By Jackie Stone

The Cove Herald

The line to get into the Copperas Cove Public Library when it opened at 10 a.m. Last Friday morning stretched and curved into the parking lot, packed with parents and children, teachers and students waiting for a little taste of the circus.

Inside, Bonzo Crunch waited in his oversize black shoes and squahsed red hat playing a miniature guitar. The veteran clown passed through Copperas Cove to promote reading and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

In between juggling pizzas, balancing a mop on his chin and passing out clown noses, Bonzo Crunch told his captivated crowd that by participating in the library's summer reading program, they could earn free tickets to the circus when it comes to Austin.

On a table near him, books about the circus were laid out.

"Where can you find books about the history of the circus?" he asked the audience.

A chorus of children's voices answered, "At the library."

They gave the same answer to his next questions.

"Where can you find books about the secrets of magic? Where can you learn about just about anything?"

Maxie Phelps brought her grandson Anthony to the library for the first time to see Bonzo Crunch Friday. Maxie said she plans to sign Anthony up for the summer reading program. Anthony said he likes to read, especially books about fish.

Melissa Barlow, the assistant children's librarian at the library, said sign up is still going on for the summer reading program. Children can earn "levels" in the reading program in two ways - by logging time reading their favorite kinds of books, or by following the library's "game board" checklist.

Participants can earn the circus tickets when they reach level 1 by reading for 120 minutes or following the first gameboard. Other prizes for levels two and three include coupons for kid's meals and an invitation to the end of summer ice cream sundae party.

The summer reading program at the library also includes different events and programs every day. Next week will include a visit from the Railroad Heritage Museum on Tuesday.

Sign up for the program began earlier this month, and the students at Alpha-Time Too Daycare participate every year, said teacher Lisa Shevenock. Shevenock was one of several teachers shepherding daycare students to the see Bonzo Crunch.

"It's nice, because it's just right there and they really enjoy it," she said.

Contact Jackie Stone at or (254) 501-7474. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.

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