Watched by Queen Jasmine Ayscue, King of Reading Alex Kirk draws a reader’s name from a chest held by Claire Ramsey on Wednesday afternoon.
About 50 children completed a mythic quest to expand their minds by celebrating the end of the H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library’s summer reading program Wednesday.
The decor is medieval; the prizes are not.
A medieval fair marked the conclusion of Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds for children from preschool age through middle school, with feasting, crafts, games and prizes for all participants.
Children watch to see the results of behind-the-back shots at nine-pins.
|Crammed into the community room at the library under the proud, photo-shooting watch of about 30 parents, the children broke into three groups to rotate through the festivities. Some started at the crafts table and turned circles of red felt and lengths of white yarn into pouches to carry or wear. Others enjoyed a game of nine-pins, taking two shots at toppling the paper-towel-roll pins with a ball flipped behind the back. Everyone eventually got his or her share of snacks and juice, and a scavenger hunt through the children’s reading section awaited those brave enough (and with enough time) to embrace the challenge after the fair.|
Ten children joined Claire Ramsey, the head of youth services for the library, and her helpers in dressing for the occasion as knights and ladies of a medieval court. Dragons in orange, yellow, green, blue, white and pink decorated one wall alongside reports on the life of Sir Lancelot du Lac. Another wall took on the look of a castle, with a mural of stonework, torches and a rough-hewn wooden door.
Ramsey said about 35 children met their summer reading goals. Those children, as well as those who completed their reading activity packets and five who mastered calligraphy, were rewarded Wednesday with prizes ranging from T-shirts to books to Spider-man toys. Each child had to pass a final test in the quest: to navigate the twisting maze of sitting children to reach the prize table.
The king and queen of reading drew the names of the readers to claim their prizes, and the coronation of the royal couple was the highlight of the festivities.
Rather than popular election or divine right, the king was selected by lot. A well-dressed knight reached into a box held by Ramsey and pulled out the name of his majesty, 4-year-old Alex Kirk.
After reigning over the fair, Alex had no doubt about the royal life, declaring it “good.”
Alex picked the name of his queen, and 7-year-old Jasmine Ayscue ascended to the throne beside him. She read 25 books during the summer program and agreed that being queen for a day was a good thing.
Joining the king and queen were Bennie White, who received a sword almost as big as he is to serve as knight of the realm, and Kaelyn Chavis, who sported a colorful hat as court jester.
Every child walked away with something Wednesday, including certificates for a free dinner at Golden Corral and for free admission to the Skateeum or free bowling at Carolina Lanes.
But Ramsey said the most important reward is less tangible and longer-lasting. In an e-mail message, she wrote: “This summer’s readers will do better in school this year thanks to their summer library activities.”
Here, the noble knight completes his craft project; later, he picked the name of the king.
Jasmine Ayscue starts the medieval festivities with feasting, not knowing she would become a queen within the hour.
Court jester Kaelyn Chavis joins Queen Jasmine Ayscue.
Bennie White wields his prize as the knight of the realm.
King Alex draws another lucky name.