Friday, January 31, 2014


A book review by Mr. B of the Grandview Branch: 

What happens when childhood friends start middle school? Sometimes, they grow together, and the friendship remains strong. Sometimes new friends blend in with old friends. And sometimes, childhood friendships end with a butt kicking. That’s why it’s 33 Minutes…Until Morgan Sturtz kicks my butt

That’s right, small but brainy seventh grader Sam Lewis is about to get beat up by his former best friend, star-athlete Morgan Sturtz. Over the summer, Sam had noticed Morgan spending more time with “new” kid Chris. And he had noticed how Chris and Morgan often played tricks on him. But Sam still thought he and Morgan were best friends. They had been best friends since second grade. Well, ok, so Sam played one prank on Chris and Morgan, which seemed to make Morgan mad. And, yes, Morgan had seemed to be avoiding Sam lately. But, Sam had no idea it had come to this. 

Author Todd Hasak-Lowy has Sam tell the story in short and often very funny chapters. The chapters track all the events of the school day that Morgan has told Sam he would kick his butt. The chapters start at lunch (11:41a.m.), 33 minutes before the promised recess butt-kicking, and end with the sudden and unexpected close of school at 1:15:59p.m. In that time, there is a cafeteria food fight (told in absolutely gross detail) during which Sam is knocked unconscious by a metal salad bowl; there are several trips to the nurse’s office and the principal’s office; a three, no, four, no now it’s five-car pile-up in the teachers’ parking lot; a fire drill, no, wait, the science lab IS on fire; and, yes, Morgan Sturtz kicks Sam Lewis’ butt (and gets a few bruises of his own). 

This book is great fun and delivers some valuable growing-up lessons along the way. It should make an excellent read-aloud, if the reader can stop laughing long enough to read the words.

RL  5-7  AGE 11-13


Jennifer Strange - eh, what's in a name - is responsible for finding jobs for all the magicians and wizards of the world. Oh, and she's also the last dragonslayer in the history of the world. Also, there is only one more dragon and he's going to die. Rumor has it that once this dragon dies, "BIG MAGIC" will return. Because magic lately has been pretty hard to come by. So it is up to Jennifer to determine the fate of magic whether she wants to or not. Luckily, this story is very funny because if it wasn't it would be very sad. But you will laugh a lot. Especially if you liked Adam Rex's True Meaning of Smek Day or anything in Brian Sanderson's Alcatraz series. 

THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER by Jasper Fforde is sure to delight the fantasy/science fiction fan who like a little comedy here and there to lighten things up. For grades 5 and up.


Thursday, January 30, 2014



Come listen, explore and enjoy.   

One World Rhythm
Thursday, January 30
5:00 p.m. Pre-Show & Musical Petting Zoo

6:00 p.m. Program
Make music using percussion instruments in this fun, participatory program. Come at 5:00 p.m. to test your drumming skills and learn about the instruments in our Musical Petting Zoo. Ages 4+

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Over the years Dan Santat has put out some amazing illustrated works for different authors.  His two latest ones are Picture Day Perfection by Deborah Diesen and Oh No! Not Again by Mac Barnett

It's hard sometimes to match an author's words with the right illustrations.  Sometimes you read a book and think how much better it would be if only it had different pictures or the pictures are great but the story could be better.  Well, whoever put these two authors with Dan Santat made beautiful matches.  

In Picture Day Perfection, you're reading along thinking that this poor kid is having a run of really bad luck on this most important day, picture day.  The boy has the perfect combination of horrible disasters happen all the way up to the time it's his turn to have his picture taken . It turned out PERFECT... according to his mom. 

In this sequel to Oh No! or How I Destroyed the World, a girl builds a time machine in order to get a better grade in her history project, but the invention winds up being taken for a joy ride and her plan fails fantastically. 

The stories are fun but coupled with Santat's illustrations, these stories were hilarious and picture book perfect, as are his other works, Crankenstein, Dog in Charge, Tom's Tweet, and so on.  

For readers from preschool and up.  


Today's Chapter Book Chat selection
We meet at Casa Verdugo at 4pm for the book discussion. 

Stanley and Arthur Lambchop are true fans of The Seventeenth Samurai. They simply idolize the lead actor, Master Oda Nobu.  The brothers want to let Master Oda Nobu know how much they enjoy his movies so Stanley decides to send a message to him by mail.  During the course of their communication, Stanley realizes that things are not always what they seem to be but one decision changes things for Master Oda Nobu and this makes Stanley idolize him even more.  
From the series, Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures, readers will flip with delight after reading The Japanese Ninja Surprise

For 3rd grade and up.                                          

Monday, January 27, 2014


Flora and Ulysses:  An Illuminated Adventure (also availalbe as an ebook) by Kate Di Camilo for the most outstanding contribution in Children's  Literature.  The Newberry Honor recipients are Doll Bones, The Year of Billy Miller, Paperboy and One Came Home.  See what the fuss is all about and put a hold on these titles.   

Locomotive by Brian Floca was awarded the Caldecott for best illustrated book.  Flora and FlamingoMr. Wuffles and Journey received the Caldecott Honors.  Too bad, Mr. Wuffles.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Come join us for our first event in our music and instrument series this season.  Listen, enjoy and explore.   

One World Rhythm

Thursday, January 30
5:00 p.m. Pre-Show & Musical Petting Zoo

6:00 p.m. Program
Make music using percussion instruments in this fun, participatory program. Come at 5:00 p.m. to test your drumming skills and learn about the instruments in our Musical Petting Zoo. Ages 4+

Friday, January 24, 2014


Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown has Mr. Tiger, a very civilized animal from the city,  deciding that he needs to cut loose a bit.  Little by little he goes WILD!  Beautifully illustrated animals throughout the book look on and even join in Mr. Tiger's journey of self exploration.  

Our next Caldecott contender is all about a red knitted hat in Red Hat by Lita Judge.  Like her previous book Red Sled, a slew of adorable animal characters try on the red hat but it can only fit one special head.  An adorable story beautifully illustrated with a vibrant red color.  If you enjoyed Klassen's book, This is Not My Hat, you will love this one. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems written by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Carin Berger is an illustrated poetry collection.  In this imaginative work each page features a different exotic (and bogus) creature that was supposedly discovered by the author during his travels to remote places. The creatures, a blend of real and inanimate objects, are given names such as JollyFish (cheerful jellyfish creatures) and Fountain Lions (large cats with fountains atop their heads) and are accompanied by several verses of Prelutsky’s signature style humorous poems.

Illustrator Carin Berger uses a mixed media collage style to represent the 16 creatures found in the book. The creatures are playfully displayed as if they are part of a crazy museum exhibit, with specimen boxes and figure numbers lending an air of authenticity to the images. These creatures would be right at home in the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Berger cleverly incorporates the creatures' characteristics in each illustration using a mix of vintage engraved images, specimen tags, and 3-dimensional objects like buttons and ribbon. The BrainDeer have oversized craniums and are placed in front of a chalkboard of mathematical equations. The Slobster displays his slovenliness by being surrounded with a mess and clutching dinnerware in his claws (the lobster wearing a lobster bib is a nice touch).

The illustrations are definitely unique and charming in their own weird way, and the Caldecott has been awarded to collage style illustrations in the past (1995’s Smoky Night illustrated by David Diaz). So, there is a very real possibility that the Caldecott committee will be smitten with this title, too!  

For readers in 1st grade and up.  

Monday, January 20, 2014


Every year awards are given by the American Library Association for the most distinguished contributions to American literature for children. The gold and silver medals that adorn the covers of winning and honor
books indicate the very best works published that year. The Caldecott Medal (named after 19th century illustrator Randolph Caldecott) is awarded based on a book’s pictures and is awarded to the illustrator of the story. There is one gold medal winner and several silver honor books chosen each year.

Some truly fine books have been awarded medals over the years. From the very first winner in 1938 (Animals of the Bible, illustrated by Dorothy P Lathrop) all the way to This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen in 2013, the past 75 years have highlighted the very best artists working in their field. For a complete list of all the Caldecott  Medal and Honor books click here. Many of these books are available from Glendale Library, Arts, & Culture.  Contact your local branch to request copies.

The 2014 winner of the 76th Caldecott Medal will be announced on Monday, January 27th.  Below are several titles generating buzz this year:

Like many people, Laszlo is afraid of the dark. He can never seem to get away from it - it’s in the closet, behind the shower curtain, outside, and in the basement. Usually, the dark leaves Laszlo alone, but one night it pays him a visit (his nightlight burns out). Follow Laszlo as he gathers his courage and faces his fears in The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

The illustrations are spooky and atmospheric, almost claustrophobic at times, which perfectly captures the feeling one gets when the power goes out. The dark is an inky blackness, only punctuated by the direct beam of Laszlo’s flashlight. One criterion the Caldecott committee looks for is how well a book’s illustrations tell the story in the absence of text. In this regard, Klassen has hit the nail on the head. When going through this book and looking only at the illustrations, the storyline is perfectly clear and the pictures do a fine job of conveying the rising sense of tension that Laszlo feels as he moves through the house.

The Dark is a pretty strong contender for a Caldecott medal. Illustrator Jon Klassen won two awards last year and the result of this pairing between Snicket and Klassen is pretty incredible.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham is a biographical picture book about the Hungarian mathematician. It follows Paul’s life from a small child fascinated by numbers to a genius whose work influenced the very computers and search engines we use today. Paul was an eccentric fellow, but he shared his passion for numbers and math with researchers all over the world.

Illustrator LeUyen Pham takes Paul’s love of numbers and incorporates them into every aspect of the illustrations. Numbers are subtly included in building windows, the geometry of rooftops, and in hidden mathematical equations. The amount of research behind Pham’s illustrations is impressive and she devotes meticulous details to show the reader the world the way Paul saw it, with everything a mathematical possibility.

Another strong Caldecott contender! The illustrations are bright and whimsical and make the reader want to pour over each page looking for the details. It will surely spark an interest in the way numbers operate all around us.

For readers of all ages. 

Friday, January 17, 2014


Librarians, book sellers and bloggers are predicting that these two titles will be on the short list for this year's Newbery winner.  Here's what our librarians in Glendale say about these stories.   

Wednesday, January 15, 2014



After one crazy summer with their mother, Cecile, in Oakland, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern fly back to Brooklyn and don't make it out of the airport without getting in trouble with Big Ma who is happy to see them but worried about their independence and "power to the people" mindset.  More than the Gaither girls has changed while they were in Oakland, though.  Pa's got a girlfriend, Uncle Darnell isn't the same as when he left for Vietnam, and the political air in Brooklyn and America is rapidly changing.  Not to mention the country is being swept away by this hot new music group, The Jackson Five.  While Delphine loves the tall one, Jermaine, her sisters are in love with the youngest Jackson named Michael.  Delphine tries to be the responsible one and reign the girls in, but no one wants to listen to a bossy older sister anymore.  How will the girls handle all this change?  How will their mother play a role in their lives all the way from Oakland without a telephone or any way to reach her other than letters?

Find out in Rita Williams-Garcia's sequal to One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven, which, through prose and letters tells the story of the Gaither girls growing up in Brooklyn in the late 60s/early 70s and Cecile's reminder to Delphine to stop growing up so fast and just be eleven.  Grades 6 and up.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Flora and the Flamingo
by Molly Idle

Mr. Wuffles
almost wordless 
by David Wiesner 

Monday, January 13, 2014


Today all our events start up again. 
Join us for our book club for beginning chapter book readers, 3rd and 4th graders (or anyone who can read a chapter book like the Ricky Ricotta or the Magic Treehouse series). 

Chapter Book Chat is at 4pm at the Central Library today.  
Chapter Book Chat is at 4pm at the Casa Verdugo Library on Wednesday if you can't make today.  

This month's book club  selection is: 

Friday, January 10, 2014



Everything changes in the blink of an eye for 11 year old Early Pearl and her family.  One minute they’re laughing and playing, dreaming about making a home in Chicago and the next minute Early’s father, Dash, has disappeared, leaving the Pearl family struggling to stay afloat and making their way through the city’s homeless shelters. There are many questions swirling around Dash’s disappearance:  Was he kidnapped?  Who is the mysterious “Al” that Dash was working with?  What do they know about the world largest diamond heist that happened half a world away and nearly a decade ago?

Early channels her father’s love of language and literature and sets out in search of clues. Everywhere she turns there are hidden clues, from the rhythm of Langston Hugh’s poetry to secrets hidden away at the Chicago Public Library. It’s a race against the clock as Early delves deeper and deeper into her father’s disappearance.

Like her other outstanding novels for young readers, Hold Fast by Blue Balliett  is a great read for someone who loves a good mystery and can appreciate the power of language.  
Grades 5 and up

Read another review of this book by Lyda.  

Wednesday, January 08, 2014



Willow Chance feels like she's running out of chances.  Her favorite number is 7, but she doesn't want to use 7 chances on life and she's already starting number 3.  Given up as a baby, her wonderful parents adopted her and loved her for all her character and uniqueness (which her classmates call weirdness) - like her obsession with medical diseases and her favorite outfit which includes gardening pants and an obsession with the number seven.  Her uniqueness has left Willow with very few friends, up until a few weeks ago when she learned vietnamese, gained 2 friends, and was sent to mandatory counseling by her school.  Now, though, as her counselor pulls up to her driveway and she sees the police but not her parents, Willow wonders if the third time is the charm or if she'll have to keep trying to find stability over and over again.

Join Willow on the path through social acceptance, grief, and the path towards a new life in Holly Goldberg Sloan's novel, Counting by 7s for students in grades 6 and up.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014



Billy Miller starts the second grade year with trials and tribulations.  With a bump on his head from a fall he took during summer, the damage might have caused him to not be fit for the second grade.  He also experiences some bullying from a classmate who sits right next to him.  If that is not enough, he thinks his behavior might have caused his teacher to dislike him.  As the school year passes, Billy experiences many difficult times but throughout the book, with the help of his family and teacher, he learns how to handle certain situations better.   Along the way, he helps and impacts those who have helped him as well. 
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes is a nice story about a young boys experience in second grade.  This book would make a great second grade classroom read aloud.  This book is also a good read for children grades 2-4. 

Monday, January 06, 2014


That's the question this month. Throughout January we will post reviews of book which may be Newbery and Caldecott contenders.  No one knows for sure which books are up for the award in 2014 so we're just putting out some possible titles for you to read and think about.   Maybe one of them is your favorite.  Happy Reading!

Friday, January 03, 2014


When Grandma visits her little granddaughter, they have fun playing guessing games with the animal puppets she has brought with her. This is a great book to share with toddlers and makes for a great story-time book.  With colorful illustrations, toddlers will enjoy using their imagination to guess the different animals hidden behind the curtains.  

Hooray Parade by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Hyewon Yum, is a great story to share with toddler.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


John and Marta find a young boy asleep on their porch one morning.  They are not sure where this boy came from.  Since Jacob does not speak, it is difficult for them to ask him questions about himself and his family.  The only thing they find is a note in his pocket asking them to “Plees taik kair of Jacob…wil be bak wen we can.”  They decide to honor the request and take care of Jacob until they return for him.  Since John and Marta do not have children of their own and Jacob, the first child they care for, does not speak, the three of them are still able to build a very strong connection.  For quite some time, they live together like a family but their future together remains uncertain.  Would Jacob stay with John and Marta or would his family come back?
The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech is a beautifully written story about a loving boy who transforms the lives of a young couple who discover their new found passion for parenting. This heartfelt story is recommended for children grades 4 and up.  It would also make for a great read aloud. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


A big THANK YOU to everyone, staff and guests, for making the Children's Room so much fun this year by taking pictures with our cardboard stand-ups.  Happy New Year!