Story time makes feathers fly

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

It just might be the next natural cure for depression: Equal parts story time, kid smiles and foofy baby chicks.

Saturday morning's Hays Public Library Remote Story Time at Orscheln Farm and Home Supply was alive with chirps and giggles as preschoolers sang duck and chicken songs, interacted with story book readers and met a few new feathered friends.

Five-and-a-half-year-old Alisha Windholz was no stranger to the poultry pecking in the tubs. In fact, she's spent a good portion of her short life visiting Orscheln animals.

"They're going to make her an honorary employee here," said her mom Marlene Windholz with a laugh. "It's interesting, because last year, farmers would come over here, and I learned so much about chickens while standing around waiting on Alisha."

Alisha, dressed all in purple, picked up a baby duck, asking others around her if they would like to pet it. It appeared she had a calm duck, as no squawking followed the petting.

When asked what she thought would be a good name for the duck, she said it would have to be a girl name.

"Princess Bubblegum," she said after a moment's thought.

A short time later, Princess Bubblegum was returned to her tub-kingdom.

"We can't keep it because we live in town," Marlene Windholz reminded Alisha.

Totally at ease with all animals, according to her mom, Alisha said she prefers ducks, but also has some partiality toward a variety of chickens. Last year, she said she and her mom had fun feeding fruity pebbles to baby turkeys at Orscheln.

HPL employees have taken their story time act on the road to several locations, including Carrico Implement, The Mall and local day cares and preschools. In April, story time will be headed to Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History, then back to Carrico. In May, it will take place at the FHSU dairy farm.

Brandon Hines, HPL youth services librarian, said he was excited to bring story time to Orscheln.

"The setting's already here," he said. "There's chicks in the background, and it's a lot better than just showing a picture of a chicken."

Hines and Vanessa North, librarian's assistant in the youth services department, read "The Rubber-Legged Ducky," "Giggle, Giggle, Quack," and "Blue Chicken" for the surprisingly attentive children.

"It's really good to see them grow and learn," North said. "The questions that they ask.

"It's a lot of fun. We just really have a good time with our story time."