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Library Cooks Up Fun
0731 BEEF
Cookie, at left, also known as Chavez Childrens Librarian Suzy Daveluy, welcomes the next contributor to the stone soup being stirred up on Thursday at the Escalon library, with the volunteer adding the meat in the form of a cow puppet to the mix. Marg Jackson/The Times

In a special Thursday afternoon program, youngsters stopping by the Escalon Public Library got a lesson in cooking … and enjoyed their fair share of laughter as well.

San Joaquin County children’s librarian Suzy Daveluy rolled in to town with a chef’s hat and an accent, taking on the persona of ‘Cookie’ the chef as she entertained the crowd with a story about stone soup. Patterned after the book of the same name, the story details how soldiers came in to a village seeking food, which the village residents said they didn’t have. Trying another angle, the soldiers put a couple of stones in a pot with water, then asked one person for some potatoes, another for some carrots, one for onions, another for meat … putting all the ingredients into the pot, creating a meal using food the villagers said they didn’t have.

Along the way, Cookie offered a rambling commentary on the story and shared some jokes. Children in the audience had been given the ingredients ahead of time and added them in to the pot she stirred as she told the tale.

Though there wasn’t actually any soup to taste test, Cookie said the story showed how pulling together, much can be accomplished.

She then turned the stage over to Escalon librarian Jamie Turner, who read a story while Cookie – though she was supposed to be quiet and behave – acted it out behind her, much to the delight of the crowd.

After a few more jokes and a give and take with the audience, Cookie brought out a set of five recipe cards and yarn, so children could create their own mini cookbook with recipes to try at home. Recipes included grilled pizza wraps, deep-sea macaroni salad, zesty taco salad, three bean salad and a chilly banana.

The program was the final one in the Summer Reading Program series, which featured a variety of performers over the past couple of months.

“We got a lot of people,” Turner said of the various programs. “Especially the Bubble Lady, she was the most popular one.”

Also entertaining this summer were magician Brian Scott and folk singer Bonnie Lockhart, along with the final cooking presentation.

Turner said the kids were treated to a good show by ‘Cookie’ for the finale.

“Suzy is our fantastic outreach children’s librarian, she has high energy,” Turner said.

Children taking part in the Summer Reading Program have been collecting prizes for the number of books or time spent reading, with free books, pencil, magnets and fruit shaped journals among the offerings.

“Mainly they love the free books,” said Turner.

Also coming up in August is a special Anime program, for those 13 and under, scheduled at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13.