Saturday, May 11, 2013
On Thursday, the fourth graders (with whom Debra Frasier has been working since February) presented their premiere of "Dog Diaries." It was an incredible production featuring their cut-paper dog puppets acting in a makeshift theater frame, accompanied by several lines from the students' narratives and read in their expressive dog voices. Technical difficulties occurred multiple times during the filming as dogs streaked across the screen in pursuit of squirrels or as dogs congregated in a barking chorus on stage. The two classes in attendance loved the film, and the movie-makers beamed in pride.
The guest classes were especially interested in the process of creating these dog stories. The students began working with Debra several months ago. They first randomly selected a dog biography (retrieved for them from petfinder.com) and then used a mini-book called Spike's Friends (designed by Debra) to consider personality traits and determine the voices of their dogs. After numerous revisions and an experience with writer's craft groups to assist in those revisions, they began working with Debra again on the dog puppets (no writing utensils allowed!). The cut-paper dogs amazingly resemble their real dog photographs! All the puppets and stories are currently on display in the library and are a huge attraction to library visitors.
Each dog puppet, by the way, is mounted on a strong piece of electrical wire and attached with a small bungee cord to a can of dog food during its off-stage time. Debra's book, Spike: Ugliest Dog in the Universe, is scheduled for release on October 15, 2013.