Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bookworm List: Egg-cellent Reads ( plus movies!!)

Well, I'm hoping Tuesday was the last time we'll see snow (or else the Easter Bunny will be wearing a coat and boots to hide the eggs and deliver the baskets of jellybeans, chocolates and Peeps. I have the new Birthday Cake Peeps, good to add to coffee! Or yes, explode in the microwave but what a mess!)

So after the egg hunts and gathering with family for ham ( or lamb) and bunny cake, you'll probably want to wind down with some Easter and spring-related books. Here are a few recommendations, which you might find on our display shelf by the front desk or the ABC box by the New Book Elephant (which might also have some new Easter/spring books):

  • *NEW* Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure by Kimberly and James Dean- Pete the Cat helps the Easter Bunny decorate the eggs and hide them ( plus dress like a bunny. A cat dressed like a bunny, now that's funny!!!)

  • The Easter Bunny's Assistant by Jan Thomas-The Easter Bunny has a new assistant named Skunk and he's going to help decorate the eggs. But when he gets excited, it....stinks!!

  • *NEW*Here Comes Peter Cottontail by Kristen Depken- Picture book adaptation of the  1971 Rankin-Bass cartoon.
  • Easter Parade by Irving Berlin ( illustrated by Lisa McCue) Picture book adaptation of the classic Irving Berlin song from the movie Easter Parade ( lyrics included at the back. Kind of wished it came with a CD for those not familiar with the song, especially because it features the lesser-known opening verse.)
Now, the kids might also want some Easter/ spring related movies. This... might be hard because unfortunately, most people think religious ( most of which are too much to handle due to subject material and length. The classic Ten Commandments, airing this Saturday on ABC is 4 hours long!!!). And of what there is bunny and eggs, very hard to find ( there were about 10 or so special back in my 80s-90s childhood, like Peter and the Magic Egg and Family Circus Easter. Plus ABC used to air the Walt Disney Easter Parade, featuring Southern Belles and a sing-along to Peter Cottontail or Easter Parade. Check the Youtube). So here is my best recommendations that I can think of:

  • It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown!- Love Snoopy and the dancing bunnies ( plus Patty's attempt to teach Marcie to die eggs.) It will be airing this Sunday on ABC at 6 pm ( along with a Charlie Brown baseball cartoon)
  • Here comes Peter Cottontail- Based off the book The Easter Bunny that Overslept, it's the story of how to came to be (and sort of a sequel to Santa Claus is Coming to Town because it features the mailman voiced by Fred Astaire.)
  • Prince of Egypt- For those that want Moses but not the long movie, there is 1998 Dreamworks musical cartoon featuring the voices of Val Kilmer and Patrick Stewart. 
  • Alice in Wonderland- The Disney 1951 animated movie (or the lesser-known 1985 CBS TV-movie with Carol Channing, Sammy Davis Jr., and  a bunch of big stars, which we have over at Dyer, Hobart, Lake-Station, and Munster ) are my favorite takes on the Lewis Carroll tale ( and actually I am using the Disney soundtrack for my Easter program this Monday). The 2010 Tim Burton is okay ( but more appropriate for Halloween because of Burton freakiness).
I am also recommending a few movie musicals that take place during the 1800-1900s, like Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady,Gigi, Mary Poppins, Newsies and of course, Easter Parade. ( Why? Because the Victorian/Edwardian clothes and designs show up in a lot of Easter decorations and some of the songs from these musicals, especially " Easter Parade" and " Put on Your Sunday Clothes" are used alot in Easter parades.)

 We will be open tomorrow and Saturday at our normal hours but closed Sunday due to the Easter holiday.
Happy Easter!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's National Library Week!!!

Did you know that this week is National Library Week? Created in 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA) to increase awareness of the library, it's usually falls during the second week of April.  For more information, check out ALA's official site.

We at the Merrillville Library have lots of stuff going on this week. ( All the other branches have National Library Week stuff, too, please check the calender.) On the main level, we  have a " Guess the Numbers" contests where we are asking our patrons to guess how much we have in books, CDs, etc. On the upper level, we have a photo booth ( no, not an actual photo booth, but a fun little area with props and speech bubbles where you can take a "selfie" celebrating your love of the library.) And down in childrens, we have a contest where children can guess the storybook characters featured in our Programming Room ( yes, we have a mural,and it's LOVELY!!!) and if they can name them all, they win a prize. We will also be having this Thursday, April 17, at 4 pm-

Celebrate National Library Week! Children in grades K-5 are invited to celebrate National Library Week with us! At this special program, participants will learn about how awesome the library is, hear some great stories and make something cool to take home. PLEASE REGISTER

 So come out and celebrate your library!

 Keep Reading!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: The Easter Bunny's Assistant-Jan Thomas

The Easter Bunny has a new assistant. His name is Skunk, and today they're going to be showing the kids how to make beautiful Easter eggs. Decorating eggs is very exciting, but when Skunk gets excited, it...stinks.

Once again, Jan Thomas has created another funny, LOL book. It is very cute , full of bright colors and big, big print. Also like that the steps are repeated again in the back ( and with more specifics and when an adult's help is required.)

The Easter Bunny's Assistant by Jan Thomas
Age Range: 2-5
***** ( 5 stars).

And if you like this book, here are some of Thomas's other books:

  • Can You Make a Scary Face?
  •  The Doghouse
  • Rhyming Dust Bunnies
  • What will The Fat Cat Sit on?
  • Birthday for Cow
  • Here comes the Big,  Mean Dust Bunny

Monday, April 7, 2014

Storytime for 2 and 3 yr olds: A Day at the Zoo!

Today's storytime took place at the zoo! The kids heard three stories ( Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles, Chester's Colorful Easter Eggs by Theresa Smythe, and How Loud is A Lion? by Clare Beaton). We also shook some eggs, got a visit from Bananas the Monkey and the Color Birds, and decorated a lion picture with yarn.

Here are some of the songs we did today:

The Animals at the Zoo added 6-2-02 Submitted by: Cecilia HarrisSung to: "The Wheels on the Bus"

The lions at the zoo go roar, roar, roar,
Roar, roar, roar,
Roar, roar, roar,
The lions at the zoo go roar, roar, roar,
All day long!

( You can do any animal for this, like kangaroos or penguins!)

Who Does a Monkey See? added 7-17-00 Original Author Unknown
Sung to: "Skip to My Lou"

Who does a monkey see from a tree?
Who does a monkey see from a tree?
Whodoes a monkey see from a tree?
Monkey sees (child's name)  from a tree.

Our next Storytime for 2 and 3 yr olds are Monday,April 21 and Monday, May 5. Both are at 10 am in the Children's Programming Room.

Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review: Babies on the Go-Linda Ashman

Babies like to be on the go. But some may need a little help. So...they might ride bareback through the trees. Or tucked inside a pouch. They might be squeezed together in a bunch, or be snug under a wing. But no matter where (inside or outside) or how ( by stroller, gentle paws, or piggyback), they all travel with love.

Lovely illustrations of different animals and their babies ( such as humans,lions, swans, and snow monkeys) along with rhymes and big new words ( like perch, nudge, and boosted) make this an enjoyable treat for parents and little ones!

Babies on the Go by Linda Ashman
Age Range: 2-5
**** (4 stars)

Looking for more books featuring animals and their babies? Here are some recommendations:
  • Mole's Babies by David Bedford
  • Close to You: How Animals Bond by Kimiko Kajikawa 
  • Carry Me: Baby Animals on the Move by  Susan Stockdale
  • Hello Baby! by Mem Fox

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review: Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All-Jane Yolen

Once upon a time in the Appalachian Mountains, there lived a raven-hair girl named Snow-in-Summer. Loved by all, life seem wonderful till her mom and baby brother died.  Her father then remarries, but to a woman of dark magic and... snakes.

Yolen does a somewhat okay job retelling the tale of Snow White. It is very vivid and dark( too dark at times), full of rich and interesting characters ( especially the villainous Stepmama and Summer's kind nurse Cousin Nancy). Unfortunately, the actual retelling of the  fairy tale does not happen till the last half of the book (and it's a bit rushed.) The happy ending , however, is very surprising and did make up for the flaws.

Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All by Jane Yolen
Age Range: 10-14
*** (3 stars)

Looking for more books featuring a different take on fairy tales? Here are some recommendations:

Fairest of  All by Sarah Mlynowski
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Snoring Beauty by Bruce Hale
The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Upcoming Programs in April

Here are some programs that will happening next month in the Children's Dept at the Central Library. Please visit Library Events for information and register.

Story Time for 2 and 3 yr olds- Monday, April 7 and 21 at 10 am- Audience: 2 and 3 year olds and caregivers.

Mother Goose on the Loose-Tuesday,April 1 and 15 at 10 am-Audience: Infants Birth to
23 months and caregiver (s).

Story Time for 4 and 5 yr olds- Tuesday,April 8 and 22  at 10 am - Audience: 4 and 5 year olds.

Lego Club-Monday, April 21 at 4 pm-Audience: Grades 2-6

Celebrate National Library Week-Thursday, April 17 at 4 pm-Audience: Grades K-5

Board Game Fun-Wednesday, April 2 at 6:30 pm- Audience: Grades 1-5

Gaming Night- Wednesday, April 16  at 6 pm- Audience: Grades K-6

Kids Art Club- Thursday, April 24at 4 pm- Audience: Grades 2-6

See you soon!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Moonday-Adam Rex

What would you do if you found the moon in your backyard?

Would you go for a walk on it? Would your classmates fall asleep in class? Would rockers sing lullabies and people yawn all the time? Could you hide it from dogs with table clothes? How would you get it back in the sky?

This is a very magically book from Rex, who is known more for laugh-out loud fun like Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Psssssssss!.  The artwork is very luminous and haunting, rich with dark and jewel tones. I especially love the yawn in the park that affects everyone.

Moonday by Adam Rex
Age Range: 5 and up
Lexile: 525
**** ( 4 stars)

Here is a small preview of the book-

Monday, March 17, 2014

Storytime for 2 and 3 yr olds: Owl be Lucky!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For today's storytime, we went to the forest to meet O'Hooly, the Irish owl ( who greeted the children with "Owl in the Tree" in an Irish accent.) The children heard three stories ( I'm Not Sleepy by Jane Chapman, Sam's Opposites by Yves Got, and The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever! by Teddy Slater). We also shook some eggs and made some Irish Owls.

Here is a video for " I Know a Chicken" by the Laurie Berkner Band ( which we usually shake plastic eggs filled with dried rice ):

Our next Storytime for 2 and 3 yr olds will be ( all at 10 am in the Children's Programming Room)-
Monday, April 7
Monday, April 21

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review: Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Solider- Ying Chang Compestine and Vinson Compentine

13-yr old Ming lives with his father, an archeologist, in a small  communist Chinese village during the '70s. One day, while his father is away, some local farmers bring pieces of a terra-cotta solider to his home. The soldier magically comes to life, and tells Ming of China's past, from Emperor Qin and the Great Wall to how the terra-cotta soldiers came to exist.

To be honest, this is not a normal read for me. However, it moves pretty fast and kept my interest, reminding me of Goonies or any action/ fanasty movie from the '70s or '80s. Compenstine and her son, Vinson, also do a great job in providing information about China during the Qin dynasty and Maoist. They also provide a lot of photos, Chinese words ( and a glossary), plus a recipe for stir-fry noodles. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an adventure read or wanting to learn about Chinese history.

Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine and Vinson Compestine
Age Range: 9-11
**** ( 4 stars)