Chatfield library has magical beginning to summer reading

Magic Bob has good help from a library program volunteer during the summer reading program kick-off at the Chatfield Public Library on Friday, June 8. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Magic Bob, the library's summer reading kickoff program presenter, holds his rabbit as he asks the children to promise that they will read, read and read some more. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
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Trick question: What do you get with a guy named Bob, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and a mostly-invisible rabbit?

Child literacy.

“You can read a book about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…I can draw a picture of Michelangelo for you, too. Hold still back there, lady, because I’m using your eyes to draw my picture,” said Magic Bob, the magician chosen to entertain children at the kickoff of the Chatfield Public Library’s (CPL) children’s summer reading program this past Friday, June 8.

He held up a whiteboard, adding the features of a ninja turtle, chatting all the while about how the turtle’s chin or eyes were just like those of an audience member. And then, the youngsters noticed and exclaimed quite loudly, “The turtle’s eyes moved!”

Magic Bob voiced his disbelief.

The little readers reiterated, “His eyes really moved!”

Magic Bob reiterated, “He’s a drawing. His eyes can’t move!”

But sure as shorts on a summer kid, the turtle’s eyes flashed a sideways glance long enough for Magic Bob to catch them in action, and he reminded his audience that the best place to see ninja turtles in action is in one’s mind by reading about them.

Next, he asked if there was anyone present who folds paper into origami. “I love to do origami on rainy days. Your name is Micah? Micah, do you use scissors, tape or glue when you do origami?”

Micah replied, “No.”

Magic Bob referred his young audience members to Library Director Monica Erickson for more ways to learn how to make origami figures.

“Miss Monica has lots of books on origami…all you have to do is ask her. One of my favorites is ‘Wild and Ferocious Creatures.”

Volunteer Colin stood to help Magic Bob with creating a ferocious beast, and the magician inquired, “Does your creature have big, ferocious teeth, or does it have little, tiny teeth?”

Colin registered that his animal had big, ferocious teeth, and Magic Bob looked around for the perfect paper. “I need some ferocious, scary origami paper…oh. Pink.”

After some folding, he discovered, “Uh oh, I gave Colin too many pieces of paper to make my creature. I have four pieces and he has six…how many is that?”

A youngster piped up, “Ten.”

Magic Bob congratulated her. “Clap for that kid — she’s a math genius. Now, let’s unfold this…Colin, these really ferocious teeth are too big…wait, you’ve got some big ears.”

Newly topped with some origami rabbit ears, Colin returned to his seat on the library basement floor, and Magic Bob got out Fabio the Fearless Firefly from Phoenix, preparing to fire him from a cannon through a hole to reach a target, but there was a misfire more than once and Fabio suffered some serious smashing in the process.

All the same, Fabio came out of the affair in one piece, to the amazement of his fans on the floor.

Magic Bob next wanted to know, “What are the initials ‘BFG’? That’s right, “Big Friendly Giant!’ That’s a great book. Can you finish the title of this book, ‘James and the Giant ---‘?”

A small person offered, “Pizza?”

Another, “Beanstalk?”

Magic Bob said, “Thanks for playing, but it’s ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ I’ve read this book once, and it was awesome. And then there’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That’s a very magical read. I read this book once and it was a lot of fun, very entertaining, so I read it again, and after I read it three times, I learned the secret to making magical candy.”

A trick the magician showed off involved the travels of an invisible rabbit, one that kept migrating from a brown paper bag to other locations, getting caught in places that were unexpected.

The magician invited a young lady up to be his assistant in looking into his magic game box and eventually hold the invisible rabbit once it popped up in the box.

“Do you like to play games? Do you like to win — are you happy when you win?” Magic Bob asked.

She said, “Yes.”

Magic Bob spun the spinner on top of the box, bringing it to rest on the number and color for the “Invisible Bunny Game,” handing the hare to his new assistant once he scooped it up.

“Kiss him on his head,” he said. “That’s not his head, that’s his bottom! Here, wipe your mouth…you’ve got invisible poo on your face!”

One more spin of the spinner on top of the magic box, and the grand finale was rather fuzzy and white, with kind pink eyes and floppy ears…Magic Bob’s invisible bunny had taken shape, and he pulled it out of the box, holding the very real rabbit up for the entire audience to see. Just before letting everyone pet the rabbit, he made certain to have the little readers swear, “I promise to read, be read to, or read to someone every day.”

Erickson thanked Magic Bob for his excellent show and invited the children to sign up for the summer reading program, concluding, “It’s extremely easy to sign up…just stop at the library,” she concluded.