Skip to main content

"A Soup Opera" by Jim Gill (with puppets)

If you have a group of children's librarians, and you ask them who their favorite musician for kids is... you're probably going to hear Jim Gill's name come up a lot. And for good reason! Jim's songs are interactive, which is the kids love and his voice is much more pleasant to adult ears than some other performers I won't name.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Jim perform live a few times in the Grand Rapids area and he always puts on a great show. One of the best parts is when performs his book A Soup Opera with puppets made from the illustrations in his book. I decided to make my own version using coloring pages I found on the Internet and paint stirrers.

The only tricky thing about this one is making sure the voices and puppets match gender-wise. I did drop The Mayor from my version because I don't think preschoolers really grasp the different between a mayor and the president and it also goes on a little long. This show is easy to put on by yourself. I copied Jim's idea and wrapped black paper around a cardboard box. Then I cut slits into it just big enough to stick the puppets in.

Don't know this book? Here's a video of Jim acting it out live.

This also makes a great play for kids to put on at school or if you do a theater club at your library, try this one out. Nobody will forget their lines! 


  1. I love his stuff (and have seen him perform it live). I am looking forward to doing it myself!

  2. This will make a very entertaining storytime!

  3. oh my gosh - LOVE this! I will need to practice - I want to do it. I have never seen Jim Gill perform. Wow, I want to. Thanks for the video and the idea. Fabulous!

  4. I am laughing so hard! That is a very fun way of doing this song. I will have to get the CD because I think this is a MUST-DO for me ~ live action! I have most of the props and costumes including the BIG pen. :)
    I think I'll use some grade schoolers as the characters. I have a number of older kids who attend storytime who would be perfect for a few of these characters. Lol!
    Thanks for sharing the video. It is awesome!
    ~ K ~

  5. Great use of the paint stirrers -- I bet those hold up much better than popsicle sticks!

  6. I recently discovered Jim Gill and am loving him! I do agree that he is palatable to ears of all ages. :)

    I can't wait to try this idea out!

  7. Someone just referred me to your post! Thanks for those kind words about my music..... and I'm so glad that you enjoy my book A SOUP OPERA enough to share it with folks during story time!

    You made my day!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Program Idea: Parachute Playtime

This summer I offered a parachute playtime for kids 2-3 and 4-5. The idea for this program came from the genius that is my close personal friend Miss Lisa, so make sure you stop by her blog to see what activities she includes in her parachute programs. In addition to her program, I also got ideas from Parachute Play by Liz and Dick Wilmes

I like to do a lot of nursery rhymes with the parachute for a few reasons:
Parents/kids are more likely to participate in activities where the content is already familiarI already know them so I don't have to learn a whole bunch of material at once (just being honest here)Easy for the families to replicate this activities at home with whatever props they might have. If they (or you!) don't have a parachute, a bed sheet or blanket can be substituted easily. Even a beach towel would work for one parent and one child to play together.  This is my mean reason and I tried to hammer this in at all three programs I did the past two weeks! Parachute …

"Sleeping Bunnies" on the Parachute!

Here's one of my favorite parachute activities! I actually mentioned it a few months ago when talking about my summer parachute playtime but it's become a storytime staple since. We've been doing this here at my 2 and 3 year old storytimes and it's a great activity that I thought deserved its own post. I learned the song "Sleeping Bunnies" from Mary and I had the idea to adapt it to a parachute activity.

We use the version from Kathy Reid-Naiman's Tickles and Tunes CD.

Here are the words:

Sleeping Bunnies
See the little bunnies sleeping til it's nearly noon. 
Come and let us gently wake them with a merry tune. 
Oh, how are still. 
Are they ill? 
Wake up soon. (Here I yell "WAKE UP BUNNIES!" and the kids shake the parachute.)

Hop, little bunnies, hop, hop hop! 
Hop, little bunnies, hop, hop hop! 
Hop, little bunnies, hop, hop hop! 

Then we say "good night" to the bunnies and repeat a few times.

Today's Flannel Friday is hosted by Cate! 

A Year's Worth of Library Display Ideas (part 1 of series)

One of my favorite things to do in my library is create displays. I thought it might be helpful if I shared the calendar that I drew up to make sure I don't miss any of the "must-do" displays. It is so helpful if you can take people over to a seasonal display versus trying to look up in the catalog or find Easter books or whatever. I hope this helps any new librarians who might be overwhelmed by the process of marketing your collection!

As a general rule, I tend to keep displays up for about 3-4 weeks or if I run out of books all together. One tip I'd recommend if you have the space for multiple displays is to change one display in each space every week and rotate around the youth department like that. For example, one week you put up a new picture books display, then nonfiction, then YA/teen, etc. Don't forget to raid your CD and DVD collections for a multi-category display.

A great resource for making display is Chase's Calendar of Events, which is a prett…