Sunday, November 30, 2014

Children find travel tickets in ‘Harry Potter’ books

Hogwarts Express travel-ticket bookmark on top of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by J.K. Rowling

The reception by children was everything I’d hoped for one-way travel tickets on the Hogwarts Express that I slipped inside copies of Harry Potter.

A group of children were looking for books and several chose Harry Potter. Within minutes, they were showing friends what they’d discovered inside the books.

I created these bookmarks using a ticket image I’d found at Inside a fancy scroll-work border, it reads, “London to Hogwarts for one-way travel. Platform 9 3/4. Issued subject to the Rules and Regulations of the Hogwarts Express Railway Authorities.”

I arranged four impressions of the image vertically in a Microsoft Word document, formatted for portrait-oriented 8.5-by-11-inch paper. I next added the phrase in side-ways writing alongside each of the images, “Stub to be retained for audit.” Finally, I added a serial or issue number that I superimposed on each ticket.

I volunteered no mention of the tickets’ existence; I simply waited and watched.

I wanted the children to enjoy the surprise of discovery as long as the moment could last, but at some point I told someone that tickets could be found in every Harry Potter book.

A couple days later, a child came up to me holding one of the books (J.K. Rowling’s Quidditch Through the Ages). Right in front of me, she snagged the ticket and handed me the book, saying, “I found this book in the library.”

I can only surmise that she wanted me to know she was taking a book’s ticket so I could issue a replacement before putting it back on the shelves.

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