Mr. Van Dusen and librarian Abby Thompson gather with third grade students Bridget Morton

All through the bustling halls of the Rangeley Lakes Regional School, excitement filled the air as students welcomed Maine author, Mr. Chris Van Dusen. The author/illustrator, known for his humorous tales featuring Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee, and an infamous Circus Ship, graciously accepted the invitation to share his insights and inspiration with RLRS students of all ages.

With a warm smile, a wry sense of humor, and an ability to connect with kids of all ages, Mr. Van Dusen embarked on a journey with the students, delving into the magical world of storytelling. Mr. Van Dusen read from his beloved story The Circus Ship and shared other pieces of original work, including LL Bean catalog covers, posters for the circus, and more. He encouraged students to explore their own imaginations and get off their screens by drawing fantastical creatures of their own. Students were enthralled from the very first moment and starstruck thereafter. One third grader was overheard saying “This is the best day of the year!”

But it wasn’t just about storytelling; Mr. Van Dusen imparted valuable life lessons woven seamlessly into anecdotes and personal experience in conversation with a group of high school students. He emphasized the importance of perseverance and spoke about the realities of being a working artist.

The RLRS community was thrilled to welcome a working author/illustrator to our school and we could not imagine a better guest than Mr. Van Dusen with whom to reignite this annual tradition. We are grateful for the support of our community and Mr. Chris Van Dusen, as well as financial support from the Rangeley Friends of the Arts, the Janet Waugaman Memorial Fund, and the Maine Literacy Fund.

Mr. Van Dusen signs a book for a PreK student Seth Laliberte

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