Saturday, December 31, 2011

I wish you a

Courtesy of Whimsy Studio

A toast to you dear reader. Give yourself a big hug, hug your parents or your kids and your grandpa and grandma and your brothers and sisters, hug the dog, hug a tree, hug a librarian, hug a fresh new full-of-promise-book and be excited that we have a brand-spanking-new year of exciting reading together ahead. Clink!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You go see Hugo

As I mentioned briefly in this post, I recently saw the movie Hugo.

After the presents are unwrapped and the ticker tape of ribbons and tinsel and trappings recycled, treat yourself to the luxury of an afternoon matinee and go see Hugo.

By now you know my admonition: NEVER judge a book by its movie. Read the book first.  Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a delight to read together and, believe it or not, a great choice for an older reluctant reader. Despite its hefty size, in reality it's a very quick read due the large number of pages that are illustrated like an old-fashioned film flip-book. In fact, Selznick won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations (quite unusual for a chapter book to win a Caldecott medal.)

ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

Like most book-to-movie adaptations, director extraordinaire Martin Scorsese expands on the original storyline quite a bit but does stays true to the tone and style. Wonderful performances by all the cast, and especially by Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Then get ready to be Wonderstruck! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy 1st Night of Hanukkah!

Berlin children celebrating Hanukkah, 1930's
May your latkes be nice and crispy and your pockets stuffed with gelt. 

It's Fruitcake Weather!

School Library Journal annually publishes a poignant series of holiday memories from notable children's book authors and illustrators. Take a look at this year's line up: Richard Peck, Lisa McMann, Jack Gantos, and Loren Long. Holiday Memories 2011

I remember Mom and Dad saying each December, "It's fruitcake weather!", a line from Truman Capote's  A Christmas Memory. Those words never made my heart sing, as I, along with most children, loath fruitcake. All one could really do was surreptitiously pick the pecans off the top and dejectedly slink away.

All of this is just to say, document your own holiday fetes. It's never too soon to furiously pen your memoirs- you never know when you'll be up on a podium accepting a Caldecott or Newbery award.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kids Zone Blog and Library Zealot

I do hope you'll take a moment and check out our shiny new kid's website.

In addition to my blog, we also have a Kids Zone Blog you'll want to take a peek at. Petey Makes Pumpkin Cupcakes is just adorable!

Be sure and subscribe to the charming Library Zealot's twitter posts, courtesy of  Marilyn Wronsky, the Corte Madera Library children's librarian, beloved by all and a treasure trove of up-to-the-minute reading recommendations. You'll also find a link on the "an itty bitty bite of other book blogs for kids" list.

Zee zealot "Madame Vronsky" (her gypsy fortune teller alter ego) and I just saw the movie Hugo together. I do believe Miss Kitty will present a post in the near future on that excursion (it was great!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Time is Here

I wonder if the Marin Civic Center lagoon will freeze over and we can have an ice skating party? Probably not, and anyway where would we find that many pairs of tiny ice skates for all those ducks??

Whatever holiday you celebrate dear reader, I hope it's full of good cheer.
I love this song, don't you?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Your Lucky Day!

It just might be your lucky day in the library.....The Marin County Free Library has launched a "Lucky Day" book collection and you just might stroll into the children's room and get your hands on that hot title you've been hoping for. Won't that make you happy!!

The "Lucky Day" collection is a selection of high demand kid's titles that will check out for just 7 days. We put a big number "7" sticker on the cover so you won't forget. You can't put a hold of them; you just have to roll the dice and see what titles are there when you walk in.  Don't worry we want you to find all the books you're searching for, so there are lots of regular copies of hot titles too and you can certainly place a hold on those. Want a little hint of what you might  find, like a lucky penny? Oh, say this title, or this title, or maybe this title.  

There are many great stories about being lucky, or supremely unlucky, but here are two that I especially fancy- Orwell's Luck by Richard Jennings and Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Really when you think about it, any library book you check out makes for a very lucky day, doesn't it.
Licensed images by Lettering Delights

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Murder of Crows

Thank you to Andrea Gutierrez  for this lovely photo

The crows have been so noisy outside my house this week. When I see crows I try to count them and I think of Heidi Holder's Crows: An Old Rhyme.

But this *murder of crows  makes me think of The Sundown Rule by Wendy Townsend. Louise, the young teen narrator states,
When I was little, I had all kinds of tanks and fish bowls in my room that I set up for the animals I found in the woods and in Marl Lake. I caught snails and dragonfly larvae and crawdads and tadpoles so I could have my own Marl Lake right in my room. I brought in so many animals Dad made a rule called the sundown rule, which said that by sundown I had to let every animal go in the place where I'd found him. 
Like many animal stories and like nature herself, there are different kinds of loss in this slim, readable volume. Townsend has a keen eye for nature and wildlife and deftly describes Louise's love of the wild and free. The crows sit noisy sentinel over it all.
...Setting aside the chocolate cake, I lifted the bucket and dumped it, letting the handle bang against it. I called out, Cah!Cah!Cah! and my heart filled up and I stood very still and listened into the distance, into the woods and all around as far as I could. Then suddenly I heard, Cah!Cah!Cah! right across Marl Lake. An answer came from the trees not far away; then another crow called out. I felt as though they had been there all along, waiting.

*A group of crows is called a flock or a murder.