Kids get hands-on with wild animals at Pelham library

PELHAM – A room of more than 150 children squirmed and squealed in excitement as they got a chance to meet some exotic animals during the Pelham Public Library’s Born to Be Wild animal presentation on Tuesday, June 26.

The show was a part of the library’s summer reading program, which features daily activities for children at the library.

The show was presented by John Ham of Animal Tales, a company that presents educational live animal demonstrations. Ham has 12 years of experience working with all types of wild animals.

In additional to educating the children about the different sounds that each animal makes, he also invited several kids to hold some of the animals and to help out with the show.

The Amazonian golden-eyed tree frog, Australian laughing kookaburra, Madagascar hissing cockroach and the four-eyed opossum were among the animals shown at the event. But the animals that stole the show were the Hog Island Boa Constrictor and a wolfdog named Blue.

Even though she’s not a fan of hissing cockroaches, attendee Amanda Grant said the event was a lot of fun for her and her nearly 7-month-old son Ethan.

“I want to introduce him to animals at an early age,” Grant said. “This gives him a chance to get to know animals so that when he’s older he’ll have a tolerance for them.”

Children’s librarian Rebecca Burchfield said animal programs always bring a large crowd to the library.

“A lot of the kids have read about these animals but getting to see them up close and pet some of them in person is something many of them have never done,” Burchfield.

Other events are also offered through the summer reading program. Each day of the week the library offers a different activity for kids to participate in. Some days are reserved for movies, arts and crafts, story time and much more.

The summer reading program is open to children from birth age to incoming sixth graders. Registration must be completed at the library. Although the program has already started, parents can register their children at any time. Upon registration, parents will receive a reading log, a “Book Bingo” sheet and a few goodies.

“Book Bingo” is an ongoing game throughout the summer. The “Book Bingo” sheet lists different types of books children can read – like fiction, non-fiction or funny books – and for each row completed the child gets a prize. If they complete their whole sheet their name will be entered into a drawing to win a bicycle and helmet.

Kids are also allowed to complete more than one “Book Bingo” sheet to increase their chances of winning the bike and helmet.

The reading program ends on July 21. On July 23, there will be a drawing to win prizes. Winners will be notified and may pick up their prizes at the Summer Reading Finale party on July 24.