Friday, June 28, 2013

Little Owl's Orange Scarf by Tatyana Feeney --- Kirkus Review



A little owl struggles with accessory problems.
Little Owl lives with his Mommy in a tree house on the edge of the city park. He loves all the things little owls usually love: doing arithmetic, eating ice cream and riding a scooter. There is one flaw in this idyllic scenario: He does not love his new scarf. It is too long, too orange and too itchy. His mother insists that he wear it. He does his best to surreptitiously “lose” the scarf, by using it as a ribbon for a present for Grandpa and by putting it in a suitcase bound for Peru, but Mommy always seems to find it. Until one day…Little Owl returns from a trip to the zoo, minus the hated scarf. This piece of bad luck turns out to be an opportunity for a bit of mother-child bonding. This time, Mommy lets her son choose the yarn for a new scarf, a tasteful blue, and Little Owl is much happier. The new scarf is soft, the right length and not orange. The mystery of where the orange scarf went is revealed in the last picture, sure to elicit chuckles. Feeney’s naïve pencil-and-duotone illustrations, which use printmaking techniques to add interesting textures, complement the simple narrative and gentle message; both pacing and subtle adjustments to Little Owl’s expression add humor.
A charming picture book for the very young, whether or not they are fussy about clothes. (Picture book. 3-5)
Pub Date: June 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-449-81411-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Are you wild about horses?  Stop by the children's room and browse our new high-demand horse book bin!  A mix of fiction and non-fiction, titles include A Very Young Rider by Jill Krementz, Ponyella by Laura Numeroff, Noni the Pony by Alison Lester and A Friend for Einstein: the smallest stallion by Charlie Cantrell and Rachel Wagner.

Monday, June 24, 2013

10 in 10 Summer Reading Program for Middle Schoolers starts today!

10 in 10: The Summer Reading Program for rising Middle Schoolers
at the Wellesley Free Library starts today, June 24th!

On your first visit to the Wellesley Free Library this summer, please pick up some book entry forms.  What you read is up to you!  Required reading for school counts!  So do graphic novels, ebooks, audio books, and non-fiction!  Check out the collections in the Quigley Youth Room and our booklists for more ideas. 
For every book you read, fill out an entry form (available in the Children’s and Youth Rooms) and put it in the can on the Children’s Department Desk.  Away most of the summer? You can also submit forms online on the Teens Page at or email the information to 

If you read TEN books by the end of the summer, you will be eligible for our grand prize drawing for an ipad mini on August 26th! The name will be pulled from those participants who read at least TEN books.  We will also have drawings for smaller prizes every other week, so read early and often! You don’t have to be present to win.

Youth Events at the library this summer:

June 26, July 10 and 23 and August 7
7:00-8:30 pm
: Films from Disney’s Vault in the Wakelin Room

Tuesdays July 16, 23, 30 and August 7 and 14
3:30-4:30 pm: Kids Jam Band (registration required)

Friday July 19
2:00-5:00 pm: Comics Workshop (registration required)

Saturday July 20 and August 17
2:00-4:00 pm: Magic the Gathering Club

Friday August 9 
3:00-4:30 pm: Jeans and T-shirt Crafts

Monday August 26
7:00-8:00 pm: End of the Summer Bash and prize-drawing

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Unabridged: A List of Books to Promote Community and Peace

Unabridged: A List of Books to Promote Community and Peace

The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say


When an episode of teasing makes Yuriko doubt herself—her name, her heritage, her interests—her father gently guides her back to her roots and herself.
For a school assignment, Yuriko brings in a photograph of herself in a cherished kimono. When she comes home, her excitement has changed to despondence. Her classmates laughed and told her that Japanese dolls have black hair, while Yuriko is blonde. Then the new art teacher mispronounces her name and assigns a subject Yuriko has depicted in art before. In response, Yuriko impetuously declares she should now be called Michelle, and Michelle does not like art. Her father listens carefully and cleverly takes Yuriko to revisit the things she loves: her favorite restaurant for sushi and the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park. Illustrated with spare, clean watercolors, there is subtlety in this tale that’s told almost completely through the dialogue between father and daughter. Some will identify with the cultural details that ground the tale; all will relate to how teasing makes Yuriko feel uncertain about the very things that make her unique. Yuriko does some critical and creative thinking about her identity and her art, proving herself her father’s original—and favorite—daughter.
This is as much a story about cultural pride as it about self-esteem and problem-solving, from which all can draw a lesson. (Picture book. 5-8)
Pub Date: June 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-545-17662-0
Page count: 32pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2013

Cozy Classics

Classics never go out of style — that’s what makes them classic. Cozy Classics is a new board book series that presents well-loved stories to children aged 0 +. The concept for Cozy Classics is simple: every classic in the series will be condensed to 12 child-friendly words, and each word will appear alongside a needle-felted illustration. Each word is carefully selected to relate to a child’s world, such as “friends”, “sisters”, “dance”, “muddy”, “boat”, and “leg”. The books work as word primers, even without any reference to the original stories. If you, as a parent, can fill in some of the original tale as part of the reading experience, so much the better!

About the Authors / Illustrator

Jack and Holman Wang are twin brothers who grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. They first began writing and illustrating books together in the third grade.
Jack earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in creative writing from Florida State University, where his major area was the history of the novel. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where he specializes in fiction writing and serves as Chair.
Holman, an artist and former middle school teacher, holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in architecture history, both from the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Bathroom Stuff, a nonfiction coffee table book on the history of everything in your bathroom, published by SourceBooks in 2001. His work has been featured in newspapers and on TV and radio, including NPR and the CBC.
Jack has four and two year-old daughters. Holman has a three year-old daughter and a 21 month-old son. They both love reading to their children, and they’re both eager to pass on the classics.

Giant Flower Craft!

Create Giant Flowers to decorate the Children’s Room and Dig into Summer Reading at the Wellesley Free Library! Families with children of all ages are invited to drop-in to the Wakelin Room on Tuesday, July 2nd any time between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to create paper flowers big and small. All supplies will be provided. We will use these flowers to decorate the windows of the Children’s Room during the summer. This program is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Wellesley Free Libraries.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Massachusetts Children's Book Awards 2013/2014

The latest MCBA list is posted on the Wellesley Free Library Children's Page!

You can find the books (in print and audio) marked with a yellow sticker, displayed on the island next to the Children's Desk.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tiger Eyes, the movie

Judy Blume tells behind-the-scenes stories of making 'Tiger Eyes' into a movie

Judy Blume has been a best-selling author since the 1970s, but it wasn't until 2013 that a movie based on one of her novels was finally released. "Tiger Eyes," the movie based on Blume's 1981 book of the same title, tells a poignant coming-of-age story of high schooler Davey Wexler (played by Willa Holland), a sensitive teenager who is grieving over the sudden death of her father. Davey and her mother, Gwen Wexler (played by Amy Jo Johnson), and Davey's younger brother, Jason (played by Lucien Dale), move from New Jersey to New Mexico to start a new life.
Amy, what was your favorite part of filming “Tiger Eyes”?
Johnson: First of all, working with Judy Blume. Lawrence was amazing. It was awesome. This was my first time seeing [“Tiger Eyes”]. And also, I loved New Mexico, and I loved Santa Fe. It was such a treat to be there. It was a magical place.
Judy Blume: I have to tell a story. Amy Jo got to the set … and had never met any of us and had never met Willa, who played Davey. And there at the top of the mountain mesa canyon, way up high, 50-mile-an-hour winds blowing, the light is dying, it’s freezing and cold, and the rest of us are huddled around heaters. And they [Amy Jo Johnson and Willa Holland] had to play the last scene that you just saw them in, mother and daughter, coming together on a beautiful spring day, never having met.
Johnson: In, like, 15 minutes.
Judy Blume: Before the light was gone. Not only that, but that was the one day on the set when the money people were there. It was like, “Oh my God, if we don’t get this scene, we’re dead.” We only had three days to shoot all the scenes that happen in the canyon. And it was tough.
Considering all the books that you’ve written, why did you choose “Tiger Eyes” when you got a chance to make one of your books into a movie?
Judy Blume: There was never any question. Larry and I had talked for years about making “Tiger Eyes.” I think it’s the most cinematic of all of my books. I think the beautiful landscape of New Mexico was an important character in the story.
We lived there. I lived there when I wrote the book. I didn’t know until I saw it finished how much feelings came from the loss of my own father and learning that what he would want most foe me is to go on and to enjoy life to the fullest.
Lawrence Blume: Well, I had read the book when Judy had finished it. I was 18 and going off to college … And it sort of knocked my socks off. I didn’t really know this at the time, but I was just very moved by it. It felt like a reflection of my own life because we were living in New Jersey, and then abruptly went to live in Los Alamos, N.M.
So the story of losing your place, your friends, everything, and going a new place and having to start again, I guess it resonated with me. And I thought, “Oh, I’m going to catch it as a movie someday.” And 30 years later, here we are,
What was it like to adapt the “Tiger Eyes” book into a screenplay?
Judy Blume: When we were talking about doing it, Larry said, “I want it to be as intimate as a first-person book, as one of your first-person books.” I write all these inner monologues because that’s what I like to write. And how do you do that in a movie? And we are very thankful that we have Willa Holland and that expressive face to help tell the story and save pages and pages of inner monologue.
I still heard the gasps when Walter slapped Davey. I’ve probably seen the movie a hundred or 50 times … And let me not leave out my fabulous husband, George Cooper, who came in and saved us and became an executive producer, when we were all out in the canyons and people were yelling and screaming in the office, George did it in his quiet way, and he’s problem solver and solved the problems — we did it together.
Lawrence Blume: I try and think a little bit structurally. I tried to pull scenes and pages out of the book. Primarily, my objective was to be as faithful to the book as possible, because I was living in terror that all of Judy’s fans who love the book would say horrible, horrible things and hate me forever. So we tried to be as faithful as possible to try and turn a book into a movie. It’s obviously not the same medium. We tried to everything we could use from the book, every piece of dialogue, every scene. Some of the scenes are verbatim right out of the book.
Judy Blume: Which you know.
Lawrence Blume: And some things we had to invent or bridge. It was just a process of trying to be as faithful as possible.
Judy Blume: To the spirit. Not faithful to every page of the book, but to the spirit of the book and the emotionality of the characters. And let me tell you something: If I were writing this book today, there’s no way in the world I would get rid of Wolf three-quarters of the way into the book. I don’t know what I was thinking, because when I see it now, Wolf, their connection makes the story. Of course, [Davey] kept writing letters to him [in the book], but that’s not visual. So we knew from the start.
And when Larry says a little bit of structure, he’s a lot of structure. He knows structure and I don’t. And I write — well, I don’t know how I write — on instinct. Whatever happens happens. And you can’t do that as much in the movie with a lot of people and relationships and dialogue. And so we worked well together. We don’t work as mother and son. We work as Judy and Larry.
Amy Jo, how do you create a level of mother/daughter intimacy with someone you’ve just literally met?
Johnson: I don’t know. Maybe it’s from doing years and years of television, which is just so fast-paced. Watching [“Tiger Eyes”], I’m really happy … Maybe it worked because it happened so fast. I don’t know. It worked though.
Lawrence Blume: This is a little technical, so I won’t waste a lot of time on it, but that scene, I had this idea to use a crane so we could kind of come down and see the landscape, but then we couldn’t afford a crane. This was a really low-budget movie. So we built a ramp and got a Steadicam, which is a rig that the cameraman holds, and we would walk at the top of the ramp and would walk down as they did their scene. I had to do the whole thing in one take because the sun was going down.
And we only had light for two takes. And you wouldn’t think that in any movies like this that there are any effects shots, but there are actually 20 effects shots in this movie. And that one, we used computer technology to stabilize it. It was a mess ... because of the wind. And for digital technology to turn that into a smooth, beautiful shot, and let the actors shine was kind of incredible.
For more info: "Tiger Eyes" movie

Friday, June 7, 2013

Water in the Park and other books for a rainy day from The New York Times

Splish Splash

‘Water in the Park,’ by Emily Jenkins, and More

In "Water in the Park," a storm arrives at the end of a long, hot day.

Published: May 31, 2013   
“Rain, rain, go away.” Kids have always chanted the familiar refrain — gazing out the window wistfully, chin on fist — as if they had the power to make it happen. But these days, what’s a little precipitation when there are peevish birds to be flung and other indoor, on-screen distractions? In an era in which the directive “Go play” no longer implies “outside,” the idea that rain may affect a child’s fun is perhaps a quaint one. But four new picture books remind us that no matter how cosseted we are by technology, a downpour still holds the power to move us.


By Linda Ashman
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
32 pp. Houghton Mifflin. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8)


A Book About Water and the Times of the Day
By Emily Jenkins
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
40 pp. Schwartz & Wade. $16.99.(Picture book; ages 3 to 6)


Written and illustrated by Arthur Geisert
32 pp. Enchanted Lion. $17.95. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8)


By Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Steven Salerno
40 pp. Disney-Hyperion. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 7)


Two very different attitudes about the weather go head-to-head in Linda Ashman’s buoyant “Rain!” All furrowed brow and put-upon frown, an older, balding man grumps “Rain!” at the drops he sees outside his window. Meanwhile, in another apartment building, a little boy throws his arms up and delights at the “rain!” plinking on the fire escape. As the two go about their respective days — the boy with his green froggy hat and cheery disposition, the man with his pessimistic attitude — their moods are reflected in their environments and in the faces of the people they encounter. Christian Robinson, whose illustrations for “Harlem’s Little Blackbird,” by Renée Watson, made for a winsome debut last year, uses paint and collage to render the man’s home in muddy colors; the boy’s room, by contrast, has buttery yellow walls and circus polka dots. Everyone the man meets is soured by the experience, as shown by a downturned mouth here, an aggrieved expression there. The boy, on the other hand, spreads metaphorical sunshine, prompting enthusiastic waves and indulgent smiles. When the two inevitably cross paths, it’s no surprise the boy’s positive outlook wins over the grouch — eventually — but their interaction still feels fresh and natural. By the time the man returns to his apartment building, the sun is out; but the implication is that, having embraced the boy’s viewpoint, he’d be happy either way.
Unlike Ashman’s story, in which rain drives the plot, “Water in the Park” showcases a sweltering summer day, and the storm arrives only in the final few pages. But water is everywhere: from the pond in which a small fleet of dogs goes splashing, to the hoses volunteers use to nourish thirsty flower beds, to the pails that industrious children fill from sprinklers and pour onto slides. In an author’s note, Emily Jenkins says she was inspired by the various ways she saw people and animals use water during one punishing Brooklyn summer. Her story’s characters are as diverse as their real-life counterparts in Prospect Park: multiracial families headed by straight or gay parents; nannies and their charges; an elderly couple who’ve not only grown to look like each other but who also resemble their stoop-shouldered, geriatric dog. Stephanie Graegin’s pencil-and-ink washes depict more than a hundred individuals (go on, ask your child to count them), and several recur throughout the book, just as you might run into a neighborhood friend. Jenkins taps out the day’s rhythm in clear, unadorned prose, as early-walking dogs give way to midmorning babies, who then make room for adults on lunch break and the after-school crowd, and onward until the skies open up at dusk.
While the average evening storm is rarely more than a nuisance for most city dwellers, farmers, typically, are far more vulnerable to capricious nature. It’s this exposure that drives the story in the wordless “Thunderstorm.” The illustrator Arthur Geisert grew up in Los Angeles, lived for many years in Galena, Ill., and now makes his home in rural Iowa. He may be best known for his anthropomorphized pigs, seen most recently in “Ice” and “The Giant Seed,” but his new work is more in the spirit of 2010’s earthy “Country Road ABC,” in which “E” stood for Erosion and “I” for Inoculate. “Thunderstorm,” too, is grounded in the real world, down to the time stamps that mark a squall’s progress across Midwestern farmland over the course of one Saturday afternoon. The artist’s trademark copperplate etchings, tinged with watercolors, lend a timeless feel to his slice-of-life illustrations, which show how a farm family and various animals weather the storm. Though the story line isn’t always easy to track — Whose fence is being torn up? And where did that tornado come from? — each page’s abundant details invite lingering and repeated visits. Cutaways reveal where foxes have burrowed for shelter, and offer a glimpse into the farmhouse kitchen, where the family warily eyes the leaking ceiling. Geisert allows the storm to do real damage, but he also shows the community getting to work once the skies clear, determined to set things right.
“Boom!” tells a more finite story, and one many children will relate to. Pert-nosed Rosie is a brave little dog. She gamely faces down tigers (well, a stuffed toy one) and house cats, and fears neither sudsy baths nor roaring vacuum cleaners. But the first crack of thunder sends her whimpering for comfort from, as Mary Lyn Ray affectionately describes him, “the boy she knew best.” Though plenty of pups cower under the sofa when a storm rages, Rosie seems to be as much reader (or one-being-read-to) surrogate as pet. While the unnamed boy tries to explain away the noise with fanciful stories — “Thunder was watermelons rolling from a watermelon truck” or “a block fort falling” — the way a parent might, Rosie knows what’s really happening. “It was the big, big sky growling big, big growls,” she determines, and though she tries, she can’t find a place where she feels truly safe. Eventually the boy scoops her up in his arms and they wait it out together; she imagines “the boy may have felt a little frightened, too,” though the serene look that Steven Salerno has drawn on his face belies that notion. At story’s end, the sun shines once more, Rosie yaps happily and the storm is but a memory, except for a few wooden blocks (perhaps from that aforementioned fort) strewn across the floor. In other words, this too shall pass.
Carolyn Juris is associate children’s book editor at Publishers Weekly.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross


From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 4–Beginning with pages that open vertically instead of horizontally, this tongue-in-cheek tale takes a typical love story and sets it squarely–and amusingly–on end. Ross's vibrantly hued pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons depict the edge of a pond where a caterpillar and a tadpole meet and fall in love: "She was his beautiful rainbow, and he was her shiny black pearl." Perched on a leaf above the water, she smiles down at her sweetheart and asks him to "Promise you'll never change." Although he agrees, some vows are difficult to keep, and when they next meet, he has sprouted two legs. She forgives him, but after he breaks his promise twice more and now looks more like a frog than her "shiny black pearl," the lovelorn larva ends the affair and cries herself to sleep (sequestered in a cocoon). Meanwhile, the melancholy frog sulks around the pond, making heart-shaped air bubbles that rise to the surface and burst. When the caterpillar awakens, now a butterfly, she decides to forgive her beloved and flies above the water to find him. Without a thought, the frog swallows her whole, and then returns to wondering about whatever happened to his "beautiful rainbow." Willis strikes the perfect balance between the deadpan telling and the humorously overblown dialogue shared by the star-crossed pair, while the artwork masterfully enhances each and every nuance. Enjoy this funny story on its own merits or try using it to lighten up a science lesson.–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

"Beginning with pages that open vertically instead of horizontally, this tongue-in-cheek tale takes a typical love story and sets it squarely and amusingly on end. Ross's vibrantly hued pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons depict the edge of the pond where a caterpillar and a tadpole meet and fall in love. . . Willis strikes the perfect balance between the deadpan telling and the humorously overblown dialogue shared by the star-crossed pair, while the artwork masterfully enhances each and every nuance.'  —School Library Journal

"Breaks the mould in form as well as content."  —Sunday Times