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Magic Dan, with the help of his assistant Angel, performs a disappearing water trick during a magic show at the JFK Library in Vallejo on Wednesday. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)

Although school is not in session, families visiting the JFK Library in Vallejo will find plenty of opportunities to entertain and educate their children with an extensive range of children’s programs.

Yesterday’s midweek event featured a returning favorite – Magic Dan. Also known as Dan Sneider, the magician has been delighting young audiences at the Vallejo venue every year since his early days.

Describing his show as “magic with a message,” Sneider says he tries to weave magic through messages that address road safety, literacy and self-affirmation. He says he’s always cautious with this approach to make sure he’s not “preaching to the kids.”

“Sometimes I’m really tired and have no energy and don’t want to do it, but when I see them, something comes over me,” Sneider said. “I do it because I love the kids. I want them to feel empowered and have fun.”

Children, families and youth campers – many of whom remember Sneider from years past – filled the Joseph Room in the library, eagerly awaiting an hour of Sneider’s sleight of hand.

Using techniques like group countdowns, calls for volunteers, and a squeaking frog to signal when to clap, Sneider kept the kids focused and on task throughout the show.

As one trick, Sneider presented three giant playing cards, one of which mysteriously transformed into a giant library card. “That’s my favorite card,” Sneider said, encouraging his young audience to sign up for the library’s Summer Reading Challenge, which runs through July.

“If you learn to read, you can learn to do magic. And if you are a good reader, you can do great magic,” Sneider told the audience, holding up a picture book called “Big Magic.”

When a trick required the “magic word,” Sneider would ask the children to raise their finger like a magic wand and say “I’m special” in English and Spanish. The overwhelming chanting would magically turn peanut butter into jelly or change the color of scarves.

For Britt Sutton of Vacaville, Magic Dan’s performance was one of four different events at four different libraries she is attending with her children this week. The magic show was a first for Sutton’s son, who was completely blown away by Sneider’s floating cup trick.

“A lot of people know and love Magic Dan and say, ‘Oh, I’ll be at his show,'” said JFK librarian Lucas McEuen, who says the event always draws a large crowd.