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Pa. author of children's books reads a work to audience

April 22, 2006|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

Lindsay Barrett George, author of "Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse," proved adept Friday morning at herding mice during a stop at the Grove Family Library to promote Pennsylvania's "One Book, Every Young Child" program.

Dozens of preschool children donned construction paper mouse ears, grabbed stuffed animals and listened as George read her book, which was selected by the state Department of Education, Department of Public Welfare, Pennsylvania Library Association and other agencies and private groups affiliated with the effort to promote literacy among the target group of 560,000 preschoolers in the state.

"I got a phone call about a year ago telling me they'd picked my book," George said as she flipped through transparencies for an overhead projector.

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The Pennsylvania author said she is on a five-week tour during which she will make similar presentations at libraries, museums and other venues.

"Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse," the title of which pretty well describes the story, is the 13th of her 15 children's books, and its selection for the program has been a boost for the author.

"We're talking many thousands of copies," George said.

"Here in Franklin County, between the libraries and Family Literacy, we ordered 300 books to give away," said Bernice Crouse, executive director of the Franklin County Library System. "It's a great picture book that has a lot of educational value to it."

On facing pages of the book, the parallel lives of the indoor and outdoor mice unfold, until they meet at the window of the house. George discussed with the children the similar shapes, colors and actions taking place as the story progressed.

Remaining copies of the book will be available at other county libraries through their summer reading programs, Crouse said.

Books will be available to children through Head Start, child-care centers and other preschool programs, according to the One Book program Web site at www.paonebook.org.

"They wanted to pick a Pennsylvania author and get it into the hands of every preschooler" so that by the time they enter kindergarten, the children have some knowledge of reading, George said.

There is more to the program, which is in its inaugural year, than handing out copies of the same book to thousands of children. At local events such as Friday's, libraries and schools will make use of "traveling trunks" of mouse-related puppets and games.

One Book also is designed to "teach parents and caregivers how to make reading fun," George said.

After reading the story, George led the mouse-earred children through a game that followed the story line and created a cacophony by handing out musical instruments and orchestrating some mouse-related songs.

The program has some similarities to Chambersburg Reads, a fall program under which community groups pick one subject to read about, Crouse said. Reading materials in that program are geared to adults and children, she said.

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