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by Karin Beno

The figures of Polly and Charlie, their clothing, the animals, and the accessories are composite drawings based on photographs of Polly and Charlie Bemis, the story by Priscilla Wegars, and research on lifestyles and conditions typical of the time period in which Polly and Charlie lived.

These are intended as a tool for the teacher to use as desired. One option would be to arrange different scenes with the colored and cutout figures and write stories about what the characters (Polly and Charlie) are doing. This works well with the use of dialogue and how it is written. Dialogues can be exchanged and scenes recreated by other students.

Another way to use the action figures is to make them into stick puppets with students writing and giving short plays. A teacher can incorporate as much Idaho history into the model/art/language process as desired, and students will enjoy the creative aspect that the models provide.

Educational as well as entertaining, the paper action figures are an artistic rendition of one of Idaho's most famous pioneers, Polly Bemis, and her husband, Charlie Bemis.

Students can use the paper action figures to recreate scenes from the life of Polly Bemis as depicted in Polly Bemis: A Chinese American Pioneer by Priscilla Wegars.

Instructions and Helpful Hints

  1. Photocopy or print the figures of Polly and Charlie and the animals on white heavy weight card stock or tag board.
  2. Photocopy or print the accessories on either white card stock or white all-purpose copy paper, depending on how they will be used.
  3. Photocopy or print the clothing on white all-purpose copy paper.
  4. Color the figures, clothing, animals, and accessories completely, before cutting out.
  5. When cutting out the figures of Polly, Charlie, and the animals DO NOT cut off the half-round bases. These are needed to stand the figures up.
  6. When cutting out the clothing DO NOT cut off the broken-line tabs. These hold the clothes on the figures.
    *This needs to be mentioned to students before cutting, as many have never played with paper action figures.
  7. Charlie's beard will have to be cut along the bottom edge, from the shoulder to the neckline, in order for it to show over the clothes. This is optional.
    *Younger students will need help with this.
  8. Some hats will need slits cut along the broken lines to slip the head through.
    *Younger students will need help with this.
  9. Cutting away the "blank" area between the legs of Polly, Charlie, and the animals is an option.
    *Younger students will need help with this.

TO MAKE STANDS for Polly, Charlie, and the animals:
See Diagram

  1. Cut ½" wide strips from heavy card stock or tag board.
  2. For each figure, cut a strip the length of the figure.
  3. Bend the strip back ½" at one end and glue to the back of the figure.
  4. Bend the bottom of the strip towards the figure to form an easel.

List of Paper Action Figures

Click on a picture to get a large format version to print out using your browser's "Print" button. Once the page is printed, click "Close" at the top right to return to this list.

Polly and Charlie Bemis Figures
Polly and Charlie's Clothes
Polly and Charlie's Wedding Clothes
Polly and Charlie's Work Clothes
Polly and Charlie's Fishing and Hunting Clothes
Polly and Charlie's Hens, Cougar, Dog (Print in landscape mode)
Polly and Charlie's Horse and Cat
Polly and Charlie's Tools
Polly and Charlie's Supplies and Fishing Pole

Asian American Comparative Collection

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Asian American Comparative Collection
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1111
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1111

Phone: 208-885-7075

Web: aacc

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