BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — Even though the trumpets weren’t sounding, there wasn’t a grand staircase and a red carpet was nowhere in sight, a noble assemblage gathered within the Activities Room at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library on March 24 for Royal Reading Adventure.
Once upon a time, there were 24 little princes and princesses who visited the Kingdom of Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library in the land of Clifton Park, and they were on an expedition for insight, literacy and excitement.
One boy even brought along his royal vizier, a brown teddy bear who had clearly seen many monarchies come and go.
Some wore regular garb to blend in more easily with the surrounding peasants, but others donned fancy garments of the finest silks and glittering fabrics. Also in the mix were a couple of tiaras and a pair of glass slippers with gray bows on top. One girl with dirty blond hair, Princess Natalie, even had a royal scepter … or was that a magic wand?
“Every child is drawn to this theme. Princes and princesses can be everyday people because we are all special in our own way,” said the library’s head of youth services, Melinda Taormina. “It gets them thinking about words but also history and gives them a sense of what royalty is all about.”
The future young leaders were quizzed on their royal knowledge.
“What is a moat?” Taormina asked the group.
Without hesitation one princess with hair as black as ebony raised her hand and said: “It’s water around a castle.”
“Very good!” Taormina said with a smile.
“I’m the queen!” shouted one ambitious and perhaps jealous princess, dressed in a shimmering blue gown.
Other than that outburst, each aristocrat behaved, for fear of being thrown into the dungeon, where unspeakable horrors await those who partake in any rebellious activity.
PRINCE gives A BALL
For the gentry, there is always time to glide across the floor, and that day they partook in a freeze dance. (Princess Elsa was nowhere to be found, so no actual ice made an appearance.)
Moving to the rhythm of the music was transformed into a game that tested their discipline, patience and grace. When the music stopped, they had to halt all movement and freeze instantly.
Then it was time to listen to a story, “King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub,” for a little entertainment. King Bidgood refuses to leave the comforting warm water of his bathtub and rule the kingdom, which induced many giggles.
The princes and princesses all agreed that eating in the bathtub would be quite wonderful.
The next phase of the day tested their ability to defend a castle. The goal was to sink the boat in the moat. Two hula hoops rested side by side on the ground, and each imperial highness had two chances to toss a bean bag into one of the hoops. Only a few were able to complete this task.
LET THEM EAT CAKE
Castle cakes, with a choice of chocolate or vanilla frosting, were served.
“Delicious!” one tiny king-to-be declared.
Despite being at the top of the hierarchy, each one pulled an Oliver Twist and begged for more.
Colored foam crowns in pink, lime green, red, orange, yellow and blue awaited the children at the table. Prior to being placed, well tied, on the imperial heads, the five-point crowns were designed and polished to their wearers’ liking. Some went for a simple classic look, while others loaded on many jewel-textured attachments — and flower stickers — to add to the magnificent splendor.
Each child also created a royal crest to represent the story of their family in pictures and symbols for all to behold.
Then at the close of the hour, they were crowned and they became the kings and queens, the future rulers of the written word.