Or, “Does this look like a Rottweiler?”
You’ve heard of Zazzle and Etsy stores, right? Well, I used to dream of having an online business in which I would sell finger puppets and other handcrafts. It was going to be called “Debra Kay’s Online Finger Puppet Emporium.” When I was in my early 20s, I made teddy bears and other stuffed animals and sold them at local craft faires, and I loved it. It was so much fun to sit outside with other crafters and watch people look at my work, even if they didn’t buy anything. Then when I started teaching middle school, it occured to me to crochet finger puppets and use them for prizes in my classroom.I quickly discovered that even the shyest English learner would read aloud for a finger puppet. The Spanish classes would focus better on class activities if finger puppets were in the prize box. It surprised me how many students, even those I didn’t know, would come to my classroom and ask if I would make them a specific animal. I couldn’t say no…in the age of “No Child Left Behind” my motto was “No Child Left Without a Finger Puppet”! Over the years I was asked for a wide array of animals, some of which presented more of a challenge than others. The first “challenge” that stands out in my mind was when a boy asked for a Rottweiler. (And of all things I don’t seem to have a picture of that one!) After working on a variation of my usual dog puppet for the longest time, I asked Mark if it looked like a Rottweiler. I don’t remember if he said yes or no, but those of you who knew him know that he would often tell me: “Half the fun in life is teasing you!” So of course after that everything I made “looked like a Rottweiler”.Does this look like a Rottweiler?
When I would tell him about my dream of having my own online finger puppet store, he, being the practical one (at least in this case) would say “What if someone orders a hundred finger puppets? You’ll never keep up!” He also said it wouldn’t be cost effective because of the time it took to make them compared to the price you could actually sell them for. Inwardly I knew he was right, but it was always fun to talk about.Snake or Rottweiler? You decide.
Puppets in the classroom. Some of the girls even made clothes for their puppets!
I received as many puppet requests from boys as I did from girls. One year I kept track of the names of the students and what animals I made for them. The total was nearly 100 by the end of the year!Behind this vertically-striped tiger you can see a monkey, a wolf, a penguin and a koala bear. Let me know if you see any Rottweilers!The toucan was a bit of a challenge but I liked the way it came out.Looking up something in the back of the Spanish book!Panda close-up. Check out one of my very first posts, “Padas and Penguins” for more panda-related art.So there you have it! In case I ever do make a hundred more puppets, you might see a post on this blog where you can buy one online!
Just don’t ask for a Rottweiler, okay?