Children at the Dover Area Community Library Tuesday were part of a story time about faraway lands, dragons and two heroes, Henry and Beth.
And though the tale of defeating the Ice Queen and her icicle soldiers would have been entertaining on its own, Scienceteller Doug Cashell added flair with bursts of fire, icy fog and other science tricks that captured his audience's attention.
Cashell told the children he is "part scientist, part storyteller," and used the tale "Dragons and Dreams" to teach children about science, particularly about dry ice, fire and other elements that pop and fizz.
The presentation was part of the York County Libraries' "GO and Experiment! Fizz Boom Read" summer reading club and physical activity program, which have had science themes throughout, said Karen Hostetter, who oversees youth services at the Dover library.
The lessons: For an hour Tuesday, Cashell, complete with a bandana and tie-dye lab coat, filled glass flasks with water to rapidly dissolve dry ice, coated containers with ethanol to produce a flash of fire, and created a fog from which the Ice Queen disappeared.
Through it all, children from toddling ages through middle schoolers learned about gas densities, electricity and sublimation, which is when a solid converts immediately into a gas.
Cashell said he originally started working for Sciencetellers to get additional experience with performing.
He was never a science whiz, Cashell said, but he believes the primer he gives kids will help them remember concepts such as sublimation when it comes up again in a science class.
"They'll see it again later, and it'll remind them," he said. "And, it's exciting."
Perhaps most rewarding for Cashell and the libraries: After many of the programs, the Scienceteller said, he sees children rushing to the science section, looking for their own books of experiments.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.