The Wildlife Company will bring live animals and exotic insects to the Newport Beach Central Library on June 29. There will be two programs beginning at 10 a.m. and 12 noon to kick off the library's Summer Reading Program. Brianne Passmore and Jessica Leigh from The Wildlife Company with an alligator. (Daily Pilot / June 22, 2010)

The Newport Beach Public Library's Summer Reading Program begins on Saturday and there's going to be plenty of events for the estimated 2,600 children — about the same number as last year — who are expected to participate.

The response among parents already has been so high that all of its four branches could not accommodate all the children, said Katherine Mielke, a spokeswoman for the library.

Two events have been added to the schedules of the Central and Mariners branches.

"The program," Mielke said, "encourages children to read during the summer and visit the library weekly to pick up new books and attend the special programs."

Registration begins for children, adults and teenagers on Saturday morning at all branches.

The first event starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Central Library, 1000 Avocado Ave. The Wildlife Company will bring live animals and exotic insects to the library, a first in a series of shows that will appear all three branches over the course of the summer. A second session follows at noon.

Attendance, however, will be limited, according to Mielke.

Other events are as follows:

Noon, June 30, at the Central Library, 1000 Avocado Ave.: "Fratello Marionettes," in which three classic fairy tales will be put on in a series of puppet shows, from "The Three Little Pigs" to "The Ugly Duckling" to "The Tortoise and the Hare." Shows will also take place at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Attendance is limited for what is being billed as "The Carnival of the Animals."

3 p.m. July 3, at the Mariners Branch, 1300 Irvine Ave.: Lego "Block" Party, where children will be able to test their creativity on what they can build and design.

10 a.m. July 6, at the Central Library: "Under the Sea Crafts," in which children can make crafts based on sea creatures, both imagined and real.

At the Balboa Branch, 100 E. Balboa Blvd., there will be a series of events as well. For more information, call (949) 717-3830 or visit the website at http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org.