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 the library, with its Daedalian labyrinth, mysteroius hush, and faintly ominous aroma of knowledge, has been replaced by the computer's cheap glow, pesky chirp, and data spillage.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').