This post follows Storytelling - Early Childhood Education - #1, so please click back to have more details of this workshop with Suzanne Down, early childhood and therapeutic puppetry expert (March 3, 2006).
- we spent most of our time on Lady Spring. for the other characters, we did not use a form. they are smaller, for one thing, and don't need to have so much animation and movement and life to them. the little brown bulb and his successor, the little flower child, were made more simply. take a piece of white roving about the length of your fingertips to wrist. tie in a knot -- the knot should be in the middle with the loose ends to either side. the knot is his head. then take the ends and roll them up to be a larger ball under him -- kind of like making a snowman -- and this is his body. felt to bring it some shape. add your colors by taking three or four loose layers of color (several browns is nice) about the size of your palm and laying them over one another then rub briskly and shape into sort of a nest. sit your bulb on it and bring the ends of the nest up all around him to become his clothing. felt to adhere. for a hat, make a little circle, rub between your palms and attach something like a beret or acorn cap. a little stem is cute, too.
your flower child will need to be the colors of the flower it is representing, such as yellow or purple for crocus. make as above but with colors (instead of the brown) for the gown and the hat. the hat can also take the shape of the flower blossom it is representing!
for the ladybug, make a small ball of red. felt firmly against your sponge to give it a flat base and an oval body shape. use some dark brown to make a small triangle and place over the red, forming the head. use dark brown for the spots.
the story she told was like this (I would just like to say that a silkscape, the kind for a play stand canopy, would be the perfect size for this because it's long enough to cover your whole body when you are sitting -- the Monet's Flower Garden canopy from Fairy Cove is the perfect spring-y colors for this story http://www.fairycove.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=204) there are some pictures of Suzanne's story aprons on the first page of her website http://www.junipertreepuppets.com/School.htm
start with just the silk and your lap clear of characters. hide your little puppets under the silk. then gently focus all your attention on yourself as you carefully bring little brown bulb out cupped in your hands and lay him down on your lap. Little Brown Bulb was sleepy. he had been sleeping all through the winter and he was still very sleepy. he lay deep in the earth, resting, and dreaming little brown bulb dreams. one day along came Lady Spring (here she comes out from under the silk -- hold her waist with your thumb under one arm and your middle finger under the other arm -- use the pointer to move her body to bend over -- tuck the other two fingers behind her so your body is as unobtrusive as possible, you want the children to be looking at her, not so conscious of you). Little Bulb, Little Bulb, wake up. Spring is coming! Spring is coming and it's time for all the little bulbs to wake up and put on their new gowns. (she bends over and looks at him, gently shakes him). then Lady Spring went away to wake up other little bulbs and get them into their new spring gowns. but Little Brown Bulb did not want to wake up. he just rolled over and went back to sleep (roll him over with your hand. then bring ladybug scurrying out from under the silk). along came ladybug, hurrying, scurrying, getting ready for Spring. he was so busy that he walked right over Little Brown Bulb (little brown bulb wakes up -- hold him and the ladybug just pinched between your thumb and first finger, again, to keep your hands from being in the front of the characters and the focus of attention) oh, says little brown bulb. you just stepped on me. I'm so sorry, Little Brown Bulb. I didn't see you there. I was in such a hurry. don't you know it's Spring? look at me? I got a bath and a new gown. don't I look fine? all clean and shiny and new. I must hurry. Spring is such an exciting time. and ladybug scurried off. (little brown bulb is awake now and looking around) Spring? what is Spring? how can I get ready for spring if I don't even know what Spring is? (here comes Lady Spring again) oh, Little Brown Bulb. good, you are awake! are you ready for your new Spring gown? (she picks him up in her arms, use the pointer to manipulate this and the thumb and middle finger to slightly pinch little brown bulb and hold him firmly in her arms, she carries him off stage and back under your silk). then with nothing on your lap but the silk narrate how he got all cleaned up and ready for spring and then he grew and grew and grew (this is where he comes up on a stick from the pocket) and looked out over the world. (make him turn and look all around). oh, said Little Brown Bulb. I love Spring!
and you can, of course, extend the story. but this was the gist of it.