I’m having tons of fun this summer making enlarged props for outside storytime! Some of my favorite flannel stories adapt so well to the giant foam board – like the story of The Great Big Carrot:
Photograph: A rabbit puppet attempts to pull a posterboard carrot out of the ground (a brown felt pocket).
If you’re unfamiliar with this story, it’s very similar to the Russian folktale “The Enormous Turnip.” A bunny comes across a great big carrot in the garden and can’t get it out of the ground. Several animals come along and lend their strength to the task, but none can get that carrot to budge… until a small snail enters the scene! This folk tale emphasizes the importance of collaboration and strength in numbers. I first encountered this version in Judy Sierra’s Flannel Board Storytelling Book.
I like to set the stage when I tell this tale with a little guided visualization and mindful breathing. I encourage the audience to close their eyes and imagine the beautiful day in the garden: the sun shining, the gentle breeze blowing, the scent of fresh flowers. We take some bunny breaths (3 quick sniffs in the nose and one long exhale out the nose)… until finally we smell the best scent in the world: garden grown carrots!
Fortunately, I had several staff and volunteers helping during outside storytime when I told this tale. Our puppet cast of characters included: the rabbit; a squirrel; a turtle; an elephant (I ask the audience to suggest the biggest animal they can think of and it’s usually an elephant); and a mouse (I didn’t have a snail puppet). We had quite the chain going as they held onto each others’ tails trying to PULL and PULL that carrot out of the ground!
To make this prop story, I painted a garden background onto the foam board, sprayed it with Mod Podge spray, then attached a large brown felt pocket with hot glue. The orange carrot is made out of laminated posterboard.
This fun flannel goes great with the Tails and Tales Summer Reading Theme! Are you a CSLP Library, or do you do your own theme? Either way, I hope you’ll take up your scissors and craft with Flannel Friday all summer long during Flannel Friday’s #FFSummerReading21 Round Up!