Tips & Tricks
Storybook Character Costume Bookings - Updated 07/01/2006
E-mail received from Marian (the Librarian) Dewey at the Hometown
Omagosh!!! You'll never guess what happened!!! I was standing
in the library this morning and, of all people, "Winnie the
Pooh," walked up and politely asked the way to the children's
books. Next thing you know, "Miss Frissle" and "Liz"
will show up on the "Magic School Bus" looking for "Waldo."
I gotta cut back on the coffee!
Marian wasn't suffering from caffeine overdose when she sent this
e-mail. As it happened, someone at Hometown PL had the brilliant
idea to book "Pooh Bear" into the library to promote the
children's section. Kids and parents came from far and wide to
meet "Winnie" and the children's books flew from the
shelves like "Stellaluna" at sunset.
With a little planning (and a phone call or two) you can bring
these characters to your library by booking a literary
character costume. The costs vary from (almost) free to "not
very expensive" and the rewards can be immense. It's a great
way to bring your library to the attention of parents and kids
in your area and since the characters come as costumes only
(without operator inside) its a great way for a librarian or volunteer
to have a grand time "play-acting" as a popular character
for local children.
Tips & Tricks for Arranging Children's Literary
- Most costumes are provided free of charge by the publishers
for promotional use only. You pay the shipping, costs varying
according to shipperfigure about $10.- $120.
- Call for costume availability, some costumes are booked over
a year in advance.
- Book costumes from weekend to weekend, that way several area
libraries can share the shipping costs. $30 when split 3 ways.
More libraries even less!
- During the week the character could play "library ambassador"
and visit a several local schools.
- Just think how much use a local school district could get
in a week!
- Most suppliers are even willing to ship to one school/library
address, arrange for the pick-up at another address, and bill
a third address. Great if you have a inter-library loan truck,
school district truck. or friends.
- These shipping crates are big, about the size of a phone booth
- Try sharing with a local bookseller to host your character.
In some cases you will pick-up and have shipped out from your
library. One bookseller I interviewed said she would have no problem
sharing a costume during the one week visiting period. Some characters
are for TRADE ONLY, so you will need to network with a bookseller.
- The press LOVES a "hook!" Have a theme for the next
Friends of the Library Bargain Book Sale. A very special guest
on Saturday near the children's book table could be just the draw
for attracting younger buyers, potential new members and volunteers.
Promote in advance!
- Holiday Tea Time with Peter Rabbit or Winnie the Pooh or anytime!
- Summer Reading storybook characters to go with your theme.
- Friends and a special character could visit hospitals as "library
ambassadors" taking books for the children's library.
- Make a deal with the local shopping center or mall for a table
one weekend. Issue library cards for Library Card Month, National
Library Week, Children's Book Week. Get them to underwrite the
- Remember costumed characters may need a special assistant
to help handling groups, reading stories, help seeing little raised
hands and answering questions.
- An operator must have a capacity for pantomime as characters
don't talk and be a good "mover". A love of kids and
the knowledge to deal with them is also essential.
- Practice and experiment in front of a mirror in full costume.
If you want to engage someone else, watch them in action in costume
first to see if they know how to bring your character to life.
- If an amateur is unused to a heavy costume, he or she may have
to be reminded to "drink plenty of water". Which then creates another
problem. The costumed performers must be able to take breaks.
- Check with the publisher they may have activities event kits
and program materials. Some have goodies that you can print out
from their web site, ideas, recipes, songs and etc. You can get
this sent out at least a month in advance. Confirm quantities.
211 North Fifth Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Ask for KIm or Jay.
Costumes are provided free of charge by the publishers for promotional
use only. The only cost to you is shipping to send the costume
to its next event.
To schedule a costume, simply call COSTUME SPECIALISTS with an idea of what chatacters you prefer
on specfic dates. Typical reversations are Thursday to the following Monday. Longer reservations can
be arranged for multiple locations and special events when requested. Some costumes are booked over a year in advance so book early.
COSTUME SPECIALISTS has a huge computerize database and can tell
you where ANY literary costume is booked in the USA.. Publisher's
costumes currently available carried by COSTUME SPECIALISTS at
Librarians are invited to help celebrate WALDO's 10th Anniversary
by hosting a local WALDO Event. Candlewick Press will provide
a WALDO Event Kit, including a WALDO costume (returnable), tatoos,
bookmarks, figurine, coloring sheets, and planning tools. Call
to schedule a reservation.
Scholastic - Libraries
Use of Clifford is free. You pay for local dry cleaning and return
shipping via UPS. He's light so figure about $10 for the UPS charges.
Clifford & Berenstain Bears photos: Idaho State University Book Store
- Clifford, the Big Red Dog
Scholastic - Trade ONLY
Free to Bookstores ONLY with a Scholastic TRADE Account. You would
need to collaborate with a local bookshop. Ask about shipping charges.
The Traveling "The Magic School Bus" À
Broadway, New York, NY 10012-399
or call (212)-343-7573
- The Magic School Bus, Scholastic's The Magic School
Bus Live Hits the Road: Local itineraries for the traveling
"Magic School Bus", the traveling "Sound"
Show and "The Magic School Bus" Museum Exhibits can
be found directly at The Magic School Bus Fun Pce.
Information updated regularly.
Little, Brown and Company - Libraries
First come first serve. They have several Arthurs so he can make
the rounds. You may book up to 1 year in advance. Free you pay shipping.
Little, Brown and Company - Trade ONLY
- Arthur, Public Television's newest star! Special ARTHUR
events are in the works across the US. Find the city near you.
in a wide range of subject areas for use with second-grade students.
These activities can also be adapted for use with older and younger
children. Since a primary focus of ARTHUR is to encourage a love
of reading and writing, each activity includes a literacy component
and recommended readings that relate to the theme of the activity.
WGBH will post new four activities every other month from October
through June 1998, so be sure to check in again for more creative,
educational ideas that your children will enjoy.
- D. W. Arthur's Little Sister
- Glad Monster-Happy Monster, Ed Emberley's book about
feelings. This character has Velcro face features that can
Cat-alog: A fun selection of Dr. Seuss accessories
Call 24-hour toll free at 1(800) 541-8446 to order.
- BUY your very own costume of B>The Cat in the Hat from the Dr. Seuss Books: $39.95 each, plus $5.00 shipping and handling. Then Celebrate Read Across America.
Random House - TRADE ONLY
Nancy Storey, Costume rental coordiator
or contact your local sales rep
Mother Goose Society
Performers Contact Information: The best listing of Mother Goose Storytellers online.
photo: Idaho State University Book Store