for Ashley Bryan's Puppets
by Ashley Bryan
The boundless creativity of artist Ashley Bryan extends to puppets he constructs from found objects. “These treasures, Washed in from the sea, Are cast-off challenges to me. I cannot rest till I create. A life that we may celebrate.” And here are more than twenty-five lives created from bone and wood and pieces of glass, fabric scraps and beads, shells and other baubles and bits. The puppets have distinct personalities, with stories and voices articulated in poems that speak to their history and purpose and the things from which they are made. Bryan references The Book of African Names as a place to turn to give names to puppets readers might make themselves. Readers are also invited to write poems for three puppets pictured that are voiceless in this volume, and to find the three puppets that “snuck into the book” without being included in the photographs showing the puppets in groups. Poet Nikki Giovanni offers a tribute to Bryan in an afterword, and also a poem for the puppet Wambui (“Singer of Songs”) that he created for her. (Age 7 and older)
CCBC Choices 2015. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015. Used with permission.