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Somers Library Trumpets the Joy of Elephants

SOMERS, N.Y. -- “What time is it when an elephant sits on your car?” asked Betsy Bishop, children’s librarian. A few in the animal cracker munching audience knew the answer: “time to buy a new car.”

Although the tots did not know the answers to any other elephant riddles, they joined right in when asked to make elephant sounds and movements.

The activities at Elephant Appreciation Day on Thursday continued with book reading.

Doris Jane Smith, Somers town historian, read the story of Elmer , the patchwork elephant, and Linas Alsenas’s book, Peanut , the tale of an old lady who finds an elephant and treats him like a dog.

Jean Reidy, former Primrose School librarian, now in her 90s, followed up with a book called, I Took My Frog to the Library . The story’s young protagonist Bridgett brings more than her frog to the library -- her python, hyena and elephant also tag along.

And then came the grand finale: the story of Old Bet. After reading the book aloud, Reidy told the children about the real Old Bet, Somers’ own elephant, and how she traveled by boat from England, by barge up the Hudson to Ossining, and then finally hoofed it to Somers.

Reidy described how Old Bet terrified the farmers along the route, but the children were enthralled. And so, her owner, Hachaliah Bailey, decided to show off his elephant up and down the east coast – giving birth to the American Circus.

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