PUPPETEER by Kathryn Lasky


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Lasky, who evinced rapport with homier crafts and practitioners in A Gift of Wool and Sugaring Time, shows a little more strain here: She never brings us very close to her puppeteer subject, 50-some-year-old Paul Vincent Davis of Boston's Puppet Show Place; and she tends to play up his profession, repeating the words ""magic"" and ""magical,"" rather than allow whatever magic inheres in the material to present itself. Nevertheless, there's much interest in this photo-chronicle of Paul's preparation for his one-man production of the Aladdin story. Readers see Paul solving a logistics problem by making the animals and background characters out of jigsaw-cut ""fiats,"" devising a puppet that can change onstage from a dwarf to a tall magician, and sculpting and casting heads for the puppets. Lasky also makes clear the work and adjustments required of a successful performer. Paul's first run-through is ""not great"" and his dress rehearsal is a disaster, but the opening is splendid. Lasky does an effective job of meting out bits of the story and dialogue without subjecting readers to a chunk of text. As for the illustrations, Knight's excellent black-and-white photos highlight telling moments of the preparation and convey a sense of the project's progress and fruition.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1985
Publisher: Macmillan