Last week I reviewed Wiggle and Waggle by Caroline Arnold, illustrated by Mary Peterson (2007, Charlesbridge, 48 pp, ages 4-8). In a nutshell, this is a picture book/early reader that tells of the simple doings/diggings of two worms (the eponymous Wiggle and Waggle), in 5 well-illustrated chapters. Here's the full review.
I have now read this book 16 times to my 4 year old. We have also stagged a Wiggle and Waggle puppet show.
Wiggle and Waggle makes a darn good puppet show for the very young. This occurred to me the first time I read it; I then found out that Charlesbridge had the same idea here at their Wiggle and Waggle activities page.
For one thing, it is very easy and fun to make worm puppets out of construction paper glued to popsicle sticks. Wiggle and Waggle are more "earth toned" than most new construction paper, but we have so many old old old pieces around that have faded that we were able to find colors that worked. But for those who want the real Wiggle and Waggle, not home-made approximations, Charlesbridge has cut-outable pictures.
There are only two characters, which cuts down on the chaos factor considerably. Wiggle and Waggle sing, and, speaking from experience, the Wiggle and Waggle song is easily memorized (there's a tune provided online, but I find it easier just to fit the words to whatever tune comes into my head). The plots of the Wiggle and Waggle stories are very simple (and plot takes a backseat to performance anyway, in a show like this. We did a lot of singing the Wiggle and Waggle song, less re-enactment of the story lines). And finally, after hearing the book over 20 times in a week (16 + however many times my husband has read it), there is a good chance that both child and adult will have memorized the dialogue (or you can just sing).
I am tempted to make more worms (so easy to do)--Squiggle and Squaggle (not in the book) can come over to play. I am also tempted to add zing to our show by making alternate W. and W.'s --Full Tummied version, for after the picnic, and Muddy version.
Or perhaps we can just go visit the compost pile, and find some worms to train for the live action version, and I can write about it as a submission to the Learning in the Great Outdoors blog carnival.
I'm submitting this one to The Play's the Thing, the July 2007 Carnival of Children's Literature, over at Saints and Spinners.