The Sault Ste. Marie Public Library released to their YouTube channel on Dec. 16 a Christmas-themed puppet show. The video depicts a mouse called Ginger reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to Library mascot Bookie Monster.
Voices and puppeteering were done by Sault Public Library Children’s Clerk Meredith Bone. Daniel Lance did the lighting, camera and sound work. He is a Toronto Film School graduate and an intern at the Library.
As the storytelling goes on, Bookie interrupts the story. He has a hard time understanding figurative language or why the book needs to rhyme. Ginger tries to explain that it makes the story more poetic but they have a hard time getting through to him.
The seven-minute show offers whimsical dialogue that pokes fun at the idea of teaching poetry for poetry’s sake:
Ginger: ‘Away to the window I flew like a flash/Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash’
Bookie: No wonder you threw up. You shoulda known you’d get sick if you ate a scarf
Ginger: I didn’t eat a scarf [laughs]. The sash is part of the window; I was just telling you that I opened the window.
Bookie: Why didn’t you just say, “I opened the window”?
Ginger: Because that doesn’t rhyme. It isn’t poetic.
“Bookie is great at representing what a small child might be thinking when hearing some of the old-fashioned terms and figurative language used in the poem,” said Bone in an interview with SooToday. “Adults can relate to the frustration of Ginger and both kids and adults can appreciate the humour of their conversation.”
The video was filmed at the James L. McIntyre Centennial branch of the Public Library.
Bone and Lance filmed the show after setting up the lights, cameras and microphone. “We did a test run to see how to best position the puppets, and then did two takes of the play itself.
“We then recorded audio of myself reading through the play again.”
Due to social distancing norms, filming was harder than usual.
“We can only fit one person behind the puppet stage, so it has to be a one-person show,” she said.
Bone reminds Saultites that “the Library has several copies of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas if kids and their grownups would like to read it together!”The Public Library also released a video on homemade New Year’s Eve crafts and snacks.