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by Bud Buck, 7/14/00

Dc: This is DCR, it's not the news.
The Harry Potter phenomenon continues. Adults are generally pleased that the Potter frenzy has to do with reading, since this is thought to be good for children. But as Bud Buck reports … many families are finding out that too much of a good thing, while still good, can be TOO MUCH.

(sfx: crickets)

Bud: It's evening time in the home of Ted and Judy Densmore of Altoona Iowa, and their daughter Ashley is out on the porch, engrossed in a book.

Judy: Ashley, honey? It's time for dinner!

Ashley: (off mic) I'm reading mom!

Judy: But it's time to EAT, dear!

Ashley: But I'm reading!

Ted: Ashley! It's dinner time. Stop reading.

Ashley: I CAN'T STOP!

Judy: (cries)

Ted: Honey … she's engrossed, like the man said.

Bud: In the brief time since the latest Harry Potter book was introduced, a a Pied Piperesque situation has developed in homes from coast to coast.

Dan: I believe children have been stolen from their families by this book.

Bud: Dan Furby is a reading intervention specialist.

Dan: If a family calls me and says they have a little Potterhead at home, curled up on the couch for hours and hours, reading only one thing, talking about only one thing, thinking about only one thing … I can't turn away. I have to do something.

Bud: "Something" is exactly what Ted and Judy Densmore wanted. And with the help of Dan Furby, they organized an intervention. The following tape was supplied by the Densmore family, in hopes that it will give courage to other families who are caught in the grips of "Pottermania."

(sfx: sound is whole room … condenser?)

Ashley: Mom! Where's my book?

Judy: It's right here, honey.
Why don't you come get it?

Ashley: Who are all these people?

Ted: They're friends of yours, Ashley, who want to read to you.

Ashley: Who's he? Professor Snape?

Dan: No, I'm just a friend who wants to read to you.

Ashley: From Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire?

Dan: No.

Ashley: From Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban?

Dan: No.

Ashley: From Harry Potter and the …

Dan: From the Chronicles of Narnia, Ashley.

(sfx: positive group - "Ooooh, Chronicles of Narnia!")

Ashley: I don't want Narnia. I want Potter.

Judy: Honey, you've read that thing ten times!

Ted: How about some Pokemon cards, honey? Or a beanie baby!

Ashley: No! No!

(sfx: group hubub fade)

Bud: It took 17 hours of concentrated intervention. Ashley fought off the Chronicles of Narnia, she resisted The Wind in the Willows and The Incredible Journey. The desperate family thought all was lost until Judy finally got her daughter to admit that it wouldn't kill her to read a little bit of Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Forgotten Cave.

Ashley: (reading) George, I'm so glad you persuaded us to come to Connecticut with you," Nancy Drew said. She slid out from behind the steering wheel of the car they'd rented at the train station. "What a pretty town Fairport is!" (fade)
George Fayne smiled. She closed the car door and joined her slim, golden-haired friend on the sidewalk. "It's like a postcard picture, isn't it?" she said.

Judy: (over) I feel so much better knowing that she's reading something other than … you know who. Not that there's anything wrong with … hmm hmm hmm hmm and the you-know-what of Fire… but I want to encourage a variety of reading … different ideas … even non magical stories without wizards and spells.

Ashley: (reading) (fade up) The town green of Fairport stretched out before them. The square took up several blocks and was anchored at one end by a white spired church and at the other by a gazebo. A gazebo?

Judy: A gazebo. Don't you know what a gazebo is?

Ashley: Is it something muggles use?
Or is it a creature, kind of like Dobby, the house elf in book two?

Judy: Oh, Ashley! (sobs)

Ted: It's going to take Ashley a while to come out of her Harry haze. But we believe with constant monitoring and steady reading of other books … maybe a little TV, and some outdoor play, she'll have a normal life.

(sfx: crickets)

Bud: The story of Ashley Densmore and her family's intervention to rescue her from being a Potterite Zombie … while not the norm, is increasingly common. Will she be all right? Her family is optimistic, but the long term effects cannot be measured. And what will happen when she's old enough to join the Oprah book club? Only Time will Tell. This is Bud Buck!

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