Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ashley Bryan's Puppets by Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan's Puppets: making something from everything by Ashley Bryan. Photographed by Ken Hannon. 80 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, July 2014. 9781442487284. (Purchased)

This book is a photo essay in poems and it's simply gorgeous.  Renowned author, illustrator, poet, and now, puppet maker, Ashley Bryan created a tribe of puppets made of objects found while walking the shores of his beloved Cranberry Isles island of Islesford.

Bryan has created more than thirty unique puppets, named them with African names and imbued them with distinct voices and personalities through poems. One of my favorites is Jojo, the storyteller. Her adorable face is fashioned out of a battered knit glove, mismatched button eyes and a marrow bone for a mouth that gives her either a perpetually surprised expression or the impression that she's always talking. Apt.

The book is a feast for the eyes, brimming with joy and possibility. I have already told the art teacher I have a perfect resource for her unit on found art. This book should serve as a source of inspiration. LA teachers will have much to mine here as well.

I must admit that I possess no objectivity when it comes to Mr. Bryan. I am a long-time fan of his. The Cat's Purr is one of my all-time favorites and sadly, no longer available in hard cover. If you ever get the chance to hear this humble, joyous and vibrant man speak, do please. 

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