Summer reading program offers a day of fun, magic

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

During last week’s installment of the circus-themed Summer Reading Program at the Greenville-Butler County Public Library, youngsters got to try out magic tricks, make balloon animals and even get their faces painted, just like real clowns do.

It was &uot;Clown Week,&uot; and &uot;Miss&uot; Jean Bauer, children’s librarian, wore her own colorful clown suit for the occasion.

She shared stories featuring clowns, including &uot;Oregon’s Journey&uot; by author/illustrator Rascal, with the children.

Special guest clowns for the week included &uot;Gingersnap&uot; at the Wednesday and Thursday morning sessions, and &uot;Gimpy&uot; at the Thursday afternoon session.

Rochelle Mosley joined Gimpy on Thursday, and taught the second, third and fourth graders how to make their own balloon &uot;weiner dogs.&uot;

Gimpy amazed the youngsters present with his feats of prestidigitation, making items seemingly disappear and reappear before their eyes.

Scarves changed color, ropes stood straight up in the air and coloring books went from blank to having pages filled with pictures.

&uot;Now remember, the only real magic is what God can do, boys and girls. What I do is, I make you think you see what you don’t really see,&uot; the clown said.

&uot;Did it take you a long time to learn how to do those tricks?&uot; Holly Grace Robinson, who got to participate in his act, asked.

&uot;Oh, yes, it takes lots and lots of practice,&uot; Gimpy said.

The clown also explained to the children how different styles of clown makeup are used, depending on what type of character a clown chooses to be.

&uot;Hoboes used to ride the trains and get a lot of smoke and dust blown in their faces. They would rub around their eyes to clear the dirt away. So a hobo clown will have a lot of black on his face, except for the white right around his eyes,&uot; he said.

After enjoying a circus snack of cotton candy and fruit punch, the youngsters got their own paper clown hats. Red clown noses and smiles were painted on their faces, courtesy of Miss Jean.

&uot;Oh, this paint stuff tickles. Hey, am I still smiling?&uot; said Candler Lowe as she tried to look serious and failed.

Shelby Simmons, who read the most books for the week, chose a teddy bear from the prize machine.

Will Petty won the prize for naming the library’s new circus clown puppet, a curly-haired hobo sporting a black hat with a red ribbon around it.

&uot;Let me introduce you to ‘Red Band Winkle,’&uot; Miss Jean said with a grin.

The Summer Reading Program continues at the library through July 21. For more information, contact the library at 382-3216.