Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 29
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
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Summertime, and the Third Floor Is Hopping as Library Storytimes Draw Overflow Crowds

Ellen Gilbert

The Eensy-Weensy Spider and Little Miss Muffet got their due, as did Pattycake, and a rousing chorus of “Open-Shut-Them” wasn’t too shabby, either.

“Storytimes are a big draw,” observed Princeton Public Library Youth Services Librarian Martha Perry, and last Wednesday morning’s crowd of over 28 toddlers sitting on their “tuffets” in the library’s third floor events room was more than ample confirmation of this.

Toddler Stories leader Suzanne Savage barely missed a beat as she segued from books (Pete’s Pizza) to songs (her own slightly idiosyncratic take of “On Top of Spaghetti”), and back, using funny voices, French accents, and her own blouse as a backdrop for felt pieces to illustrate nursery rhymes.

Dutifully following Ms. Savage, the children, ages two to three-and-half, “ducked” each time the word “duck” was mentioned as she read Duck Soup. With its choice ingredients of broccoli, zucchini, and chives, Chef Max’s “masterpiece,” was definitely not to be confused with “Way, Way Too Many Beans Soup,” or any of Max’s other previous attempts at haute cuisine.

“I have that book at home,” happily exclaimed a child as Ms. Savage held up the library’s copy of Pete’s Pizza, the story of a little boy whose dad diverts him on a rainy day by turning him into a pizza. Not just any pizza, though; this is a pizza that laughs when it’s tickled.

Third-floor activity at the library last week was not confined to storytime. Outside the events room, older children wearing headphones watched DVDs on appropriately sized, user-friendly monitors while others read books with parents, grandparents, and caregivers. “There’s a younger crowd in the morning,” noted Ms. Perry, “with older children arriving in the afternoon after camp.”

Sign-up for this summer’s reading clubs, which span every age group, was probably a record-breaker, according to Ms. Perry. She also reported that the new no-registration-required policy for the various summer story times has been a big hit.

By midday, people of all ages were going to and from the balcony just outside the children’s section, which is furnished with umbrellas, tables, and chairs. People snacked, read, or simply observed the comings-and-goings below on Witherspoon Street. It seemed like the ideal place to be on a warm, summer day.

“Lapsits,” for children from birth to 15 months, are held every Monday at 10:30 a.m.; “Mother Goose,” for ages 15 to 24 months, meets on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. Children ages two to three-and-half are invited to hear “Toddler Stories” on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., while “Preschool Stories,” for ages three-and-one-half to six years, meets on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. Children ages six to seven years are invited to “Super Stories” on Fridays at 10:30 a.m., and all ages are welcome to “Saturday Stories,” at 10:30 a.m., and “Sunday Stories,” at 3:30 p.m. The summer session ends the week of August 17.

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