I Am Jim Hensen -- Book Review & Muppet Crafts & Activities

Disclosure: Penguin Kids  gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review in return for an honest review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

As a child of the 1970s and 1980s I grew up with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and loved them. Of course back then Sesame Street was very different. There was no Elmo or Abby. Everyone in our family had a favorite character. My oldest sister loved Kermit, my middle sister loved Oscar the Grouch and I loved Cookie Monster. I remember at one point saving my money to buy a new album. I was going to get the newest Shaun Cassidy (it was the 70s after all) and instead bought C Is for Cookie from Cookie Monster. I sang those songs all the time except I did sometimes change the title to C is for Carrie. My sister who also loved Shaun Cassidy thought I made a bad choice, but I loved my album. 

Fast forward to having Hazel and watching her grow up. Now when she was young we did not allow her to watch television. However she somehow fell in love with Elmo. When it came time to potty training she chose an Elmo potty. She had not watched Sesame Street yet. She wanted Elmo everything and I even took her to see Elmo a couple of times, but she was a bit scared of the adult size Elmo. She has outgrown Elmo however she will not let us giveaway her Elmo stuffed animals. 

Needless to say we are rather excited to share with you the newest addition to Brad Meltzer's Ordinary People Change the World Series. We have been lucky enough to read all of the series. Hazel LOVES these books. The newest one is I Am Jim Hensen. Thus why I took you on memory lane with me.

 This book brought me right back to my childhood. I remembered how much I loved watching Jim Hensen's muppets on both favorite shows. Did you know he was eighteen when he created his first Kermit? Jim Hensen loved to entertain people and did this with his amazing creativity in puppetry. He brought his muppets alive and then the opportunity for Sesame Street came. It took the muppets and combined with diverse people to teach kids about life and how to read. It aimed to help kids in families without a lot of resources. In a time of racial change it was one of the first shows that showed multicultural people (and muppets) living together in harmony.

 Like in all of the books in this series, Meltzer brings this wonderful man and his life's work alive again. It is told in first person and shares fun facts and true stories from Jim Hensen's life. It shows his persistence and desire to entertain and teach. Christopher Eliopoulos, the series illustrator, does a great job of representing the various characters from Sesame Street and the Muppet Show. This is a fun book that brings so many amazing memories from my childhood and Hazel's alive when we read it.
We highly recommend this book as well as all the books in the series. Hazel is always so excited to see a book from this series. She pulls them out all the time to reread them over and over. I love how they introduce her to some people she may not know about otherwise as well as some really famous historical people.

To go with this book I asked my fellow Kid Blogger Network bloggers for some crafts, activities, etc. with a Sesame Street or Muppet Show theme. I only got a few responses, but here they are. I will say that I have always loved how easy it was to draw Elmo and the other monsters from Sesame Street. I think that is part of the appeal to these friendly monsters.

The top two are where Lalymom shares her Monster Munch Fine Motor Game for Kids and the bottom left one is School Time Snippets E is for Elmo Craft. The bottom right is a collage from a first birthday party for a friend's son with many Sesame Street crafts, decorations and snacks.

I hope you will check out this great book and renew a love of muppets and Jim Hensen's work. Also please share any Muppet Show or Sesame Street crafts, activities, snacks that you have.