Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Pirate, A Parrot, and Vanilla Wafers

Book:  Pirate Pete  by Kim Kennedy; illustrated by Doug Kennedy
Puppets:  none
Props:   Treasure Map, Pirate Hat, Toothbrush;  Pot;  Potatoes; Pillow Case; Book; Chest; Vanilla Wafers
Presenters:  2, plus 3 child volunteers
Technology:  PowerPoint scans
Audience:  Family Storytime (mostly 3-6 year olds)

We present our Family Storytimes with two people, rotating combinations among four of us (Me, Brad, Sheila, and Terri).  Usually we develop stories together or sometimes tweak ones we've done before.  Last week I was a last minute fill-in for Brad, so I did "Pirate Stories" with Terri.  The two of them had everything all worked out, so all I had to do was step in...they'd already done the hard creative part of making the stories work. 

They've developed an especially neat way to present Pirate Pete, using props, kids, and scans.  I played Pete and Terri was Polly, his parrot.  We find a treasure map that says we'll find gold on Mermaid Island.  Pete's refrain is "Where there's a-gold, that's where I'm a goin'!"  So we get in our ship and sail, which gives a nice interlude where the kids get up and stretch:   We all put hands above our heads (like a sail) and move from side to side while singing this quick refrain:  
  "We sail and we sail and we Stop! / We sail and we sail and we Stop! / We sail and we sail and we sail and we sail and we sail and we sail and we Stop!"

Then we all take out our imaginary telescopes and look for Mermaid Island.  This is where the scans come in.  While Pete and Polly look out towards the audience, we click to make a telescope view appear.  The kids see the scan, but we don't, so we have some fun making it disappear when we turn around, then reappear, until finally we spot it.  But this isn't Mermaid Island, it's.....Candy Island!  Pete decides there might be gold there because:  "Where there's candy, there's kids; and where there's kids, there's teeth; and where there's teeth there's cavities; and where there's cavities there' fillin's!"

Here's where the kid volunteers come in.  We look in the audience for gold fillings and find the child we gave a big toothbrush to earlier.  We bring her up and have her open her mouth.   But no fillings, of course, because she brushes her teeth with that toothbrush.  We take her toothbrush anyway (because that's what pirates do), and she sits down.

That pattern repeats twice more:  Back into the ship;  Sing the song;  Look for Mermaid Island;  Find other islands instead; Bring up a child with props.  For Clover Island the child has a pot...but inside is potatoes, not gold.  For Sleepy Island it's a pillow slip, but the treasure isn't gold dust, but a book (which we admit is a treasure, just not the treasure we're looking for). 

Finally we find Mermaid Island and read from the treasure map to find the treasure.  We go forward 5 paces, backward 8 paces, and wind up crashing into a chest that's been there the whole time, but covered with fabric.  We peek in, but don't let the kids see.  Then we pretend that there's nothing there, the story's over, and we sailed off to follow the gold in the sunset.  The kids, of course, don't buy it and really want to see what's inside.  So we reveal the gold doubloons:  Which are actually
Vanilla Wafers.  And when Storytime is over, we pass out one "piece of gold" to each child. 

The story really works well.  The song and stretch makes a perfect interlude, the kid volunteer piece is fun and purposeful, and the scans work well within the acting out and tie it strongly to the illustrations from the book.  And it worked out great for me:  Brad and Terri did all the creative stuff, and all I had to do was show up and talk like a pirate. 

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