New Rumpelstiltskin Puppet and School Visit Tip!

Sorry I've been out of the loop. It's school visit season and I'm BUSY! But I will do two more PBU posts to finish out the workshop this month, and then I'll do some PBU tips until next summer where we'll have a PBU 2.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my newest excitement and a tip for you pros out there doing school visits. I had the privilege of seeing a Mother Goose puppeteer at work at a school where they contracted five authors for one big day of reading for their students. I always wanted to have a presentation that wowed the K-2nd grade set with my math books, and although I am dynamic in my presentation where I act out the part of Rumpelstiltskin to them, I noticed how mesmerized kindergartners were with Mother Goose. Why? Because she had...PUPPETS! Her words weren't unique or even inspiring, but the puppets amazed the kids.

A huge light bulb exploded above my head. HA! That's when I knew I needed puppets to enhance my performances for the younger set.

In my math performance, I teach 1st-3rd grade how to multiply by using a funny part in my book, Multiplying Menace. In order to teach multiplication, I now use finger puppets so they can see the concepts. After we finish reading the book, I give each child a worksheet (could be up to 150 kids--teachers help with this), that has a face without a nose on the sheet--and I tell them this is their face and they are to draw hair on it. THEN I tell them that Rumpelstiltskin is going to visit their school. Usually, they'll squeal with delight until I ask them do they REALLY want Rumpelstiltskin to visit? Their squeals turn to scared giggles. At this point, I whip out my Rumpelstiltskin puppet, and he wreaks havoc on the children's noses using his multiplication stick. They LOVE this! We do the multiplication on a document camera where they figure out how many noses he's multiplied on their face. I also use students to be Rumpelstiltskin's minions. It's so much fun!

Here's a few pictures of my puppet. He was pricey as I used a puppet artist who used to work for Jim Henson, but it's worth it. Four days worth of school visits will pay for the puppet, but the puppet has already helped me book more new visits for next year! Worth every cent!!!

If you're interested in getting a puppet for your book, here are some worthy creators to check out:

 My creator took around 5 months to complete--he was from Creature Clones (the artist did the professional photos for me) and he has a year wait time, mostly. Other makers might not be that inundated with work, so you may want to check with them if you're in a hurry.

If you have any questions about school visits, feel free to post!


Johnell DeWitt said...

He's gorgeous. I can see why the kids love him. Sounds like a really fun gig.

Pam Calvert said...

Thank you, Johnell!! :-D I'm amazed at how well the puppet creator made him to look exactly like my character!

KatyD said...


I'm curious--did you have to obtain permission from your illustrator.

Tina Cho said...

Very cool! I wish I could see your live performance!

Pam Calvert said...

Katy--I thought I'd have to get permission, so I emailed Wayne. He told me I don't need it if I'm making this for my own personal use. If I were to sell them, then I'd need it. He loves it, btw!

Tina--I'm looking to get some of my stuff videotaped to put maybe I'll get that done in the future!

Anonymous said...

That's a really nice puppet. Make sure you keep all of the documentation safe and possibly insure the puppet. It'll become a family heirloom.

My local library has a number of lending puppets.

Also, teacher stores often keep them stocked for preschool teachers.

It's a great stand-by.

Patrick Waldron