Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Behind the Scenes in Storybook Land

Tonight our local public library family storytime featured stories about Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester with a special guest appearance by Tacky! Preschoolers, moms, dads, babes in arms, grandmas, grandpas, sisters--all wanted to meet Tacky.

You have probably seen costumed characters, but do you know what goes on behind the scenes? I got to help "Tacky" dress, another talent to add to my resume. Tacky and I were in the tiny supply room, maneuvering among the costume parts. The main body is attached to something like a hula hoop. Over that went Tacky's clothes--a flowery pinafore-like thing with a purple bow in front. To tell the truth, since the snaps and hooks were on the same side as the bow, we started out with that in back, but corrected it. The bow and snaps go in front! Next came the black, furry flippers that velcroed into the pinafore arms. Tacky & I got close & comfortable during these steps! Then Tacky stepped into her webbed feet, one at a time. It didn't work. Then I noticed that inside the foot was an actual laced shoe with a toggle closure. On the second try, we got it right and secured the feet to the costume with velcro. (This was industrial strength velcro, too!) Finally, the head. We wanted to wait until the last minute so Tacky wouldn't get claustrophobic or have heat stroke. These costumes are hot! At the end of the storytime story, I led Tacky out to greet the kids. She waved and waddled over to her chair, where she received hand/flippershakes, hugs, and stares. No child was afraid of Tacky, as sometimes happens with costumed characters. They took turns and stood in amazement at the creature before them. About that time, I realized that the piece on the back of the head should have been tucked UNDER the pinafore. The kids didn't notice, so all was well. But maybe I shouldn't put costumed character dressing on my resume after all.

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