The Signal
Puppets Inspire Kids to Read More
July 26, 2006

Tammy Marashlian

Local youngsters packed into the Newhall Library on Tuesday to watch the live puppet show, "Rex and Boots Super Sleuths," and help solve the mystery of Lady Fromage's missing goldfish.

The show, put on by puppeteering company Swazzle, was written and performed by puppeteers Anita Coulter and Sean Johnson to coincide with the Newhall Library's summer reading program, "Claws, Paws, Scales and Tales."

Coulter and Johnson said their puppet shows are always popular with kids and they have performed at the Santa Clarita libraries numerous times.

Swazzle is on its summer library tour and is making stops at local libraries.

Today the puppeteers are scheduled to perform "B.A.R.K. The Robot Dog" at the Valencia Library, at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

On Thursday, they are set to perform "Rex and Boots Super Sleuths" at the Canyon Country Library, at 3:30 p.m.

Many parents in the audience think Swazzle's puppet shows are fun to watch.

Lori Rivas of Newhall brought her four kids: Gabe, 10, Nathan, 8, Belen, 5, and Eli, 2, to watch Rex Sleuth and his assistant, Boots, take down Sherman Sheepdog.

"They always do a good job with the scenery and puppets," Rivas said. "They are creative with their characters and always have an intriguing storyline. It's a very professional show."

Allison Leishman of Newhall brought her 5-year-old daughter Abby to the show.

"I could hear her laughing during the show," Leishman said.

Abby said she likes the characters because they are goofy.

Coulter said their shows are unique because the stage, props and puppets are handmade. They also perform live, so none of the shows are exactly the same.

Coulter and Johnson said their favorite part of putting on a puppet show is when the children laugh at their jokes.

"The most satisfying part is when the kids come up to me after and ask how I did it," Coulter said.

Because so many kids want to know how Coulter and Johnson work their puppetry magic, the team will give a behind-the-scenes look for the audience after each show.

Johnson said he hopes his shows encourage kids to put on their own puppet shows.

"I want to inspire them," he said.

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