Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More puppets

Just a few more pics of the menagerie. Here are some creatures from the watery world, some of whom will join me for "Make a splash at the library" summer reading programs in June and July:
Kisserella, Ray, Prince (formerly known as Frog), Billy, and an unnamed dragonfly.

Billy the Turtle was my first puppet, bought at a fair in Middletown CT from a puppet builder in Colorado (Leslie Larson of Big Game Trophies and Puppets). Soon after I got him, my sister asked me to show him to friends. In the process, Billy nipped their dog on the nose. My sister said, "Priscilla, did you see that? Billy just bit the dog on the nose! Did you see that?" As soon as she said it, she realized that not only did I see it, I had something to do with it. I've used this as an example of how focus makes puppets believable, even to adults.

Here are a few miscellaneous animals. The sheep is Felice, the dog with blue velvet on the underside of her ears is Martha, the goat is Kiddy and the dog is Louie. If you roll Louie on his back, you can manipulate his hind leg so it kicks when you scratch his belly. Nice.
Next are some of the finger puppets. See the white mouse? If you put her on your right index finger and hold her with your left hand, then twine her tail around your third and fourth fingers of your right hand and twitch it slightly, while giving her a little tremor, she looks real. Don't take her into a restaurant, please.
I don't take most of these with me to gigs, except the bug next to the dolphin in the lower right corner. He lives in Trixie's sleeve and comes out for "Poor little bug on the wall."

After I took these pictures, I bought a new puppet. I'll have to give him his own post.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Puppets and the TSA

I can only barely imagine the scene at the airport on my way to Utah, when the Transportation Security Agency folks inspected my bag for dangerous items. Did the baby pop her binky out at them? Did Belle the dragon bat her eyelashes at them? Did Kiddy Goat and Felice Sheep, nibble their clothes? Did they complain about how cramped it was in the bag and how Mavis made it smell like a monkey pit? Or did the puppets all take on that strange submissive attitude many of us get as we're trying to go quickly through security? We'll never know.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Bird puppets

Grackle Crow, Bill Duck, unnamed rooster, Capercaillie, Cheep Chick, unnamed duck, Nigel Parrott, Olivia Ostrich

I don't know why I have so many bird puppets. The oldest of these is Nigel, who I found back in the early '90s. My nephew Willie got a similar puppet named Fred. One night I was talking with Willie on the phone. He was about five. We put our puppets on so they could have a conversation. After a few minutes of chat, Willie said to the puppet on his own hand, "Okay, Fred, I'm going to talk now." Nice.

The crow and the ostrich are both tricksters. They like to nibble on earrings and other jewelry, and are fond of imaginary bug snacks. Olivia is also an opera singer--her rendition of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" in operatic style is, umm, unforgettable.

I haven't used the capercaillie much--this lovely puppet was a trade with storyteller Neppe Pettersson, from Finland. I'm always looking for uncommon puppets. This is definitely one--wish it had come out better in the picture, as he fades into the background. I think he's shy, and maybe grouses a little.

Bill Duck is more of a joker. He's likely to quack out a joke. Here's his favorite:
A duck walked into a drugstore and asked for some lip gloss. "That will be $1.38," the clerk said. "Quack! Just put it on my bill!"
I haven't used the other duck much. She's pretty, but I haven't figured out her personality yet. She has a stick inside her head so I can turn it easily, but the mouth doesn't move. You'll notice a bias on my part toward puppets with workable mouths.

More to come!