I was one of those kids in elementary school. The ones that the librarian knew by name. The ones who won all the Accelerated Reader prizes. The ones that skipped out on recess for Redwall, Mrs. Frisby, Wayside School, Omri, Pippi Longstocking and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. The best day of my 4th grade year was one time when the librarian sponsored a trip for the top readers in our class to go to Barnes & Noble, gave each of us an $80 budget and set us free to pick out whatever books we wanted (!) for the school library (okay, I think I ended up spending my $80 on a series about unicorns … not the best literature, but whatever. I was 10).
This weekend, my fellow Newbery Medal devotees have cause to rejoice: the Cotsen Children’s Library is hosting Princyclopedia on Saturday, the annual event where Dillon Gym gets transformed into the universe of a children’s book. Each year, the library picks a different book and brings it to life – so for about 5 hours, you get to actually live in the world of Hogwarts, Wonderland, Agrabah, or wherever that year’s story may be set. Basically, it’s a children’s literature lover’s wildest dream come true.
So what’s the theme this year? Classics majors, this one’s for you. Cotsen is bringing ancient Greece to Dillon, based on the book The Lightning Thief, part of Rick Riordan’s popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I actually haven’t read any of these books, but just hearing about the planned events got me excited: The Bent Spoon is making nectar and ambrosia ice cream. Grad students from the Philosophy department are manning a Socratic table. A professional harpist and group of Spartan warrior re-enactors are performing. The Plasma Physics Lab scientists are literally bringing lightning with plasma balls and a dancing lightning bolt demonstration. And there’ll be free rides on a mechanical bull Minotaur.
Awesome? I think yes.
According to SVC emails, it may not be too late to sign up for volunteering at the event. Shifts are from 7:30-9:30, 10-12:30, 12:30-3:00, or 3:00-5:00. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for info. Or if you can’t commit to helping out, just stop by at some point between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. It’s free, and you get to watch little kids lose themselves in the magic of a book that they love. What more could you ask for?
More elementary school nostalgia and Princyclopedia anticipation at the Princeton Echo.