At Carroll Public Library’s final summer reading show of the season, Duffy Hudson acted out Dr. Seuss stories with endless expressions and high-energy action. The five shows this summer attracted 2,620, breaking library attendance records. The library has signed up a record 1,126 in the summer reading program. Registration deadline is Saturday.
At Carroll Public Library’s final summer reading show of the season, Duffy Hudson acted out Dr. Seuss stories with endless expressions and high-energy action. The five shows this summer attracted 2,620, breaking library attendance records. The library has signed up a record 1,126 in the summer reading program. Registration deadline is Saturday.
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dr. Seuss provided the beloved stories, and Duffy Hudson brought them to life with endless expression and high-energy action in Carroll Public Library’s final summer reading program shows of the season Tuesday morning.

Hudson told Seuss favorites such as “Horton Hears a Who!” and some less-familiar ones such as “The Pale Green Pants.”

“He really had them (audience members) in the palm of his hand from his start,” children’s librarian Diane Tracy said.

He kept kids and adults enthralled from start to finish. He introduced his finale, “The Pale Green Pants,” by asking the full-house crowd of kids and adults if they’ve really been scared. “He really had them going there,” Tracy says.

Hudson puts so much energy into his performances, Tracy observed,  “He was kind of wiped out after the first show and had to sit down and relax in between.”

Hudson’s costuming was simple — red and white Cat in the Hat hat, black T-shirt and red and white polka-dot tie. However, his quickly changing expressions and actions carried the day.

Hudson said between shows that one of his goals is to keep kids enthusiastic about reading and it’s easy to make literature fun with Seuss stories.

Hudson, of Los Angeles, Calif., performs Seuss at libraries and schools. He’s scheduled at a number of libraries in Iowa this week, and he performed later Tuesday at Audubon.

He was making a return visit to Carroll.

Hudson also presents more adult-oriented shows, portraying Edgar Allan Poe and Albert Einstein. He performed here as Poe a few years ago, and that show was highly popular.

His shows also include “A Christmas Carol,” and he will be adding entertainment legend George Burns to his repertoire later this year.

Total attendance of 568 for Hudson’s two performances Tuesday top off a record-smashing summer of library programs. Attendance for the five weeks totaled 2,620 — 524 per week.

“Juggling With Doug and Dean” led attendance with 592, followed by Hudson’s 568, Dan Wardell’s Reading Road Trip with 509, African drumming with 498 and Elsenpeter Marionettes with 453.

“We’ve broken all our attendance records,” Tracy says. “The marionettes was the only one that didn’t break last year’s records, and it was just a few off.”

Tracy says of the variety of the shows, “I was real pleased with what we had for a lineup and the responses we got to them.”

She added, “We had the opportunity to present some different types of entertainment. The marionettes are not something everybody gets to see, so I was really pleased we made that opportunity available.”

Tracy says all the shows underscored the importance of summer reading and a number of the performers focused specifically on this year’s theme of “Dream Big — Read!” Hudson also emphasized the importance of acceptance, pointing out “We’re all different from one another.”

Tracy says that while it was rewarding to see the library shows’ popularity, “It’s kind of sad though that there are no more of them this summer.”

Not only did attendance for the shows break records, but the summer reading program has drawn record sign-up — 1,126 as of Wednesday, up from a total of 971 last year. And kids are devouring the children’s library collection of 24,000 items.

“We can’t keep books on the shelves,” Tracy says.

Bolstered by the popularity of the summer reading programs, at the end of the July 1, 2011-June, 30, 2012 year, the children’s library had checked out 48,553 items.

Already, 101 children have achieved the 25-book goal, making them eligible for a drawing for prizes at the end of the summer. They each also will receive a yard sign that proclaims, “A Star Reader Lives Here.”

In addition to the regular summer reading program for kindergartners through eighth-graders, the library for the second year is offering a Rookie Reader Program for kids ages 2-5 who need someone to read to them. Ten library visits plus 50 books read to Rookie Readers earn prizes.

The deadline to sign up for either the school-age or rookie reader programs is Saturday, and Tracy says there were several more registrations following Tuesday’s Seuss show.