The Bruton Memorial Library was overrun April 8, by all kinds of animals: eagles, tigers, parrots, cows and more.
They weren’t real animals, though — just a large group of toddlers pretending to be, with a little help from the contents of “Grandma Johnson’s Box of Wonders.”
Donating the toy box to the library was the idea of the Plant City High School Class of 1946, which still meets once a month for lunch at ABC Pizza. The classmates have been meeting regularly for roughly two decades, starting in the 1990s, when Betty Barker Watkins began organizing get-togethers.
According to Don Walden, the group specifically wanted to honor member Evelyn Johnson, and came up with “Grandma Johnson’s Box of Wonders” as the means to do it — citing Johnson’s love of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Placing the box in the library gives kids from throughout Plant City the chance to share the joy, and, according to Library Director Anne Haywood, serves as a visible enhancement to the library’s programs.
At 10:30 a.m., the kids left their “Motion Commotion” story-time event and were joined in a room by nine members of the Class of 1946 and several members of the Johnson family. After a brief introductory speech by Walden, the children were handed tambourines, maracas and other noisemakers to start a “drum roll.” Once the covers were lifted, exposing the big, orange box, the kids took a minute to soak it all in.
And then, as kids often do, they swarmed around the box and cleaned it out within minutes.
This toy box is stocked with tools for the imagination. Rather than fill it up with dolls, action figures and the like, the Class of 1946 selected costumes, hand puppets and other props for the kids to role play. After moving from the presentation room to the library’s KidSpace section, the playing continued — joining the group of young children were some of Johnson’s own great-grandchildren, who were so excited that they continued playing with some of the hand puppets during a family photo break.
Young visitors at the library will be able to access the “Box of Wonders” at any time. For more, call (813) 757-9215.
Contact Justin Kline at firstname.lastname@example.org.