Folkmanis? Opossum

Ages: 3 and upManufacturer: Folkmanis, Inc.

How can such a creepy-looking animal be transformed into an enticing puppet? The Folkmanis staff did just that with this opossum toy, beginning with soft, luring fur and ending with a long, rat-like bare tail. Ample arm and finger pockets give puppeteers the choice of “talking” (with both a head and jaw opening) or walking (with the two front leg openings). The 18″ body extends to a full yard when the tail is stretched to its limit. Shiny eyes, tiny teeth, and realistic feet add to this animal’s intrigue, and its overall appeal inspires further science explorations.

The opossum’s hairless tail teases curious young minds, and folklore offers a variety of stories about why this is so. A brief Cherokee tale is provided on the puppet’s attached tag, and an abundance of additional science and story books can further enhance children’s interest. An example is James Connolly’s Why the Possum’s Tail Is Bare. This puppet can also help adults explain common expressions, such as “playing possum” or “grinning like a possum” through books such as Johnette Downing’s Why the Possum Has a Large Grin. With or without added books, this toy will generate hours of both fun and learning.

Dr. Flora Joy ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Flora has been described as a €œfounder” in the world of storytelling. The following are a few examples of programs or events that she began: (1) Storytelling World, an international journal for which Flora has continued to serve as editor since its first issue in the 1980s. This journal is currently part of NSN’s Storytelling Magazine. (2) The Annual Storytelling Resource Awards Program, (3) The National Storytelling Youth Olympics, and (4) The Master’s Degree Program in Storytelling at ETSU (where she taught for 41 years and is currently a Professor Emeritus). She has won many prestigious awards, including NSN’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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