Three Recommended Books for the Librarian Puppeteer

Looking for something new to add to your puppetry resources? Here’s some titles you might want to consider:

Puppet Mania by John Kennedy. 2004, North Light Books. Recommended for beginner and intermediate puppeteers by a former Muppeteer. Good coverage of hand puppets and puppet construction.

10-Minute Puppets by Noel MacMeal. 2010, Workman Publishing. Easy to make puppets, last-minute puppets, and puppets for library craft time! By a former Sesame Street puppeteer.

 Dressing the Naked Hand: The World’s Greatest Guide to Making, Staging, and Performing with Puppets by Amy White, Mark H. Pulham and Dallin Blankenship. 2015, Familius Press. Brand new, just published in July of this year. By two children’s librarians and a retired teacher and puppetmaster, this book is geared to making puppetry doable and fun, with step-by-step instruction and color photographs.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ritual

Humming birds,

Kettle on the boil,

Sprinkler spritzing,

Cat swaying on the rocker,

Indian flute notes,

wind chime harmony,

a gentle breeze ruffles my hair.

Day begins.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

WHY THE BEAR HAS A STUMPY TAIL

A puppet play for winter Adapted from a Norwegian folktale by Betsy Bybell

Characters: Bear (with long furry tail attached with velcro) Fox Rabbit Raccoon Beaver Moose Props: String of fish Silver or gray material for river Long furry black tail for bear —————————————————————-

Introduction: Once upon a cold, frosty day in winter in the deep, deep woods there lived a black bear. Now at this time, all bears had long, luxuriant tails.

Bear: (yawning) I’m so very very hungry. I just woke up early from my long winter’s nap because my stomach is growling. I knew I should have eaten more of those huckleberries before I went to sleep for the winter. Now I’m paying the price and I’m starved. (looks around) But the ground is all covered with snow. Where is a hungry bear going to find food?

Fox: (entering with several fish in mouth) Yum, yum. I love eating fish, especially fat and juicy fish.

Bear: Fox, fox, what a fine catch of fish you have. Would you give 1 to me?

Fox: No, I caught them all and I’m not going to share.

Bear: (sniffing) Well, then where did you catch them? They look so good. Fox: I’ve been out fishing and caught them all in the river.

Bear: But the river is all frozen over. How did you catch your fish?

Fox: (slyly) Oh, it was easy. First I made a small hole in the ice, then I stuck my tail down into the water. When I felt a pinch, I knew it was a fish biting, so I pulled out my tail and there was my fish.

Bear: What a good idea. Could I do that too?

Fox: I don’t see why not. Waddle onto the ice here by the river and cut a hole right through it. Sit down and stick your long bushy tail through the hole. You MUST hold it there as long as you can. Don’t mind if your tail hurts a little–that’s when the fish bite. Bear: Ooooh, my tail will hurt? Are you sure I have to do that to catch fish?

Fox: Absolutely, positively. No pain, no gain. Don’t be such a baby, sit down on the ice…

Bear: But it’s co-co-cold.

Fox: Don’t you have lots of fur on your bottom? Let me check. Sure you do. Now sit down on the ice and put your tail in the hole in the river.

Bear: (hesitantly) Okay, I am hungry and I do want some fish.

Fox: Now sit very still and don’t worry about your tail hurting. If it stings a lot, why that means you’re catching lots of big fish. And you do want lots of big fish, don’t you?

Bear: The bigger the better. I am sooooo hunnnngggrrrry.

Fox: The longer you hold it there, the more fish you will catch. Once you think you have enough, then all at once, you pull your tail out, with a strong jerk sideways. And you will find you have a fine catch of fish for dinner.

Bear: Thank you. I had no idea it was so easy to catch fish. Maybe I’ll stay awake all winter long. (Be sure to pull tail off quietly!)

Fox: (laughing a little) You’ll soon see how easy it is. But I have to go back home to my den now. I think I saw some rabbit tracks around. (leaves)

Bear: (sighing) I wonder how long it’s going to take. I’m bored. I should have brought something to read. And I’m lonely. I wish Fox wouldn’t have left me alone. And my stomach is growling. (sighing again)

Rabbit: (enters) Have you seen Fox around?

Bear: You just missed Fox. She left just a minute ago.

Rabbit: Oh good, I certainly don’t want to meet up with that fox today. I might get eaten. What are you doing out of your den,Bear? Shouldn’t you be sleeping this time of winter?

Bear: My stomach was growling so much I woke up hungry. But Fox very kindly showed me how to catch my dinner by sitting here on the ice and fishing with my tail.

Rabbit: I don’t think I could do that. My tail is too small.

Bear: Ouch. My tail stings. There must be a fish biting it.

Rabbit: Good luck with your fishing. I better hop on, just in case Fox decides to come back. (exits)

Bear: Goodbye. Now I’m alone again. I know, I’ll decide how I’m going to cook this fish–that’ll help pass the time. Fried fish is yummy. Or fish with lemon and butter. Or barbecued fish too. Or smoked fish. Ooh, I can’t decide. I’ll just have to sit here and catch more fish.

Raccoon: (enters) Hello, Bear. What are you doing sitting on the ice in the middle of winter? Shouldn’t you be sleeping now?

Bear: My stomach was growling so much I woke up hungry. But Fox very kindly showed me how to catch my dinner by sitting here on the ice and fishing with my tail. Ouch! I just caught another fish.

Raccoon: (swishing tail) You are putting your tail in the water for the fish to bite!!! I wouldn’t do that to my beautiful tail. It would get ragged and chewed on. Fox told you to do this? Are you sure you heard her correctly?

Bear: Sure, I’m supposed to sit here and wait. Every sting I feel means there’s a fish biting on my tail. And I’ve already caught 2 fish.

Raccoon: Best of luck. I always fish with my hands and save my tail for showing off. Bye Bear. (exits)

Bear: No wait, I’m lonely. Oh there he goes. And I forgot to ask him to bring me a book to read. This fishing is getting to be boring. I need to think on something else. I know, I’ll count trees–one, two, three…

Beaver: (enters) Ho, ho Bear. What are you doing sitting in the middle of the frozen river?

Bear: I’m fishing, can’t you tell? Beaver: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody fish like that before? How are you fishing?

Bear: I stuck my tail down this hole in the ice. Ouch, I just got another bite. That makes three!

Beaver: You got a bite on your tail? And that means you’ve caught a fish?

Bear: Yes, Fox showed me how to fish this way. It’s working so well I’ve decided to stay awake all winter long so I can play with you in the snow.

Beaver: I guess it takes all kinds. But I wouldn’t use my tail to fish with. I slap the water and warn others that there is danger around with my tail. I wouldn’t want it to be nibbled on. It wouldn’t slap as well, if it was chewed on.

Bear: That’s okay, I can share my fish with you. Although my bottom is getting a little chilly.

Beaver: Thank you, but I don’t like fish very much. I’d rather eat tender trees and leaves. It is getting cold out here. I think I’ll head for my warm home behind the dam and have a cup of hot cocoa. Too bad you can’t come along and warm up. (exits)

Bear: That’s okay. I’ll keep on fishing. Although hot cocoa does sound tasty. I always like mine with lots of little marshmallows and cinnamon. And so much chocolate it’s as though you’re drinking candy bars. And there’s hot tea with lemon and so much honey the bees try to steal it back.

Moose: (enters) Now there’s a sight you don’t see very often. A bear in the middle of winter sitting on a river. Bear, bear, bear, bear, bear, bear, what are you doing? Shouldn’t you be sleeping? (Snores)

Bear: My stomach was growling so much I woke up hungry. But Fox very kindly showed me how to catch my dinner by sitting here on the ice and fishing with my tail. Ouch! I just caught another fish. That makes 4 fish for my dinner tonight.

Moose: Fishing with your tail? Are you sure?

Bear: Yes, yes, I’m sure. Only thing is, my bottom is getting very cold and I’m not sure I can sit here much longer.

Moose: I’m glad I don’t have to worry about fishing with my tail. When I’m hungry, I trample the snow down and strip bark from the trees. Maybe you should try it.

Bear: Bark doesn’t sound very tasty to me. But a fine, fat fish fried up with butter and lemon–oh I can’t wait. Now, let me pull my tail out. (grunts) Hmmm, maybe a little harder pull. (grunts harder) Oh, why is this so hard? Moose, I can’t seem to get up. Do you have any ideas?

Moose: Ah, well yes, ah, hem, you could pull harder.

Bear: I tried that already. Help me, please.

Moose: Why look. The hole in the ice has frozen over and your tail is stuck fast in the ice. Hang onto my antlers. (bear grabs nose) No, not my nose, grab my antlers and we’ll pull together. Okay, on the count of three. 1…2…3…pull.

Bear: Ouch, ouch, ouch, my tail hurts so much. Fox tricked me. There’re no fish on my tail, it was the ice hurting it. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Moose: One more sharp yank this way… Bear: Ready, set, pu-u-u-ulll! Moose: Pu-u-u-ulll!

Bear: (free of hole but leaves tail behind) Oohh, I’m out of that frozen ice hole.

Moose: But Bear, where’s your tail?

Bear: Oh no, my tail is so short I can’t see it anymore. I don’t have my long, luxuriant tail anymore. All I have is a short stumpy tail. No fish and no tail. I’ll never trust Fox again. Guess I better go back to sleep with my hungry stomach. I’ll wake up early next spring.

Moose: Poor Bear, his tail never grew back. And that’s why to this day, Bear has such a short stumpy tail.

Posted in Animals, Folktale, Seasons, Winter Holidays | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Twas the Night Before Christmas

A Puppet Play Adapted by Betsy Bybell

Jake: (enters singing) Jingle bells …

Annie: Shh, please be quieter, Jake, I’m trying to read this book.

Jake: How can you read at a time like this? It’s snowing, Christmas is coming and (sings again) Jingle bells.

Annie: Jake, can’t you try to settle down a little? I think you’d like to read this story too. It’s all about Santa Claus.

Jake: But Annie, you know I can’t read.

Annie: That’s right, I forgot. I’ll read it to you.

Jake: (jumps up and down singing) Jingle bells.

Annie: Jake! Stop jumping around.

Jake: Okay, I’ll listen.

Annie: Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Jake: Why weren’t they stirring their hot chocolate? If you don’t keep mixing your cocoa, you get yucky sludge at the bottom of the mug. (gags)

Annie: They weren’t drinking cocoa, they were sleeping.

Jake: Sleeping? You said they weren’t stirring.

Annie: Jake, they were asleep. Okay? Trust me. You have be asleep so Santa can come.

Jake: Oh, that’s right. I forgot.

Annie: The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

Jake: (dances) Yahoo, let’s dance. Jingle bells, jingle bells.

Annie: Stop, Jake. I can’t read when you’re hopping all about and ringing that bell.

Jake: Oh sorry, guess I got a little carried away.

Annie: And Mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap had just settled down for a long winter’s nap. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Jake: I bet I know what happened. Those pesky raccoons knocked over their garbage cans.

Annie: No, Jake, raccoons did not knock over the garbage cans.

Jake: Then it must have been some dogs. P! U! What a mess!

Annie: Nobody knocked over any garbage cans.

Jake: Then what made all the noise? Huh huh huh?

Annie: I’ll tell you, if YOU stop making noise!

Jake: All right, I can take a hint.

Annie: Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Jake: No wonder you threw up. You should have known you’d get sick if you ate a scarf.

Annie: I didn’t eat a scarf. This sash is a part of a window. I was just telling you that I opened the window.

Jake: Then why didn’t you just say, I opened the window. Huh huh huh?

Annie: Because that doesn’t rhyme. It isn’t poetic.

Jake: Well, la di da! Excuse me!

Annie: I will. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below.

Jake: I thought you said it was the middle of the night.

Annie: I did. The moon was shining so brightly on the snow that everyone could see outside.

Jake: They could see without flashlights?

Annie: Yes. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Jake: Wait a minute, waaait a minute. You said this story was about Santa Claus.

Annie: It IS Santa Claus.

Jake: Make up your mind. NOW you’re telling me it’s Santa Claus, but first you said it was somebody named St. Nick.

Annie: St. Nick IS Santa Claus.

Jake: Huh?

Annie: He has TWO names. Some people call him St. Nick and some people call him Santa Claus.

Jake: How confusing. I only have one name, Jake, Everybody calls me just plain old Jake.

Annie: I could think up some other names to call you too, but I’m too polite and I’m reading right now. More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came.

Jake: He has a computer?

Annie: No, he has reindeer. They’re called coursers in the poem. And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

Jake: I would hope so. Otherwise they won’t listen. You have to call a dog by his name to make him come, I’d think reindeer would be the same.

Annie: Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!

Jake: What strange names! Why not Spot and Fluffy and Champ? And where’s Rudolph?

Annie: He’s not here.

Jake: Why not? He’s the mostest famousest reindeer of all. (sings again) Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose.

Annie: Forget him, he’s not here. Listen to the book. To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

Jake: (starts running) Where’s the race? Why am I running?

Annie: Not you, the reindeer. Sit back down. As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; so up to the housetop the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too.

Jake: Now there’s a hurricane? What’s going on?

Annie: No hurricane, it’s poetic again. The reindeer and sleigh fly up on top of the house. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

Jake: Careful up there, don’t fall off!

Annie: As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

Jake: That’s the gift! A bound! Who’d want that for a gift?

Annie: A bound isn’t something Santa’s giving away. It’s a way of saying that Santa jumped down the chimney.

Jake: Then you should say, Santa jumped down the chimney.

Annie: That doesn’t rhyme.

Jake: Oh yeah, that’s right. Poetic again.

Annie: He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

Jake: Bet he got in plenty of trouble for making a mess.

Annie: Not as much trouble as I’m having keeping you quiet. A bundle of toys he had slung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

Jake: Santa was riding his bike around the tree.

Annie: No!

Jake: But you said he was pedaling?

Annie: I said he looked like a peddler. A peddler is someone who carried around what he sells.

Jake: Oh. You shoulda said so.

Annie: His eyes—how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

Jake: At least you got that part right.

Annie: The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

Jake: Kind of like you, huh, Annie?

Annie: Jake!

Jake: You have to admit, you have a little paunch. (pokes her in stomach)

Annie: Jake! I’m warning you.

Jake: I know, I know. Be quiet.

Annie: He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

Jake: And that made your little “bowl of jelly” shake, huh. (pokes her in stomach again)

Annie: Jake! A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word … unlike SOME people I know … but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.

Jake: Why are you calling Santa names? You called him a jerk.

Annie: I didn’t call him that. I said he turned with a jerk.

Jake: Oops, my mistake, thought you said like a jerk. Go on.

Annie: And laying a finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Jake: Wow! How did he do that?

Annie: Santa is magic.

Jake: You don’t say.

Annie: I do say. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Jake: Well? Well?

Annie: Well, what?

Jake: What happens next?

Annie: Nothing, Jake. That’s the end of the story.

Jake: Really? The end? Well, that was quick. Read it again. I liked it.

Annie: No. I don’t think I could stand to go through that again. But I could think of something we should do.

Jake: What’s that?

Annie: See all those people out there?

Jake: Yep, yep, yep. I see them.

Annie: Don’t you think they were good listeners? Better than you?

Jake: Sure shooting.

Annie: Then let’s wish them what Santa said in the story.

Jake: Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Jake, boisterous, talks all the time, can’t read, takes everything literally, dressed in tinsel
Annie, smart, likes to read, but getting frustrated with Jake’s questions, dressed in holiday dress

Props: copy of “The night before Christmas” book
Large jingle bell with ribbon for puppet to hold

Posted in Seasons, Winter Holidays | 3 Comments

Welcome to puppeteer and storyteller Betsy Bybell! Betsy submitted a timely puppet show script, along with two others I will be posting in the next few days. Thanks, Betsy!

If you have an original script you would be willing to share, please send it to grannysueholstein@yahoo.com and I will be sure to get it posted. Children’s librarians everywhere will thank you!

Filling Santa’s Shop,
A Christmas puppet play

Submitted by Betsy Bybell

Santa: (enters) Ho-ho-hummm, (yawning) it’s two weeks before Christmas and I’m not ready. (Collapse on stage) I have so much to do, and all I want to do is sleep. You know, I’m not as young as I used to be. My age is creeping up on me. It’s getting harder every year to fly over rooftops in my sleigh, keep the reindeer in line, and squeeze down all those little tiny chimneys. Can’t be because I’m getting fatter, can it?

Holly: (enters) Hey Santa, what’s up? Why the gloomy face? It’s almost Christmas, you know.

Santa: I know, Holly, I know. I’ve been thinking, I’m ready to retire. Let someone younger drive the sleigh full of toys this Christmas Eve. But who could take over and do the job right?

Holly: Any of the elves could do it. I think I could it. Yes, I’ll become the new Santa.

Santa: I think every elf would say he’s the best. I’d have to pick the right one, the one with the best feeling for the spirit of Christmas. But how to choose? Maybe I’ll have a contest; yes, a contest to see who can … fill up my shop with the most Christmas spirit. Yes, whoever can fill this room up to the very top with the best reason for the season will drive my sleigh.

Holly: A contest! Oh, I can’t wait to tell the others. I’ll be right back. (Exits)

Santa: This should be interesting. I wonder which elf will figure out the puzzle first. (Exits)

Holly: (enters) I’m back. I’ve been thinking if I have to fill up this room, then I’ll bring in the largest things I can think of … the reindeer. (Offstage to push in reindeer). Come on Dancer and Prancer. Vixen and Blixen stop fighting with each other. Comet, Cupid, walk, don’t run. Donder, where’s your partner? Don’t crowd, stand in line. Stop shoving. Let me get Santa. Santa, come see how I’ve filled up your shop.

Santa: (Enters) Yes, Holly, what have you done?

Holly: I filled up the shop with Christmas spirit. Do I win? Am I the best?

Santa: The reindeer are certainly large enough, but sorry, that’s not what I was thinking of. It was a good idea, but not quite good enough. Sorry. Holly, please take those reindeer outside before they make a huge mess inside. That was a mistake. Well, wonder who will be next to try? (Exits)

Holly: Well, at least I tried. (Offstage with reindeer) Out we go, don’t all try to push through the door at the same time. Whoa, slow down, take it easy.

Narrator: And so all the elves thought about the contest all during the night. The next day…

Juniper: (enters) I’m sure I can win the contest. I have a good idea how to fill up the shop. Reindeer are big, that’s true. But what reindeer eat is even bigger because they’re eating all the time. It seems like every time I turn around, I have to fill up their manger. They’re always hungry. I’ll bring in all those sacks of reindeer food. (Exits & enters pushing in bags of feed) Heave-ho, heave-ho. Won’t Santa be surprised? Oh Santa, I won, I filled your shop with the most Christmas spirit.

Santa: (enters) Hello Juniper. What’s your idea?

Juniper: Reindeer food. I brought in bags of reindeer chow, reindeer pellets, reindeer treats, reindeer carrots, reindeer hay, reindeer cookies. What a huge pile! Do I win?

Santa: Juniper, I’m not sure that’s what I meant. I had no idea reindeer ate all that much food. I wonder if I should replace them with something more modern, like a helicopter?  However, I’m sorry, that’s not what I was thinking of. Take all those sacks back out to the barn. You do a wonderful job feeding the reindeer; I really appreciate that.

Juniper: Just my tough luck. Heave-ho, heave-ho, heave-ho. (Exits with food)

Santa: Maybe this is too tough of a puzzle for my elves. Christmas is coming closer and I’m still no nearer to a solution than before. Sigh. (Exits)

Narrator: Another day passed and no elf had figured out Santa’s puzzle yet.

Peppermint: (enters) It’s my turn. I’m sure I can figure out something.

Santa: (enters) Good morning Peppermint. Just don’t bring in reindeer or reindeer food. That’s already been tried.

Peppermint: Oh no, I was thinking of something we have tons of…like snow. I could shovel all day and fill up your shop with snow, up to the very ceiling with a mountain of snow. Yes! That would be Christmasy. And we could slide down my hill and go skiing and never have to play outside.

Santa: But Peppermint, slow down, think a minute. What happens when you bring snow inside?

Peppermint: Ummm, I don’t know.

Santa: Snow melts and that means my shop would be a-slosh with water. I’d have to wear boots everywhere. We’d be swimming instead of skiing. Sorry, but snow isn’t the answer to filling up my shop.

Peppermint: I know. Trees! I could chop down all the trees around the North Pole and bring those inside.

Santa: Wait a minute. There aren’t any trees around the North Pole. No trees means nothing to bring inside. Think carefully before you act.

Peppermint: I know there’s got to be something around here. Hmmm, I have it. (Exits)

Santa: Peppermint, stop to think before you rush off. Too late, he’s already gone. Oh dear, what is he going to try next? (Exits)

Peppermint: (enters pushing presents) Presents! I brought in all the wrapped gifts we were going to give to children on Christmas Eve. What an enormous pile! That should fill the bill with the most Christmas spirit. Oh Santa, I did it! Peppermint Santa Claus.

Santa: (enters) But, but, those are presents for all the children in the world. You can’t keep Christmas spirit, you have to give it away. Sorry, but load them back on the sleigh, ready for Christmas Eve. (Exits)

Peppermint: (exits pushing presents) Maybe it’s not possible. The most spirit of the season? I wonder what that is?

Santa: (enters) It’s getting closer to Christmas and none of my elves are clever enough to figure out the puzzle. Do you know the answer? (Interchange with audience).

Mistletoe: (enters) Santa, I know I’m the youngest elf and I don’t always know everything.

Santa: Hello, Mistletoe. Yes, you’re small, but if you keep learning and going to school, you’ll be smart before you know it.

Mistletoe: But Santa, I think I have a solution to your puzzle. Right now!

Santa: That’s alright. None of the other older elves could figure it out. I guess I expected too much.

Mistletoe: But Santa, I know the answer.

Santa: No, don’t worry about it any longer, Mistletoe. I’ll figure out something on my own.

Mistletoe: But Santa, are you listening to me?

Santa: You run off and drink some hot chocolate, brush your teeth before bedtime.

Mistletoe: But Santa… Santa … Santa!!!

Santa: Mistletoe, I’ve told you before, it’s late and you should be in bed by now.

Mistletoe: That’s the problem with adults, they never listen to kids. Santa, listen to me. I can fill your shop with Christmas spirit.

Santa: None of the other elves could figure out the answer. You’re too young. NO matter what you dragged into the shop, it wouldn’t fill it up.

Mistletoe: But Santa, it would and I can and I will. I’ll prove it to you. Just turn off the lights for me, okay? Maybe he’ll listen to me when he sees. (exits)

Santa: I wonder why he wants the lights off. But I’ll turn the lights off. (Exits & turn off stage lights, reenters) Ouch, it’s dark in here. I just stubbed my toe. You better be on your way to bed, young elf.

Mistletoe: (back onstage with lit candle) Santa, see, I have something that will fill your entire shop with Christmas spirit. The glow from a candle.

Santa: Ahhh, you’re right. This entire room is filled to the brim with light, from the darkest corners to the tippy top of the ceiling.

Mistletoe: And Santa, not only will light fill your shop, but laughter and music and singing and happiness and love.

Santa: You’re so right. You’re the only elf who was clever enough to see what this season really means in dark December. I guess you get to drive the sleigh, Mistletoe.

Mistletoe: But Santa, I have a problem. I’m too young to drive. You’re going to have to do it after all.

Santa: (laughs) Ho ho ho, you’re right again, my young elf. But with you beside me on the seat to tell me stories and sing songs to me all night long, I’ll feel like a young spirit again. Agreed?

Mistletoe: Agreed. And together we’ll fill up the season along with the shop. Wish you may, wish you might, have a season filled with happiness and light.

Santa: Ho, ho ho, with light and love and joy and peace. A Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

THE END

Puppets:
Santa
4 elves — Holly, Juniper, Peppermint, Mistletoe

Props:
Reindeer (can be cardboard cutouts mounted to board)
Bags of Reindeer food
Stack of presents glued together
Battery candle that lights up

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A Puppet a Day!

Can you imagine making a new puppet every day? What a challenge! But A Puppet A Day is doing exactly that for the 365 Project. Do have a look at the many ideas she has come up with so far, and check out her company, Barefoot Puppets.

I’ve made many puppets during my storytelling programs with kids. Here is one of the easiest and most fun:

Wooden spoon puppets require only a spoon, some markers and yarn, tape and some fabric. cut a tiny slit in the center of the fabric, slip the fabric up the handle and secure with tape. you can use ribbon or fabric, string pearls, etc to cover the tape if you like. Then make the face with the markers, add yarn hair if you like, and you’re done. The puppet can be as fancy or simple as you like. For this one the child who made it used self-stick felt for the lips, self-stick jewels for earrings and wiggle eyes stuck on with quick-drying glue.

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Bring Back My Booker!

by Nancy Whetstone 

(Puppets:  Librarian, Bookworm, Booker the Book.  Props:  a telephone)

 (Bookworm is onstage crying.  Librarian enters.)

 Librarian:  Why are you crying, Bookworm?

 (Bookworm sobs.)

 Librarian:  What in the world is the matter?

 (Bookworm wails.)

 Librarian:  Please tell me what’s wrong.

 (Bookworm cries louder.)

 Librarian:  Do you have a problem?

 (Bookworm nods.)

 Librarian:  Tell me about it.  Maybe I can help.

 (Bookworm continues crying.)

 Librarian:  Did you lose your favorite bookmark?

 Bookworm:  (Still crying.)  No.

 Librarian:  Did you put a book back in the wrong place on the shelf?

 Bookworm:  (Still crying.) No.

 Librarian:  Do you have an overdue fine?

 Bookworm:  (Stops crying and sounds indignant.)  Absolutely not!!  (Starts crying again.)

 Librarian:  Well, then what in the world is wrong?  Tell me, I can’t guess all day!  I have books in the bookdrop to check in!

 Bookworm:  That’s it!  My best friend Booker was checked out, and he has been gone forever!

 Librarian:  Forever?

 Bookworm:  FOR—EV—ER!!  (Starts bawling again.)

 Librarian:  O.K., Bookworm, calm down now, you’re making a scene in the library, and that isn’t nice for everyone else in here!  Now get ahold of yourself!

 Bookworm:  Sniff, sniff.  I’m sorry.  I just miss him terribly.

 Librarian:  Well, I understand that, but there is something we can do about it. 

 Bookworm:  There is?

 Librarian:  Yes.  To start with, I will go to my computer and see who has Booker.

 Bookworm:  Oh, thank you so much, Librarian.

 Librarian:  Be right back!  (Leaves stage.)

 Bookworm:  Oh, I miss Booker so much.  (Librarian returns.)

 Librarian:  Well, I found out who checked out Booker.

 Bookworm:  Who?

 Librarian:  Bobby No-Return.

 Bookworm:  Bobby No-Return!!  Oh, no!!  (Sobs.)

Librarian:  Now, Bookworm, pull yourself together!

 Bookworm:  But, Bobby has lost so many books!  Booker’s a goner for sure!

Librarian:  I know, I know.  About all we can do is call Bobby and ask him to bring Booker back.

 Bookworm:  Ask him?  No, yell at him!  Tell him if he doesn’t, we’ll, we’ll call the police!

 Librarian:  Well, we can’t do that.  That’s not the way we do things at the library.  About all we could do is ask nicely and if he doesn’t, we’ll have to make Bobby’s mom pay for Booker.

 Bookworm:  Pay for him?  You can’t sell my friend!

 Librarian:  I know.  Maybe if I have you talk to him and explain what a good friend Booker is to you, he’ll feel bad and bring him back.

 Bookworm:  Well, O.K.  Anything’s worth a try.  Do you know his number?

 Librarian:  I’m sorry to say that I’ve called Bobby so many times I have it memorized.  I’ll go dial it and bring the phone to you.  (Leaves stage.  Comes back with phone receiver.)  Here you go.

 Bookworm:  Hello.  Bobby?   This is Bookworm at the library.  (Pause)  Yes, well, I was wondering if you could bring my friend Booker back.  (Pause)  He’s the red book with a face.  (Pause)  Yes.  I’ll hold.  (whispering to Librarian)  He’s looking for Booker.

 Librarian:  Well, that’s good.

 Bookworm:  (Sounding disappointed) Oh.  Are you sure?  (Pauses.)  Well, did you look in your room?  (Pauses)  Under your bed?  (Pauses)  In your closet?  (Pauses)  Look, Mister!  Do you realize you’ve lost MY BEST FRIEND EVER??  I haven’t been able to eat or sleep since he’s been gone!!  I can’t even READ!!!  DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME????

 Librarian:  Now, Bookworm, don’t lose your temper…

 Bookworm:  (To Librarian)  Enough of your being nice!  I’m doing this my way!  (To Bobby) What, Bobby?  (Pause)  Oh.  I see.  In your bookbag, huh?  (Pauses) O.K.  Well, see you soon.  Thanks.  ‘Bye.  (Hands phone back to Librarian.)  He’s found Booker and he’s bringing him right back.

Librarian:  Oh, my goodness!  How did you do that?

 Bookworm:  Well, when I lost my temper and told Bobby he lost my best friend, he said he understood.

 Librarian:  He did?

 Bookworm:  Yeah, he said he lost his best friend last year when she moved away.

 Librarian:  Really?

 Bookworm:  Yeah, he said he had been reading all the books over and over that they used to read together, and that’s why he never brought them back.  Now he feels bad, and he’s bringing them all back!  Even Booker!!

 Librarian:  Wow!  That’s awesome!  Thanks, Bookworm!

 (Booker enters)

 Booker:  Hey, guys, long time no see!

 Librarian and Bookworm:  Booker!  We’re so glad to see you!

 Booker:  Glad to see you too.

 Bookworm:  (Starts crying)  Booker, I missed you so much! 

 Librarian:  Oh, no, not again!  Haven’t you cried enough today?

 Bookworm:  Sniff, sniff.  But these are tears of happiness.

 Booker:  Well, dry up, pal.  Hey, how about we go to storytime, that always cheers you up!

 Librarian:  That’s a great idea!  (All leave stage.)

 The End

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