Carlo and the Really Nice Librarian

by Vicky on May 16, 2011

Carlo and the Really Nice Librarian, by Jessica Spanyol, was our featured story for the April 29 Page Presents class.

Carlo the giraffe and his friend, Crackers the cat, visit the library for the first time.  The library is amazing!  But Mrs. Chinca, the alligator librarian seems a little scary at first.

But Mrs. Chinca introduces Carlo and Crackers to such cool books, and her enthusiasm is so infectious, that the pair soon get over their shyness.

Some reviewers have seen this as a negative stereotype of librarians.   I prefer to view it as the shyness that many kids experience when meeting any new adult.  I don’t think we should be that literal-minded, especially when animals are the anthropomorphized protagonists!

It was fun to get to use my alligator puppet, and to collect a number of small books that would fit snugly into her mouth.  I also reused the library backdrop that I had created for my puppet show of The Library Lion last fall.

For Mrs. Chinca’s favorite book (which is discovered to have a bite out of it) I used a small pamphlet of recommended children’s books that was produced by my local library when I was a young child!  It seemed like a wonderfully à propos synchronicity.

The kids made giraffe paper bag puppets afterwards, and they had fun playing with them in the puppet theatre.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vicky January 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Hi Glenys!
Unfortunately, my pattern is packed away and not easy to unearth right now, but I will describe the process. The head, ears, lower jaw, neck, forelegs, tail, and spots for the paper bag body are made from a file folder. One file folder is enough for all these parts. In addition, the puppet has smaller spots (for the file folder neck) made of brown paper; and horns, eyes, nose, mouth, tail tuft, and hooves made of black paper. So for each child you will need one file folder, one lunch-sized paper bag, and probably about a quarter-sheet each of brown and black paper.

To make it easy on yourself, you could draw all the shapes on A4 paper and photocopy onto cardstock and just get the kids to color, cut, and assemble with the paper bag. The neck must be made of file folder or card for sturdiness and so as not to be too droopy.

The main thing to know about assembling the puppet is that the lower jaw is glued to the underside of the head such that the mouth looks partly open. The forelegs are glued to the underside of the folded-over bottom of the bag, and the open end of the bag is where one puts the puppet on. You can put your fingers into the folded-over top to make the giraffe bow and gesture with its forelegs expressively.

Since I can’t lay my hands on my pattern, here is my advice for creating your own! You could search online for an image of giraffe spots and then enlarge to create a template for the spots. The other body parts can be simplified into geometric shapes that could be rounded off if desired. For example. the giraffe ears and face are diamond-shaped; the lower jaw and tail tuft are triangles; the neck, forelegs and tail are rectangles, and the hooves are square or heart-shaped. The eyes could be narrow diamonds or rectangles, and the nose is a rectangle, and the horns are long narrow ovals.

I hope this helps! Let me know how it turns out!

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