Peggy Hubbard doesn't have children of her own, but she seemed perfectly at home reading "Roar of a Snore," by Marsha Diane Arnold. The four-year-olds clustered in front of Hubbard on a rug in Salina Moorehead's Pre-K classroom, included both Moorehead's group, and the ones taught by Carrie Matthews in the room next door -- 40 in all.
"I'm looking for listeners," Moorehead said, as she persuaded her little students to sit still and enjoy the story.
When the story was finished, all the children practiced snoring. Then Moorehead had them stand up and stretch and wiggle, ready to sit again and listen to the reading of another Imagination Library favorite, "Little Loon and Papa" by Toni Buzzeo.
Emily Gordon, a retired teacher, was the reader for that one. Gordon is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an honor society of women educators, and supporting Imagination Library is part of their literacy project.
In one of those Marshall County moments, Gordon discovered that Moorehead's aide, Dixie Hobby, had been one of her students.
Lots of hands shot up when Hubbard asked if the children got Imagination Library books at home.
Later she praised them for good behavior, and they came up to Hubbard to get their stickers in orderly groups: blue zebras, red lions, and yellow elephants. Keeping with the jungle theme, the little girl with the crown is "Queen of the Jungle" and gets to lead the line when they leave the classroom.
Everybody got an "I Love Imagination Library" sticker and Hubbard brought an armful of extra Imagination Library books as a gift for the Pre-K classrooms.
Imagination Library stops when a child reaches five years old. The children who are in Pre-K now will be five next year, and able to visit the school's library and choose books to take home and read.
Governor Phil Bredesen has proclaimed Sept. 19-25 Imagination Library week in Tennessee.