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Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets…

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets

by Kathleen Krull

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This book completely surprised me. From the cover, I was expecting a more industrial, chronological approach and background into Jim Henson. What I discovered, was a brilliantly illustrated and concisely written tale of hopes and dreams. The question "what do you want to be when you grow up," has delighted many a school-aged reader and this book shows the power of persistence and dreams. Sesame Street has proven to be a quality source of education and reference for today's youth and this book is a great aid and contrast to television sesame street enjoyment.
  cpwpsu | Mar 16, 2014 |
This is an exceptional biography of an exceptional guy. I really enjoyed it as did my wife when I read it to her. It's thorough and beautiful, really a wonderful tribute to a truly visionary artist. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
Affectionate and appealing introduction to Henson's life for younger readers. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
A great biography of Jim Henson, inventor of the Muppets. I enjoyed his story and how it talks about where he started. I think students would enjoy this story because they would be familiar with the Muppets from movies and television shows. The students would be engaged in the story off of recognition. ( )
  TamaraSmith | Feb 28, 2013 |
This biographical picture book is best suited for elementary to middle school-aged readers, and serves as an excellent introduction to Jim Henson as a person and as a gifted puppeteer. His accomplishments would forever alter the previous boundaries and perspectives surrounding puppetry. While it is impossible for one picture book to effectively communicate that to young readers, this book takes great strides in doing so.

We learn that from an early age, Jim Henson relished performing before an audience. He would perform for family members in their backyard, and later made some of his first public appearances as that of Cub Scout. He later joined many school plays working both behind and on the set, and was enthralled by radio and television programs. It is revealed that a big early influence to Jim Henson were the works of L. Frank Baum, who created a world filled with details in his Oz series. The Wizard of Oz was the first movie Jim Henson ever saw, and remained his favorite throughout his life.

Jim Henson spent much of his boyhood writing poetry and drawing, but it was after the family purchased their first television set that his interests began shifting to puppetry. In high school, he and a friend got a job working with marionette puppets on a TV show. Once in college, he tried to please his father by taking science courses but art classes ultimately won out. It was in college that Henson got his first TV show, called Sam and Friends. It was during this time that Henson began instituting so many of the things that would change puppetry--instead of using simply wood, he began experimenting with a variety of fabric and materials. He also did away with a stage, as the TV screen now served as a stage.

While in college, Henson was conflicted about making a career from puppetry, but it was after traveling abroad that he came home reassured that he was doing the right thing. It was then that he formed Muppets, Inc. and married his sweetheart. Throughout the 60s, he delighted audiences with his Muppets, who would often have sketches preceding the Ed Sullivan show. It was in 1968 that Henson received the phone call that would change his life---a call from a TV producer who wished to make a show called Sesame Street, an educational program targeting preschoolers. This revolutionary show changed children's television, and became the most influential and longest-running program in history.

This book's illustrations are a bit abstract in the beginning, but by the middle and the end of the book, we see many characters that we recognize such as Kermit and Big Bird, in addition to other Sesame Street cast. All in all, the images nicely compliment the book. I would recommend this book to any artistically inclined young person, as it is reminder that there is a future to be found in the art, and there is hope for those who wish to spend their time pursuing creative endeavors as a career. ( )
  kimberlyhebert | Jan 28, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375857214, Hardcover)

Sesame Street and The Muppet Show introduced Jim Henson's Muppets to the world, making Kermit the Frog, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird household names. But even as a child in rural Mississippi, listening to the radio and putting on comedy shows for his family, Jim recognized the power of laughter to bring people together. On Sesame Street, Jim's Muppets transformed children's television by making learning fun for kids everywhere. A visionary, Jim always believed that puppets could reach a wider audience. In 1976, he proved it, drawing millions of family viewers to The Muppet Show. With his feature film The Dark Crystal and his Star Wars characters—including Yoda—Jim continued to push the boundaries of what was possible in puppetry until his death in 1990 at the age of 53.

Kathleen Krull, recipient of the Children's Book Guild 2011 Non-fiction Award and many other accolades, once again does what she does so well—illuminating the life of an important figure in history, art, and culture with her informative but approachable writing style.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:38 -0400)

Chronicles the life of Jim Henson, describing how he pushed the boundaries of entertainment and brought the art of puppets to a new level with the creation of his Muppets.

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