Lindsay Branch Library plays to packed house for first summer reading program session

By C.J. Barbre

It was just 2:30 p.m. and several large groups had entered the Lindsay Library when the last youngster came running up, breathless, as he ducked inside for "Dragon, Dreams and Daring Deeds," part of the Tulare County Library Summer Reading Program which started on Wednesday, June 17 and runs through July 20, or for six Wednesday afternoons.

What a fun idea! The children's side of the library was packed, causing librarian Deanna Pettus to suggest they might need a shoehorn should anymore show up. But with one child choosing to stand apart from the group and one under the table, they all managed to fit. A surprising number were already library afficionados and proud possessors of their own library cards illustrated by a show of hands.

Consummate librarian that she is, Deanna made it clear that Lindsay Library does not give out prizes, reading being its own reward (although other community libraries apparently do). She also said preschoolers were not supposed to be in this group, that she offered a special time in the morning for them, at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, because these books were a little too advanced for their young attention spans.

Deanna showed the youngsters some of the books they could read and record in a book log, for their own reference and to perhaps show their teacher next school year as part of what they had accomplished over the summer. She showed them the Dictionary of Imaginary Places; Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns and Dragons (which she said are not real except for the leprechauns) and a wonderful reference book, Dragonology, the study of magician and dragon lore.

"Everyone gets a log. If you read a book and loved it, that's more important than reading 25 books," she said, indicating that it wasn't a contest. She had pulled more books, "wonderful books" about dragons which were placed on a freestanding shelf for easy access. "You know dragons have been in stories from the very beginning. In the Orient they are about happiness and fun," she said.

And the fun was about to begin. "Did you know that dragons love to dance?" she asked and played the song, "Do do the Dragon," with lyrics such as "You gotta get your wings and body shakin'," great fun for children of all ages.

Deanna started the story time with a dragon poem, "I'm an Amiable Dragon," but the children agreed he didn't look all that amiable, which was the gist of the poem. There was also a poem from the book The Dragons are Singing Tonight. This was followed by the reading of the beautifully illustrated book, Where Have the Unicorns Gone?

For the "Dreams" portion of the program Deanna read I've Heard of a Land which she said was a dream of a land where people live peaceably. The children sat entranced, taking a mental trip to imaginary places as they gazed into space or watched Deanna as she turned the pages showing them the illustrations.

"Everybody has to have a dream of where you're going, what you want to be after you go to school and grow up," she said.

Under "Daring Deeds" it was the age-old story of the boy who put his finger in the dike to save Holland, a simple deed of heroic proportions to which any child could relate.

This magical time concluded with crafts, something to take home which, on this occasion, was a shiny CD that the children got to decorate with magic markers and paste-on jewels - their very own "Dragon Reader Medallion" to which a string was attached so it could be worn around the neck. The little tots got to color dragon pictures instead.

A special program with the Wizard and Groark will begin at 2:30 p.m. next Wednesday, July 6.

Each week will feature stories, poems, music and a craft following the theme. Each child gets a reading log, book bag and book markers to encourage them to read at home.

Regular Lindsay Library hours are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, from noon to 5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and on Friday hours are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. For further information contact the library at 562-3021.

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