Thursday, February 15, 2018

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE MRS. WHITE RABBIT



Mrs. White Rabbit (wife of that famous White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland) shares her concerns and many household problems in her diary after having just moved to a new home.  First on her list is her oldest daughter, who wants to be a  housewife one moment and a scuba diver the next.  The twins are always into something and not always a good thing.   She is concerned about all of her other children as well as her husband, The White Rabbit.  On top of all this, an invisible cat, probably from Cheshire, just suddenly shows up everywhere in house, too. 

The amazing thing about this is book are the illustrations and the references to Alice in Wonderland and other fairytale characters if one looks carefully.  In one spread Bachelet draws100 different carrot dishes from the cookbook 100 Ways to Cook Carrots!  Fantastic!  Mrs. White Rabbit by Gilles Bachelet is great fun for parent and child from preschool - 2nd grade. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A LOVE STORY


Ox writes a letter to Gazelle raving about her beauty and tells her how much he adores her but arrogant Gazelle just sends him a generic fan photo, insults him in letter after letter. Undeterred, or being thick, Ox continues to extol her virtues, intelligence and honesty for example. Another fun picture book by the team of Adam Rex (author of The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors) and Scott Campbell (illustrator of the Zombie in Love books), combining great watercolor illustrations with hilarious word play make this a good read aloud for Kindergartners to adults.  

XO, OX is a thought provoking read right before Valentine's DayIs this an unrequited love story or an obsessive stalker-ish love? Either way you see it, I love it.  

Thursday, February 08, 2018

SHARKS, PIRATES, AND DEATH!


Fidelia Quail and her family were on their last outing at sea before winter and the beginning of the Undertow, when her parents perished in a storm. Deep in a depressive state over the loss of her family, Fidelia's aunt Julia wants to move to the mainland, but Fidelia doesn't want to move away from Aborley Bay and all she knows and loves.  

But when she is kidnapped by the notorious pirate Merrick the Monstrous, Fidelia is forced to use her knowledge of sharks and her skill in invention to find his most prized treasure. Pursued by Her Majesty's Naval Admiral, Merrick presses Fidelia to finish her underwater breathing invention before time runs out. Will Fidelia ever be able to just go back home to her Aunt Julia? 

Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eager is a thrilling novel about an eleven-year-old's love of sharks, the sea, and her family, told both in the past and in the present.

Ideal for readers in 5th through 8th grades.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

TURN A BAD DAY INTO A GOOD DAY!


From the moment we wake up from a good night's rest, we can only hope for a good day to begin.  But what happens when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  Georgie knows exactly how this feels and his friends feel the same way.

Ruth Chan's darling story and illustrations capture many examples of what can go wrong in a day.  The message she conveys is that sometimes an unexpected event can really turn things around for the better.  So, with a sprinkle of patience, wonderful friends, and lots of laughter, you can also have a version of Georgie's Best Bad Day!  

For ages 2-5.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

LADY LIBERTY IN ACTION


The Statue of Liberty is an enduring symbol of freedom in America, but for such a well known emblem, there is still much to learn about her. How did such a big statue--a gift from France--get from Paris to her home in the New York harbor? Why did she start her life brown and then turn into her signature greenish-blue color? But perhaps the most interesting of these lesser-known details of Lady Liberty has to do with her feet. Specifically her right one, hence the title of this book. If you look closely, you can see that her foot is lifting up as if in mid-stride. That's right, the famous 150-foot-tall statue, representing liberty as she welcomes many immigrants and visitors to American shores, is on the move! Where might she be going? 

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris, is a fun, fascinating, and deeply affecting portrait of the Statue of Liberty, which posits that her active pose serves as a reminder that liberty and freedom from oppression "require action...courage...an unwillingness to rest." From the first immigrants she welcomed in 1886 to those still arriving today from every country around the world, Lady Liberty's job receiving the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, never ends--and it never should. 

This dynamic and poignant extended-length picture book will make an inspiring read for kindergartners and up. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

SPECTACULAR POSSIBILITIES

I took a trip up to the Bay Area last weekend. It’s a 5.5 hour drive (without traffic) from LA, and I settled into the driver’s seat, automatically reaching for a familiar audiobook: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Lincoln Hoppe. It’s a trip I’ve made several times and a story I’ve listened to several times more since its publication in 2011, yet it has never failed to elicit the same depth of emotion each time. It draws me back to a place I’d never visited and a time I’d never experienced: a small town in upstate New York in 1968, the peak of the Vietnam War era.

Fourteen year old Doug Swieteck is starting eighth grade in a new school in a new town, where his father has just secured a new job after being fired for a poor attitude and a questionable work ethic. The Dump, his family’s latest residence, is small and dingy. His father is spiteful. His older brother is a menace. His gentle mother rarely smiles anymore. And Doug can’t think of a single good thing about the stupid town they've just moved to.

You can easily envision the trajectory for a kid like that: he’ll grow up to be a bully, a thief, a liar, a victim and a victimizer. And everyone else in town thinks so too-- including Doug himself.

Until he finds unexpected solace in a public library and purpose in a rare copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America. There’s something mesmerizing about the paintings in Audubon’s book, even for Doug, who would be the first to tell you he’s no artist. Soon he’s drawn into the stories he sees in each carefully crafted bird, which become the metaphor by which he interprets his world. His spirit soars and dives throughout the novel as he faces a deluge of circumstances that test his resolve to sketch a different future for himself.

Another librarian (whose name I unfortunately cannot recall) wrote in her review of the book that it had broken her heart and put it back together a thousand times. I can certainly relate to that feeling. There’s a lot to mull over here: the tangible and intangible effects of the war on returned veterans and their families, the dichotomy of wealth and poverty, the cyclical nature of abuse, and the problematic prejudices of adults. At the same time there’s the thrilling freedom of art, the unexpected kindness of others, the gentle glow of first love, the healing found in offering compassion even when it seems undeserved, and a long lingering note of Possibility. It’s a tale of resilience and redemption.

I highly recommend listening to the audio version of book (which still counts as reading, in case you’re wondering!) Lincoln Hoppe’s reading of Okay for Now received an American Library Association Odyssey Honor in 2012 as one of the best audiobooks produced for children and young adults, available in English in the United States.

A truly rewarding read for grades 6 and up.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

READING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

Winter is well underway and Storytimes are back in session.  Join us at the library as we enjoy a variety of stories, songs, movements and more at our Storytime programs.  

This month try sharing books with themes about winter, snowmen and bears with your little one.  The library has many wonderful titles to choose from.  Come talk to us for a recommendation or click on the books below for more suggestions.


Reading time with your little one should be a fun and enjoyable experience for you both.  Try using different voices for the characters as you read.  Make animal sounds if the book calls for them.  Don’t be afraid to be silly.  Encourage your child to make the voices or animal sounds along with you.  You and your child will have a great time exploring books together.  



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

THE EGG AND THE FALL


After the Fall- How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat is the follow up story to that famous incident where Humpty Dumpty fell and was put back together again, but he didn't escape unscathed. Humpty now fears heights. He can't sleep on the top bunk. He can't climb to reach the "good" cereal on the top shelf.  
Humpty discovers a new hobby making and flying paper birds, which allows him to watch beautiful birds fly high again. His acrophobia comes to a head one day, when one of them gets stuck wayyyy up high.  

What now? Can Humpty climb up to get it? 

Humpty's emotions are illustrated beautifully to evoke sadness and joy with different colors and hues. Everyone talks about being surprised by the ending and I agree. You will too. 

For readers in preschool and up.  



Thursday, January 18, 2018

A SURPRISE FOR EUGENIA


Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package by Kate DiCamillo and Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen another story in the Tales From Deckawoo Drive series.

Eugenia Lincoln, the older of two sisters living on 52 Deckawoo Drive, does not like surprises and does not indulge in frivolity.  She's practical and has no time for fun silly things like an accordion.  One day a little man shows up at her door trying to get her to find that little bit of music in her heart.  Everyone has a bit he claims.  

After a night of music and merrymaking by everyone but Eugenia, she bumps into little Stella on her way to the trash who asks to try the accordion.  Before Stella could play anything, Eugenia accidentally squeezes out a bit of music on the keys and Stella excitedly claims that she just made music and should keep on playing.  

Maybe there is a place for some frivolity in Eugenia's life after all.  Will she ever find out who sent her the accordion?  Maybe it doesn't matter anymore.  

A beginning chapter book perfect for 2nd-4th grade readers. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

OH, WHAT BIG TEETH YOU HAVE ALAN!


Alan the alligator has enormous and brilliant white teeth. He does much to take care of them, brushing for at least ten minutes. These chompers are useful for many things but when he couples them with a variety of scaring techniques, the other animals are not amused; just downright scared! That is, until one day, a beaver comes and discovers a secret that Alan has been hiding. Instead of keeping the secret to himself, beaver shares it with the other animals. Will Alan find other ways to scare his friends?  

Jarvis’ story and illustrations in Alan’s Big Scary Teeth are hilariously fun and although Alan has a bit of a problem with scaring others, readers will find ways to root for him too.

For ages 3-7

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

BREAK A LEG OR AN EGG!


Third grade can be so much fun! Friendships start to blossom and interest in school activities start to grow. When an upcoming musical is announced, excitement within the third grade class escalates and everyone starts to wonder who will be in it and which starlet will take the lead role. Could it be Shai, who’s ready to take center stage?  Or could it be super-confident Gabby?  Whoever it may be, taking a lead in the musical isn’t just about playing a part but also having naturally wonderful characteristics.

The part goes to…

Quvenzhané Wallis, along with Nancy Ohlin create this delightful beginning chapter book for students who really want to stay true to themselves but are are at times unsure.  With a strong support system, even third graders can get through tough situations.  Read Break an Egg!  

For grades 3-4.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

MIDDLE SCHOOL FRENEMIES AND CRUSHES


There are many roles in middle school that each person assumes. There are athletes, popular kids, nerds, teacher's pets, and over-achievers. Gracie doesn’t buy into any of it. She just goes with her own flow, even with family challenges at home. She is not considered a fashionista or 'big girl on campus;' she’s just a regular middle school girl who is witty, charming, and a good friend. She also happens to have a crush on a boy. The only problem is that her BFF has a crush on the same boy. When her very shy friend asks her for some help, what will Gracie do?

In, Well, That Was Awkward, Rachel Vail skillfully weaves the trials and tribulations of a middle-schooler in a relatable story. Despite her many challenges Gracie is somehow able to bring her strength and courage to the forefront. Rachel Vail's inclusion of middle-schoolers from different ethnic backgrounds is a plus.

For ages 12 and up.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

WHOA! IS THAT REALLY A DOG?


There are many types of dogs one can find at an animal shelter.  But did you ever see one that was as tall as a building and could belt out a loud roar?  In Anna Staniszewski’s story Dogosaurus Rex, Ben’s pet, Sadie, is everything and more, from sitting on command to rolling over, she is the perfect dog.  Some people in the community are a bit leery of her talents until a situation arises and she’s put to the test to make a performance of a lifetime.  

This humorous story will be enjoyed many times, and fans of Kevin Hawkes- the illustrator who brought The Library Lion to life- will not be disappointed with his latest work.  For ages 2-7 and of course, anyone who wants a dogosaurus as a pet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

SOMEONE TELL THE LEMMINGS

In Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman with illustrations by Zachariah OHora, three small, adorably fuzzy, and sadly illiterate rodents evidently have yet to read the definitive book on lemmings, which CLEARLY states that lemmings do NOT jump off cliffs.

Aboard the S.S. Cliff (a barge which may or may not in fact be a large whale), First Mate Foxy, the very much literate arctic fox, is surprised by the revelations of his new leisure reading material, Everything About Lemmings. “Huh! Says here, lemmings don’t jump off cliffs,” he muses aloud.

Unfortunately, the three aforementioned local lemmings also suffer from selective hearing, in addition to being highly suggestible and terrible eavesdroppers. At the mention of “jump,” they immediately dive enthusiastically overboard, which in turn necessitates a quick rescue effort by Foxy. He takes the impressionable lemmings under his wing, gives them tiny hats as well as ridiculous, yet apt, names (“Jumper,” “Me Too,” and “Ditto”) in order to better scold them.

What follows is a hilarious tale of repeated dives, rescues, scoldings, and schoolings.

The author explains the inspiration for this picture book as a late discovery that lemmings don’t jump off cliffs, followed immediately by the thought: “‘OH NO! DID ANYONE TELL THE LEMMINGS?!’ So we made this book. You’re welcome, lemmings.” The author-illustrator duo previously collaborated to create the equally charming picture books Wolfie the Bunny (reviewed here) and Horrible Bear!

Ages 4+