Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets

by Kathleen Krull, Steve Johnson, Lou Fancher
     
 

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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,

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For their third picture-book biography, Krull, Johnson, and Fancher offer an inspiring and timely portrait of the late Henson. The book covers Henson's upbringing, experimentation with and study of puppetry, and the creation and success of his beloved Muppets on TV and on the big screen (where they will return in November for the first time since 1999). Johnson and Fancher's paintings exude a warm, nostalgic glow as they show the early roots of Henson's creativity and behind-the-scenes images of him at work. While Krull acknowledges that many, including Henson, had doubts that "a grown man playing with puppets" could be successful, his creative legacy speaks for itself. Ages 5–7. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Susan Borges
In this engaging biography about Jim Henson young readers will discover how a person who wants to make a difference in this world can do so through hard work and determination. Jim Henson made a difference because he loved puppets and he wanted his puppets to make people happy. The text clearly states over and over again that Henson's passion to make people happy and his undying love of puppets and puppetry remained constant throughout his life and inspired him to do great things. The first page of this book is a close-up photograph of Jim Henson with the caption: "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world." The clearly written and well organized text will help readers understand the important cultural and geographic influences in Henson's life as they read about his childhood, education, and family. Wonderful illustrations on each page add to the interest and understanding of the story, such as the pictures of the family's vintage car and the family's television set. Young readers will identify with this inspiring biography of Jim Henson because they will be interested in the puppets he created such as Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Big Bird, and they will be inspired by Henson's passion for life and desire to make a difference. Reviewer: Susan Borges
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—This easy-to-read biography of the master muppeteer hits the highlights of Henson's life and shows how he pursued his personal goal "to be one of the people who made a difference in this world." Years before the world knew about Kermit and friends, young Henson was already filling notebooks with drawings of imaginative creatures and trading stories with his grandmother. Later came local plays and shows, and, at age 16, a job on a TV show working with marionettes. His love of puppets continued, leading to Sam and Friends, a five-minute comedy in the Washington, D.C., area. His biggest break, of course, came in 1968 with the launching of Children's Television Workshop and Sesame Street. Johnson and Fancher have filled this picture book with warm and loving watercolor illustrations on each page. A fine introduction to one of the most creative artists of the last century.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375857218
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
08/23/2011
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

KATHLEEN KRULL—winner of the 2010 Eureka! Children's Nonfiction Award Silver Honor—is perhaps best known as a writer of richly entertaining biographies for children, such as FDR and The Boy Who Invented TV. Her Lives of series, which includes Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought), has been hugely popular with readers of all ages. Kathleen lives with her husband, children's illustrator Paul Brewer, in San Diego, California.

STEVE JOHNSON and LOU FANCHER, a husband-and-wife team, are the illustrators of The Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull, My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, and New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne. I Walk At Night was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. Visit www.johnsonandfancher.com.

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