Sunday, May 1, 2011

Conejito: bunny in a barrel

Book: Conejito: A Folktale from Panama by Margaret Read MacDonald. Illustrated by Geraldo Valério
Puppets: None
Props: Bunny ears; Mask, ears, or similar for: Fox, Tiger, Lion; Trash can (optional)
Presenters: Two
Audience: K through 2nd grade
Video:  How to Tell Conejito with Puppets

For our “Around the World Tales” themed K-2 Book Adventure Terri and I acted out Conejito. As with so many Margaret Read MacDonald tellings, the structure is perfect for telling, with repeated refrains, a patterned plot and lots of fun humor. Terri put on bunny ears and a boa to be Conejito, who meets hungry animals on the way up the mountain to visit his Tía Mónica. The little song the rabbit sings each time is a sure crowd pleaser: “I have a sweet old Auntie / My Tía Mónica/ And when she goes out dancing / They all say ‘Ooo la la!’” Terri Tía Mónica taught this refrain to the kids at the beginning and they joined in each time.

The refrain also gave me time to go behind the backdrop and re-enter as a new character. I was Conejito’s Mama first (bunny ears), then I wore animal hats to be Senor Zorro (fox), Senor Tigre (tiger), and Senor Leon (lion). Each of them wants to eat Conejito, but he tricks each of them into waiting until he comes back down the mountain because he will be fatter. Which is another natural audience-participation piece, as they join in on “Gordito, gordito, gordito!” (thanks M.R.M.)

To trick the animals on the way back, Conejito rolls down the hill in a barrel. We were all ready to just use an imaginary barrel, but…..we had this big plastic garbage can, and it turned out Terri could fit inside it, bunny ears and all, while standing up and holding it upside down, waist high. This made the interactions between her and the animals work really well, since Lion, Tiger, and Fox really were talking to an actual “barrelito.” Once safely home and out of the barrel, there’s time for one last round of “I have a sweet old Auntie” finishes it all off very neatly.


  1. Just read this and enjoyed your retelling of the telling! Oxidation have fun acting this story out with you. The barrel added the final perfect piece and it was a new experience singing and telling a story from inside a barrel!

  2. This is such a fun story-- I love your garbage can addition!