Paper bags provide canvas for students' flights of fancy NORTH -- Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

NEIGHBORS

February 03, 1993|By PAT BRODOWSKI

"My Teacher Glows in the Dark," screams the big print near a human emitting a golden aura. "The Great Brain" thunders in bold letters nearby.

Are these trashy tabloid headlines? The latest lineup for Geraldo or Oprah? Not quite. Not when they're grouped with classics of fiction like "The Call of the Wild" and "The Trumpet of the Swan."

What brings this zany diversity together is a "Best Books" list created by kids at Spring Garden Elementary School. One by one, these titles have been thoughtfully illustrated upon brown paper grocery bags for the local Weis Market in Robert's Field Shopping Center.

These grocery bags aren't just for wrapping tuna. While bagging the peanut butter and jelly, moms and dads can take home ideas for a good book -- that kids in grades one through five have enjoyed.

Spring Garden's students have read more than 7,000 books since September. It's easy for every student to recommend a favorite.

At the school last week, kids and crayons met 700 brown paper grocery bags. They combined their talent for drawing and love of good books to illustrate a book on each bag.

"These are stories read or heard," said third-grade teacher Sue Barbour, as she oversaw one brilliant orange rendition of furry creatures for the book "Foxes" and a dynamic fish drawn for "Nine True Dolphin Stories."

On the tail of National Reading Month, which was January, fourth-grade teacher Jim Robinson put the book and bag fest together.

"This was an easy thing to organize, and we've got almost 100 percent participation," he said. He expected that decorating the bags really took only 20 minutes before or during the school day.

"They're excited. They've been waiting two days," said Mrs. Barbour, as she allowed her third-grade students to dig into the project after the Pledge of Allegiance. Their favorites: the venerated "Original Pippi Longstocking," "Charlotte's Web," "Cats Big and Small" and "The Ghost on the Hill."

In Beth Raver's fifth-grade class, books written by E. B. White that have been cherished for generations were chosen side-by-side with wildly entertaining novels, such as "My Teacher Glows in the Dark," which tells of a substitute teacher who is an alien behind a smiling mask.

Pointing to "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator," in which a little boy in an elevator flies upward out of a factory, Christine Nickels said simply, "I love Roald Dahl books, because they're made up. I mean, this elevator -- it flies!"

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There's chicken pot pie on the menu Sunday in Lineboro. The Lineboro Fire Company will serve a family style chicken pot pie dinner from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adults are $4 and children $2. Pull up a chair at the fire house or carry the pot pie home for 50 cents extra.

Information: 374-2197.

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"They are very caring students," said Sheryl Davidson, Parent Teacher Organization president at North Carroll Middle School. "They want to help so much, it's really nice."

Her comments reflected the exuberance of students who brought 800 cans of food and donated several hundred dollars at the school's Green Bean Rec Night. That fund raiser, held Dec. 4, benefited theNorth East Social Action Project.

"We promised 500 cans [to NESAP] and came out with 800," she said. "The sixth-graders wanted to help, too, so they had their Rec Night right after school."

The students had staged an earlier relief project, to benefit a middle school in Florida. After combining a few dollars from both benefits, Mrs. Davidson said, "We had $150, so we bought things for Springfield" Hospital Center.

They assembled small gifts for patients at Springfield, she said, that were distributed during the holiday season. "We bought shampoo, soap, deodorant, handkerchiefs. The kids made a package of one of each and wrote a nice little letter to include in it."

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