Tuesday, July 26, 2011

World Puppet Adventures

Recently at our library we had a great time presenting puppet shows and flannelboard stories based on children's books and tales from around the world. Here's a glimpse into our program, in case you missed it:

We started with the Latin American tale of The Elegant Rooster, in which a very handsome rooster is heading to his uncle's wedding but finds himself too dirty to be fit for such a grand event. He asks a flower for help cleaning him up, but the flower refuses. New characters enter into the story and each refuses to help the rooster with his pleas. Finally, he strikes up a deal with the sun, who also needs help of its own. In exchange for helping the rooster, the rooster must sing at dawn every day to wake up the sun. This tale also incorporated several Spanish words and phrases for audience participation.

Next, we shared Head, Body, Legs based on a Liberian folktale retold in picture book format by Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret H. Lippert. This is a wonderful and silly tale to share with children. The illustrations in the book are fantastic, but the tale is also a great choice for traditional storytelling.
Head, Body, Legs: a story from Liberia by Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret H. Lippert
 To help the young children in the audience grasp the silliness of the story as the parts of the body are added and all move around until the ideal placements are determined, I created a flannelboard version of the story based on the illustrations by Julie Paschkis. There were lots of giggles!

We sang the traditional song "One Elephant Went Out to Play" and then told the story of Seven Blind Mice, based on the version retold and illustrated by Ed Young. 
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young
This is a wonderful story of seven blind mice trying to identify an elephant is a great story to use when discussing the five senses. Each blind mouse explores the "strange something" and each comes away with a different guess as to what it is. Is it a fan? A column? A spear? A snake? A cliff? The "mouse moral" at the end of the story is: "Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole."

The librarians also shared a puppet story based on Splash! by Flora McDonnell. 
Splash! by Flora McDonnell

Splash! is a simple story, great for sharing with toddlers, about some very hot jungle animals finding relief from the sun by following baby elephant down to the water hole to splash!

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Our final story we shared was a dramatic telling of the Eastern European tale of Caps for Sale: a Tale of Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina. This is one of my favorite childhood stories in which a peddler of hats takes a nap underneath a tree and awakens to find some naughty monkeys have stolen his hats!

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