Harry Potter book hype in full swingBy Heather Murtagh
Normally at 9 p.m. on any given night Cooper Thompson is heading to bed.
But on Friday July 20, the 9-year-old from Burlingame has party plans. That's right, party plans. And those plans won't even have started by 9 p.m. as part of a pre-release celebration for the seventh - and rumored to be the final - book in the famous J.K. Rowling collection with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Millions of books are pre-ordered with the stroke of midnight Friday evening being the final release date. One of the names on a list of those eagerly awaiting that release is Thompson.
Thompson began reading the books about three years ago. The well-spoken little boy first picked up a Potter book about three years ago after seeing a movie. With the help of his father, Thompson began to tackle the series of stories. He liked how the story began and how easily the story built going from one book to another.
Thus far book five, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," is his favorite since Harry is constantly challenged.
"There's pretty much something in every chapter," he said. "It's not really a surprise but you can't predict it either."
Even harder to predict, is the ending to the unreleased book, but Thompson has a few ideas of who will be killed. Actually, he has more than a few. He's not alone in his curiosity - Web sites are filled with possible endings. Thompson already plans to spend all his spare time tackling the final novel.
First he has to get the book. To celebrate, Thompson has reservations for the Burlingame bash.
Books Inc. in Burlingame teamed up with the main branch of the library for the evening.
Potter fans begin at the library at 480 Primrose Road at 10 p.m. with games, crafts and a magic show. Attendees are following Magic Dan, the magician, to Books Inc. around 11:30 p.m. for the release activities.
Anyone wishing to be part of the library festivities needed to RSVP already. But anyone can show up to Books Inc., which will begin selling the book at the stroke of midnight. Buying benefits the local community as well, since 20 percent of the presale and party proceeds will benefit San Mateo and Capuchino high schools. The store plans to stay open until everyone has a book.
In South San Francisco, the librarians are hosting an earlier party in honor of its summer reading program. Every year about this time the library throws a party for the young readers. It came together with the Harry Potter theme this year. Angelica Reyes, a non library person, began the idea and kept it going by working and organizing so much of the event.
It's less of a party and more of a getaway to Hogwarts and other magical places. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, many rooms in the Municipal Services Building at 33 Arroyo Drive will be transformed with rooms filled with magic, spells, potions and wizardry for all to watch and learn, said Wendy Sinclair-Smith, library assistant at the South San Francisco Library Children's Department.
Classes begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. ending at 6:45 p.m. with tea leaf reading, potion making, wand decorating and even a special wizardry magic show by Brian Scott starting at 7 p.m. Children are encouraged to dress up to enhance the experience. There will be food, arts and crafts and recreations of rooms like the headmaster's office and dungeon to visit. The event is free and doesn't require a confirmation, but donations to support the library are appreciated. Activities wrap up around 8 p.m. to give anyone who wants to stay up all night, the chance to make it to a second celebration.
Things end a little early in Foster City as well. The library at 1000 E. Hillsdale Blvd. is hosting a screening of the first movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," with trivia and prizes in the wind room, which is upstairs in the community center.
Things kick off at 9 p.m. at the Redwood City library main branch at 1044 Middlefield Road with a showing of the first Potter flick, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," trivia contest and crafts. Twenty books will be given away with raffle tickets given to the children. Extra raffle tickets are given to those who dress up. There will be puppet shows and food as well, all at no cost. Children must come with an adult.
At midnight, the librarians will begin checking out the 300 books it ordered.
In San Mateo, M is for Mystery, at 86 E. Third Ave., has a countdown starting at 10:30 p.m. when the store reopens. Because of the store's size, it's asked that anyone planning to attend either preorder or plan to buy a book that evening. There will be games and activities before the cash register starts ringing at midnight.
A big perk from the local store is a 25 percent discount off the $34.99 ticket price for preorders and midnight purchases - meaning with tax the book could be in hand for $28.40.
There are fun ways to celebrate all things Harry before and after the big night. The San Mateo library at 55 W. Third Ave., will be holding a screening of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on Sunday, July 15 at 2 p.m.
Anyone wishing to celebrate Harry on Saturday morning also has a couple options.
San Bruno begins its celebration at the library at 701 Angus Ave. at 10 a.m. where three lucky winners will win a copy of the new book. To be entered, however, a raffle ticket must be filled out at the library by 6 p.m. Friday, July 20. Only San Bruno residents who have a San Bruno library card can enter.
Whoever wears the best Harry Potter character costume will also walk away with a prize. There will be jelly beans and Bertie Botts candies for the brave - with flavors such as rotten egg, pickle and vomit.
Or if arts and crafts sounds like more fun, the San Carlos Library at 610 Elm St. is hosting a free Hogwarts Wand Workshop from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The craft class provides all the goods. Children can have their face painted, leaving the celebration with a little lightning bolt of their own.
Copyright ©2007 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 07/16/2007.