To Puppet or Not to Puppet


A book on how to make puppets

Sometimes when you are doing one thing, you get thrown something else that sends you off on a new adventure or project. This happened to me when I was presenting at the WIFYR, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference this year. Amy White met me at the door, helped me with my class and and took care of me. I got a chance to see her book, “ Dressing the Naked Hand” by Amy White, Mark H. Pulham & Dallin Blankenship. It was one of those books that you like the looks of, so you buy it and later on it sucks you into a project with both feet.



Hauling out the old Singer sewing machine

I have many different ideas blowing around in my head and when two of those ideas collide, look out. “Dressing the Naked Hand” tells you how to make puppets and that idea collided with our family camp out trip. Wouldn’t it be nice to make puppets for all the grandkids so they could finish putting on hair and clothes up at the cabin? It seemed like a fairly harmless idea to begin with. At some point you realize that you have 12 grandkids and it’s going to take a long time to make puppets and you only have so many days left before you leave for the family adventure. By this time your only choice is to buckle down and bring out your old sewing skills which have lain dormant since junior high home economics class where your teacher said to the whole class, “I don’t know how to grade Sherry because her work is exact but it takes her too long to do it.” You don’t have “too long to do it“ because you can’t give one grandkid a puppet while the next grandkid looks up at you with those big eyes and says, “But grandmother, where is my puppet?”


Puppet mania

You can get a lot of sewing done between 10 p.m. and midnight. My husband could hear raucous laughter coming from the kitchen. When you put eyes on those puppets they come to life. I was tending a three year old grandchild who was watching TV. I put a puppet on my hand and held it behind her right shoulder and in my best high puppet voice (which in retrospect might have been a bit creepy) said, “Hi, little girl.” She took one sideways glance, stiffened up, stood up, and looking straight ahead walked down to grandpa who couldn’t understand all the words but understood “Grandma, creepy, puppet.” Well now I only had 11 puppets to make.


The reward

It is fun to stuff twelve puppets in a box with blue hair, odd buttons and an assortment of clothes. It is even more fun to watch the creativity that occurs once the grandkids get their hands on the puppets. And the greatest of all joys is seeing a grandchild with one of your creepy little puppets on his hand and a smile on his face.

My sister said, “Oh how fun. I think I would like to do that.” I told her. “Great. It takes hardly any time at all. I’ll lend you the book.”

Above is the video of the finished project.


About Sherry Meidell

Sherry Meidell is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society Western Federation Watercolor Society and the Utah Watercolor Society. She loves to paint with watercolor whether she is painting pictures or illustrating children's picture books. She is a member of SCBWI. Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
This entry was posted in Art, making puppets, Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To Puppet or Not to Puppet

  1. Toni Ann Jewett says:

    Sherry – amazing. This idea is fantastic. I am just blown away by you. I knew I had a special friend growing up but the magnitude of you talent is fun to see and watch. 💖

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