Monthly Archives: April 2011

>Good Reads YA Review

>The False PrincessThe False Princess by Eilis O’Neal

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to say, I enjoyed reading this book more than I originally thought I would. It has some strong characters and a good story line with some twists that may or may not be predictable. It is geared to teens/YA, which I liked. There is a bit of romance and some allusion to “sex”, though definitely not enough to bring down the iron fist of the Fundamentalists. I enjoyed the fantasy and magic element, but I didn’t feel as though it was too “princess-y” or “fairytale-ish.”

Sinda is a fairly well-written character. She isn’t perfect, which is good – she’s not completely self-less and has pride issues. Though she does have the Bella Swan “accident-prone” disability, it isn’t overly done and is only sometimes predictable. I would have liked to understand a little more about where the magic comes from, though O’Neal does a good job of making it seem like a completely normal phenomenon. I think the story was good and I never felt bored at all while reading it. There were a few things I would have liked to have explained a bit more, but other than that, I really did enjoy the book and the whole concept.

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>This Week In Story Time: I Can Help!

>This week’s book for my 3 & up Story Time was David Hyde Costello’s I Can Help.


It was a good book to read aloud because of it’s simple story concept, but also because the pictures (which are so cute!) have bright, bold colors and the animal characters are easily recognizable for younger children. Even the book’s smaller square shape doesn’t hinder the Story Time experience for the kids. They were able to see and understand most of the action that was happening without hearing the words. The fact that the story comes full circle also delighted them, as they were able to recognize the first character, which is a baby duck.

The story begins with the baby duck getting lost, and a monkey leading him back to his mother (I am saying “him” because for some reason the duck felt like a boy to me – not being gender-biased or anything…) Then something happens to the monkey, who receives help from another animal…..etc. until the baby duck is able to pay it forward and help another animal…only to realize he’s lost again! All the animals come to his rescue, so no worries.

I was lucky enough to meet David and visit his studio. He is incredibly talented in writing and illustrating, as well as in creating amazing, almost robot-like puppets. I hope to have him to the library to read his books sometime soon. Another book by David, which I LOVE is called Here They Come! A cute book about monsters meeting up in the forest. David has a great puppet he made to go with it. For more info on David Hyde Costello, click here for his website!


For the craft, we made paper plate ducks, which turned out really cute. The idea was from Enchanted Learning, which is a great craft site. We also read Duck! Rabbit!by Amy Rosenthal and Tom Litchfield as a supplement, which is also a great book – it was funny to see which kids would stick to one animal and which ones wavered. It’s a great book. I’ve used the book before as a stand-alone and we did an optical illusion craft that was really fun (since the book is based on the old optical illusion picture.)

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>Sunday Quiz: What Kind of Reader Are You?

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What Kind of Reader Are You?

Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Non-Reader
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

eh-this is an OK quiz.

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>Hello, Cupcake!

>One thing I have learned is that food – ahem, free food, brings the masses. Especially the teens and tweens. What is a tween? I loosely define a tween as a young person, roughly between the ages of 9-13. Sometimes even 8-13. We currently have an LSTA federal grant entitled Serving Teens & Tweens. We started with $20,000 in October of 2009 and it’s been going pretty well so far. I just finished the second Interrim Report (thank the Goddess) and while it’s been nice to actually have money for programs, it’s a TON of work to keep up with. But, I believe I started to talk about food. (Which, btw, you cannot use LSTA funds to purchase!)

Yesterday, we had a tween program involving decorating cupcakes for Easter and it was so cool. My Teen Program Coordinator planned the event and the tweens (OK, getting a bit sick of that word) had a blast. If you have some petty cash or can borrow from the Friends of the Library, it’s a great program. I’m planning on making these for my (new) in-laws on Easter Sunday…..yes, I want my mother-in-law’s approval.

Some of the kids followed the examples exactly, while others came up with their own creations (which always happens.)

A cute variation on the coconut bunny.
 
This should be at the Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Followed directions exactly!
 We found the bunny & egg ideas online, and the flower cupcake came from one of the cupcake books I recently received as a bridal shower gift. (it’s a board book too! How adorable!) The other book is incredible, but I don’t know that I would attempt any of the ideas with 9 year olds! The best one in this book is the Chinese take-out cupcakes. It’s by the creators of Hello, Cupcake – hence the title of this post. Happy cupcaking!

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library rant #1

Censorship and the Trouble with Penguins…..

Public libraries are amazing because they are the embodiment of freedom. You can walk into a library and check out whatever you want for free. Yes, you have to return the items and YES, if they are overdue you have to pay a fine. But come on, it’s still a pretty sweet deal. And most libraries nowadays are much more “hip” than in the past. At least, mine is, anyways. At our library, you can check out books, magazines, DVDs, music CDs, audio books, and even video games. And if we don’t have what you are looking for, we can get it for you from another library. Amazing! Most people have no idea what libraries can do. And the best thing is that public libraries do not censor. This of course depends on who does the book orders, but it is true for the most part.

I like to order books that challenge and educate and inspire – or, I try to anyways. It is so important to have something for everyone. Of course, there are always people who don’t appreciate this. But, to each his own. I once had a patron who complained about the movie Monster, starring Charlize Theron. If you haven’t seen this movie, I will tell you that it is amazing, but very violent. And I had assumed, wrongly, that it was the extreme violence that the patron had a problem with. Nope. It was the lesbian relationship between two main characters in the movie. I remember being a bit stunned. I can’t remember exactly what I said to this patron. I think I pulled out a copy of our collection policy and mentioned something about censorship through clenched teeth.

In the Children’s Room, one of the biggest offenders tends to be And Tango Makes Three  by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. A true story about two male penguins who hatch an adopted egg and raise a baby girl penguin. This book is one of my all-time favorites and makes me a little teary every time I see the illustration of the two penguins sitting on a rock and wondering why it isn’t hatching. (sniff) Unsuspecting parents pick up this book (which is often displayed) and put it in their library bag to check out. They don’t bother to flip through or read a little bit of it. The illustrations by Henry Cole are so cute – and it’s easy to assume that these two penguins on the front are a male and female. That’s the trouble with penguins.

But then the parent takes the book home and starts reading it to their children. Again, they haven’t looked through it, or read it to themselves beforehand. About halfway through they suddenly realize what they are reading and close the book, to the surprise of their children. Thank goodness they caught it before any permanent damage was done! They then bring it back to the library and take me aside and tell me that they almost read this evil book to their children and why is something like this in a public library? When I ask if they read it alone, before they started reading to their children, they sheepishly tell me no, but defend themselves by saying they shouldn’t have to. I hand them a copy of our collection policy, say something about censorship and tell them to read the book first. (This also goes for kids who get scared easily. I always tell parents to watch the movie or read the book first because every kid is different. One kid is scared of the clown, while the other thinks it’s hilarious. Same principle.)

Then I like to smile sweetly and tell them how much I personally love this book and that I was the one who purchased it for the library. It just makes me happy.

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>Sunday Quiz: Book II Quiz

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You’re The Importance of Being Earnest!

by Oscar Wilde

 
A fan of puns, mistaken identity, and other humoristic tropes, you have a flair for the dramatic. You embrace the convenience of a double-life, but use it for decidedly more mundane purposes than an international spy might. Ultimately, you prioritize humor over this deception and love over all of it, realizing how vital it is to make sacrifices to be happy. You have been known to mistake a baby for a novel, which is, after all, a rather novel predicament. You’re willing to change your name and even major details about yourself to make someone else happy.

(I LOVE this play! I actually wrote a paper on this in college!)

Book II Quiz at Blue Pyramid

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The Monster Rule

This week in story time we had a “Monster Theme.” I like to base my 3 & up story times around a particular book. Though my “planning-ahead” skills are not the best, to the constant aggravation of my staff, I do try to plan out the books & themes of each week per season ahead of time. Right now we are in Winter & Spring Story Times – which takes us from January to May. Some programs themes are based on holidays or the season change, but I like to highlight particular books that I think the kids and parents will enjoy and that also may not be something they’ve seen before.

So, this week’s book was Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty. This book was one of my pics for the 2010 Caldecott. It’s the story of a lonely boy who never leaves his house but loves to draw. He draws a monster, which comes alive and proceeds to demand things like sandwiches and arm chairs. Eventually Jeremy draws the monster a suitcase and a one-way bus ticket. Jeremy walks the monster to the bus, and after the monster is out of sight, Jeremy realizes he is outside. The neighborhood kids ask him to play. “And they did.”
Very cute. Great illustrations. The kids really liked it, especially when I do the demanding monster voice. “Draw me a sandwich!” The other book we read was When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Great book. A little longer, but it keeps their attention. The repetitive “2 possibilities” keeps them involved and eager for what will happen next. The illustrations are bold and easy to see. And it’s funny. Always a plus.

We made tube sock monsters that came out so cute! Definitely needed parents help for this one, but the end result was totally worth it and the kids had a blast creating their monsters. One little girl was deathly afraid of monsters, but she laughed at all the books and I made sure to add after each books that monsters weren’t real. Her mother informed me that she wakes up at least 3 times a night because of monsters in her room. This gave me an idea.

I asked the girl if she knew about the “Monster Rule”. She didn’t, but looked intrigued. Well, I explained, the rule is that you can’t have more than one monster in a room at the same time. So, if you make a monster here and take it home and put it in your room, it will make all the other monsters go away. She looked at me with wide eyes. Her mother silently thanked me. The girl asked me if she gave her sock monster crazy arms and lots of eyes, if it would really scare the other monsters away. I said definitely. She got so excited and worked on that sock monster for over 30 minutes. I have yet to hear if the “Monster Rule” worked, but for her parent’s sake, I hope it did!
 

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