So with Mouse on one hand, it’s: “The King thought and thought, and then he had a wonderful idea. To get rid of the mice, he would get….[reach into puppet bag]….Cats!” And out comes a Cat, who chases the Mouse away. Then King is back on the hand: “The King was happy. Now all the mice were gone. And he had cats. [Cat begins rubbing against King, purring]. But the King did not like living with cats. They purred and meowed and shed their hair everywhere. [King runs away from Cat, off hand]…so the King thought and thought, and then…” And then that pattern repeats: Dog gets rid of Cat, Elephant gets rid of Dog, and to complete the circular tale, Mouse returns to scare Elephant away. And King learns to live with mice.
The puppet handling here isn’t that hard, but you do have to plan it out and run through it before telling the tale, making sure you can get puppets on and off with one hand fairly easily (or if not, be prepared to use your other hand briefly). The patterned scenes can be varied a bit, depending on the puppets. I like to have Cat do near-miss pounces at Mouse. Dog versus Cat is more of a fast chase. Elephant chases Dog with a good slow motion bounce-and-squish (or near-squish). Same thing when the King decides he doesn’t like living with each animal. Cat sheds, Dog barks, Elephant crowds…whatever seems like fun. The book includes Lion in between Dog and Elephant, and it’s fine to follow that, but for Storytime I feel like it works better getting to the end of the circle more quickly.