Craft Book Review & Blog Hop: Puppet Play by Diane Schoenbrun


Remember a few months ago when I reviewed “Beasties” by Diane Schoenbrun? Well, I enjoyed that first book enough to join up for a craft-blog-hop for her new one, “Puppet Play.”

Like Beasties, this book features creatures you can make from things you have on hand (mostly.) Dishcloths, socks, cans and even legwarmers (ok, I don’t have those on hand) can be transformed into fun puppets that you and your favorite kiddo can make and customize together.

The book is filled with cute puppets, complete with a back-story for each. The projects are also divided up by level of difficulty- so I chose to start with “Superhero Monkey” which is both super-cute AND a level one project!

The directions are clear & you get lots of suggestions for making it the puppets your own.

The first thing you have to do is go make a copy of the patterns. If you don’t have a scanner/copier at home, this is the most tedious step. (I really wish that there were patterns to cut up in the back of the book, or a DVD with ones to print out, because I hate going to the copy shop.) But once I got over that one, small hurdle, I came home, found a wayward sock and some stray felt, and got going.

The instructions were really simple on this  one- there is actually only minimal stitching on the ears and the nose, and arms. You actually just glue on a lot of the pieces- and if you’re like me, you’ll glue a little more than you’ll sew!

I used black glitter-glue for the eyes.

I also didn’t have rubber washers lying around- so I made the eyes with some glitter glue I had. I think that was a reasonably cute substitution!

Now, the only problem I had with the instructions for this on was exactly were and how to place the chin. There aren’t any pictures showing you how the chin looks or any diagrams showing you. So I had to wing it there.

Uh-Oh! My Monkey has a "bald spot!"

I made him a toupee.

Super-hero cape.

Overall, though, I think my Superhero Monkey turned out OK- and I think my nephew might have some fun with him!

Ready for playtime!


The second pattern I tried as the Two-Faced Fish. The directions call for using 2 washcloths, so to me this was screaming “Bath Mitt!!!”

Now, I don’t have two pretty-colored washcloth, but I do have a very colorful old towel. This pattern has pieces that need to be enlarged 200%. This required larger paper- 11X17- so I HAD to go to the copy shop. Meh. But after this little chore, I proceeded to whip out Mr. Fishy in about an hour. No kidding!

I did take a few shortcuts. One, I used my die-cutting machine to cut out the circles for eyes. Second, I omitted the teeth- just because I was in a time crunch. Third, I machine sewed it all.

I used my Cuttlebug & Nestabilities dies to cut the eyes. I'm horrible with scissors!

I machine-sewed it so I would be more durable for bath-time.

So here is another little (honest and well-intentioned) criticism- there aren’t additional/alternate instructions for 1-sided fabrics or machine sewing. For example, because I was using a printed beach towel, I had to reverse one of the pattern pieces. Also, because Diane’s recipe is for whip-stitching it (which is hard for me to do with my hand fatigue) the patterns don’t come with a seam allowance. That would have been nice to include. Just sayin’.


However, I put together Mr. Fishy pretty quickly, and I thing that he’ll be an awesome tub-time toy! (Another reason for my choice to machine-sew.) As Diane says in the book,

“A machine did not manufacture your puppet, so do not machine wash. Your puppet was made by hand, so wash it by hand.”

Very wise…but I want to be able to throw Mr. Fishy into the machine with the towels! This is something to note- if you are making puppets for small kids and they might get really, nasty-dirty, you might want to sew everything with your machine and do less sewing- so that you CAN toss it into the wash.

His back fin is a little floppy- I might sew in a pipecleaner to help it keep it's shape.

So, this book was LOTS of fun- and I think I just might encourage my kids to browse the book and make their own puppets on a rainy day.

Now, you’ve read what I think, but this IS a blog hop and I encourage you to read what the other bloggers/crafters/mammas are saying.

Other destinations on the tour include:

May 2nd-luvinthemommyhood,
May 3rd-Oh My! Handmade,
May 4th-Craft Sanity,>
May 5th-Sew Mama Sew,
May 6th-Little Birdie Secrets,
May 7th-This Mama Makes Stuff,
May 8th-Roots and Wings,
May 9th-Whip UP, <
May 10th-Fiskateers,
May 11th-Zakkalife,
May 12th-Prudent Baby
May 13th-Make + Do,
May 15th-Cute Everything,
May 16th-Schmancy,
May 17th-Progressive Pioneer,
May 18th-Pink and Green Mama,
May 19th-Arrow Cabinets,
May 20th-The Happy Honeybee,
May 21st-Craft Gossip,

Thanks so much! If you’d like to win a copy of this book to try out yourself, just leave a comment on this post telling us who you’d make puppets for! I’ll draw a winner on Friday, May 20,2011, around 9:00 AM EDT. Good luck, and a big thank you to the folks at Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, for providing the book for me to review, including me on the blog hop, and supplying the book to the winner! (Yes, I’m winking at YOU, Shelly!)



About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.


  1. Deb White says

    Oh my- I would love to win a copy of this. I would make puppets for my class, actually. I am a teacher, and this year, I have had a lot of troubled kids in the group who either have been bullies, or have been the victims of bullies. I think a little bit of role playing with puppets might be just the thing they need!

  2. jengd says

    It would likely all be for my son though I love that he may be able to make his own with some assistance one day soon- great rainy day project.

  3. says

    I would love to win this book! I teach kindergarten during the school year and nanny in the summer, so this would be a great resource for activities to do with the kids I work with. Thanks for the chance to win!

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