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Poulami Kundu
Date of Publish: 2017-10-11

Book Review

Puppetry as a tool for Communication for Development


PUPPETS FOR C4D (September, 2016). Authors: Bharati Bharali and Sayanika Dutta. Communication for Development Section, UNICEF, Assam, India and Department of Communication and Journalism, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. Pp. 45.


The book under review deals comprehensively with one of the oldest form of performing arts, puppetry as a tool for Communication for Development (C4D). The book provides a step-by-step guide for making glove or hand puppets and performing puppet shows.

The book is divided into nine chapters. The first chapter introduces the whole idea of using puppetry (glove/hand) as an effective tool for Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC). It describes how puppetry can be used in various developmental communications like language development of children, psychotherapy, community health awareness, etc.

The second chapter deals with the pre production requirements of puppetry. The chapter defines scripts, puppets, puppeteers and sets for a clear cut understanding.

The third chapter deals with the crafting materials required for puppetry. It also includes pictures of the materials required for better identification.

The fourth chapter provides a nine-step guide for making puppets (inanimate objects, often resembling some type of human or animal figure) with proper illustrations.

The fifth chapter throws light on the elements of a puppetry scripts and delivers an eight step guide for developing a puppetry show script with proper pictorial representations. The chapter also provides a format for writing a script which would help the readers to design a crisp and lucid script.

The sixth chapter focuses on the dos and don’ts of glove (hand) puppetry. It basically gives reminders and check lists for a successful performance.

The seventh chapter summarises the whole process of pre- production and production. It explains and illustrates all the steps involved making puppets for a puppetry show with the help of relevant photographs.

The eighth chapter offers the rough grammar to be followed while writing a puppet theatre script.

The final chapter of the book focuses on the key messages that can be delivered through puppetry. The key messages include messages for health, education, child protection and hygiene.

On the whole, the book is very useful for anyone who wishes to know how to use puppetry for communication for development. The photographs included in the book are easy to follow and can be helpful in guiding the readers.

The order of arrangement of certain chapters might create a little hindrance in following the topics at times but as the final chapter approaches, it keeps getting comprehensible. The book could include specific examples of scripts and pictures of puppets relevant to that script. Definite examples could make understanding even better. Despite these minor shortcomings, the book will definitely be very useful to the readers in understanding folk media better. The book can be used as a guide for performing puppetry shows.

Poulami Kundu

( Poulami Kundu is a student of M.A. ( Third Semseter) at the Department of Communication and Journalism, Gauhati University. She can be reached at poulami.kundu17@gmail.com )


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