Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Gunniwolf Puppet Show

 Today being the third Thursday of the month, it was time for some after-school fun at the Orland Library. A puppet show is always popular, and we've done several that came from the NorthNet Library System, a consortium of northern California libraries. Those puppet kits were put together by Stephanie Stokes, and they are wonderful, but I've done all of them.  Time to come up with a puppet show of my own!

The story of the Gunniwolf is a perennial favorite with storytelling librarians. Many of us first encountered it in a picture book retelling by Wilhemina Harper, illustrated by William Weisner, but it an old, probably African-American folktale. In the story, a little girl is told by her mother to never, never go into the jungle, because if she does, the Gunniwolf might get her. The little girl promises she won't. But of course, she does, following a trail of pretty flowers that lead her into the jungle.

It's a very simple story, and one that is easily adapted as a puppet play.  In fact I already had a Gunniwolf. Many years ago a friend of mine named Jean Kibby, a retired librarian, gave me many of her handmade puppets, including a great green gunniwolf.  He came with a stick and styrofoam little girl. 

I wanted a different little girl, so I used that puppet for the mother, and made my own soft doll girl puppet.

Here's the little girl, with all the flowers she picked, meeting the Gunniwolf for the first time.  He wants her to sing that "guten, sweeten song" again.

The play was a big hit with the little ones, as you can see.

After the puppet show we made finger puppets.   I had some blank felt finger puppets in various colors that probably came from Oriental Trading Co.  The kids added wiggly eyes and felt beaks, eyebrows, mouths, and whatever other features they liked, as well as some feathers for those who wanted to get really fancy. Each finger puppet was a unique creation.