Books brought to life on cable

County employees read selections for children on GTV

May 22, 2000|By Karen Keys | Karen Keys,SUN STAFF

"Some days are yellow. Some days are blue," said Beth Vessey, reading Dr. Seuss' "My Many Colored Days" in the GTV studio.

Vessey, a graphics designer for the public information office in Ellicott City, is one of eight county workers who have thudded, binged and mooed for the camera at Howard County government's cable TV station. The employees become animated as they turn pages and reveal the adventures of Curious George, Arthur and Elmer -- a patchwork elephant -- for GTV's first children's show, "Book Nook."

The segments, which began this month and are less than 10 minutes, feature Howard government employees reading children's books that highlight county jobs. The shorts have featured employees from human resources, computer support, commuter assistance, tree maintenance and fire departments.

"Everyone benefits from reading," said Victoria Goodman, the county government public information administrator who conceived the book show.

The reading program joins a more traditional GTV lineup of live hearings and public affairs programs.

"I'm always looking for ways we can put a face on county government employees," Goodman said.

Each month, four segments will be produced and rotated in the station's schedule, sometimes playing twice a day.

After be- ing selected, readers are instructed to practice before going to the studio for the taping. The shooting is a three-step process: Goodman gives an introduction relating to the book and worker, the worker reads the book and a producer flips through the book's illustrations. Drew Prouse, the show's director, editor and producer, blends the three.

Employees have been quick to sign up.

"Everyone I talk to wants to do it," said Goodman.

"It was fun," Vessey said. "I could change my tone and pace. I think I liked the fact that it was a children's book."

Tara Gary, GTV station manager and co-producer of "Book Nook," said: "Sometimes you find the books first and try to match the employee to them."

In her office, books borrowed from the library sit on a table. Gary thinks "Lost Cat" would be great for an animal-control worker, or maybe a trash collector would like to read Priscilla Cummings' "Chadwick and the Garplegrungen."

"We have a year's worth of ideas," Gary said.

Because employee interest is so high, Goodman seeks outstanding employees to participate. She asked Richard Freas, a battalion chief named Career Firefighter of the Year, to pick a book to share with the county.

He chose "Curious George at the Fire Station." His segment, set to air next month, will detail how Curious George sets off a false alarm while visiting a fire station.

"Book Nook" airs at 12: 15 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 7: 30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday on Channel 15 or Channel 70 .

Playing this month: "Elmer" by David McKee, "Arthur's Computer Disaster" by Marc Brown, "Once There Was a Tree" by Natalia Romanova and "Tracks" by David Galef.

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