Noel and Mattie pose with a larger-than-life cover of 10-Minute Puppets!
Nothing but the brightest colors for this emerging butterfly!
Busy puppeteers in craft mode.
"I am the cutest paper bag puppet ever to have pink eyebrows!"
Two sisters demonstrate that butterflies and elephants can be the best of friends.
In the penultimate Author Spotlight from Maker Faire, we introduce to you 10-Minute Puppet author Noel MacNeal, who was in the house… err, tent… making paper bag puppets and more. (You may not know his face, but if you could hear his voice, you might recognize him as the lovable Bear from Disney’s Bear in the Big Blue House or perhaps Mommy Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street or Kako on Nick Jr.’s Oobi.) And though Noel has rubbed elbows with some impressive puppets (and their puppeteers), his favorite budding puppeteer may be his son Mattie, who assisted him at Maker Faire. (Not the first father-son duo to grace the workshop table at Camp Make!)
10-Minute Puppets, as you might guess, is a book full of enchanting puppets that can be made in just ten minutes! (Bet you didn’t see that coming.) There’s a fierce dinosaur made from a cardboard box, a sock donkey with buck teeth, a dog inspired by Shari Lewis’s beloved Hush Puppy… and more. The idea is that the nearly instant puppets can bail you out whenever and wherever you find yourself with a bored kid: At the restaurant, transform a cloth napkin into a bunny or a ghost. When you’re waiting in line at the bank, turn the deposit envelope into a bird. Or keep a marker in your pocket to make Handford puppet the next time your flight is delayed!
Would-be puppeteers gathered around Camp Make to color, cut out, and glue to their hearts’ desire. Kids with less time could take home a Little Pachyderm puppet, already complete–just add imagination! Ready-to-color templates (included in the book) plus some chopsticks and tape ensured that a rabble of Flutter by, Butterflies emerged from their paper cocoons. And the templates for eyes and tongues (also included) ensured that every paper bag puppet on the premises was appropriately monster-fied.
“Children will love it!” (so predicted Caroll Spinney, puppeteer for Sesame Street’s friendly, yellow Big Bird). As you can see from the photos, he wasn’t wrong–kids at Maker Faire did indeed enjoy making and playing with their new friends from Noel’s book.
PS: If you happen to be attending New York’s Comic Con this weekend, Noel will be there in conjunction with the ToonSeum as part of a panel of notable children’s television characters and puppeteers, to share a rare behind-the-scenes look at the history of your favorite shows. Noel will be signing a limited number of advance copies of his book, too!