Randel McGee is a versatile writer and entertainer with over 30 years of professional experience. His new six book series “Paper Craft Fun for Holidays,” published by Enslow Publishers of Berkeley Heights, NJ, is now on the market with another 6 titles currently in production. He has written articles and done illustrations for such magazines as Puppetry Journal for the Puppeteers of America, Storytelling Magazine for the National Storytelling Network, Bien, a Danish-American newsletter, and First Cut for the Guild of American Papercutters.
As a professional storyteller and ventriloquist, Randel has performed all around the USA and Asia at schools, libraries, conferences, and special events. His ventriloquist act of “Randel McGee and Groark (the dragon)” has two award-winning DVD series on character education for elementary school children. His storytelling performances as the world-famous author Hans Christian Andersen has taken him to storytelling festivals and cultural events around the globe. He is also a popular guest speaker and workshop director on a wide range of subjects from self-improvement topics to effectively integrating performing arts into public education.
Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year
A title in the “Paper Craft Fun for Holidays” series from the Enslow Elementary imprint, Mr. McGee’s aim is to inspire young artists to create simple (but unique) crafts for their Chinese New Year celebrations at school or at home. The book opens with a brief introduction to the Chinese holiday, which is celebrated each year in late January or early February. Chinese New Year is filled with many fun, lively traditions, as well as beautiful symbols, which the author draws upon for the eight projects described in the book. Each art project begins with an explanation about how the craft the child is about to make relates to a specific Chinese New Year custom or symbol. How-to directions for each craft project start with a complete list of what will be needed to make it–and thankfully, everything on that list is either already in the arts and crafts bin or easy to buy. Each major step in construction is accompanied by a full color photo, which is great for visual learners. Patterns for surface decorations are printed at the back of the book, ready for tracing paper. Also included are sections about books and websites where students can find out more about Chinese New Year, a complete subject index, and an “About the Author” page. This hardcover book is bound with reinforced library binding and meets the National Standards for Arts Education standards. It is a great choice for classroom or library! 2008, Enslow Publishers, $23.93. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree (Children’s Literature).
Paper Crafts for Halloween
Halloween is a fun, yet short holiday, so paper crafts make perfect sense when decorating for a party, or dressing up part of a costume. The projects in this book are easy to follow, and the more complicated instructions do have pictures that are labeled to correspond with the particular step. All of the crafts have an explanation about how they relate to Halloween and part of the legend surrounding them. Simple decorations like ghost and bat chain links and a stand-up cat will be hits at children’s parties, and would be a good craft to have in the middle of the fun. The Skull Headdress is simple to make and would also work very well with Day of the Dead festivities. Despite the fact that Halloween is not celebrated in many schools, children are always interested in this holiday, and the crafts in this book could be easily adapted for other situations. The Stand-Up Witch craft could inspire a Stand-Up Dumbledore, and the Scarecrow Jumping Jack could inspire a clown or leaping leprechaun. This is a useful title that is easy enough for children and artistically challenged adults. 2009, Enslow Publishers, $23.93. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck (Children’s Literature).
Paper Crafts for Kwanzaa
Part of the “Paper Craft Fun for Holidays” series, this book focuses on the African-American holiday Kwanzaa. The book opens with a short introduction about the holiday’s historical background and basic elements. Each of the eight crafts highlights a different aspect of Kwanzaa. For example, a pop-up card is decorated with the kinara (candleholder), a mkeka (mat) is made from strips of paper, and a standing fruit tree symbolizes the harvest. The instructions for the crafts are kid-friendly, with numbered steps accompanied by color photographs. The materials–which are clearly set forth in a colored box on the first page of instructions–are common craft supplies such as glue, construction paper, and crayons. Most of the patterns for the projects are not full-size, although they do include the percentage for enlarging. A table of contents and an index help readers to easily find what they are looking for, and a short list of books and Internet addresses lead to more information on Kwanzaa. The projects are well-suited for home and classroom. These projects would work well in a unit on holidays or as a craft for storytime. 2008, Enslow Elementary/Enslow, $23.93. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Heather Christensen (Children’s Literature).
Paper and Scissors ROCK!
General School Assemblies (approx. 45 min.) and Classroom Visits (approx. 75 min.)
Randel McGee, an internationally renowned entertainer, combines storytelling and paper crafting into a fun and intriguing program that engages peoples’ minds and inspires their imaginations. While telling a story, Randel’s hands are intriguingly snipping paper with scissors. At the end of the tale, the audience gasps in amazement as the paper is unfolded to reveal an elaborate illustration or figure from the story they have just heard. A quick demonstration is given on how to produce a simple paper craft project. (In-class demonstrations include making one item.) Materials lists, patterns, and study guides are provided beforehand.
Several themes are available: Holidays (Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Christmas, Kwanzaa, St. Patrick’s Day) and Folk Tales (How to Trick a Troll Show,” “You can learn a lot from a Bug!).
Hans Christian Andersen: The Man and his Tales. General School Assemblies (approx. 45 min.)
Mr. McGee portrays H. C. Andersen, as he shares some of Andersen’s most loved stories. Randel produces fascinating paper pictures and designs as he tells some of the stories, just as Andersen himself did.
Randel McGee & Groark the Dragon. General School Assemblies (approx. 45 min.)
Randel McGee & Groark is a unique puppet/ventriloquist act that has entertained children and adults all across the United States and Asia. Their live performances are a fast-paced, high-energy blend of stand-up comedy, witty banter, original songs, and hilarious storytelling that appeals to young and old alike. They appear in 2 series of videos: “Getting Along with Groark” and “Popcorn Park: The Six Pillars of Character” produced by Live Wire Media and in association with The Character Counts Foundation. They can present their shows bilingually in Spanish, and Japanese.
To learn more about Randel McGee and his publications please visit www.mcgeeproductions.com.