Friday, December 9, 2011

Story Poems good for Readers' Theatre

The Oxford Book of Story PoemsThe Oxford Book of Story Poems by Michael Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A thoughtfully compiled book of story poems, many of which will not be immediately familiar but are worth knowing. The illustrations add just the right note, a blend of black and white sketches and colorful spreads. Opening with the brief Fairy Story by Stevie Smith proving that a story poem need not be long to be effective. I think a good deal of these would be very effectively transformed into readers' theatre for performance.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Library Window Painting

The Summer Reading Program was on "the Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!" theme - a forest scene, jungle, ocean, and pastorial. Then they were covered with paper cut-outs of animals, one per each book read. It is a testament to the great reading of the kids that by mid-August, the windows and these painted images were entirely hidden under little paper squares. Good Reading, everyone!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I heart Daniel Handler

Catching up on a stack of New York Times book reviews, I open DH's review of a batch of new kid at school books under the heading of Settling In. (August 21).
His opening lines make me remember why I think he is just the hoot of all time - "Will you be my friend? With the possible exception of "Does this look infected?," there is no more off-putting question."
Plus he uses the word "alas" all the time, a word I am quite fond of...I think it would be lovely if he dedicated himself to rewriting all the tedious manuals in the world so learning how to operate my new camera or how to assemble an Ikea bookshelf that seems to be missing screws had a certain lightness of wit to the work. Alas, I fear he will not be doing this any time soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Books that should be movies

Why The True Meaning of Smekday isn't a movie by now is beyond me. Great adventure and characters and imagination and wit. The main character is the kind of girl that girls need to see more of in movies - brave and strong (even when terrified) smart and true. A novel by Adam Rex I have been recommending to kids ever since it came out.
And Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle - years ago the then young Winona Ryder would have been perfect for it. Everyone who reads this becomes another fan of this underground cult classic. Made into a play, it still deserves major Hollywood or Indie treatment.
And then of course, Fledgling by Octavia Butler. You want action? We got action? You want kick ass? We got kick ass. And pathos, drama, humanity.
Moviemakers - where are you?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Brief round-up and a monkey and friends

The library summer windows have been up since mid-June and I still haven't gotten around to uploading them; summer does come in swinging. Well, here is at least one of our animal themed windows (now merrily covered with paper animals, one per each book read, from our eager summer readers. Here's an oldish but nice interview with a librarian and writer, Barbara Ann Porte (yes, I know, I am just fileboxing here for my own selfish pleasures),
a good blog to know for rockin' music for the young set...argh, dog chewing his biscuit on the bed, OFF! and Off to sleep as well. (terrible round-up and have scads more to share...another time when it is not past the midnight hour).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

a whiff of old books, a hush, a pensive air...

Sometimes it seems that the aim of modernity is to flush the romance out of life. the library, with its Daedalian labyrinth, mysteroius hush, and faintly ominous aroma of knowledge, has been replaced by the computer's cheap glow, pesky chirp, and data spillage.

- P.J. O'Rourke

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Palooza, you say?

Lithgow Party Paloozas!: 52 Unexpected Ways to Make a Birthday, Holiday, or Any Day a Celebration for KidsLithgow Party Paloozas!: 52 Unexpected Ways to Make a Birthday, Holiday, or Any Day a Celebration for Kids by John Lithgow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sea poems on a Monday Morning

The Mermaid and Other Sea PoemsThe Mermaid and Other Sea Poems by Sophie Windham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very nice collection of sea-themed poetry. Old favorites like Kipling's Seal Lullaby and Ogden Nash's the Eel (a childhood favorite) sit side by side with ones less familiar - My Other Granny by Ted Hughes, and Grim and Gloomy by James Reeves. The art by Sophie Windham (who compiled this collection) has a charming, somewhat British-y (as she is), storybook appeal.

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Sea dreams

A House by the SeaA House by the Sea by Joanne Ryder

Obviously this library mermaid loves the sea - and as a person who has written quite a lot of odes to dream houses by the sea - I can firmly state that this one is just terrific. With great imagination (an Octopus nanny, a playdate with seals)and rollicking rhymes and somewhere in there seems to be a poetic nod to the great beach poem by e e cummings - this is a perfect summer treat to offer up to sandy-toed (or dreaming of) little ones. The art is by one of my favorites, Melissa Sweet, who has a way with seaside dreams.

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Imaginary Menagerie

Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious CreaturesImaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures by Julie Larios

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Exploring magical creatures from mermaids to phoenix with brilliant illustrations (remind me of illuminated manuscripts), this book is good fun. I can easily see teachers using it as a jumpstart for poety workshops - the poetry is accessible and yet evocative, full of warnings and wonder - from Trolls "Troll arms will grab you and put you in a pot - in with the turnips and the dung and the spuds, in with the beetles and thistles from the ditch...". A full page glossary in the back rounds it all out.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Greed is good

When you are at the library.

My favorite question - "how many books can I take out?" and the answer here is: "As many as you want."

And the eyes light up. The eyes of a true reader discovering treasure, unbounded, bountiful.

It isn't good to be greedy, yes, but that rule goes out the window at the library. Here greed is good. I want you to carry out a stack of books, surround yourself with them, and read to your heart's content.

One of my favorite patrons is a mother who brings a rolling suitcase with her, empties out her returns, and sends her children to gather up new treasures to bring home.

And while you're at it - take all my display books because I put them up there for you to be tempted by new offerings and old favorites. Read! (Hmmm...rhymes with greed, just sayin').

Monday, March 7, 2011

Excellent book on bullying

Just KiddingJust Kidding by Trudy Ludwig

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this one - it breaks away from the pack of bullying books which almost invariably have the bully be some kid who was just lonely and they all become friends...for children who are bullied, those kind of books are never helpful and make them feel even more isolated.

This book is spot on for sharing when a child is being picked on - and having the bully say "just kidding" is so on the mark - the frequent way bullying really picks away at children because it is not considered a dangerous situation, just words, just kidding around, and meanwhile the bullied child starts to feel their world get smaller and sadder and they feel they have few places to turn. Having had special needs children who were bullied on all levels - from the "just kidding" to the all out attack, I am especially pleased to find this book. I will be ordering it pronto for my library. note - there is a helpful foreward by Stan Davis, a bullying prevention consultant.

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