Now that kids know how to use a touch screen by three months of age, you might think puppet shows old fashioned. Retro, at best. The littles have been enjoying the Phoenix Public Library Summer Program, and yesterday's event was a puppet show put on by the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. To be honest, I wasn't too excited about it, so I planned to read during the performance. And...the littles debated about whether or not to go. A puppet show? Off we went, despite our reservations.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the puppet show was "Jeremy Jackrabbit Recycles the Can," based on the Jeremy Jackrabbit book that Porter brought home from school a couple of weeks before summer's onset. He was super excited when he got to keep a copy of the book and rambled on and on about how the story was great and how the girl who illustrated it was just a kid, and she came to his class to read the book. I pretty much thought he had his story mixed up, but then I did a bit of research.
Jeremy Jackrabbit Recycles the Can was written by Sasha and Rodney Glassman of Phoenix and illustrated by student artists of Phoenix, all from local elementary schools. One of the illustrators was from Porter's school, so she did, indeed, read the book to the class. Duh, mommy. The authors sound pretty amazing, as noted on the back of the book:
Sasha and Rodney have a passion for education, helping children, and making their community a stronger and more sustainable place to live, work, and raise a family. With these goals in mind, their vision of writing children's books, illustrated by students, to educate future generations on issues of sustainability was born.
Jeremy Jackrabbit's adventures center around a lesson in reducing, reusing, and recycling. He meets lots of animal friends along the way, and together, they preach a message of sustainability that is fun for kids. The story is simple, yet the message is clear, and children really enjoy the peer-created illustrations, which I believe support an "I can do it" spirit.
The Great Arizona Puppet Theater (Sasha Glassman serves on the board) has brought a current theme to the old fashioned puppet show, and the audience yesterday was delighted. Jeremy Jackrabbit and his friends interacted with the kids, and the crowd went wild. Heck, even I put down my book to take a quick, possibly unauthorized video of Mountain Lion Michael's song.
Michael's voice could be considered irritating by many, but the kids loved that shit. And I have to hand it to the puppeteer, who gave irritating voices to multiple characters simultaneously and singlehandedly. She was a true professional in her craft.
I must apologize for the odd angle of the video. As delightful as librarians can be, there is one who takes her job–puppet show security–quite seriously, as if expecting a mosh pit to erupt at any moment. I was able to capture this behind-the-scenes footage by hiding behind a pirate ship set so said librarian couldn't see me. Outlaw at the puppet show–that's me
In multiple formats, Jeremy Jackrabbit has hippity-hopped into our lives and is having a positive influence on the children in our community, preaching a valuable lesson in sustainability. He's captured our attention, and I love it! Now I wonder if the puppets are made of recycled materials...