The quiet of the summer afternoon was shattered. Children’s shrieks rent the silence as the mighty T-Rex lumbered towards Scotland Road. The dinosaur paused, turned and swung its weighty tail into the excited crowd. It climbed onto a metal table and clambered down, bellowing loudly. (Click the attached videos to hear it.) At last, it lowered its head at the keeper’s command, and allowed even the youngest of South Orange’s avid readers to stroke its scaly head.
This was the long-awaited kick-off of South Orange Public Library’s popular summer reading program. This year’s theme, “Dream Big” launched dramatically, with a visit from the Dinosaur Troubadour, and a life-sized animatronic dinosaur, courtesy of . Big Jeff introduced the program with dinosaur songs and story, and the T-Rex stole the show. Librarians ushered children and their adults outside, to the space between the library and the . There the T-Rex waited, impatiently thrashing its scaly body and waving its huge head from side to side. It drew a crowd of onlookers, including employees from nearby and startled Scotland Road drivers.
“It was awesome,” said Michael, age 7, “I wasn’t scared.” Not so his companion, five-year-old Izzy, who preferred to see the T-Rex at a distance. “It was nice when it calmed down,” she said. At the end of the event, the T-Rex and its keeper returned to Field Station: Dinosaurs, where it can be seen daily.
The South Orange Public Library summer program is more than a dino drop-in, of course. The program offers activities every day of the summer that the library is open, with a grand finale event on August 20. Kids who sign up can earn prizes for reading, writing and attending library programs. Activities range from singalongs with M, to pj storytimes, to drama, to an Indian dance workshop. Events are free and open to the public.
“There’s something for everyone this summer, “ said parent Michelle Courie, as she studied the schedule of events. “They really mean it when they say, ‘Dream big.’”
South Orange Public Library
65 Scotland Road, South Orange NJ 07079