Saturday, April 30, 2022

Reading with My Peeps - Diorama Contest

Over the last few years I had noticed a growing trend to make dioramas using Peeps. Love them or hate them, there is no denying the little sugar bombs are adorably cute, especially when portraying your favorite characters. Once I had seen them, I knew I wanted to host a library event some day, and this year I had my chance.

It took me a bit to decide exactly how I was going to structure it. My first thought was as a library program, to get people in the doors, but I didn't think an hour or two would really give people enough time. I also thought of doing it as a take-home kit, but then I didn't really know what that kit would need to contain other than Peeps as it would depend on the scene the person was doing, and let's face it, the Peeps are the cheapest component of the project, and in plentiful supply at several stores in town. In the end, I decided to just announce it and have people make the dioramas on their own and bring them in.

So then I decided on age groups and rules, made a downloadable entry form, and announced the contest a week before Easter, with dioramas to be brought in during the week after Easter, then displayed, judged, and voted on during the following week. This would be sure people had plenty of time to come up with ideas, get Peeps, take advantage of post-holiday half-price Peeps, and have a week or two to complete their dioramas.

The rules were basically it had to be roughly shoebox sized and stand up on its own, use Peeps to represent the characters, and be based on a book. Teams were allowed, but had to be entered in the age group of the oldest member, and adults should provide minimal assistance for kids' entries. I decided to have guest judges (the mayor and a school librarian) pick winners for each age group (adult, teen, tween, and kids) and the staff division, then have the public vote on an overall "Peeple's Choice" winner.

By Tuesday of the week entries were to be submitted I realized there had not been as much interest on social media as I'd hoped, and it seemed like most of the entry forms I had put out for patrons to take were still there, so I began to get really discouraged, thinking I wasn't going to get any entries besides mine and my teen specialist's. But on Wednesday morning another staff member brought one in, and then one family brought in four. Then several more came in on the last two days, for a total of 17 entries! Below is a slideshow of them all:

Though I would've preferred to have closer to 25 entries, I was pretty happy with 17. We had close to 70 people vote for the Peeple's Choice, so there is definitely some interest there to build on. I think it's a good start and definitely worth doing again next year, though I'll probably change a few things. Since we had so few entries per each category, the judges preferred to just pick a winner rather than use a score sheet. But, next time I'm going to insist on some kind of scoring system so that it is more objective.

Literary Peeps Dioramas

Our winners were:

  • Adult Division - I Love Lucy
  • Teen Division - Harry Peeper
  • Tween Division - The Great and Powerful Peep of Oz
  • Kids Division - There's a Peep Under My Bed
  • Staff Division - Franken-Peep
  • Peeples Choice - Harry Peeper

My personal favorites were:
  • Adult Division - In the Coop
  • Teen Division - Harry Peeper
  • Tween Division - Middle School Mayhem
  • Kids Division - I was torn. I liked "There's a Peep Under My Bed" the best, but the only other kids' entry was a Wizard of Oz theme by a 4-year old who had clearly done a lot of work, and most of it with minimal help.
  • Staff Division - Follow the Yellow Peeps Road, Five Peeps Apart, and Franken-Peep, all for different reasons.
My overall favorite was the Harry Potter one. It was so well-done, very neat and attractive, but also very detailed. Several quidditch players and the snitch suspended mid-air, the stadium full of spectators, the Peep-ifying of the four was clearly a stand-out.

Can you guess which one was mine? As the organizer I normally wouldn't have entered, and had no intention of trying to win anything, but I was so afraid there wouldn't be many entries, so I made one and put it out early to help generate interest and show an example to inspire others. 

The division winners received a blue ribbon, a "Reading with My Peeps" journal, and a Peep squishie, and the Peeple's Choice winner received a small trophy and a Peeps plushie. Since everyone clearly put some time and effort into their entries, I wanted to give everyone a little something, so I designed some Peeps bookmarks:

Peeps bookmarks

All in all, though I didn't get *quite* as many entries as I'd hoped, it did generate a fair amount of interest and engagement so I consider it a success. Hopefully there will be even more interest if we do it again next year.

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