A Galaxy of Giggles for next summer

How do you get an astronaut baby to sleep?

You rocket!

Baby is getting ready for our show A Galaxy of Giggles for next year’s Summer Reading Programs, which has the theme A Universe of Stories. Baby even has a jetpack!

 Photo by Heather Harlan, Oct. 2018

Photo by Heather Harlan, Oct. 2018

It’s true. A couple of months ago, on my way to the Missouri Library Association performers showcase, I found myself at a Build-a-Bear shop in the mall. There I found the perfect pink jetpack, exactly the right size for my baby puppet. I ran to the car and got her so she could try it on. It fit! The pink even matched her leggings.

This is part of my process for creating a summer reading program. I think about what I already have that would fit the theme, I do research for new material, and I keep my eyes out for accessories for my puppets. For months now, I’ve been gathering space-related stories, songs, fingerplays and puppet hilarity. I’ve got a special puppet for the show and am working on possible voices and miscellany.

I also name the show and write a blurb. I keep it general enough that I can add ideas, but close to the prescribed theme. Here’s next year’s show description:

A Galaxy of Giggles

Hop on board this story shuttle for an out-of-this-world mix of stories, songs, stretches, puppets and general silliness with storyteller Priscilla Howe. Warning: there may be aliens!

Have suggestions? Let me know in the comments or by e-mail!

Puppet profile #4, Peeps

 Peeps and me in Costa Rica

Peeps and me in Costa Rica

Peeps was a surprise. I had no intention of buying a new puppet when I wandered into the Toy Store about eight years ago, on a break between performances at the Lawrence Arts Center. He jumped onto my hand and there we were. At first, I called him Peep, but in that first performance I called him "Peepee" by mistake. Peeps is much better. 

He's young, just out of his shell. In fact, when I bring him out of the puppet bag, he's all the way inside the shell, scared. I coax him out. I love how quiet the audience is with the anticipation as his head appears slowly. If they aren't quiet, he goes back in the shell. 

Peeps has a problem, though. He's always hungry. The audience throws him worms, until he has so many that, HIC! he gets the hiccups. Then we try to get rid of them. The listeners suggest remedies. They don't work, usually, until someone (sometimes it's me) suggests peanut butter or a spoonful of sugar. Those always work. 

After that, Peeps is tired again, so he goes back into the puppet bag for his nap and we go on with the show.  

 Peeps in Chile

Peeps in Chile

 The children at Everest Masculino school drew pictures of the performance, including this portrait of Peeps.

The children at Everest Masculino school drew pictures of the performance, including this portrait of Peeps.

 

 

Puppet profile #3, Baby

 Baby is the one on the left.

Baby is the one on the left.

Baby came to me from Molly, who beginning at the tender age of three was a fan of my puppet Trixie. Once she invited Trixie over for a sleepover. I was not invited. When Trixie hesitated, Molly suggested maybe just a playdate. When Molly was about ten, she got her own puppet, Baby. Alas, Baby wasn't as engaging as Trixie. Molly's mother Stacey called me to say that Molly would like to give me a present. 

As soon as I put Baby on my hand, I knew we were a good match. The combination of the old-man look, the wide blue eyes and the binky (a.k.a. pacifier, a.k.a. dummy, a.k.a. passy) are irresistible.

The binky is what pulls most listeners in. Baby pops it out, even when she says she won't. Usually it's a resounding "pop!" but sometimes it's more like a raspberry. Even after I put her back in the bag, after she has vanished from sight, the listeners hear the passy pop. 

Baby doesn't have another name. She's content to be like Cher or Madonna. Baby. She has many activities in the puppet bag: playing poker, making up ridiculous songs, eating tuna fish sandwiches. She prefers that Trixie not sit on her head, as that is not a good way to babysit. 

Oh, and Baby has a new binky as of last summer. It is, as she says, "Only for special, not for every day." 

Baby keeps this special pacifier in the pocket of the puppet bag. It's her Super Mario binky or her Groucho binky, and when it's upside down, it's a soul patch. It pops out of her mouth just as well as the regular binky. 

Thanks, Molly, for this amazing character!