Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twice upon a review- Fairest of All and The Wishing Spell

For most of my book reviews, I just look at one book. But since the last two books I read are similar in plot ( siblings magically entering the world of fairy tales) and age range ( 7 and up), I decided look at them in one review.

First the summary of the two books:
Fairest of All ( Whatever After, Book 1) - Sarah Mlynowski- Once upon a time, life was normal for Abby and her younger brother, Jonah. That is, until Jonah finds a magic mirror in the basement, which hisses and glows... and sends them to Snow White's cottage. There, they accidentally save her from eating the poisoned apple. Hooray..oops. Now it's up to Abby and Jonah to help Snow find her happy ending ( plus a way home.)

The Wishing Spell ( Land of Stories 1)-Chris Colfer- Once upon a time, twins Alex and Conner receive a treasured book of fairy tales for their birthday. But this is no ordinary book,  because it sends them to a  land where fairy tales come to life. The only way to get home is collecting magical items, like Cinderella's glass slipper,  to perform the Wishing Spell.

My opinion: Both are great reads ( and great first books  to exciting new series.) I'm also a fan of all things dealing with the fairy tale world, particularly the ABC show Once Upon a Time and The 10th Kingdom ( an underrated but really long  NBC miniseries of the 90s.)

I've enjoyed Mlynowski's past books for teens and women, so I knew I would enjoy her first book for middle schoolers ( plus the cover was cute!!) Fairest is a fun, sassy ( and very quick) take on Snow White. I really enjoyed the dwarfs ( three of which are girls) and Jonah, who provides most of the comic relief. Even the ending is cute. It is a bit girly in tone ( most of Mlynowski's stuff is), but boys might like it. I'm actually planning to use this for my Cool Kids program this week, and can't wait to read If the Shoe Fits, the second book in the series coming in January.

Wishing Spell is a great debut for Colfer ( best known from the  Fox show  Glee) despite a few flaws. He writes with a lot of vivid detail that one wishes they could  go to this land of fairies, princesses, and trolls. There's a lot of heart and humor in the journey, and a great blend of reinvention and staying true to the fairy tales. There are even cool illustrations at the beginning of each chapter ( and a very cool map of all the lands in the story.) It does tend to drag a bit at times (plus sometimes gets a bit heavy with the plot, not something one would not expect to find in the first book of a series.) Still, it is a very worthwhile read ( and so is the audiobook, which shows that Colfer may a future as a  voice actor.) I'm considering using Wishing Spell for a future program, and can't wait to see more in the series. ( I did see online that Colfer does have another book coming in November, Struck by Lightening, but it is for older readers and based off a screenplay of a movie he wrote and stars in.)

Fairest of All  (Whatever After)-Sarah Mylnowski
Age Range: 7-12
Lexile: 500
***** ( 5 stars)

Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell- Chris Colfer
Age Range: 8-12
**** 1/2 ( 4 and a half stars)

By the way, both have cool websites-
Whatever After-http://www.scholastic.com/whateverafter/

Land of Stories-http://thelandofstoriesbook.com/index.html

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Storytime for 2 and 3-yr old: Pet Day

Seeing some of the blogs share a little of what they do in story time, I decided once and while to share a little of what I do for programming ( daycare, 2 and 3, and school-age/family. Pictures sometime in the future.)

Yesterday was the first 2 and 3-yr old program for fall 2012. Between toddlers, parents, and tagalongs ( a few babies), I had 21 in attendance. It was Pet Day ( because it was around Labor Day weekend of last year that Baxter, greyhound/lab mix, came to live with me), so we had a book about a dog ( Homer by Elisha Cooper)  a book about cats ( I love Cats by Sue Stainton), and made a dog puppet. We also did a book about identifying colors, did some counting songs and a  bear hunt ("Going on A Bear Hunt"), and shook some eggs to " I Know a Chicken" and " Hey Diddle Diddle" ( and I was  almost attacked by the felt board.LOL)

Here are just a few of the songs we did-

Two Little Birdies Sitting on a Hill
Two little birdies sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Fly away, Jack! Fly away, Jill!
Come back, Jack! Come back, Jill!

Twinkling Stars (Movement Chant*)
(Sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”)
Twinkle, twinkle, little stars, (Wiggle fingers)
 Stand and twinkle where you are. (Stand up while wiggling fingers)
Twinkle high and twinkle low. (Put hands in the air then at your feet)
 Twinkle fast and twinkle slow. (Shake hands fast then slow)
Twinkle, twinkle, little stars (Continue wiggling fingers)
 Now sit and twinkle where you are. (Sit back down) 

Going on Bear Hunt

Refrain: (clap)
We're going on a bear hunt,
Going to catch a big one.

Oh look, some grass.
We can't go over it, can't over under it, can't go around. ( Motion under, over, and round)
We got to walk, walk, walk (Pretend to walk)
Oh ( Refrain)
Oh look, a river
We can't go over it, can't over under it, can't go around.
We got to swim, swim, swim. (Pretend to swim)
Oh look,  a cave.
We can't go over it, can't over under it, can't go around.
We got to tiptoe (Tiptoe-improvise that it is dark, turn on "light", see bear!!)
Oh no, there's a bear, but he's not happy!
So run out of  the cave...the river... the grass.. shut the door. Phew

(More can be added, such as a tree, a hill, etc, if you have time.)

The next Storytime for 2 and 3-yr olds will be Monday, October 1 at 10 am.  We'll be asking " What falls in the fall?"
  See you soon!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Upcoming Programs in October

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, Oct. 1 and 15 at 10 am- Audience: 2 and 3 year olds and caregivers.

Mother Goose on the Loose-Tuesday, Oct 2 and 16 at 10 am-Audience: Infants Birth to
23 months and caregiver (s).

Story Time for 4 and 5 yr olds- Tuesday, Oct 9 and 23 at 10 am and 2 pm- Audience: 4 and 5 year olds.

Gaming Night- Wednesday, Oct 17 at 6 pm- Audience: 12 to 17 years old.

Lego Club- Wednesday, Oct 22 at 4pm- 2nd to 6th grade.

A Good Night For Ghosts-Thursday, Oct 25 at 4pm-Audience: K-5 and families

See You Soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Review-Glory Be- Augusta Scattergood


In the town of Hanging Moss, Mississippi,  young Gloriana ( "Glory") June Hemphill is looking forward to the summer of '64 by spending time at the  public swimming pool, especially for her birthday. The community then closes  the pool for " repairs",  but Glory soon learns that there is a greater issue behind it's closure. Along the way (and with support from family and friends), Glory learns to find her voice and to stand up for what is right.

This is a very great  coming- of -age, Southern read for all ages. Similar to To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help, it does a great job of introducing the issues of racial tension and  civil rights of the 60s', and the message that anyone can make a difference, no matter who they are . A future classic.

For information on the author, check out her website.

Glory Be- Augusta Scattergood
Age Range: 9 and up   Lexile: 680***** ( 5 stars)