Friday, July 29, 2011

Storytime Theme: Yummy In My Tummy!

Who doesn't like a good story about food?  Eating tends to bring people together.  It gets us all started talking about what we like and don't like, and it's the one thing that ALL of us do.  No matter who we are, where we live, or what we believe in, we all eat something.

There are so many great picture books about food that I just couldn't fit them all into this one list, and I'm sure you can find others you like if none of these get your stomach grumbling.  One word of caution though:  if you choose to do this theme for your library or home storytime, I would advise having an edible treat for your kiddos (and yourself) immediately afterwards.  Reading about all these tasty tidbits will have everyone leaving a little peckish.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

YA To Read: Beacon Hills High by Mo'Nique

Once again, a cruise through the stacks to find something for a patron, results in me finding something I want to stop drop and devour.  I had no idea that Mo'Nique had a Young Adult novel!  (insert my shamed face)  Of course, it centers on a plus-sized teen, which I have to say actually draws me to the story.  Mo'Nique has a way of saying just what us full-figured chicks are thinking.  Here's the jacket description courtesy of GoodReads:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

YA Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know how there's those books that everyone LOVES, and you feel as though you most certainly have to try them out and take part in the collective euphoria?  Your heart palpitates when you are finally able to check it out from your local library, and you get goosebumps as you start the first chapter...then somewhere during the fourth or fifth, you realize that you aren't having nearly as much fun as everyone else claimed to have had?
This was my experience with Uglies.

I really wanted to jump all over this book.  According to every must-read YA list, Scott Westerfeld's Ugly series was one to leave you chomping at the bit for more.  While I do agree that the storyline is captivating and extremely frightening, I have to admit that I'm not exactly salivating to complete the series. But that being said, it was worth the read.

Uglies takes place some time in the future, after our current generations, referred to as Rusties by our descendants, are extinct.  The powers that be of the future have decided that most of our societal ills are a result of our differences. To avoid having their civilization meet the same hate-filled fate as ours, they decide that all people at age 16 must undergo mandatory plastic surgery and become Pretty by modifying skin tones, facial and body features, even hair. With everyone looking the same, and life becoming a party, who has time to start wars and conflicts?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Technology Trials: Google+

So far, I don't get it.
It's not that I don't get what it's supposed to do.  It's that I don't get what makes it stand out from Facebook.  I want to like it.  But for now, it gets a meh...
This quote I found sums it up perfectly:
"On Google+ Launch, I bet $FBOOK feels the same way $GOOG felt when $MSFT launched Bing." - Justin Paterno


Thursday, July 14, 2011

YA Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Often in my career, I've come across photographs.
Some are left between the pages of donated or returned items. Others still are found on library floors and tables; accidental droppings from the purses and pockets of patrons. I stare at these photographs and am unable to thrown them away because I feel as though I'm discarding the lives found within them. I find myself imagining who the people are, and how they felt during the scenes I'm eavesdropping on, but never have I constructed such an enchanting and haunting tale as this one.

From found and collected photos , Ransom Riggs has pulled together an adventure that appeals to a range of my interests. Multiple times within this story, I found myself feeling as though I'd discovered a land that was the perfect mix of Percy Jackson, Pan's Labyrinth, Through the Looking Glass and others. From the very first chapter, I realized that I wouldn't be able to rest until I'd devoured this tale of loss, love, family, adventure and history.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Read: How they Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

Bragg, Georgia, and Kevin O'Malley. How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous. New York: Walker &, 2011.

This one graced our shelf of new books this week and I bounced between grossed out and completely intrigued.  I have a HUGE stack of books to read right now, but as soon as I get a bit of free time, I'm definitely going to read this one.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

YA Graphic Review: Level Up by Gene Yang

Level Up by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Almost every gamer has had this boss battle.
Almost every young adult has had this hurdle.
The one where what you LOVE to do, is questioned by parents who want you to do things that will get you a job.

Dennis Ouyang was bitten by the video game bug when he was six years old but try as he might, his parents refused to even let him have money for the arcade, let alone purchase a home system.  Playing games is no way to learn how to "eat much bitterness", his father decides, and instead steers young Dennis into a life of science and schoolwork.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Storytime: It's Raining Cats and Dogs

So I came up with this theme today as I worked on my storytime for this month and I thought I'd hit on some amazing idea, then I found that there have actually been a few other witty librarians who have come up with the very same.  You know what they say about great minds. A couple of the titles: Raindrop, Plop and Kitten's Summer, are great to tie this theme together because they actually feature cats and dogs in the rain. However, if there is anything I've learned from libraries and librarians over the past few years though, its that no matter how simple the theme, each person will execute it differently.  So, that being said, here's my take on the Raining Cats and Dogs theme.

I tried this theme with my nieces last weekend and I think it'll be great for my library kids.  I do Family Storytime, which consists of a LOT of different age groups.  In that respect, I've added books for toddlers as well as older preschoolers.  With the amount of summer storms we've been having, I think this one will be great.

Theme: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

Books for Babies and Toddlers:
Kitten’s Summer by Eugenie Fernandes
Bad Dog, Marley by John Grogan
Raindrop Plop by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
I Got Two Dogs by John Lithgow
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to Sleep by Bill Martin
Good Boy, Fergus by David Shannon
Cat the Cat, Who is That by Mo Willems

Books for Preschoolers:
Diggy Takes Charge by Caroline Jayne Church
Doggy Dreams by Nancy Kapp Chapman
Dogs Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
The Cat Barked by Lydia Monks
There are No Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz
Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
No Dogs Allowed by Anne Davis

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gaming Review: Portal 2 (First-Person)

This past week I finished up the solo storyline of Portal 2, and I have been singing the praises of this humorous and challenging puzzle game ever since.

Tween Read Review: A Tale Dark And Grimm

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perhaps the best advice found in this book was written in the author's final note: "Trust the stories, and trust that children can handle it, whatever IT is."

I've been convinced of this very thing since I began studying story years ago. Too often we have watered down these tales in the interest of making US more comfortable while robbing children of the stories that they would love. If they can handle the idea of a wretched pair of parents leaving them out in the woods to starve to death or be eaten by a cannibalistic witch with a gingerbread house, then why not hit them with the "real" story of how they fought dragons, cut off heads and fingers, and were almost chopped to bits by their first real crush?