I made a tactical error this morning, one I rarely make. I began warming the audience up too early. What was I thinking?! The show was distinctly a babytown. There were 108 audience members, most of whom were under age 5, and of those, most were 3 or younger.
I think it was in part because the show was in the open part of the library, not in a separate room. Kids were sitting down for the performance 25 minutes early. Or maybe the busy, busy rug addled my brain. Here's a picture before the show, when maybe half of the audience was there, in between warm-ups (name that tune, standing-up songs, etc.). Notice the interactions. This photo is intentionally blurry to protect the innocent.
Did I mention the young fellow, maybe five, who seemed not to have an adult present? He travelled around the room, chatting, sitting, standing, poking. One kind librarian eventually corralled him.
I build in repetitive hand motions to the stories for kids to join in on. This is for the kinesthetic learners (most preschoolers, I'd guess), as well as a way to gauge who is still with me. I could tell by this that at the end, I did still have a small but solid group of listeners. They must have been able to hear above the din of babies and toddlers.
After a half hour, we were done. Normally, I can keep a crowd like this for about 40 minutes, sometimes longer. If I hadn't warmed them up so early, I might have managed it. Ah, well, they mostly had a good time and many came up to shake Trixie's hand at the end.
Thanks to Loren for taking these pictures.