After the success of the felt playset based on an Eric Carle book, I decided to start another project, inspired by a popular title: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
For those who are not familiar with this book (a collaboration between Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle), it’s targeted at preschoolers, and introduces a list of different brightly coloured animals (including a purple cat and a blue horse) using catchy repetitive text. I love this version on Youtube read by Bill Martin.
To bring Brown Bear alive, I decided to make a mini puppet theatre, complete with the various animals introduced in the book. The “theatre” was a recycled cardboard box from a previous book purchase, decorated with coloured construction paper to form a backdrop. C and G chipped in to make the backdrop, with C painting the paper plates for the trees and bushes, and G fluffing and pasting the cotton wool for the clouds.
I had initially wanted to make handpuppets, but decided to make my life easier by printing and laminating the various animals instead. To make the animals stand on the stage, I used a piece of cork, and pasted a piece of magnet underneath (I’ve these left over from old magnetic toy pieces). With a magnetic strip below the stage, the show begun!
With a bit of practice, I was able to control the movement of the puppets so that they turned and moved on cue as I read from the book. The kids were amazed to see the animals come alive on the stage! To quote C: “They are moving by themselves! It’s magic!” Of course, she found out about the magnets later, and wanted to try it herself (the magic of magnetism will be explained to her in due course).
I decided to velcro the tree stump and tree so that the “theatre” can be easily folded and kept (with puppets stored neatly inside). This can be reused for the next story telling session, with different props and puppets.
Judging by the looks on the kids’ faces during the performance, I think they liked it 😉
Have you read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? Which is your favourite Eric Carle book?