Video Sampler

"I highly recommend Starlite Puppets to anyone seeking wonderful storytelling and entertainment for groups of young children. Connie Manson as Starlite Puppets has performed for our library system for several years, each time, leaving us eagerly awaiting her next play. Her puppet plays are unique and totally engaging. Connie starts her performance with a storyteller's candle and then the story is gently told, not recorded. Her setting are beautiful; her puppets come to life as they are skillfully manipulated. Music is used to augment the performance. A great gift of artistry is evident in every detail. Connie's performances with Starlite Puppets have brought magic moments to our young patrons at the Goleta Lirary and the five other libraries in the Santa Barbara Library System."--Judy Savage, Children's Librarian, Goleta Library

Story with Puppets Proves Captivating   Herald Tribune, Sarasota, Florida

Connie Manson has spent her life helping youngsters learn to kindle their own imaginations, with her tools consisting of little more than her handcrafted puppets, her expressive face and voice, and folk tales passed down over decades or centuries,

More than 25 youngsters -- and many of their delighted parents -- had a chance to hear Manson's classic and simple form of entertainment during a recent afternoon at Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Accompanied by her husband, Peter Chin, on acoustic guitar, Manson told the American Indian tale of Shingebiss, a duck who perseveres through the cold winter. The children, most of them age 3 to 5, adored fuzzy Shingebiss and Manson's other puppet creations during the Dec. 8 show.

Parents admired Manson's use of plant-dyed silk  and cotton for much of her scenery, and the organic wool hand felted puppets. And they expressed appreciation for Manson's way of reaching their children.

"What makes her so special is the love she has for what she does," parent Marlene Panet-Raymond said. "You can't make that up."

"It doesn't make any difference whether you are 3 or 5 or 10 or an adult," parent Julie Schechter said. "You're so enriched by her storytelling and its ability to foster the imagination."

Manson has been teaching and telling stories to young children for more than 20 years, including five years running a nursery. Manson is also featured on several recordings of children's songs. She and her husband are teachers at Sarasota's Waldorf School, part of an international network of private schools focused on educating each student's "mind, heart and hands," according to the Waldorf Web site.

Manson's use of plant dyes to color some of her scenery is actually part of the training for all Waldorf teachers; her emphasis on spurring a child's own imagination is also essential to the Waldorf philosophy of fostering creativity and self-sufficiency in its students.

"The story is shared in a quiet, respectful way to attempt to engage and draw the children's attention, as opposed to presenting a louder and more visually stimulating method of entertainment that only asks the child to sit back and observe," Manson explained. "In a culture where our children are often overstimulated with sensory input, this approach acts as an antidote or a balance."

Last modified: January 09. 2008 12:00AM