Our puppet show this month will be an adaptation of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter.
I love this story- and all of the tales of Beatrix Potter- for their rebel spirit. If I ever become the leader of a punk band, I shall blame it on the influence of none other than Miss Beatrix Potter. In her stories there is often a good little animal, like Flopsy & Co. in Peter Rabbit. And then there is a naughty character, like Peter, who goes where he shouldn’t, and acts up, and breaks rules, and gets consequences- but oh, some fun is had. I like Nutkin because, like many kids, he pushes the envelope on silly behavior to see how much attention he can get from a big old boring authority figure. In fact he goes almost too far- but not quite.
In adapting this for a puppet show for American children, I substituted Potter’s delicious riddles for a simpler rhyme. This is because the riddles are oh so British and to me they work better for any American, child or adult, when puzzled over in a book, rather than try to follow them in a puppet show. But if you have never read this gem of a story (I never did, actually, until I was an adult) I certainly recommend it, especially for those delightful riddles!
Here is the original book:
My own adapted version for a puppet show can be found here:
There is also a lovely song about Squirrel Nutkin with lyrics by F.B. Wood. I found a lovely link on YouTube for the tune. Here are the words:
Squirrel Nutkin has a coat so brown
Quite the loveliest in Woodland Town.
Two bright eyes look round to see
Where the sweetest nuts might be.
And the tune (Charming British accent optional):