Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday finishes...


     I don't have time to tell you about the wonderful party. You'll have to use your imagination to picture clowns and elephants and seals and lions and a bearded woman and headless woman and monkeys and chimps and every person and creature determined to give the beloved twins the greatest time of their eleven years, even if in their hearts they knew it was not only a birthday bash but a farewell party....

     ...Nancy stroked the place on her arm where the wolf had scratched her. The house with a picket fence and two parents with their twins no longer seemed so desirable. Wasn't a circus the perfect home for a girl who was, at least for the present, part wolf? And besides, she had promised the wolves to speak out for them. "Why not?" she said...

     ....I won't say it was the end of all their adventures, for Nancy and Joe were an adventurous pair, but it brings to a close the Exquisite Corpse Adventures- evil conquered, family united, and friends who lived...

"Take twenty top kids' authors and illustrators. Give them free rein to take turns creating a zany progressive story. What could possibly happen next?"

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday begins...


  1. Are you curious about what is happening in a seaside town that is no longer by the sea?
  2. Do you want to know more about a stolen item that wasn't stolen at all? 
  3. Do you really thing that's any of your business? Why? What kind of person are you? Are you Sure?
  4. Who is that standing behind you?

Alas, as always with Lemony Snicket, they are all the wrong questions.....

Monday, December 3, 2012

The holidays draw near...

Whew! We escaped the worst of the winter rains this weekend in Marin County. Still, a rainy day
is awfully nice for sitting at home at the kitchen table with a STACK of library books and a cup of hot chocolate and a lazy afternoon of crafting holiday cards and presents.

Oh come let us adore Ed Emberly and his clever drawing books. Here are a few sweet designs from  his Big Red Drawing Book.

And for grown-ups who keep art journals or scrapbooks, Emberley's designs are fantastic fodder for doodling ideas and page graphics. Take a look at the bead garland designs. Even just the simple shapes would look great on a journal page.

Rejoice all those who celebrate Hanukah! I love The Crafty Crow's website of ideas for Hanukkah crafts.

Dancing Hanukkah Characters from The Creative Jewish Mom
Save a nice hot crispy latke for me and don't forget the applesauce....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Here's hoping everyone's Thanksgiving is swanky.

Elliott Erwitt, Snoopy through the window of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1988

Before we settle in to watch the Macy's Day Parade, here's a little poem to read at the Thanksgiving table. It's from a classic book of children's poetry and I love the illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. Click on the poem to discover the book and then check it out and take it home! 

 I give thanks for YOU dear reader and this blog and books and reading and free public libraries and poetry and parades. xoxo Miss Kitty

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And the winner is....

It's a landslide win! The cutest dog costume  IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE goes to....
this little guy! 

You know Miss Kitty is a sucker for dogs, so here, dear reader, are a few of my favorite picture books with dog illustrations. Click on the illustration to place a hold on each title, grab your library card and a leash...good boy! Good girl!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October's Bright Blue Weather

I confess dear reader I'm in a bit of shock that this blog has been up and running for little over a year! We've had a wonderful first year, and for the here and now,  how lucky we are to enjoy October's bright blue weather.  I've always loved Helen Hunt Jackson's ( 1830-1885) poem.

      October's Bright Blue Weather
    O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
        And flowers of June together,
    Ye cannot rival for one hour
        October's bright blue weather;
    When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
        Belated, thriftless vagrant,
    And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
        And lanes with grapes are fragrant;
    When Gentians roll their fringes tight
        To save them for the morning,
    And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
        Without a sound of warning;
    When on the ground red apples lie
        In piles like jewels shining,
    And redder still on old stone walls
        Are leaves of woodbine twining;
    When all the lovely wayside things
        Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
    And in the fields, still green and fair,
        Late aftermaths are growing;
    When springs run low, and on the brooks,
        In idle golden freighting,
    Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
        Of woods, for winter waiting;
    When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
        By twos and twos together,
    And count like misers, hour by hour,
        October's bright blue weather.
    O suns and skies and flowers of June,
        Count all your boasts together,
    Love loveth best of all the year
        October's bright blue weather.

In the next few days we'll carve our pumpkins....

...and prepare for THE BIG NIGHT...

I'll share some of my very favorite costumes in my next post..but in the meantime, we can dream about all that spectacular candy.

Swap you my Mars Bars and candy corn for your Atomic Fire Balls and Snickers?!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Celebrate Science Month

Greetings dear reader. I'm oft heard to exclaim that I love to read because it gets me off the planet for awhile. Wouldn't it be incredible to visit these planets?! Illustrator Dean Walton offers this limited edition series of posters based on the greatest sci-fi movie planets. I love his bio; "Hi, I'm Dean Walton and Mr. Shabba is the name of the illustration and graphic design obsessed part of my brain."

Illustration courtesy of Dean Walton.

Click on the illustration to see the other cool posters in this series. *No space travel is without its turbulence so please calmly glide around the "A" word on the Mars poster. After all, he may be speaking of taking a donkey into space.

We are celebrating Science Month in our branches with programs and these neat science kits from The Lawrence Hall of Science. Families have a choice of eight different kits to check out. Included in each kit is a book, suggested activities, a notebook for each investigator to keep, and best of all, a free child/youth admission pass to the Lawrence Hall of Science. Fear not, these will be available after science month as well.

Meanwhile, while I'm off planet reading I'm also trying to come up with a name for the illustration and graphic design obsessed part of my brain. Any suggestions? Actually, " Planet Pandora" might be appropriate. But Pandora's Box is a story and blog post for another day. In the meantime, live long and prosper, dear reader. On Planet Vulcan and Planet Earth.

Friday, September 14, 2012

To the Batmobile!

Holy cow, join the caped crusaders and burn rubber over to the Marin County Free Library where it's
Library Card Month!

I'm no Joker dear reader! For the entire month of September, you can get a shiny new library card or replace a lost one for free! That's right...FOR FREE!!!! And we will give you a secret crusader curly keychain so that you don't loose your shiny new card whilst battling evil in Gotham and abroad.

After all, having your very own library card really is having a superpower.

I think I need to start coming to work as Cat Woman instead of Miss Kitty. There's a very high probability I already own the boots.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Force is Strong With This One

I don't know about you but it feels like the summer days have zipped by at warp speed. One of my favorite young readers turned in his reading log and I had to smile..... this young Jedi certainly knows what he wants to read! Determined he is. If you look very closely, there are three entries for Harry Potter. An essential part of the magic of childhood summer reading is getting to read whatever you feel like.  Enjoy your August weekend, dear reader, while there's still time for an afternoon of podracing around the neighborhood before it's time to come in and wash up for supper. Save a nice cold slice of watermelon for me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meet Marcel

Goodness, dear reader- how quickly the summer is flying by. July already and the Summer Reading Game is going like gangbusters. I hope you've had a chance to sign up since one of the very BEST things about summertime is reading for fun.

Allow me to introduce my good friend Marcel the Shell (with shoes on).

I adore Marcel and you are so lucky because you can check out this book about him.
Wouldn't it be fun to find a shell at the seashore and make your own Marcel?! Just take it from Miss Kitty, make sure you clean out the shell VERY WELL or you'll have a stinky Marcel. 

I hope your warm summery days of swimming and reading and picnics and fireworks and ice cream all crawl along like Marcel; at a snail's pace.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Call me?

The library is evolving in profound ways but for some things we still rock it old school at the Marin County Free Library. Families may phone in each week to Dial-A-Story to hear a 5 minute story read by a wonderful variety of readers. This is week is my little brother's birthday. He lives in Hawaii so I recorded The Little Mermaid for him.

I love Jane Yolen's book, Fairy Tale Feasts. It's exactly my kind of fairy tale book, stories plus a recipe to go with them! The recipe that accompanies this tale is Seaweed Stuffed Shells- a clever way to get a story and a little spinach into your favorite reader. You'll find the ending to this version of The Little Mermaid a bit different. Kid's who only know Disney-ized version of stories may find it a little confusing, but this offeres a great opportunity to explore folk and fairy tales.  No child should leave
kiddom without solid legs, or a long silvery green tail, of fairy tales beneath them.

Give us a jingle- (415) xxx-xxx
Update- We have discontinued Dial-A-Story because we are working on new ways to bringing to you. Stay tuned and keep reading!
Miss Kitty 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The odds aren't good...

The Harry Potter franchise forever changed the way adults, and children themselves, think about reading appropriateness. With so many very young children taking on Harry during his years at Hogwarts, either by themselves or by being read to, there's now an expectation that all blockbuster  fiction is okay to take on as well. Which brings me to The Hunger Games.

Over the last several months I've had readers as young as 7 years-old ask for The Hunger Games. I would never discourage a child from reading, but this is a series that firmly belongs in very mature 'Tween and Teen territory. A big tip-off is that book is not shelved in the Children's Room; you'll find it in Teen Fiction. Truly, it is not the best choice for young readers; even advanced young readers. If nothing else, it takes a more mature mind to comprehend the brutality of a society that forces its children to kill each other.

Since the release of the movie (which is rated  PG-13), interest in the book series has of course only increased. Here's a great review about the film from Common Sense Media.

That said, there are several classic must-reads about dystopian societies for kids and a great place to start is Lois Lowry's The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger.  After reading these, they'll appreciate The Hunger Games all the more when they are ready for it, and may the odds really truly be ever in their favor.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Me and the B; Kickin' it in the library

And a curly keychain so you don't loose your new card
This is my good buddy Mr. B, proud owner of a brand new Marin County Free Library card and frequent visitor to my desk in the Children's Room.

"Don't toch the sticy pars"

I have a white board on the side of my desk to let patrons and staff know my whereabouts. I leave a marker nearby and am often greeted with all kinds of messages from the kids. I like Mr. B's forthrightness here advising patrons, "P.S. don't come in earlier! No yelling!"

The magic pebble

As many of my library kids are wont to do, Mr. B pilfered my desk drawers and brought out this rock (a gift from a previous reader). He leaned in whispered to me, "You know you can sell this rock and get a million dollars for it...." to which I exclaimed, "Are you telling me I can sell this rock for a million dollars and RETIRE?!!?", he quietly replied, "Yes.....but I don't want you to."

And that my dear readers is why it's so important to read together. We're all busy and overwhelmed (me included) but make the time to read together, to talk and listen and laugh. There's no such thing as instant intimacy but all it takes is 20 minutes a day of quiet time together and that's pretty doable.

Pretty swanky, no? More from the talented Mr B. 

Observe that Mr. B is reading the Hardy Boys graphic novels. These are a great choice for emerging readers. And if you'd like to read a story about a magic pebble......

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Spy a Marin!

The Marin County Free Library & The Marin County Fair Present

I Spy a Farm in Marin!
April 9 – April 20

“You Belong @ Your Library” to help us celebrate National Library Week (April 9-15th).  We invite the whole family to play “I Spy a Farm in Marin”; a fun seek-and-find game. We are offering the game for a full 2 weeks to give everyone a chance to play.

Study the “Marvelous Marin” map we’ll have posted for you (a cool replica from the Marin County Free Library’s wonderful California Room). Spot all 15 quiz clues on the map and you’ll receive a pass good for 1 free child’s admission to the 2012 Marin County Fair- “Celebrating American County Fair Traditions”!  After you finish the quiz, read a book in the library together about farming and you will win a *2nd free child’s admission pass! Visit us at www.marinlibrary.orgDon’t forget to participate in the Exhibit Program at the Fair too!

We love our libraries, our farmers and our fair. Come on in because “You Belong @ Your Library” and at the Marin County Fair and down on the farm.

*While supplies last. Limit 2 per participant.
Passes are good for Monday, July 2 and Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lost Boy

I think there's a Peter Pan inside of every reader. Here's a lovely biography by Jane Yolen about the man who created Peter Pan, J.M Barrie.

Aren't Steve Adam's paint on board illustrations terrific?

"Wake up," she cried, "Peter Pan has come and he is to teach us to fly."

Here's a very clever idea- stencil Peter's shadow on your bedroom ceiling!

"I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg."
Whether it's called Oz or Hogwarts or Narnia, there's always a Neverland waiting for you in books. And how do you find it? Crack open the cover and then it's
 "Second star to the right and straight on until morning."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Finishes



AND THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE VERY END OF THE STORY if it hadn't been that they felt they really must explain to the Professor why four of the coats out of his wardrobe were missing. And the Professor, who was a very remarkable man, didn't tell them not to be silly or not to tell lies. but believed the whole story. "No," he said, "I don't think it will be any good to get the coats. You won't get into Narnia again by that route. Nor would the coats be much use by now if you did! Eh? What's that? Yes, of course you'll get back to Narnia again someday. Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don't go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don't try to get there at all. It'll happen when you're not looking for it. and don't talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don't mention it to anyone else unless you find that they've had adventures of the same sort themselves. What's that? How will you know? Oh, you'll know all right. Odd things they say-even their looks-will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?"

And that is the very end of the adventure of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.

 Now. Where to next in Narnia? Consult the map. And take a quick review of this post.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Begins



ONCE THERE WERE FOUR CHILDREN whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.  There were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a very large house with a housekeeper called Mrs. Macready and three servants.

We read a little further and discover the siblings doing the thing that all children do when stranded in a manor home: exploring and getting into mischief - Miss Kitty
And shortly after that they looked into a room that was quite empty except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has a looking-glass in the door. There was nothing else in the room at all except a dead blue-bottle on the window-still. 

You'll have to turn the key to find the book.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Miss Lucy had a baby, his name was Tiny Tim

Gif courtesy of thisanimalisawesome.tumblr
..she put him in the bathtub
to see if he could swim 
he ate up all the water
he ate up all the soap
he tried to eat the bathtub
but it wouldn't go down his throat
Miss Lucy called the Doctor
Miss Lucy called the Nurse
Miss Lucy called the Lady with the Alligator Purse

We have lots of fun jump rope rhymes in the library.  Just click on the book covers to go the catalog.
These books are great for hand clapping, too. 

The weather is so gorgeous today! Grab a partner, 15 dogs, and jump to it.

* Also, please please please take it from me and do not try the Miss Lucy jump rope technique with cats. They just WON'T jump and end up playing with the rope and then the minute you leave, they jump at nothing. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From your secret admirer

Happy Valentine's Day dear reader! This sweet vintage valentine is a rebus. Hope your mailbox is stuffed with valentines.

Meow, meow, meow, xoxoxoox Miss Kitty

Here's another fun rebus you might enjoy (click on the photo to go to the catalog.) I love Will Hillenbrand's sweet illustrations.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Finishes

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

CHAPTER 20. The Last Message.
They wrapped the message in Doon's shirt and put a rock inside it. Then they stood in a row at the edge of the chasm, Doon in the middle holding Poppy's hand and Lina's. Linda took aim at the heart of the city, far beneath her feet. With all her strength, she cast the message into the darkness, and they watched as it plunged down and down. 
Mrs. Murdo, walking even more briskley than usual to keep her spirits up, was crossing Harken Square when something fell to the pavement just in front of her with a terrific thump. How extraordinary, she thought, bending to pick it up. It was a sort of bundle. She began to untie it. 

City of Ember. Jeanne DuPrau

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Begins

When the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the chief builder and the assistant builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future.
"They must not leave the city for at least two hundred years," said the chief builder. "or perhaps two hundred and twenty."
"Is that long enough?" asked his assistant.
"It should be. We can't know for sure.
"And when the time comes," said the assistant, "how will they know what to do?"
"We'll provide them with instructions, of course," the chief builder replied.
CHAPTER 1: Assignment Day
In the city of Ember, the sky was always dark. The only light came from great flood lamps mounted on the buildings and at the tops of poles in the middle of the larger squares. When the lights were on, they cast a yellowish glow over the streets; people walking by threw long shadows that shortened and then stretched out again. When the lights were off, as they were between nine at night and six in the morning, the city was so dark that people might as well have been wearing blindfolds. 

The City of Ember. Jeanne DuPrau. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Use these for storytime Miss Kitty will not

Us and Them by Jamie Mitchell

Read this book you will

Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future. Includes instructions for making Origami Yoda