The Puppet Show
Johnny, 5, brought his notepad and pen for the case he was investigating about the missing man. He sat across from J.J., Richie and me.
As the frog puppets came out and sang "At the Hop," the other kids at the show bobbed their heads or stood up and danced. Johnny jotted down a few notes and rolled his eyes as if to say, "I can't believe I'm stuck working this case during a puppet show."
For J.J., the show was watching the kids. He sat with his back to the puppet show and clapped. It really was a good show. When the ballerina puppet swung through the air on a trapeze, the girls in the audience turned their heads back and forth as if watching a tennis match that they were starring in. The boys watched wide eyed when a skeleton puppet came out. Even Johnny paused his search for crucial evidence for a minute.
But what really brought down the house was the bunny rabbit puppet. As the song from Fletch played, the bunny pulled scarves out of a hat, sometimes getting tangled up in them. You'd expect the 2 and 3 year olds to think this was funny. But 6 and 7 year olds were throwing their heads back and laughing like hyenas. Meanwhile, they inched closer to the stage as the skit reached its surprise ending. The rabbit pulled a carrot out of the hat. Of course, that brought down the house.
When a little puppy puppet came out, all bets were off. The kids kneeled around the stage and the puppeteers came out to tell them to scoot back, sit on their bottoms, back away from the stage lights, etc. The kids took a step back. A few parents beckoned their kids back to their laps. Then, as if to taunt the children, the puppeteers brought out three poodle puppets.
That was it. Even J.J. crawled closer to the show, finally realizing what the kids were staring at in the first place. Johnny forgot his notebook and kneeled to watch the poodles do the can-can. Richie sat on my lap, mesmerized the whole time.
It's good to see that in the age of T.V. kids still like puppet shows. But the best show is seeing them laugh and dance along. T.V. shows spend a lot of money and make a lot of money amusing kids. But it turns out they'd rather see a rabbit pull a carrot out of a hat.