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Puppets pack em in
Storytime Jan. 28 at Manteca Ambulance
Puppeteer Rachel Malin demonstrates how she brought the Dragon character to life during Wednesday’s puppet show at the Manteca Library. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Young Hannah Gonzales couldn’t help but be transfixed on the myriad of puppets performing before her.

As part of the Puppet Art Theater program held Wednesday in the McFall Room of the Manteca Library, Gonzales attended the event with her great-grandmother Delfina Esparza, who was relishing in the joy of sharing the experience with her great-granddaughter and more than 60 other people.

“I think that it’s wonderful that they have programs like this for the kids,” Esparza said. “We’ve been coming down here for years – first with my kids, then with my grandkids, and with my great-grandkids.

“It helps the kids develop an early taste for reading.”

For stay-at-home mom Kristin May, attending events with her daughter Kaydence gives them a chance to interact with other parents and children, and affords the kids the opportunity to build relationships with friends their own age.

“We love it – it’s free and it’s a great reason to get out of the house,” May said. “But when you come to a lot of these you see the same people, and you start to get to know them and their kids that are the same age, and it’s good for them to get that interaction.”

Wednesday’s performance of “The Tale of a Dragon’s Tail” was funded by the Friends of the Manteca Library. The group operates a book sale at the entrance to the Manteca Library to bring programs like Puppet Art Theater to the community and its residents.

“I think it’s more of a service of the library – it’s something that’s free and it’s something that people enjoy coming out to watch,” Librarian Ruthanne Bassett said. “We get a lot of the same people coming out to these events, but we get new people as well and then they come back.

“We always make the programs educational, and it’s something that people really seem to enjoy.”

On Jan. 28, the Library’s Storytime Lady will host a 4 p.m. reading at the Manteca District Ambulance Service headquarters located at 245 E. Center Street – giving the children the chance to hear the siren, meet the staff, and share songs and stories.

Sparkles the Clown will be back at the McFall Room on Feb. 11 at 4 p.m., and on Feb. 18 the Storytime Lady will host another field trip at the Save Mart on Yosemite Avenue at 4 p.m.

The Manteca Branch Library is located at 320 W. Center Street. For more information, call (866) 805-7323 (READ), or 937-8221.