I’ve a bit of a double treat for you on this week’s Ladybird Tuesday. As well as featuring Easy to make Puppets from series 633 I’m also going to be taking a look at How to make Puppets from the same series.
Easy to make puppets was first published in 1973 and as with so many of the books from the time it has a very early 70s look about it. How to make puppets then followed 1978 and was part of a second set of books from this series, which seemed designed to replace some of the earlier titles. Certainly, looking at the back cover, it’s as if the earlier titles in the series simply no longer exist. The first time I’ve seen them ignore previous titles and a shame in my eyes.
Series 633 according to the back cover of How to make Puppets (published 1978) …
… yet, series 633 according to the back cover of Easy to make Puppets (published 1973)
Looking through them I think all the projects are the same in the two books, but the order has been changed considerably. Both titles were written by Alan and Brenda Stockwell, who were the directors of The Stockwell Puppet Theatre, an educational project which visited primary schools around the country with a programme of dramatised folk tales. They also gave lectures and demonstrations on puppet making to teachers.
On the left Easy to Make Puppets version of the spoon puppet. On the right the How to make Puppets version.
In Easy to make Puppets all of the projects have been illustrated by Eric Winters in the traditional Ladybird style, but by 1978 the fashion was for photographs, so instead Marjory Purves was employed to make each of the puppets and photographs were taken. You can see that the original illustrations have been used as some sort of a guide for the finished puppets, yet they’ve also been brought a bit more up to date too.
After the instructions on making puppets each book ends with a section on making a stage for your puppets, scenery, props and acting out stories. This is where the two books diverge a bit. The older Easy to make Puppets just gives the reader some suggestions on the types of play that children might want to act out, whilst the more recent How to make Puppets actually has a short play written out which children can follow. I’m not sure which version of this I prefer. In a way it is nice to see children just inspired to use their imagination and come up with something themselves, yet on the flip-side I realise that not all children are as imaginative as others and having a bit of a prompt like this might help them along. It’s certainly interesting to see that with just 5 years between when the books were published they decided to make this change.
A couple of years ago Little Miss C and I actually used How to make Puppets to make a very simple elephant finger puppet which was a lovely project for a wet afternoon. My plan for this year was to use my Ladybird books more for craft projects and also some of the experiments that they include. Having to sort out lots of behind the scenes blog problems has set me back somewhat, but it’s still my aspiration for the year.
So which puppets do you fancy making with your children? And how resourceful can you find with things that you already have in the house?
If you have a collection of old Ladybird books then please feel free to join in with Ladybird Tuesday. There are no formal rules to follow, just leave a link to any post you write in the comments below and if you’re feeling kind link back to my Ladybird Tuesday category here on Being Mrs C. Thanks!