Thursday, December 29, 2011


Our annual snowman workshop was well-attended today; the fabulous results are on display on the children's room!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Wilder Life By Wendy McClure

Are you a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan?  Wendy McClure sure is! 
Publishers Weekly Review
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Obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books about an 1880s pioneer family, children's book editor and memoirist McClure (I'm Not the New Me) attempts to recapture her childhood vision of "Laura World." Her wacky quest includes hand-grinding wheat for bread, buying an authentic churn, and traveling to sites where the Ingalls family attempted to wrest a living from the prairie. Discovering that butter she churned herself was "just butter," McClure admits she "felt like a genius and a complete idiot at the same time." Viewing a one-room dugout the Ingallses occupied that was "smaller than a freight elevator" prompted McClure to admit that "the actual past and the Little House world had different properties." McClure finally tells her boyfriend, "I'm home," after recognizing that her travels stemmed from her reaction to the recent death of her mother. Readers don't need to be Wilder fans to enjoy this funny and thoughtful guide to a romanticized version of the American expansion west. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

For more about the book and about Wendy, go to

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Year's List

Every December when the new year is approaching, I join the crowd of list makers.
This year I would like to share some of my favorite lists of books with all of you.

Where to start?
I’ll begin at the beginning with some favorite picture books.
Most of them are by authors who have lots of great books. My list is in no particular order except as I thought of them.

I hope you enjoy the list and that it inspires you to think of your own favorite books.

1. Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss

2. One Morning in Maine by McCloskey
3. A Birthday for Frances by Hoban
4. Silly Sally by Wood
5. Harry the Dirty Dog by Zion
6. The Hello Goodbye Window by Juster
7. Old Bear by Hissey

8. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Henkes
9. You’re the Boss, Baby Duck by Hest
10. Olivia by Falconer
11. Leaf Man by Ehlert
12. Ginger by Voake

Happy New Year!

A book for the new year...

The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant


From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 1. As a new year begins, this luminous picture book looks forward to the blessings the year will bring and celebrates the continuity of good things in life. Rylant's poem begins and ends with the verse "the sky will still be there / the stars will still shine / birds will fly over us / church bells will chime." In between, the short verses rejoice in everyday miracles, from blooming flowers and sleeping kittens to peaches, ice cream, and cozy homes, a litany of comforting images expressed with simplicity and grace. Rather than following one set of people throughout the book, the illustrations feature a multiracial cast of characters in small groups as they spend time together. Settings vary from rural to urban and from open spaces, such as a community garden, to more intimate settings, such as the family dinner table. Beeke's artwork glows with color and light, creating a series of very different scenes, united by the style of illustration and the spirit of the work. A reassuring picture book for young children. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Hanukkah Tribute to Mo Willems

Everyone loves the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems, but one superfan has taken it to another level by making an Elephant and Piggie menorah!!!!  Isn't it wonderful when art inspires a person to create more art?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dicey et al

A journey, survival, sticking together; these are all words that come to mind when one thinks about Cynthia Voigt's 1981 children's novel, Homecoming.  It's impossible not to get drawn in as the Tillerman children realize that they have been abandoned by their mentally ill mother in a mall parking lot in Connecticut and decide what their next move will be.  Lead by 13 year old Dicey, the four children travel by foot, sleep outdoors and scramble to get food in their bellies as they journey to Bridgeport to find their Aunt Cilla.  Dicey is nothing if not resourceful, and her perserverance and loyalty to her siblings is remarkable.  The second book in the Tilerman saga, titled Dicey's Song delivers more of the same, with a carefully crafted plot and skillful character development.  If you enjoy the feeling of cheering silently inside for a protagonist as you read a book, you will find these two Cynthia Voigt offerings more than satisfying.

"A glowing book...An enthralling journey to a gratifying end."THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Because even dogs send Christmas cards...

Happy Holidays from Mariah (above) and Jacoby (below), two of our amazing Read to a Dog friends!

...and don't forget Bixby!

Hanukkah thoughts...

A great Hanukkah song to get in the mood this week!

And some of our favorite books:

...and let's not forget the latkes!  YUM!

More on The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

About The Snowman:

One winter morning a little boy named James wakes up to find that everything outside has turned snow-white. Overjoyed, James rushes downstairs and into the garden, where he begins to build a snowman. James sleeps fitfully, and at midnight he wakes up and decides to check on his snowman. He opens the back door... he can't believe his eyes... The snowman has come to life! James finds himself face to face with a smiling snowman, who with a polite doff of his hat introduces himself and marks the beginning of magical friendship and marvellous adventure

About Raymond Briggs:

Born in 1934 in London, Raymond left school at fifteen to study painting at the Wimbledon School of Art. He then studied typography at the Central School of Art and subsequently went on to study painting at the Slade School. When he graduated in 1957, he immediately started writing and illustrating, and in 1961 also began work as a part-time lecturer in illustration at Brighton Polytechnic. After a brief spell in advertising he then fully concentrated on writing and illustrating children's books. His first full-colour book of rhymes, Ring-A-Ring O'Roses, was published in 1962. Followed by Fee Fi Fo Fum (1964), The Mother Goose Treasury (1966), Jim and The Beanstalk (1970) and The Fairy Tale Treasury (1972). Evident from all these early books Raymond both writes and illustrates, he himself once said "the whole point of illustration is that it is literary. If it is not, it remains a drawing only". But it was in 1973, with the publication of Father Christmas that Raymond Briggs' unique and distinctive 'comic strip' style became established. Father Christmas was portrayed as a rather grumpy, discontented, and above all 'human' figure. However, it was very successful, and so was followed Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975). Raymond's other work includes Fungus The Bogeyman (1977), Gentleman Jim (1980) and the more adult, satire of nuclear war When The Wind Blows (1982). Raymond won the Francis Williams Award for Best Children's Book in 1982 with The Snowman. The Snowman written in 1982 has become a year-round favourite and one of the most popular Yuletide books ever published.Raymond is still writing prolifically, so keep an eye out for his latest releases.

Did you know that there is a stage show of The Snowman?  For video clips and information, go to