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"All in all, Julie Andrews, even without her singing voice, is doing precisely what you would hope she would be doing in her 70s--inspiring youngsters and their mentors with the wonders of storytelling."


Fredericksburg.com
By Ed Jones
04 July 2007

Librarians think Julie Andrews has write stuff

When Julie Andrews comes to town, even the librarians get worked up

It was 50 minutes to show time, and a few of the librarians were looking nervous. Who could blame them?

The line to get into the cavernous auditorium at the Washington Convention Center snaked across the lobby. After an hour of weaving my way through thousands of polite, efficient librarians, I noticed the first signs of heightened anxiety.

After all, nothing less than a good seat to see Julie Andrews was at stake.

That's right, the object of desire for those at last week's American Library Association national conference was not some arcane East European author. It was the enchanting British actress who has managed to teach several generations of youngsters how to say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

Don't misunderstand. The librarians had plenty of serious work to tend to during their days in D.C. And, after all, the actress's appearance could hardly be called a Hollywood distraction.

Andrews has been writing children's books for more than three decades. Indeed, she bristles at the thought that she would be considered a "celebrity author."

One of her recent efforts, co-written with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, is "The Great American Mousical," the saga of a troupe of rodents who perform their own shows beneath a Broadway stage.

But let's face it, fame is fame. And Andrews is not just another author.

"I mean, who could top Julie Andrews?" asked the Alabama librarian sitting to my left, as the audience rapidly filled the hall. "Maybe Audrey Hepburn," who, alas, is no longer with us. "But who else?"

To my right sat a Georgetown University student of international law who somewhat apologetically confessed to being a Julie Andrews fan.

"No apology needed," I countered, careful not to mention my own infatuation with the actress.

"Every year we have a ritual in our home when we watch 'The Sound of Music'" said the female student. "Some of my siblings wonder why we do that. But I just say: 'Look, this is not open for discussion. We're doing it.'"

As the lights dimmed, an emcee talked about Julie Andrews as a "luminous performer" with a "glorious career."

After a film retrospective of her career, with roles ranging from a rambunctious nun to a sexy cross-dresser, Andrews entered stage right, bathed in a spotlight and greeted with a thunderous ovation.

The 71-year-old actress proceeded to deliver a thoughtful tribute to books and libraries. She talked about the organization she has founded that ties the performing arts to reading. And while lauding the potential of the Web, she warned of its dangers.

Displaying a touch of her rumored naughty humor, Andrews said she'd rather have her grandchild learn the meaning of "scrotum" from a librarian than from a Web site.

All in all, Julie Andrews, even without her singing voice, is doing precisely what you would hope she would be doing in her 70s--inspiring youngsters and their mentors with the wonders of storytelling.

All's right in the world.

 

 

 


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