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Wizards just wanna be.

Byline: Lewis Taylor The Register-Guard

CORRECTION (ran 7/21/2005): The name of magician Jay Frasier was misspelled in a story on Page D3 on Monday and in a brief on Page D2 on Friday.

CORRECTION (ran 7/20/2005): A story on Page D3 on Monday contained a potentially confusing reference to ingredients in make-believe potions concocted at a `Wizardry 101' workshop for young Harry Potter fans at the downtown Eugene Public Library. The so-called "Jell-O stuff" in the potions contained no Jell-O; its base was tapioca, a product of the cassava plant.

Nobody mentioned a certain world-famous wizard by name, but it was easy to guess where the inspiration for "Wizardry 101," the library's latest summer reading event, came from. The free class, which was held on Monday at the downtown branch, gave a group of 6- to 12-year-olds the chance to learn magic, concoct potions and create colorful wizard hats.

"We wanted something magical this week," said Michele Green, youth librarian for the downtown branch.

The library event, which will be repeated several times this week, took place just days after the release of J.K. Rowling's fantasy novel "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." And while it was impossible to pick up a copy of the latest Potter adventure at the library, where 282 holds have been placed on the book, the message was clear.

There are other books in the library.

"Wizard Craft," and "I Can Make Magic," were a few of the titles displayed on a table alongside magician Jay Frazier, who wowed the capacity crowd with tricks and Potter-inspired jokes.

"I go to Warthogs, which is a school down the road. I couldn't get into Hogwarts," Frazier said, making light of the academy of witchcraft and wizardry featured in the Potter books.

Calling himself "the greatest wizard in all of unincorporated Lane County," Frazier invited budding magicians to join him on stage to hold handkerchiefs and poke wands in the air. He even taught the audience a few tricks.

"I think it's cool. I like watching magic," said Keith Corsaut, 11.

While Corsaut said it was the Potter books that inspired his interest in magic, not everyone at the event had embraced the books that have become a global phenomenon.

"We haven't tried to read them yet," said Sara Reilly, who came with her son Kieran, 7. "But this is fantastic."

After the magic was over, the wannabe witches and wizards came up with their own potions made of apple juice, cinnamon and "Jell-O stuff." Then, they made conical hats out of construction paper, which they decorated with stars and glitter.

Monday's event was the fifth in the library's eight-week Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds summer reading series, and was co-sponsored by the University of Oregon's Youth Enrichment program. Library donors helped pay for the event, which was just as much about books as magic.

"It's really to encourage them to read," Green said. It's been proven, she said, that children who continue to read through the summer will be at the same level, or above, where they were at the end of the school year.


Wizardry 101: The Eugene Public Library will offer free "Wizardry 101" classes this week for children between the ages of 6 and 12. The class will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Sheldon branch, Wednesday at the Bethel branch and Thursday at the downtown branch. For more information, call 682-5766.


Carl Bieker, 6 (left), and Emily O'Donnell laugh at Jay Frazier during his `Wizardry 101' magic act on Monday.
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Title Annotation:General News; A library summer reading event encourages children to let their penchant for magic out of the bag
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 19, 2005
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