Single socks, mittens without a mate, worn out wash cloths; every household has at least a few of these sad articles of clothing or linens. Instead of throwing all those mismatched socks, gloves and mittens in a drawer and waiting for their mate to someday return, put them to good use and cross some kids off the holiday gift list at the same time.
“Puppet Play: 20 Puppet Projects Made with Recycled Mittens, Towels, Socks and More” by Diana Schoenbrun received a Mom’s Choice Award for good reason. Written in simple enough language that children can understand the directions, this book is full of ideas for turning those mateless socks and mittens into characters that will provide hours of imaginative play. Older siblings could easily make puppets for younger brothers and sisters or parents can use this book to create a whole treasure chest full of characters and creatures like Captain Hothead the Pirate and Feilong the Dragon. Each page is filled with colorful photographs, clear instructions and tips for using a variety of materials found around the house.
The information section at the beginning of the book provides puppet makers with information on the difficulty of each of the projects (beginner-advanced), the kinds of tools that will be needed and how to be safe while making puppets from socks, old t-shirts and mittens. The next section features 20 projects that range from banjo-playing pals to crazy marionette robots. Aside from the stray socks or threadbare wash cloths used in the projects, other materials needed include buttons, bits of felt, pipe cleaners and needle and thread.
The final pages of the book give instructions for creating a puppet theater from a cardboard box, putting on a puppet show and hosting a puppet-making party with friends. There’s even a page with a list of websites for those interested in learning more about the art of puppetry, festivals and puppet museums.
This book would make an ideal gift for anyone interested in puppets and performing with puppets. The tween or teen interested in different kinds of theater may also enjoy finding this gift under the Christmas tree or at their place on the Hanukkah table. Adults can also use the book to whittle down their stash of single socks and make some handcrafted holiday gifts for the younger children on their list.
This reviewer’s favorite puppets include two blue mice made from a single mitten, five little piggies created from a mateless glove, a two-faced fish put together from two different colored wash cloths and a vampire crafted from an old gym sock and a broken umbrella. With clear instructions, plenty of pattern pieces and adorable photos for inspiration, the Recycling Examiner plans on creating all sorts of characters using this book for the children on her gift-giving list.
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