“How’d he do that?”
The shouts of more than 100 children at the Blackshear Place Library rang out as magician Keith Karnok pulled colored balls from behind handkerchiefs and made “Wally the Wand” grow to twice his size.
Karnok, a University of Georgia agriculture professor and part-time magician, dazzled kids with his tricks as he kicked off the children’s summer programming for the Hall County Library System Tuesday afternoon.
“Magic and puppets always seem to make the children very excited, so this is a good beginning,” said library assistant Gail Hogan.
The magic show is the first of six programs coming to Hall County libraries this summer as part of their “Make a Splash” summer reading program.”
Last week, participating children began logging their reading activities to earn certificates and coupons.
For 8-year-old Sam Eubanks, the summer reading program is “cool.”
“I get to read a lot and do a lot of fun stuff,” he said.
Sam’s favorite part of the magic show was the giant puppet Chuck the Duck, who emerged from a magic box to see the children.
“He would goof around, and he had a squirt gun,” Sam said.
But for Karnok, the magic isn’t just in the tricks — it’s about seeing the excitement in the children’s faces.
“They get so excited and just have a good time, and sometimes the little ones, they don’t even care about the magic so much. You squirt them with water and they get just as excited,” he said. “Having fun is what it’s all about, really.”
The library system’s next event is June 15-17 and features Lee Bryan, who Hogan described as an outstanding puppeteer.
Eric Litwin, a musician and storyteller, rounds out the schedule for June with his tales of Pete the Cat. Pete is featured in Litwin’s children’s book “I Love My New White Shoes.”
July brings another storyteller, a magician and a pirate-themed parrot visit from Kopp’s Kritters.
Shows take place throughout the library system, with different libraries hosting events on different days. A full calendar can be found on the Hall County Library System’s website.