Thursday, June 28, 2012

Decorating book bags at the WFL!

Kids unleashed their creativity at our two-day book decorating workshop, part of our summer reading kickoff week at the Wellesley Free Library!

More book bins are arriving!

The alphabet book bin arrived today, joining dinosaurs, princesses, firefighters, pirates and trucks for quick and easy ways to find picture books on specific topics!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Great Summer Classic from 1952

Robert McCloskey interviewed by Anita Silvey

From Anita Silvey's Book-A-Day Almanac:

“I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream,” goes the old ditty, and today marks National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. What a wonderful idea—two of the world’s most popular foods, chocolate and ice cream, celebrated together. For me, chocolate ice cream in June conjures up wonderful summer days, the ocean, sea gulls wailing, walks on the beach, clamming. In short, it brings to mind the plot of Robert McCloskey’s One Morning in Maine.
In the 1940s McCloskey married Margaret Durand, the daughter of storyteller and author Ruth Sawyer. In 1946 after their daughter Sally was born, the three of them moved from New York to an island on the Maine coast. Picture books of the modern era often lack a sense of place, but Robert McCloskey’s classic picture books of the late forties and early fifties are firmly grounded in details of the Maine coast and life in a small Maine community. These titles include two Caldecott Honor books, Blueberries for Sal (1948) and One Morning in Maine (1952), and the Caldecott Medal winner Time of Wonder, which made McCloskey the first artist to win the Medal twice.
In an interview, McCloskey once said that he always had one foot planted firmly midair—and the other on a banana peel. But rather than creating an absurdist or fantasy world as such a comment suggests, his Maine books are firmly grounded in reality. One Morning in Maine is the most personal picture book I know that has remained in print for almost sixty years. In it, Sal discovers that she has a loose tooth. She’s afraid she won’t be able to sail to Buck’s Harbor with her father as planned. But her mother talks to her and then sends Sal to help her father dig clams. Sal tells everyone she meets about her loose tooth—the fish hawk, the loon, and the seal. As she helps her father, she prattles on about her tooth, only to discover that it is missing and has fallen in the mud. They find a gull feather for her to make a wish on, and Robert, Sal, and baby sister Jane head out on the boat while their mother makes clam chowder. At the local store, Sal’s wish comes true—she gets a chocolate ice cream cone. And in the final line of the book the three head off for “CLAM CHOWDER FOR LUNCH!”
McCloskey renders this slice-of-life picture book so realistically that you can almost hear the gulls crying! Readers have been invited into a day of the McCloskey family’s life, one that is both special and very normal.
One Morning in Maine shows the details and beauty of the Maine coast, but it was also obviously created by a proud father. For many years now, the real Sal and Jane have been the guardians of their father’s work, protecting it from commercialization and exploit. I’ve always been grateful to them for their defense of these books, because the pressures on those who hold estate rights can be quite intense. Readers grew to love the children Sal and Jane in books. Now they have grown up to become women whom we can still admire. Let’s all raise an ice cream cone today—one chocolate and one vanilla—in their honor!

Counting Our Way To Maine by Maggie Smith

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1-More than a counting book, this lively summer vacation story will be a welcome addition to anyone's bookshelf. The colorful, amusing pictures invite readers along on the trip and encourage them to look closely as they count up to 20 (fireflies). The journey itself is a realistic one for a family of five and two dogs-"We had to stop for the bathroom six times!" The warm-hearted family even buys ice cream for their pets. Smith's watercolor and pastels with ink marvelously blend details and humor. The parents and children build 11 sand castles, pick 15 boxes of blueberries, find 17 mushrooms, and get 18 mosquito bites. Dad bakes 16 pies while each dog eats 1 (behind his back), the mischievous baby is covered with blueberries, and the little girl adds marshmallows to her pie. An engaging summer offering, and a great concept book to boot.
Janet M. Bair, Trumbull Library, CT
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

A book for summer...

"Frazee (Roller Coaster) salutes grandparents and slyly notes children's diversions in this breezy tale of “the best week ever.” After Eamon enrolls in nature camp, he spends nights with his grandparents, Bill and Pam, at their beach cottage. Eamon's friend James joins the sleepover, and although the text describes James as “very sad” when his mother drives away, a cartoon shows him exuberantly waving “Bye!” Humorous contradictions arise between the hand-lettered account (“Bill handed them each a pair of binoculars and a list of birds to look for. On the way home, the boys reported their findings”) and voice-bubble exchanges between the boys (Eamon, training the lenses on James: “His freckles are huge.” James: “Yeah, and his tongue is gross”). Bill tries to interest the boys in a museum exhibit on penguins; the inseparable friends (“To save time, Bill began calling them Jamon”) show no enthusiasm yet energetically build “penguins” from mussel shells. Frazee's narrative resembles a tongue-in-cheek travel journal, with plenty of enticing pencil and gouache illustrations of the characters knocking about the shoreline. Like The Hello Goodbye Window, Frazee's story celebrates casual extended-family affection, with a knowing wink at the friends' dismissal of their elders' best-laid plans." (starred review)(Publishers Weekly 20080301)

A Real Nice Clambake

School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 4-- From codfish chowder simmering with salt pork ribbons to crack: ling red-hot lobsters to steamed clams galloping down gullets, Westcott's watercolors and Rodgers and Hammerstein's song are sure to make readers mighty glad they came. The original lyrics reflect the century-old dialect of Carousel, the musical from which they originate. But the lighthearted cartoon illustrations are packed with 20th-century ethnically mixed families engaged in a delightful blend of modern yet timeless activities. All ages are present and everyone pitches in with the cooking, play, and clean-up. Each page is brightly bordered with beach objects or menu ingredients, packed with all the festivities detailed in the lyrics, and becomes an educational experience for those who have never attended such an outing. A handwritten invitation, complete with menu, invites readers to join in. A book in which regional culture is vividly revealed by its magic, dialect, food, and festivities.
--Claudia Cooper, Ft. Stockton Independent School District, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This Was a Real Nice Clambake

Happy Fourth!

School Library Journal Review:
PreS-K-- A small town celebrates America's birthday . and the family featured in Thanksgiving at Our House (1991) and A Valentine for You (1991, both Clarion) joins in the fun. Everything is red, white, and blue in a subdued, pastel sort of way. Snippets of patriotic songs, childhood rhymes , and chants are boxed and set off from the illustrations. Fried chicken, potato salad, and fireworks are all part of the pleasant, rural festivities. A perfectly nice rendering of the external aspects of our nation's holiday, but urban children and recent immigrants may need some explanations of some of the colloquialisms. --Anna Biagioni Hart, Martha Washington Library, Alexandria, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spring 2012 Great Websites for Kids!

The Great Websites for Kids Committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has announced its picks for Spring 2012!

A full listing of the Great Websites for Kids can be found here:

Be sure to check out the highlighted internet sites on the Children's page of the WFL website, both in the "Fun and Games" and "Look it up!" sections.

Spring 2012 Great Web Sites

Make learning fun with a variety of educational computer games for kids. Learn
new skills and improve old ones in areas such as math, language arts, and

All About Birds
Learn all about birds in this website created by the Cornell Lab of
Orinthology. Bird names, species, location and history are all featured. Also
included are bird songs and videos.

CIA for Kids-Games
Find out what the CIA is all about, play games, and solve puzzles. Resources
for various audiences including parents and teachers.

Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media helps parents make decisions about media and technology for
their families. Information and advice is provided in a variety of formats
including reviews, videos, and even lesson plans.

Generation on Youth Advisory Council
Whether you are looking for something to do after school or to fulfill a
service requirement, you'll find inspiration to change the world around you
here. This interactive website has a volunteer position search, blogs full of
personal stories, and offers project tips from young people like you!

Judy Schachner
Fun, festive, and full of fantastic resources, this author webpage includes
interactive stories, games, print-outs, and educator resources.

PBS Kids Raising Readers Kids Island
Helps children develop and practice basic reading skills through online games
and activities with their parent, teacher or caregiver.

Created by Jeff Kinney of "Wimpy Kid" fame, this virtual world invites young
gamers to create a character and to undertake age-appropriate quests on over a
dozen "islands" based on themes from history, nature, and human culture.

Seymour Simon
Called by the New York Times "the dean of [children's science] writers," Simon
offers information about himself and his books (over 250 and counting!) on his
official site, along with study guides, science news and videos, a science
dictionary and more.

The New York Times Learning Network
The New York Times Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials
and ideas based on NYT content. It includes lesson plans and resources for
teachers as well as quizzes and activities for students 13 and older.

We Give Books
We Give Books enables children to read a book online and after doing so, a
physical book will be donated to a child in need through literacy programs
around the world.  Created by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation, it
combines the promotion of literacy, both to the child reading online and the
giving of books, and the concept of giving.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Illustrators' Envelopes

Illustrators' Envelopes
It's a bit of a tradition in the children's book industry that illustrators often send in post to their publishers with a little something drawn on the front of the envelopes they use. I first became aware of this tradition when I worked at Scholastic and Alison Green, who's published Axel Scheffler's and Julia Donnaldson's picture books over the years, showed me her extensive Axel Scheffler envelope collection. I was indeed wide-eyed with envy. Here are a few envelopes from other illustrators.

Axel Scheffler

Binette Schroader
David Mckee

Emma Chichester-Clark

Fiona Moodie

Peter Coplans

Posy Simmonds

Sara Fanelli

Satoshi Kitamura

Susanne Varley

Tony Ross

Duck Sock Hop with Children's Author Jane Kohuth

Monday June 18, 2012
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Children's Storyhour Room

The music is ringing and the sock hop is swinging, but, oh, what a mess these ducks will be bringing! Join Jane Kohuth, author of the new picture book Duck Sock Hop, for a rollicking read-aloud and real live sock hop, complete with crazy socks, rock & roll, and some crafty sock fun. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gardening at the Hills Branch

We finished our month-long gardening unit by planting flowers during our Wednesday Storycraft
session.  We learned about dirt, worms and bugs, seeds, plants, grass, and flowers.  Finally, we
were ready to plant.  Come by the Hills branch and see our garden!

"This has been a great culmination to our gardening unit!" - Joyce