Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lo-Jack and pirate puns

Book:  Lo-Jack and the Pirates  by William Hooks,  Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Puppets:  none
Props:  Pirate Costumes, Two Paper Eyes, Yo-Yo, Santa Hat, Squeaky Hammer (or similar), Flagon, Toast
Presenters:  two
Video:   short sample excerpt
Audience:  Family Storytime

We do a Pirate-themed Family Storytime every year, but it's been a Terri/Brad presentation for several years.  This time Sheila and I took a turn, and I thought back to my first pirate event, which was probably 20 years ago, and a book that's out of print now but was one of the few pirate early readers on the shelves back then.  Lo-Jack and the Pirates is sort of like Amelia Bedelia:  Lo-Jack is hijacked to be a pirate's cabin boy and gets everything wrong.  The book is great for 1st and 2nd graders, but younger kids miss some of the puns, so we simplified a bit for our mostly-preschool audiences and acted it out with a few props.

I was Captain Grimm, and basically I try to teach Lo-Jack some pirate stuff and she gets it wrong:

Pirate lingo:  "Pirates say aye-aye!":   Lo-Jack holds two goofy looking cut out "eyes."  Get it?  Most of the kids did, though not all.

Pirate songs:  "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me":   Lo-Jack gets a yo-yo and sings "Yo yo, yo yo, a pirate likes to play."  Then gets a Santa hat and it's:  "Ho ho, ho ho, a pirate Santa Claus."

Pirate jobs:  "You can be a look out and shout "ahoy" when you see land.:   Lo-Jack steps on a stool, looks at the audience and shouts "a boy!" while pointing at one of the kids.

And of course with each mistake Captain Grimm gets more impatient.  When he says "Blow me down!", Lo-Jack tries to blow him over; Captain G. says he's too small to blow down a mighty pirate, so Lo-Jack grabs a squeaky hammer and bops him.  When the Captain says it's time to Loot and Pillage the people in the audience, Lo-Jack convinces him that they are nice people and they shouldn't do that.

So Captain Grimm turns nice and the story ends with C. G. proposing a Toast to Lo-Jack, which is when Lo-Jack grabs a couple of pieces of toast.

The humor really worked just fine for the audience.  For those who maybe didn't get the verbal humor, there was enough going on visually with the props and people that it was still funny.  Like maybe a three year old doesn't register that Lo-Jack got "yo ho" mixed up with "yo yo" because they sound the same, but knows that pirates don't play with yo yos, and that's pretty funny anyway.

Click here for a short, not-well-edited video clip we did as a sample.

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