Children’s books will come to life on stage

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GARDINER — Open Book Players will present its annual Reading Rumpus show featuring a readers theater performance of Maine children’s books on Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23.

Featured will be a selection from “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice,” by Phillip Hoose of Portland, which won the 2009 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and a 2010 Newbery Honor Medal. Hoose’s best-selling picture book “Hey, Little Ant,” co-authored with his daughter, Hannah Hoose, will also be performed.

Two picture books by Toni Buzzeo of Buxton filled with word play and humor will also be performed. They are “No T. Rex in the Library” and “Adventure Annie Goes to Work.” Buzzeo worked for many years as a media specialist in libraries and currently travels the country presenting in schools and at conferences.

Also to be performed will be “Circus Ship,” by author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen of Camden, winner of the 2009 Lupine Award for best picture book by the Maine Library Association; and “Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig,” by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Van Dusen.

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The mulitage cast will also perform “Book Fair Day” and “Field Trip Day,” the newest books in the Mrs. Shepherd series by Winthrop author Lynn Plourde.

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 22, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 23, at Johnson Hall in the downtown. After the Sunday performance, Buzzeo, Van Dusen and Plourde will be on hand for a book signing. Hoose will give a book signing after the Saturday show.

General admission tickets, $7/$5 for students and seniors, will be sold at the door. For reservations, call Open Book Players Artistic Director Lucy Rioux at 582-5717 or Johnson Hall at 582-7144.

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