Friday, May 30, 2014

Cookies felt board

Here's a felt board I put together for a cookie themed storytime. I also have a Cookie Monster puppet, so naturally we sang a round or two of "C is for Cookie" This set of cookies includes a gingerbread man, a sugar iced cookie, 2 chocolate chip cookies and one oatmeal raisin cookie.

Here's the song that goes with the felt board.

Five little cookies in the bakery shop.
Shinning bright with the sugar on top.
Along comes (child's name) with a nickel to pay.
He/she buys a cookie and takes it away.
(continue with four, three, two and one)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MWF Seeking BFF review

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend
by Rachel Bertsche
Ballantine Books
December 2011

MWF Seeking BFF is solidly in the genre of "do something unusual for a year and then report back on it." After moving to Chicago for her husband, Bertsche decides what she really needs is a new best friend. She was an active sorority girl in college and thrives on being a social butterfly.

The author has a good sense of humor and comes across as loveably neurotic, at least when she's not being Judgey McJudgerson and ruling out potential acquaintances for being a year or two too old or too young, having children, living too far away, or having some other undesirable characteristic. Fortunately she lightens up as the year goes on. She does, however, randomly interject statistics here and there in her narrative which I thought made her sound a bit stilted.

Still, a lot of her advice on friend-making is totally sound. She reminds me a lot of myself when I first moved to Los Angeles, and was determined to "get out there" and meet people. The book is divided into 4 sections: Set-ups and long-lost acquaintances/Taking out a want ad/Clubs, classes and online friending/The Art of the Pickup. Basically, say yes to every invite and force yourself to socialize. Practice doesn't always make perfect, but it does make it way easier when you're widening your friend network.

I guess what I found really stunning is that she not only commits to meeting a new person every week, but she also continues to follow up with all her priors that went well. Her final social schedule sounds positively exhausting! A tight-knit group of work friends, two bookclubs, a cooking club, an improv class, family, plus some other randoms picked up along the way. She probably gets out of the house every night of the week.

Pair this with The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists by Neil Strauss for an interesting perspective on how socializing and group dynamics work for 20-something minglers. Bertsche does lean rather heavily on the language of dating for her project. She sets up "girl dates" and "flirts" and bemoans, "Oh. My. God. I just got dumped!" when things don't work out. By the end of the year, she concludes that she hasn't gained a new BFF, rather a "bouquet of friends."

I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Recycled book crafts

I love altered book projects. There are so many that are pretty and inspiring. 

I'd love to do a craft project for teens at my library using some discarded/damaged books to make something like these, but I don't know if members of the public would have the heart for it. So many people hate to see a book "defaced" or feel guilty for reusing or recycling a book in any way.

Have you ever done a recycled book project? How did it go?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Small Medium at Large review

Small Medium at Large
by Joanne Levy
June 2012

First line: "Despite the suffocating mid-May heat and the nonbreathable fabric of my lavender polyester dress, it was shaping up to be a very good day."

Twelve year old Lilah is ready to relax and enjoy her upcoming summer vacation with her best friend Alex when suddenly everything changes. Lilah is literally hit by a bolt of lightning at her mother's wedding to new stepdad Stan and is mysteriously granted the ability to hear the spirits of those who have passed, including her Jewish grandmother. Lilah's grandmother Bubby Dora encourages her to play matchmaker to her father, who still hasn't gotten over the divorce. Bubby Dora is loveably bossy and is also more than happy to try and push Lilah together with her longtime crush, Andrew Finkel, much to Lilah's mortified disbelief.

Lilah's extended Jewish family seem healthy, balanced and loving, and the divorce of her parents is never really presented as a problem.

This was a fast-paced, light-hearted read. Middle-grade readers who enjoy a touch of magic with their realistic fiction will appreciate Lilah's sense of humor as she copes with all the joys and embarrassments of being a tween. I'll be recommending this for graduates of Megan McDonald's Judy Moody series or the Clementine books by Sarah Pennypacker.

Compare to:
Invisible Inkling - Emily Jenkins
Bigger Than a Breadbox - Laurel Snyder
The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister - Charlotte Agell

I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Famous Books in Every State

Business Insider, of all places, put together a fabulous graphic of the most famous book from/about every U.S. state. How many of these have you read?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

THE GIVER trailer

With the huge popularity of The Hunger Games and Divergent, it only makes sense for Lois Lowry's The Giver to come out as a film. I'm really intrigued by this trailer!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Stonewall Hinkleman review

Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run
by Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger
Dial Books
April 2009

First line: "All right, let's get the whole name thing out of the way quickly. My name is Stonewall Hinkleman."

Stonewall Hinkleman is tired of being dragged to his parent's Civil War re-enactments every weekend. He'd much rather be curled up at home, eating junk food, and playing with his Game Boy than sleeping in makeshift tents and roughing it without "farby" modern conveniences. His father has drilled into him the importance of respecting history, especially since Great-Great-Uncle Cyrus died in the Civil War. Stonewall sarcastically reminds his dad that Cyrus was shot in the butt and died of infection. Nothing heroic about that.

Stonewall's whining is a bit grating at first. Readers who stick it out for the first two chapters will be rewarded when Stonewall's bugle magically sends him back in time to the real Civil War. As far as time traveling goes, Stonewall says, "I've always hated it in movies when somebody goes back in time and it takes them half of the movie to stop saying, 'I must be dreaming.' No, you know right away. At least, I do."

Freshly arrived at the Battle of Bull Run, Stonewall runs into his ancestor, Cyrus, and soon realizes that staunch modern-day Confederate Mr. Dupree has traveled back as well, hoping to change the course of history. Dupree has carelessly brought his daughter Ashby along with him, whom Stonewall is nursing a small crush on. Cyrus turns out to be much more literate and recklessly brave than Stonewall could have imagined. I appreciated that the authors took care to point out negative aspects such as the scariness of battle, the racism of the day and the greediness of the sutlers without being too overwhelming. Stonewall Jackson's transformation to a modern-day hippie is a bit of a stretch, but anything's possible. This is a satisfyingly fun time-travel adventure. Readers will sense that Stonewall Hinkleman prevails at the end, but it certainly is fun seeing how he gets there.

Compare to:
Bull Run - Paul Fleischman
Charley Skedaddle - Patricia Beatty
With Every Drop of Blood - James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father's Secret Children - Kimberly B. Bradley

I borrowed this book from the library.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

This week's topic from The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art.

I'm going to do something a little unusual this week, and instead on concentrating on the pretty, pretty YA covers out there of girls in beautiful dresses, let's look at some of my very favorite picture book artists.

Here we go:

Stella, Fairy of the Forest - Marie Louise Gay
I love this spunky redhead!

The Book of Dragons - Michael Hague
It's true. I have a weakness for dragons. And Michael Hague is one of my very favorite illustrators. I love this book cover.

Little White Rabbit - Kevin Henkes
I love all the books that Henkes has done in this style, starting with Kitten's First Moon and including Old Bear and My Garden. If I had to pick just one of his, I'd go with Little White Rabbit, though.

Mother Goose Picture Puzzles - Will Hillenbrand
I am such a fan of Will Hillenbrand's work. I actually don't know if I'd frame the cover for his collection of Mother Goose rhymes, but I could probably find several of the interior pieces that I'd love to decorate my house with.

Little Red Riding Hood - Trina Schart Hyman
Here's another illustrator that I totally have a crush on. I love all of her work, so it's hard to pick just one. I especially love the cover she did for Ronia, Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. But, if I'm keeping with the picture book theme, I'd stick with Little Red Riding Hood.

Earth Mother - Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
I actually did have a poster of this book cover decorating my office for several years. I'm a huge fan of the Dillons.

The Lion and the Little Red Bird - Elisa Kleven
Again, here's an illustrator that I really admire. I really liked her take on Sun Bread and The Whole Green World. But, The Lion and the Little Red Bird holds a special place in my heart as the first Elisa Kleven book that I ever read.

Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
Those original illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard (not the later Disney animations!) have a really sweet and special childhood feeling.

The Library - Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
What's not to love about this book cover? A redhead librarian overburdened by books... hmmm... sound like anyone we know?

The Real Mother Goose - Blanche Fisher Wright
Well... I don't know if I would go for the cover of this classic Mother Goose collection either, but there are literally dozens of illustrations throughout the book that I would love to frame.

That's my top 10 list of frameable book covers. What are your favorites?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Read in April 2014

Last month I read the following the books:

1. The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkowski
2. Small Medium at Large - Joanne Levy
3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz
4. Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within - Robert E. Quinn

Picture credit: The Garden Window by Daniel F. Gerhartz


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