Lisa C.'s blog

Elephant and Piggie: In a Book and At the Library!


With a wry wit honed as an Emmy Award winning writer and animator for Sesame Street, author and illustrator Mo Willems broke into the world of Children's Literature in a big way in 2003 with a bus obsessed pigeon. The following year he endeared himself to children and parents alike with his spot on depiction of a distraught toddler who has lost her stuffed animal in the picturebook Knuffle Bunny, which also earned Willems his second Caldecott Honor medal from the American Library Association (ALA).

But it was Willems' Elephant and Piggie books for early readers that secured his renown as "the Dr. Seuss of this generation." In fact, his first Elephant and Piggie book: There is a Bird on Your Head! received the 2008 Geisel Award Medal, which the ALA gives to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year. The winners are recognized especially for their ability to creatively and imaginatively engage children in reading. Willems won the Geisel Award again in 2009 for his second Elephant and Piggie book: Are You Ready to Play Outside? He received the Geisel Honor Award in 2011 and 2012 for the Elephant and Piggie stories: We Are in a Book! and I Broke My Trunk.

If you haven't yet introduced your beginner reader to an Elephant and Piggie story -- there are now 17 to choose from -- each one as delightful as the next, all featuring large type and short sentences that manage to convey the charming friendship Elephant and Piggie share. (If Willems is this generation's Dr. Seuss, Elephant and Piggie are this generation's Frog and Toad -- good friends who appear in the beginner reader stories by Arnold Lobel.)

Whether you are a brand new or longtime fan of Elephant and Piggie, you are sure to enjoy meeting them this Friday, April 13 at 4:30 pm when we will be sharing some of their stories, a short film, and a craft celebrating their adventures together. Call us at 349-3100, or register online to reserve a seat. And stop by the reference desk between 2:30 and 4 pm Friday afternoon to try out the "Don't Let the Pigeon Run this App" activity we have on our iPads. In the meantime, you can create a dance for Elephant and Piggie at The Pigeon Presents website, or visit Mo Willems' website to find more fun and games!

A Magpie's Dilemma


Sometimes the simplest of stories convey complex ideas most beautifully. More by I.C. Springman has just a few words on each page, but the illustrations vividly depict the hazards of collecting too much "stuff." The story features a magpie - a crow-like bird that folklore recognizes for its attraction to shiny objects -- and which commonly describes someone who collects odds and ends of little value.  (I do believe I am parent to a couple of magpies!) Read more »

Celebrating Seuss with Stories and Song

Dr. Seuss Band appFriday, March 2 is Dr. Seuss' Birthday! Visit the Main Library Children's Dept. Friday afternoon between 4 and 5:30 pm and make a joyful noise using the Dr. Seuss Band app for iPad. We'll have one of our iPads out at the "Ask Questions Here" desk for you to try. You can create your own crazy musical instrument and compose your own song. (If you have your own iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, you can download this app for free, for a limited time. See the iTunes Preview page for details.)  Read more »

Digital Learning Day is February 1

For decades now, teachers and others have recognized that technology can play a role in enhancing education and opportunities for learning. To help promote the efforts of teachers who have effectively incorporated technology in their instructional practices - and to encourage others to experiment with digital tools and discover how they may be used to strengthen student learning - the Alliance for Excellent Education has declared Feburary 1 as national Digital Learning Day. Read more »

Gold-Medal Books Storytime and Reception on Monday

On Monday, January 23, we will be celebrating award-winning books all day with special programs. The American Library Association announces the 2012 Youth Media award winners at around 8 am that morning. Join us at 10 am for a special storytime where we will feature picture books from years past that have won a Caldecott Award for their illustrations.

Last year's winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, is especially popular this time of year when sniffles and sneezes run rampant. Amos is a zookeeper who consistently cares for his friends at the zoo, always making time to play chess with the elephant and run races with the tortoise. When he is too sick to take the bus to the zoo one morning, his friends decide to travel to him! They cheer him up with some quiet, sitting-in-bed activities. Amos feels better by the end of the day, and the visit turns into a sleepover. Since the story concludes with everyone saying goodnight to each other and looking forward to the next day, this soothing picturebook serves as a gentle bedtime story, too, with appeal to ages 3-8.

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New Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers was named the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature earlier this week. The position was established in 2008 to raise national awareness of the importance of young people's literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

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Pop-up Book Favorites

Did you give or receive a book as a gift for the holidays? Did you give or receive an e-book reader for the holidays? PBS's "Mediashift" blog reported recently that despite the ever increasing popularity of e-books and Kindles and Nooks, "Print Books Still Rule the Holidays." The article - and a poster we uncovered in our storage room last week - reminded me that one of my favorite kinds of books to give and receive as a gift is a pop-up book. (A pop-up book is truly, as the old poster stated ... a Gift you Open Again and Again.) I enjoy getting any kind of book as a gift, of course, but as space in my home becomes more limited, I like to own books that I can't borrow from the library. And pop-up books are just not transferrable to e-book format. They are works of art designed for the physical, 3-D world.

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I Want My Hat Back

Hurrah for end of the year "best of" lists! They often tip me off to some great reads, or games or films, etc. that I hadn't yet discovered on my own. But they also often affirm that I wasn't the only one who thought a particular book or movie was worthy of special mention. That's the case with I Want My Hat Back, a picture book by Jon Klassen. I was pleasantly surprised to see this title included on the New York Times list of Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2011.
The story features a large bear who has lost his hat. When he meets different woodland animals, he asks each one: Have you seen my hat? They each respond in the negative, but the pictures tell a different story, and bear is a bit slow to realize that one of the animals was not telling him the truth! The story itself is slight, but the short sentences, repetition, and mischievous humor will hold appeal for beginner readers looking for a funny story to read on their own -- as well as older readers who enjoy a slightly devious tale!

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Annie: A Cardinal Stage Preview Performance

Go ahead, admit it. You've sung the song "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie, at least once in your life. (After a few straight days of non-stop rain, I'm singing it right now! The sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun...)

Well, whether or not you know by heart the lyrics to "Tomorrow" or the other catchy tunes featured in the show, we are betting that you'll enjoy the free sneak preview of Cardinal Stage Company's performance of Annie, this Saturday, December 3, from 11-11:30 a.m. in the Main Library Auditorium. Cast members will present a couple scenes, and you'll have a chance to ask some of the children performing in the play what it's like to be in a musical.
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First Snow in the Woods

While some Monroe County residents grumble about the deer that tread too closely to their homes or raid their gardens, I relish seeing the deer emerge from the woods that surround my home. My son recently reported that he had seen six deer of various sizes while he was playing in our front yard. They observed him cautiously for a moment before stepping quickly across the lawn, confident that his remote controlled car would not harm them!

It's a little easier to spot the deer now that most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. But if you don't have a chance to see deer right in your neighborhood, the picture book First Snow in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy features stunning color photographs that provide a vivid and intimate way to admire deer and other wildlife that live in the woods. The book also profiles the changing seasons as different animals describe how they prepare for the arrival of winter weather.
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