Burns teen making magic happen for kids


Beth Loucks reads the latest Magic Tree House book. Her siblings dressed up as characters: Josh as a Ninja, Isabelle as ?Peanut,? the mouse, and Nathan as Jack.


An exterior view of the library?s Magic Tree House.

There?s been a little magic happening every Saturday morning this summer at the Burns Public Library.

Seven to 12 children between the ages of 5 and 12 have been participating each week in the Magic Tree House Club, a new reading program based on the popular Magic Tree House book series by Mary Pope Osborne.

Making the magic happen is 15-year-old Beth Loucks, who initiated the program because of her long love of the series.

?My first-grade teacher got me started on them and I?ve been reading them ever since,? said Loucks, who will be a sophomore this fall at Peabody-Burns High School. ?I just wanted to pass on my love for those books to other kids.?

To enhance the theme, Loucks, with a little assistance, built a tree house out of cardboard?with some lumber to support the roof?in the far corner of the library.

Each Saturday, the children are encouraged to dress up like the characters in the book featured that day. Once they settle in to the tree house, Loucks reads the entire book, which takes about an hour.

The children get a ?stamp? for their Magic Tree House Club ?passport? for each book they hear. The stamps are available from the book series? Web site.

With 42 books in the growing series, Loucks will not run short of stories any time soon. The program began in June and will end in mid-August. This past Satur?day, the children enjoyed book No. 5, ?The Night of the Ninjas.?

The program has given Loucks an excuse to continue her devotion to the Magic Tree House series, even though some might argue she should have outgrown it by now.

?I still love those books,? she said with a smile.

Her program has caught the attention of the city librarian, Rhonda Loucks, who also happens to be Beth?s mother.

?I am extremely proud of her,? Rhonda Loucks said. ?You motivate your kids to do stuff, but when they come up with something on their own, it?s really great.

?She did it all on her own, though I helped her a little with the treehouse. She got a little overwhelmed with that.?

The Burns Library Board has continued its annual summer reading program each Wednes?day. Beth?s program has been an extra bonus for the child?ren?and for the library.

?I?m really excited for her,? Rhonda Loucks said.

For her effort, Beth receives a small stipend through the library board?but it?s more than enough to buy the next book in the Magic Tree House series.

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