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'Hello, Scruff!'- a May day celebration

Hosanna! (Palm Sunday, 13 April 2014)

by the Revd Sylvia Burgoyne

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1 - Church Schools


To share the excitement of the crowd on Palm Sunday.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff, plus some palm branches or streamers.
  • As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.


  1. Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’

    If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.

    Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown, and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!

  2. It was long past Lucy Jane’s bedtime and already dark, when she came running into the stable in her dressing gown and slippers.

    ‘Wake up, Scruff! Dad has just come back from a meeting at the Town Hall and, guess what, they want me to be the May Queen this year! I’m so excited, I just had to come and tell you. You see, I’m going to ask Dad if I can ride in the little wagon in the procession, so that you can pull me. Would you like that, Scruff?’

    ‘Hee-haw! Hee-haw!’ nodded Scruff. He’d never been in a procession before.

    Have you taken part in a procession? Perhaps you have watched processions on television, such as the Royal Wedding or a carnival.

    In the weeks that followed, Mrs Brown made Lucy Jane a new dress.

    What colour do you think it was? Was it long or short?

    Farmer Brown painted the wagon.

    What colours do you think he painted them?

    On the morning of the procession, they decorated the wagon with flowers. Scruff had a new harness and Lucy Jane put a straw hat on his head. The sun was shining brightly when they set off for the large car park where everyone was meeting. 

    Scruff liked the decorated lorries. One was a pirate ship, carrying the Scouts, all dressed as pirates, with Captain Hook waving his hook in the air! Another lorry carried the playschool children, who were dressed up as Snow White, the seven dwarves and woodland animals and birds. Lucy Jane waved to her friends, who were all wearing fancy dress.

    Do you like dressing up?

    At last, to the beat of the big bass drum, the band began to play and march up the High Street through the town. Scruff followed on behind, pulling the wagon carrying Lucy Jane in her pretty new dress. Then came the decorated lorries and lots of happy children. The watching crowd waved their flags and Lucy Jane smiled and waved back. She heard them saying, ‘Look, there’s the May Queen!’, ‘Doesn’t she look pretty?’ and ‘What a handsome donkey! Doesn’t he look smart in his straw hat?’

    When they arrived at the park, Scruff stopped by a small platform. The Mayor led Lucy Jane up the steps and, when she was seated on the throne, he put a crown of flowers on her head. Everyone cheered. Scruff felt very proud of Lucy Jane. She was the best May Queen in the world!

    Take Scruff off.

  3. Now let’s listen to one of Scruff’s favourite Bible stories.

    It was festival time and lots of people were going to visit the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus and his friends were walking along the road with everyone else, but, when they reached the edge of the city, Jesus sent two of his friends to fetch a donkey. He climbed on to its back and rode along the road. 

    As the people saw him, they began to cut down palm branches to wave in the air and shouted, ‘Hosanna! Hosanna!’

    All shout ‘Hosanna!’ and wave the palm branches or streamers in the air.

    Some took off their cloaks and laid them in the road, like a carpet for the donkey to walk on. Everyone was very excited. 

    For three years, Jesus had travelled around, teaching and making sick people well. Now, as he rode into Jerusalem, the cheering grew louder and louder – ‘Hosanna! Hosanna!’

    The people wanted Jesus to get rid of their Roman rulers and be their king, but not everyone thought this was a good idea. The important leaders in the temple thought Jesus was a troublemaker. They didn’t like the way he called God his ‘dad’! Why did he think he was so special to God? They agreed that they had to think of a way to get rid of him.

    Why do you think Scruff likes this story?

Time for reflection

Why did Jesus ride on a donkey and not a big, powerful horse?

What kind of a king do you think he was? 

Dear God,
We thank you for celebrations, when children and grown-ups have lots of fun together. 
Thank you for Jesus, the Prince of Peace. 


‘Trotting, trotting through Jerusalem’ (Come and Praise, 128)

Publication date: April 2014   (Vol.16 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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