Franklin Countys First News

‘Prime Time Reading’ brings students, pajamas to Mallett School

Author/Illustrator Chris Van Dusen reads an audience of students and their parents.

Author/Illustrator Chris Van Dusen reads an audience of students and their parents.

FARMINGTON - W.G. Mallett School students returned to school after-hours Thursday evening, to hear from one of Maine's most highly-regarded author/illustrators and break into smaller groups to read with their friends and families.

Prime Time Reading is one of the biggest events during the school's Book Week, which includes festivities that focus on books, authors and some of the students' favorite characters. Students and their parents dress in a wide variety of colorful pajamas and robes for Prime Time Reading, now running for the 18th consecutive year.

This year, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers' owner Kenny Brechner worked with former librarian Betsy Turcotte to bring Chris Van Dusen to Prime Time Reading's signature event: a group reading that packs the school gymnasium. Book Week's events are coordinated between librarian Amanda Roberts, Principal Tracy Williams and a supporting committee of educators.

Van Dusen has provided illustrations for 15 books, eight of them authored by the Maine resident, including those featuring his popular "Mr. Magee" character. Van Dusen was reading from "The Circus Ship," which tells the tale of circus animals stranded in a small, Maine town when their ship sinks.

"Kenny [Brechner] has been asking me to do this for years," Van Dusen said of the Prime Time Reading event. "The enthusiasm is contagious; to get students to come back to school to celebrate books, that's just great."

Van Dusen also lauded the decoration of the gym, which included large, colorful circus animals and a ship's wheel for the podium. "I've never seen [decorations] to that extent," Van Dusen said. "That's pretty awesome."

Following Van Dusen's reading, students and their guests broke into smaller groups to hear different people read stories aloud.

Author/Illustrator Chris Van Dusen reads from his book "The Circus Ship" at W.G. Mallett School's Prime Time Reading Event. To the left is Principal Tracy Williams, Librarian Amanda Roberts and Kenny Brechner of DDG Booksellers.

Author/Illustrator Chris Van Dusen reads from his book "The Circus Ship" at W.G. Mallett School's Prime Time Reading Event. To the left is Principal Tracy Williams, Librarian Amanda Roberts and Kenny Brechner of DDG Booksellers.

The gym was decorated by a committee of parents and teachers.

The gym was decorated by a committee of parents and teachers.

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