Saturday, April 13, 2013

A. Wolf and 3 Pigs, Acted Out

Book:  The True Story of the Three Little Pigs  by Jon Scieszka, Illustrated by Lane Smith
Puppets:  Sheep, Bunny, 3 Pigs
Props:  Wolf ears (or similar)
Technology:  Projector with scans (optional)
Performers:  3, but works with 1
Volunteers:  3 kids (optional)
Audience:  K-2

We featured Jon Scieszka in a K-2 Book Adventures a while back and decided to finish with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  The storytelling voice really makes the book, so we did it as an act-out and we mostly stuck to A. Wolf's narrative from the book, with a few extras.
Since we had the luxury of three tellers (Sheila, Terri, and I), we switched off in the role of Wolf/Narrator, passing on the wolf ears each time.  We introduced it by saying that all three of us wanted to be the Wolf, and since we couldn't decide, we would take turns.  And of course everyone knows:  tallest goes first.  So I started as A. Wolf, explaining about how "this whole Big Bad Wolf wrong."  With the line about "it's not my fault wolves like to eat cute little animals like bunnies and sheep," I hold up a puppet of each, turn my back to the audience and "swallow" them, turning back with them visibly stuffed under my shirt. 
Then I turn it over to Terri, passing the wolf ears to her, and she tells about how she accidentally "sneezed a great sneeze," and ate the first little pig.  We gave one volunteer from the audience apig puppet and a couple of lines to say, in this case:  "No! I'm not in!"  When Terri "sneezes a great sneeze" I grab the pig puppet off the child's hand and toss it in the air.  Terri eats it ("think of it as a cheeseburger just lying there"), stuffing it under her shirt.
We followed the same pattern with Sheila getting the second pig and me again, trying to get the third.  Each  time we have a child with a puppet, one good line to say, and the big sneeze and a pig puppet toss.  Along the way we throw in a few slides on the screen just for fun.  When Wolf tells what each house is made of, the first slide shows a mistake.  Plastic Straws instead of Straw;  Chicks instead of Sticks; and Blue Bricks instead of Red Bricks.  Wolf notices and corrects himself each time.  We also had slides for the mentions of Cheeseburgers and the Cup of Sugar at the beginning and showed the illustration from the Newspaper at the end, followed by a Jail slide.  These aren't necessary, but were fun, and we do like to mix our media when we get a chance.       
This is one tale where you really do have to be in character to pull it off. The audience has to listen to Wolf's excuses but also realize but Scieszka's words are so good, you can't really read them without becoming A. Wolf.  The whole story could be done just fine by one person, along with the kid volunteers for the pig.  Three tellers worked great for us, but we did miss out on one element: a solo teller's stomach would have gotten bigger and bigger with each puppet eaten, while we all kind of started from scratch each time.  These are the hard choices one must make when telling silly stories.     

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