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.
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.