Earnest Citizenship and Malfunctioning Silly String
Today I had a great time performing at one of our neighborhood schools, Bancroft Elementary. The first graders had been studying good citizenship and how various things in their neighborhood worked. They visited the park, met police officers and firefighters, and generally got to understand what these grown-ups do all day. Then they started studying adults who do creative work. So of course, they brought in one of the many neighborhood puppeteers.
I’m not kidding when I say that Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis has more puppeteers per capita than any other neighborhood in the tri-state area. We have a wealth of fantastic artists who work on everything from giant puppets to tiny toy theatre shows. We have stilt walkers, we have fire-spinners. You can’t swing a bat without hitting an accordion. It’s a quirky, oddball place to live.
Even so, many of these kids hadn’t seen a puppet show before.
This is my favorite kind of audience.
They started out as solemn as State Senators. But, in spite of their best attempts at good citizenship, they giggled and howled in all the right places, and when the Pink Tiger begins tossing things into the audience, they lunged for the rubber ducks, feathers, TP and peas. A few days earlier, I had done a show where my silly string (which is the “toothpaste”) didn’t work at the right moment, so this time I really let the kids have it. I emptied a whole can on them. “Más! Más!” shouted a couple of the former Senators.
After the backstage tour, all the good citizenship training kicked in again. Many little hands were thrust out to me with dirty, balled up silly string, and toilet paper, lovingly preserved. They really wanted to keep it. But they were trying to do the right thing. I told them: “Thanks, but no, really, it’s yours. A souvenir.”
They squealed with delight. Another generation of model citizens coming up before my eyes. And hey, some of them may run for Congress.
Nalah and the Pink Tiger
by Anne Sawyer-Aitch
Age Range: 2 and up
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Scarletta Kids (March 5, 2013)
Nalah and the Pink Tiger Website
About the Book
Nalah and the Pink Tiger is about a rambunctious little girl who lives so intensely in her imagination that grown-ups view her as a troublemaker. Things come to a head when, in addition to all the exotic animals that Nalah has “placed” in the house, a pink tiger “follows” her home from the zoo and creates havoc.