Sunday, November 17, 2013

Elephant and Froggie (aka Piggie)

Book:  I'm a Frog  by Mo Willems
Puppets:  None
Props:  Pig stuff, Elephant stuff, but really just pink shirt/gray shirt will do
Presenters:  Two   (also works as a one-person puppet story)
Audience:  Family Storytime
Video:  How to Tell I'm a Frog with Puppets

With a "Mo Willems Celebration" as our Family Storytime theme, Sheila and I were planning on doing Listen to My Trumpet, which we hadn't tried before....but Mo's latest, I'm a Frog, came in just a week before, and we knew we had to do this one instead.  It works great as a two-person act out.

Piggie (Sheila) starts behind a backdrop, and when Gerald looks for her she "ribbits," then hops onto stage.  And, as usual with the E & P books, we stick to the just-right dialogue straight from the pages.  Even though there aren't that many words, the back-and-forth has to be in the right order and with the right timing, so it does take a few run throughs to get it right.  It helps me to kind of break the story down into sections:

First it's Gerald reacting to the fact that Piggie is pretending to be a frog.  We take it kind of slow, making sure we give the audience time to react to Piggie's hopping and ribbiting and fly catching, and to Gerald's concern.  This section ends with Gerald stating:  "You learn something every day!," which comes up again later.

Then it's Gerald freaking out when he realizes that Piggie is a frog and the same could happen to Gerald.

Then Piggies explains about "pretending" (with the "You learn something..." refrain repeating).

And finally Piggie tells Gerald he can be a frog too, which leads to a fun "No I can't! / Yes you can" back and forth.  The conclusion is perfect, as Gerald reveals that he can't be a frog, because..."I am a cow.  Moo!"

We struggle from time to time with stories that have punch-line endings where we're never quite sure that all the kids, especially the 3's and 4's, really get.  And sometimes we add a clarifying line or something.  But this one is right at their level and everyone gets the joke.

Really, there's not too much to say about this one as an act-out, because it works so naturally and easily.  You can't really say Gerald or Piggie's lines without getting into their characters.  You don't even have to do much in the way of costume.  A simple pig/elephant hat or ears works, and we've even done E & P's just by wearing pink and gray.

This also works great as a one-person puppet show, and there's a video demo here.  I've added a "Label" on the bar at the right called "Video - Storytelling with Puppets" which gets you to all of the posts on this blog that also have a link to a YouTube video demo.

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