Bless your pea-pickin’ heart, MRM!

by Vicky on May 6, 2012

I have been telling a lot of Margaret Read MacDonald stories lately.  They have such great interactive elements that kids love.  For our story time on April 5, I told a puppet version of her tale, Pickin’ Peas.

It’s the story of a little girl who sings as she picks her peas:

Pickin’ peas, put ‘em in my pail!
Pickin’ peas, put ‘em in my pail!

Tricky Rabbit follows along behind her in the next row over, singing:

Pickin’ peas, land on my knees,
Pickin’ peas, land on my knees.

The little girl thinks she hears an echo, and stops singing.  She catches Rabbit and puts him in a box while she eats her peas.  But Rabbit makes such a ruckus inside the box, she asks him what is going on.  Rabbit explains that he wants to dance, and, since he is such a good dancer, she should take him out of the box to entertain her while she eats.

Rabbit dances and sings:

Pickin’ peas, land on my knees,
Pickin’ peas, land on my knees,
Heard my mama callin’ me,
Right over there!

Every time he sings “right over there,” he hops to the right, until he gets close enough to hop right out the window!  I told this story with a rabbit puppet and a flannel board with rows of felt pea pods to pick.  The puppet stage had a window cutout over the stage opening.  There was a low bench in front of the puppet stage, on which I put a coffeepot and some mixing bowls and dishes.  I moved from the flannel board pea patch to the kitchen as I told the tale, and, when Rabbit dives through the window, I let the momentum of his jump propel the glove puppet right off my hand and through the window (vanishing behind the puppet stage–a nice effect!).

Afterwards the kids made their own Rabbit masks, and then they had fun re-enacting the story with masks, puppets, felt peas, and window puppet stage set.

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