Noel MacNeal earlier this summer. I had heard about his puppetry work and new book from a comedic puppeteer and was excited to see his artistry in action! Meeting him reminded me that I had to check out his book 10-Minute Puppets. The book reads like the perfect guide for a boring, summer day or stuffy snow day. I could picture my mother using it with my sister and me on one of those occasions and helping us build a puppet theater and cast of characters for an after-dinner family performance.
I appreciate that the book opens with a section on which materials are needed. MacNeal repeats this practice for each puppet. It's always helpful for children (and adults) to have a clear idea of what will happen before starting the project. A novice cook would not make a recipe without the ingredients!
The book is organized into six chapters. Chapters 1 through 4 provide specific kinds of puppets (fingers, shadows, etc.), while 5 and 6 provide information on how to build a puppet theater and create your own puppet show. It's truly a one-stop shop! My favorite was Chapter 3: Cutouts and Shadows. Each example in this section could easily be imitated by a child. Overall, I think most of these projects require adult supervision and assistance. The shadow puppets, however, could be done by a child alone or with a friend.
Other favorite parts of the book include: the "Peekaboo Present" puppet (page 69), the large "Dinosaur" puppet (page 58), each project's "If You've Got More Time" section, and the "Puppet Parts and Templates" appendix, which will allow you to either trace, photocopy or color and cut right out of the book and onto your puppet! Brilliant! This book would be oodles of fun for kids of all ages. Under 6 may need adult assistance!
MacNeal is great fun to follow on Twitter @NoelMacNeal. You can buy the book here.