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Magic, laughter all a part of the show
I-Library Magician pic1
Magician Arthur Atsma performed with Latte the Wonder Bird at the Dawson County Library last week. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

It has to be seen to be believed, and yet what they audience saw the audience could not believe.

Atlanta-area magician Arthur Atsma visited the Dawson County Library last week for a part of the summer reading program.

Atsma dubbed the performance as "the sports comedy magic variety show" as he smoothly transitioned from each sleight of hand trick using everything from footballs to golf balls to rubber chickens.

A packed room of school-aged kids screamed and giggled while he made rubber balls appear and disappear, pulled giant coins out of thin air and even appeared to pull a live bird from his mouth.

"Are you guys having fun yet?" Atsma asked amid laughter.

Applause was the only thing that occasionally overtook the screams as Atsma incorporated his audience and environment into the show.

His sidekick Darla the Duck chose letters to move the act along and allowed kids to put their "on your mark, get set, read" skills to work.

According to Atsma, Darla has a Twitter account because she's so good with words.

Atsma has been performing since 1985. The father of six kids had no trouble capturing and maintaining the attention of the overflowing room.

He chose audience members as volunteers based on their quiet, criss-cross applesauce sitting posture.

Five-year-old Kaylee Englert and her stuffed puppy became willing volunteers who invoked hysterical laughter as her stuffed dog did not respond to Atsma's commands to sit and play dead.

Englert repeatedly held and squeezed a red ball that transformed into a handkerchief, back to a ball and then into several balls-all while in her hands.

"Are you like magic?" Atsma asked her.

One volunteer penned her name in permanent ink on a dollar bill that he would later pull out of the middle of the lemon that he cut open before the room of astonished kids and adults.

Arlo the ventriloquist dummy also made an appearance, but another young volunteer named Ava told Atsma, "That thing is creeping me out."

The Dawson County Library wrapped up their summer program on July 30 as school starts back this week on Aug. 5.