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Puppet show is monstrous success

Moogie the Monster stood in the closet afraid to come out. That's because he's afraid of little boys.

Ken, the little boy, is in the bedroom afraid to go to sleep because he fears monsters in the closet.

"If I go out there, a boy might get me," said Moogi.

Typical childhood fears, certainly, but they are just the kind that the puppet show Good Night, Orange Monster tries to soothe.

The show, which deals with growing up and other concerns that young children have, was presented this week at the Northwest Regional Library in Northdale.

Jody Wren, a puppeteer with Creative Arts Theatre, part of the Tampa Recreation Department, said the show tries to teach children not to fear the unknown.

"Some of them have a fear of the dark at nighttime, and when they go to bed they want a little light on," Wren said.

Performances are scheduled through Halloween at other locations. All performances are free. Reservations are required by calling the libraries:

Wednesday, Seminole Branch Library, 4711 Central Ave., 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Call 273-3669.

Thursday, Brandon Regional Library, 619 Vonderburg Drive, 10 and 11 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Call 654-4066.

Oct. 20, North Tampa Branch Library, 8916 N Boulevard, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Call 932-0576.

Oct. 23, Temple Terrace Public Library, 202 Bullard Parkway, 1 and 3 p.m. Call 989-7160.

Oct. 29, Eastlake Branch Library, 5701 E Hillsborough Ave., 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Call 621-6618.

At this week's show at the Northwest Regional Library, Alex Marie Crawford, 4, and her buddy, Katy Marie Collins, 4, covered their eyes but peeked through open fingers as Moogi stepped out to meet Ken, the boy who was afraid of closet monsters. The two girls smiled and giggled as boy and monster found they had more in common than just a fear of each other.

Moogi and Ken ended up playing together with a toy monster-making machine. Purple smoke billowed out as the two turned a crank handle, and out popped green monsters, blue monsters, yellow monsters and an orange monster.

Then they started making some little boys because "boys can be scary, too," Ken said.

An envious Megan Mowrey, 6, turned to her mother and said wistfully, "I wish we had a monster machine."

Most of the 66 children who watched the half-hour puppet show probably felt the same way, as they watched Moogi and Ken overcome their fears.

"It was good because the monster and the boy became friends," said Megan's big sister, Candy Mowrey, 8.

Five-year-old David Griffin said he identified more with Moogi the Monster than with Ken.

"I like Moogi because he's a monster, and I collect pocket monsters and have lots of monsters," David said.

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