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The puppet wrangler

TitleThe puppet wrangler
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsGrant, Vicki
ISBN Number1551433044
DescriptorsEnglish Language; Families; Friendship; Halifax; Juvenile Delinquency; Nova Scotia; Novel; Puppets; Young Adult

This young adult novel by Halifax author Vicki Grant is set backstage of children's television. When twelve year old Telly Mercer is sent from Nova Scotia to Toronto to live with her aunt while her parents sort out her delinquent sister, Telly is not impressed. Her aunt is busy and not interested in having a house guest and promptly forgets about her. On the set of the children's show her aunt produces, Telly meets a puppet, Bitsie, who is alive and who drags her into all sorts of sticky situations.


Nova Scotia

Age Range



Telly is a shy, self-conscious teen who can never live up to the antics of her older sister, Bess. Unexpectedly, Telly’s parents send Telly to visit her aunt Kathleen in New York. Kathleen is the producer of a kids’ puppet show on TV. Telly enjoys working with Zola, the puppet wrangler on set – until she discovers that one of the puppets, Bitsie, is alive. Befriending Bitsie leads Telly on a very unexpected adventure in search of other living puppets. This surreal teen novel is narrated in the first person from Telly’s point of view, and includes themes of friendship, bravery, coming-of-age, and self-esteem, as well as touching on the question of what “life” really means.


It takes for-ev-er to get anything done. You see some little goofball puppet pick up a banana on TV and it’s like, big deal. You don’t realize that:
a. It took the puppeteer seven takes just to pick the banana up with those little foam rubber hands and then
b. he kept dropping it so
c. they had to reshoot the first half of the scene (the part before he picked up the banana),
d. stop the camera,
e. get the puppet wrangler to tape the banana onto the puppet’s hand and
f. shoot the rest of the scene as if it all went together, but then
g. someone up in the control room noticed that you could see a teensy bit of tape so...