A SunBee mom lent me a lovely new edition of The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. (Anyone who knows my love of vintage illustration will realize why I love this book!) It’s also available at the Jung Center bookstore in Houston. We are immersing ourselves in “The Ugly Duckling” and “Thumbelina” in SunBee this month. Both are tales of a highly sensitive being who doesn’t fit in, but come spring time, each finds their place in the world.
Andersen’s tales are richly visual and have inspired many artists including myself. So it seemed like a good time to try shadow puppets with the kids, which I have always wanted to do ever since learning the technique from artist Justin Dunford at Gina Vazquez’s wonderfully creative summer camp Flor y Canto several summers ago. Justin’s materials were very simple: the sort of thin cardboard cereal boxes are made of, tape, and those very thin shish kebab sticks. Because my kids are much younger than the kids at that camp, I used straws (less poky), animal foam stickers, doilies, and some stencils for the kids to trace.
You draw or trace your character on the cardboard, cut it out, and tape it on a straw. So much for puppets.
For the theater, I used a packing box and white paper, and duct tape for the edges. I got the idea from this link about how to make a simple theater. The only thing I changed: I kept a sort of “frame” around the “screen” to prevent the whole box from flopping over and taking a nap mid-performance.
The kids enjoyed this so much one rainy afternoon that we will be working on it all of March! To the stage!