Chomping at the bit
I was asked to write a blog about my experiences in virtually presenting Storytime, but I thought I would have the same views as any other Storytime presenter – we miss the kids, video editing and upload times are tedious, we miss the kids, sharp learning curves are fun and challenging, it’s too quiet in the library, and WE MISS THE KIDS!
So instead I thought I would interview my co-star, Mr. Chompy.
For those who don’t know, Mr. Chompy is a crocodile puppet who has been working with me for most of my seven years on the job. He was going to be a temporary inclusion for a storytime that included Crocodile Beat by Gail Jorgensen, but afterwards he just didn’t want to go back in his box. He has been a sassy part of storytime ever since, so I thought who better to interview on the changes to storytime? I asked the Eltham staff for some questions and below is the transcript of the interview.
We hope you enjoy!
Ros: Ok, Mr. Chompy, let’s start with an easy question. What is your favourite Storytime book at the moment?
Chompy: The Suitcase by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros. I like the strange creature and I am so glad he found new friends. We just read it this morning though, so maybe it’s my favourite because it is fresh in my memory. Let’s see… I also like Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli because it reminds me of my Uncle SharpTooth, and Boy by Phil Cummings because you use a little AUSLAN when you read it… and I like the sign for ‘dragon’.
Ros: Oh, I like those books too! Okay, how are you finding the changes to storytime for COVID-19?
Chompy: It is very quiet here. We do less storytime sessions now, and you are always working on your computer and muttering about programming and grants or listening to grownups talk – so I have a lot of time to read. Lately, I have been reading some grown-up books that I found in your in-tray.
Chompy: I’m learning about Egyptian Mythology right now.
Ros: I’ve been looking for that book!
Ros: Never mind – you finish it. I’ll get it off you later. Okay, next question: What did you do when the library staff had to work from home?
Chompy: Well, I had planned to stay at the Library — Crocodile puppets can’t catch COVID-19 you know — so I thought I would throw myself a little party, but then you invited me to stay with you. So, you helped me pack a suitcase and took me to your house. Then we came back, and you were very busy. And now we are back at your house again! It’s a lot of moving, but your house has a lot of other puppets and props, and your cat is very nice, we like to take naps in the sun on the couch together… I think he thinks I’m a cushion, though.
Ros: He might, he is blind, so he often doesn’t realise what he is snuggled up to.
Chompy: I liked it. He purrs a lot and his whiskers tickle my nose.
Ros: Now that we are filming storytimes by ourselves, how do you find performing to a camera?
Chompy: It was very strange at first. I am used to having kids to talk to, and occasionally they let me bite their fingers or give me pats, and it’s easier to talk to people when they are in front of you… but I think we’re getting the hang of it. The vegetable soup song is less interesting without the kids suggesting ingredients… kids always make better imaginary food. They’re like the Master Chefs of imagined cuisine.
I miss kids.
Ros: Me too. Okay, this last question has two parts, and it’s about me, so be nice. What’s your favourite part of working with Roslyn?
Chompy: You take good care of me. You take me home and wash me, so I am nice and clean, and always give me little pats. The best bit is when you take me around to see displays at the library… oh! Or when we go on outreach programs! I love the mobile Library!
Ros: And your least favourite?
Chompy: When you paint your nails, they’re less fun to nibble when we sing ‘Five Cheeky Monkeys’… they taste weird.
Ros: Well thanks for answering the questions, Mr. Chompy. It sure makes my blog post easier!
Chompy: That’s ok! Make sure that anyone reading it knows I say ‘hi!’ and that I miss them.
Ros: I will. I miss them too.
Roslyn Quin, Officer, Yarra Plenty Regional Library
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