because it really shows how following your passion can lead to success. He recalls many hours spent creating puppets in his home, and I can tell you right now, if my kid spent all day making puppets, I wouldn ...more
Oct 20, 2012 Aubree rated it it was ok
I just finished this book called My Life As A Furry Red Monster by Kevin Clash with 206 pages and a genre of biogrophy. My summery of this book is that it all started when the person who plays Elmo it never said his real name went to a craft store. The first thing he saw was red and furry he went home thought up Elmo with his dads help. The story also talks about how he grew up in not the best situation with his mom having a at home babysitting company where all of the nabjor kids would come ove ...more
Apr 15, 2008 Tami rated it it was amazing
Elmo. He's cute, he's furry, and for years he's been teaching the world to ask questions, to be creative, and to love with a pure heart. Odd but I never really thought about an actual person "being" Elmo.

My Life as a Furry Red Monster is written by Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer behind that furry red smile. In hearing his story, you understand that Elmo is merely an extension of the way this man tries to live his life. Kevin grew up in a household full of love where creativity was encoura
Jun 21, 2011 Crysta rated it it was ok
Rather than a biography, or a memoir, Kevin Clash's book about his life as the voice and spirit of the Muppet Elmo is a collection of short essays about what Elmo can teach us about life (hence the subtitle). Chapters include "Love," "Joy," "Creativity," "Tolerance," and others. Those looking for a book full of details about Muppeteering, Sesame Street, or other assorted topics will be disappointed. Personally, I was unimpressed. The lessons that Clash has learned from Elmo (and that millions of ...more
Rachel Swords
Jan 06, 2012 Rachel Swords rated it really liked it
Even though I'm not a fan of Elmo (I grew up watching "Sesame Street" when it was an ensemble show, not a showcase for the little red menace), I did enjoy reading about his creator, Kevin Clash. Clash seems like a genuinely nice person who is very grateful for and humbled by the enormous success of his character, and his words show he's more than just the man behind the Muppet monster. "My Life..." isn't a traditional biography, but more or less a colorful potpourri of shared incidents from Clas ...more
Very sweet.
Almost too sweet.

But then, what would you expect from Elmo!?

Kevin Clash tells about his life growing up in Turner's Station, Maryland and his childhood from sharing a room with his siblings, putting on puppet shows for the neighborhood kids and turning down his first two job offers in hopes of landing a Sesame Street gig that didn't come through.
He relates many of his own life experiences to story-lines that Elmo has experienced on the show and they reveal just how similar the 6ft.
Aug 10, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it
Since my kid's obsessed, I decided to read about the man behind the Muppet. And I must say, I am impressed by what I read! Kevin Clash seems like an awesome, awesome guy. I really admire him and his dedication to entertaining and educating children. I also gained more appreciation for Jim Henson, who I've always loved (Kermit is my man), and for Sesame Street itself, which I didn't know much about. Hooray for Muppets!

The reason I didn't give it higher star rating is simply because it's not the
Jul 18, 2007 Sherrie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2006booklist
Kevin Clash is a Sesame Street puppeteer. He is better known as that red furry ticklish guy named Elmo. Kevin tells his tale of growing up in a loving African American family. The lessons learned from his parents and the support they imparted to their son is a wonder to behold. Mr. Clash tells of his beginnings in local TV and of eventually realizing his dream as a puppeteer on Sesame Street. Clash reflects on the teachings that Elmo has been able to impart over the 20 years of his furry existen ...more
Feb 24, 2012 B rated it really liked it
I couldn't resist when I walked past this display item. I'd heard Kevin Clash,(AND Elmo), on Wait, Wait a few years was the funniest interview with Elmo chiming in constantly. It turns out Kevin Clash is a local boy, from east Baltimore, (went to Dundalk High!), has been making puppets and putting on shows since he was a young boy. So, this was an interesting read..about his young life, his getting into show biz, his friendship with other puppeteers, including Jim Henson, (who he said ha ...more
May 06, 2012 Megan rated it liked it
Kevin Clash, the performer of Elmo, is not what one would expect. A large, relatively deep-voiced man from Turner Station, MD (a rather down-trodden area), Clash worked his way onto Sesame Street and created an unarguably indelible character. I read this wanted to find out how, and he certainly tells his story nicely. Finally, though, the book is entirely too short. It seems like he holds back almost. I mean, this book is really, really slim. I read it in maybe 2 hours total - tales of is life a ...more
Jun 30, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Puppeteer Kevin Clash wrote this little book, not only as a memoir of growing up and developing his craft, but as a source of inspiration. Looking at themes like friendship and cooperation, he tells about incidents in his own lifetime that fit the chapter heading and then shares lessons that he teaches via his Sesame Street character, Elmo.

Elmo wasn't part of the Sesame Street gang when I was growing up, but he is much beloved by the newer generations of fans. That Clash is able to put his talen
Sep 21, 2008 Dawn rated it liked it
The author jumps around between the current day and days past, and between his job as the puppeteer of Elmo and his life outside work. So sometimes I was confused. There are some good parts of this; the chapters are titled Love, Joy, Creativity, Tolerance, Courage, Friendship, Cooperation, Learning and Optimism. I liked the chapter on Tolerance the best. I found it the most interesting, as it talked about racial issues he encountered in the 60's and the resistance they found in S. Africa trying ...more
Nov 29, 2008 Robyn rated it liked it
It was a cute feel good read. I was interested in reading it because I love sesame street and elmo. When the book came out a few years ago I saw Kevin Clash (elmo's pupputeer) in a few interviews while he was doing the circut promoting his book and I was wanted to read his story. It was fun to read and full of feel good elmo messages about loving life, being a good freind, tolerance and happiness in general. Mostly it made me want to read about Jim Henson... I'll have to look into getting a biog ...more
May 01, 2008 Misti rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
I ordered this book for my house library and as soon as it arrived, I sunk my teeth into it. It's quite uplifting, but Clash has a tendency to jump subjects in the middle of a chapter. Ultimately, like Elmo himself, reading this book gave me a warm-fuzzy feeling. If you're ever feeling particularly sad or want to recall those childhood days of watching Sesame Street, look this book up. Note that this book does make reference to both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. If you are particularly sensitive t ...more
Kim Palacios
Sep 30, 2012 Kim Palacios rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents of toddlers
Any parent whose children grew up in the Elmo era understands the sheer magic of his character. Yet, the story of the man behind the muppet is both inspiring and bittersweet. Kevin Clash, the person behind the personality, sacrificed a great deal of time with his own daughter to tour the world with Elmo and touch the lives of others. This book filled me with gratitude for the creators and enablers of a character who has brought so much joy to the lives of so many children of all ages. Also recom ...more
I liked the non-linear approach to this book- arranged by traits associated with Elmo rather than strictly along the timeline of Clash's life- but I read it after seing his biopic "Being Elmo" and was disappointed that there was less detail about his life. The movie was also a little more honest about all he had to give up to be Elmo. I was interested to read in the book, however, more about his early years working two full time tv puppeting jobs in New York AND interning for Sesame street- that ...more
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