I attended my local SCBWI conference this weekend, and came back recharged and ready to experiment. The message *I* took away from the conference was risk taking and going where you fear to go. With that in mind, I jumped out of my comfort zone this morning and did a little experimentation in Painter. I came up with this contraption.
I recently attended a puppet making workshop given by Sandy Shrout at my local library. Ok fine, the workshop was meant for kids, but I had a blast anyway.
With ordinary socks, some yarn, pom-poms, felt, a glue gun, and assorted craft items, you can make an endless number of puppet friends. I made Mable here who, you know, lives in the stable, y'all. She's got a thick Southern drawl and a healthy self image.
Some of the more age-appropriate attendees made dragons, monkeys, and puppy dogs puppets.
If you're not into sock puppets or want less work, you can alter a ready-made puppet to fit your needs. I made a puppet of my caveman character by simply exchanging his existing garb for a quick prehistoric wrap.
In other news, I'm also feeling love for some new librarian friends.
Mr. Schu posted the Caveman, A B.C. Story trailer and an interview on his Watch. Connect. Read. blog, and
Els Kushner from the Vancouver Public Library nominated Caveman for a Cybils!
And more love for the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association for putting Caveman on their 2011 Kids' Pick List!
My summer volunteering at the library really helped me get over the nerves for this event (and many of the small guests were children who had come to see our Readers’ Theater performances this summer). Although, I will admit, I did not expect anything like that number of people. Luckily, I catered for twice that many.
We had the:
Imagination Station – cave painting wall (25 feet of brown butcher paper crinkled up and stapled to the wall and buckets of sidewalk chalk).
Creation Station – tables flat on the floor with coloring pages, mazes, dinosaur cut outs, crayons and glue sticks.
Narration Station – I read the book using a projector (I was very pleased with how naturally the children took up the story telling – it was really interactive).
Excavation Station – a cave made out of a beach cabana tent covered in rock print flannel with a plastic box of sand. They had to excavate a colored rock to win a prize.
Education Station – we put out books about prehistoric animals, so even if you weren't buying one of my books, you could still check out a book.
Germination Station – pin the acorn on the squirrel.
Vegetation & Hydration Station – which had:
Pterodactyl Toes (boneless chicken wings)
Boulders (donut holes)
Sticks & Stones (pretzel sticks and cheese balls)
Vegetation (veggie tray)
Dino Juice (Sprite and apple juice)
We even stuck a sign over the trash can that said “Sanitation Station.” :-)
Having it at the library was fantastic. If you haven't visited your local library lately, please do. Introduce yourself to the children's librarian(s), visit storytime, go to the children's events. You'll be amazed at the education you can get!
I got to perform in my very first puppet show this week! Actually, my first FOUR puppet shows. My local library replaces the usual story times with a puppet show one week of each month. This time, they let me play too!
We did a very funny version of The Princess and the Pea (refashioned for the puppet stage by children's librarian extraordinaire, Leigh Burnham).
Things I learned:
the bigger the action, the more the kids like it (chase scenes, etc.)
make sure the different characters' voices are distinguishable
add something for the parents, but aim mostly for the kids
be dramatic with your movements
And finally, I was reminded that I am short. How short? I had to use a booster seat and the child-sized glove. Oh well.
I had just started mulling over an older idea I had stuffed in the back of the idea drawer - an idea about a hamster and a guinea pig. I was reading my notes and trying to decide if these might be good characters for the chapter book challenge my critique buds and I have planned, when I got a call from my friend (megastar children's librarian Leigh) that a guinea pig had been abandoned at the library.
Yes, that's right. Someone left a guinea pig in the library parking lot - in 90 degree weather.
Two hours and a lot of bucks at the pet store later, Alfie was safely installed in his new home - just hours before baseball sized hail hit the library parking lot.
Now I'm back to my outline for the guinea pig and hamster tale. Hello little muse!
I know it's New Year's Day and Easter is probably the last holiday anyone else has in mind today, but I've suddenly come down with a big hankering for bright colors and chocolate bunnies. My book, BENNY'S CHOCOLATE BUNNY, came out today and the lovely folks at Scholastic/Cartwheel did a fantastic job. I couldn't be more pleased.
So a great, big, chocolate Thank You goes out to Rotem Moscovich and Jamie Weiss Chilton, and Happy New Year to everyone else!