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Library's Summer Reading Program ends with a party

By KBell
Aug. 4, 2010 at 3:04 a.m.

Six-year-old Serin Torres shouts and points where the milk cow escaped to during the play, "Jack and the Beanstalk." More than 300 kids and their parents attended the production sponsored by the Victoria Public Library and the Express Children's Theatre.

The reading logs of 380 kids served not only as reminders of their summer-long accomplishments, but also as theater and raffle tickets.

The kids who completed at least one log documenting four hours of reading in a week were invited to attend the final Summer Reading Program party hosted by the Victoria Public Library on Wednesday.

Over popcorn and lemonade, the little readers enjoyed a "Jack and the Beanstalk" play put on by the Express Children's Theatre, which is based out of Houston.

The play was sponsored by the Victoria Public Library, Friends of the Victoria Public Library, and by a grant from the Texas Commission On the Arts.

"I liked the part when the money comes out of the beanstalk and sparkles came down," 7-year-old Sydney Kallus, of Edna, said.

The "Jack and the Beanstalk" play the children saw was a little different than the classic "fee-fi-fo-fum" version.

For one, the play focused more on Jack's character than the giant, who 4-year-old Sarah Heinold, of Victoria, said was "a little scary."

The actor who played Jack, Nicholas Lewis, of Houston, said the Children's Theatre adapts fairy tales into identifiable messages.

The message of "Jack and the Beanstalk" was "about obeying your parents and the people who take care of you," Lewis said.

Lewis, who has been acting for five years, said he thought both kids and adults enjoyed the show.

"Children's theater is an experience because the audience always lets you know if they're pleased. And they'll let you know if they're not pleased," Lewis laughed.

Jennifer Kallus, who brought her daughters, Sydney and 2-year-old Gianna, agreed the play was entertaining for adults and said she enjoyed the moral lessons and music in the play.

But most of all, she said she's pleased with the Summer Reading Program as a whole.

"The library makes it so fun, easy and laid-back," Kallus said. "They give away cheap, little prizes, but the kids love that."

At the party Wednesday, kids received door prizes and a golden egg full of candy. Their reading logs were also entered into a raffle for board games and Mad Libs.

Throughout the summer, kids could turn in their reading logs for "Library Bucks" to spend on prizes at the library each week.

Kallus said the four-hour-a-week requirement was easy for her family to surpass, especially for Sydney, who loved to track her time on a stopwatch.

When asked what kind of books she liked, Sydney said, "All kinds. Big ones, little ones, long ones, short ones."

She added her favorite book was about Abraham Lincoln because he was an "interesting president."

Ashley Dickinson, the children's librarian, said she was amazed at the kids' enthusiasm for meeting the requirements of the Summer Reading Program this year.

"It's great to celebrate all the kids' accomplishments," she said while cleaning up after the party. "The kids this year stepped up to the challenge."

Lewis said this is the theater's last performance before going on break until October.

Dickinson said she too is going on vacation after a long, successful summer.

She's headed to Los Angeles on Thursday, but will be back in time to start the library's school-year programs.



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