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Wed, Jan. 29

Searching for the Sorcerer's Stone<BR><i>300+ kids entertained at magic show based on popular Harry Potter books </i>

Do you believe in magic?

If you've read any of the "Harry Potter" books, then you have at least a fleeting interest in the whimsical.

Review/Lee Pulaski

"Professor Robb" Fullmer, a renowned Harry Potter magician, produces multiple colored scarves from where only one was previously.

More than 300 children, with parents in tow, came out to see some Harry Potter magic Saturday, packing the Heritage Middle School cafetorium. The magic show was sponsored by the Chino Valley Kiwanis through a donation to the Friends of the Chino Valley Public Library.

As a hush fell over the crowd, Robb Fullmer, known to the children only as Professor Robb, came into the hall, ready to take children and parents alike on a journey of mystery and magic.

For 45 minutes, he kept the children virtually mesmerized with many tricks, including turning several colored scarves into one multi-colored scarf with a dragon and turning "whole cards" into "hole cards."

Professor Robb kept the kids' attention by telling them tales about wizard's school and the many adventures that Harry Potter has been on. Every once in a while, he invited some children on the stage to assist him with his tricks.

"How many of you kids have read the Harry Potter books?" Robb asked, to which a majority of the children raised their hands. Whenever Robb asked a Harry Potter question, there was some child out there who knew the answer.

Robb has been interested in magic since he was a child, starting up a professional career 7-1/2 years ago. He started doing the Harry Potter program last year.

"It was something I wanted to do for a while," Robb said. "One of the schools in Phoenix was having a Harry Potter Day, so I kind of played with the idea of a Harry Potter show."

Robb travels all around Arizona, doing his show for schools and libraries.

"I realized it would play really well for school and library reading programs," Robb said. "The schools are limited to the kids who go there, but most library shows have above average attendance."

Robb has an ulterior motive for doing magic, however — helping kids learn.

"My interest in magic is doing educational programs," Robb said. "It encourages kids to read, and I've got other messages tied in with it. It's where my love is, where my calling seems to be."

Robb, shortly after starting his professional magic career, saw a friend of his using magic tied in with self-esteem issues. He saw that he needed to do more with magic than entertain.

The Harry Potter books, written by J.K. Rowling, have taken over the children's book industry by storm the past few years, but there are some people, including this reporter, who look at the Harry Potter world and see an enigma.

Fortunately, one Chino Valley youth, Willy Hammack, 9, was willing to impart his knowledge of Harry Potter.

Hammack explained that Harry Potter attends a wizard's school and is learning about magic spells. He also has to solve various mysteries and uses magic to help him. Whether it's solving a riddle or drinking the right potion, Harry Potter manages to save the day.

Children manage to stay fastened to the books, even though they are no short read. The books average 300-400 pages, although the latest installment, "The Goblet of Fire," is 734 pages.

One local grandparent, Susan Kennelly said the book's size intimidated her grandson at first.

"He set it aside, but then he couldn't stand it, and he kept reading it," Kennelly said.

Kennelly notes that the Harry Potter books are not just children's books — adults are interested.

"It transcends both adults and children alike," Kennelly said.

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