Kids have a magical day at the library
Post Independent Staff
Magician Bill Anderson had kids at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library laughing Tuesday, but the real gut-buster was his comic sidekick puppet, Dusty D. Dragon.
“Dusty went with me to the library, and we picked up a book on impersonations,” Anderson told the audience of kids and parents as he balanced the blue, green, and yellow puppet on his knee before simulating a levitation. “Dusty D. Dragon, you’re getting very sleepy.”
Anderson began the Garfield County Library’s eight-week summer reading program, themed “Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds,” with a magic show that included sleight-of-hand tricks, balloon animals ” and the playful puppet’s silly antics.
“The infectious giggles from the kids tells you they really had a good time,” said Pat Conway, manager of the Glenwood Springs Branch Library. “They weren’t real distracted. Bill did a good job of keeping them focused.”
A first-time visitor to the Roaring Fork Valley, Anderson performed in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Basalt on Tuesday during his summer tour of 37 Colorado libraries. He will continue The Pro-Kids Show motivational character-building program today in New Castle and Silt, and Thursday in Parachute and Rifle.
“The ability to take someone who is having a bad day and turn that day around for them is why I do it,” said Anderson, a Castle Rock father of three girls. “I like putting smiles on faces.”
A former electrician who averages 30 to 40 magic shows a month, Anderson said he changed professions five years ago and hasn’t looked back since. The author of “Amazing Magic Secrets for Kids” recently returned to Colorado after working in Chicago as a full-time entertainer.
“Performing has always been like a hobby, but after 9/11, the economy went down, and I started doing magic part time,” said Anderson, who was born in Pueblo. “I started out doing church work and met a gospel illusionist ” which is what magic is called in the church world ” at a seminar in Denver. I just got so busy I never went back to my job full time.”
Ashley, Anderson’s 9-year-old daughter, traveled with her dad this week to help him pack up props and children’s books after each show. She said her favorite part of the performance was when he acted out an excerpt from “King Midas.”
“I like when he does King Midas because I think it’s cool, and I think it’s funny,” she said.
Anderson, who said his first magic trick was pushing a needle through a balloon without popping it, said he enjoys making a positive impact on kids.
“I work some magic shows at restaurants, and I did this one table with this little girl with a handkerchief on her head, who I’m pretty sure had cancer,” he said. “I could tell she was just not having a good day, and after dinner her mom came up to me and said that the show was the best thing that had happened to her that day. I hear that a lot, so I always want to make sure I’m positive as I can be.”
Conway said she hopes Anderson’s show made a difference for the 153 kids and caregivers in attendance.
“We’re making the library a fun place to be for the little ones so they keep coming back throughout their lives,” she said. “What studies have shown is kids who read in the summer retain their skills in the fall. Our focus is to keep them reading all summer and have fun.”
For questions about the library’s summer reading program, contact individual Garfield County branches or call 945-5958. To learn more about The Pro-Kids Show, visit http://www.billanderson.us or http://www.prokidsco.com
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