Lisa C.'s blog

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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Festival of Ghost Stories, Friday 10/28

Several of the Children's Librarians, members of the Bloomington Storytellers Guild, will be telling spooky stories at Bryan Park this Friday, 7-8:30 pm, as part of our annual Festival of Ghost Stories. Not intended for young children, this free event is a chance for older children, teens and adults to enjoy hearing some spine-tingling tales. So grab a lawn chair, or bring a blanket, and join us for some stories - and a couple songs - certain to give you the shivers!

(In case of rain, the event will be held indoors at the Main Library. We'll know by late afternoon, so give us a call at 349-3100, to check on the location.)

Grolier Online and other Homework Help Tools

I live with a wonderful third grader. But on occasion, he forgets to tell me until late at night that he has a homework assignment due the next day. Now, I'm as big a fan of Google as anyone, but when I need to find information quickly from a trusted source at a reading level suitable for a third grader, or other school-age student, I am grateful to have access to Grolier Online.

Grolier Online is a multimedia encyclopedia that provides you with a wealth of information on a range of topics. Topics include links to related magazine articles and recommended web sites. And most topics include images and maps, when relevant. The Monroe County Public Library's subscription to Grolier Online includes the reference databases America the Beautiful for information on states, and Lands and People for information on countries around the world. MCPL card holders can access all the resources free from home by logging in with their library card number.

So the next time you are tempted to just "Google it," try Grolier Online instead! And take a look at the other Online Homework Help Resources we recommend, too.

Click Clack Moo: A Special Preview Performance

As a student of journalism, I am a true believer in the power of the written word. And, apparently, so are the cows in Doreen Cronin's hilarious picture book: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. When the cows discover a typewriter in their barn, they begin making demands of Farmer Brown. It's cold in the barn. They want electric blankets.

Ridiculous, thinks Farmer Brown, and he refuses their request. But then the cows refuse to give any more milk. And the hens join the cows in solidarity and refuse to give any more eggs. The duck is the barnyard mediator, shuffling typed messages back and forth between the farmer and the cows. But, it seems that even ducks have desires for creature comforts.
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Nurse, Soldier, Spy: A Civil War Hero

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. This isn't an anniversary to "celebrate", but such a pivotal conflict in our nation's history is certainly one to commemorate and learn more about through the amazing stories told by the people involved. Sarah Edmonds was one of those people.

In the picturebook biography Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, A Civil War Hero,
we learn that when she was just 16, Sarah disguised herself as a man and ran away from her home in Canada to escape an arranged marriage. She came to the United States and assumed the name Frank Thompson. When the call came in Michigan for young men to join the Union army, "Frank" wanted to sign up as a way to thank the country she had been living in for the last three years. While the other soldiers teased Frank about her small feet, no one ever guessed that Frank was actually a woman.
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Bark, George and other Stories for Dog Days

Join us this Wednesday, August 31, at 10 am in the Library Auditorium for Storyhour Extravaganza! Since the hot days of August are often described as the Dog Days of Summer, we're celebrating the end of this blistering season with a variety of stories about dogs - including my personal favorite: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. George, a puppy, seems to have a duck stuck in his throat, or perhaps a cow, or a cat, because he keeps saying these other animal sounds instead of "bark." So, George's mom takes him to the vet who eventually gets to the bottom of George's troubles. Highly recommended for preschoolers to children in grade 2, this humorous story typically brings on a case of the giggles and is especially fun to tell with puppets!

We'll also show the film versions of Let's Get a Pup, Said Kate and Whistle for Willie. What's your favorite dog story? Let us know!

Parents' Choice and the 4Cs of Learning

I've been following the Parents' Choice blog: Read More. Play More. Learn More recently via Twitter. The Parents' Choice Foundation was established in 1978 as a nonprofit guide to quality children's media and toys. You may have seen their round labels of recommendation on toys, but they also review books, audiobooks, DVDs, music, magazines, television shows, videogames, websites and software -- including mobile apps for kids. You can use their online product finder to search for their award winners by type of product, the age of the child for which the product is designed, and more.

But their blog caught my attention because the title echoes philosophies of Children's Services at Monroe County Public Library: reading is a key to learning, children learn through play, and learning is fun! Our Summer Reading Game is designed to promote these concepts, and now as children head back to school we find ourselves thinking more about essential skills and knowledge for children. Traditionally, essential skills have been described as the 3Rs: Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmetic. But as a recent post to the Parents' Choice blog reminded, essential skills for the 21st Century include the 4Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
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Library Carnival on Monday!

Did you get to go to the Monroe County Fair this year? We hope you stopped by the library's booth, went on our mini jungle walk and pet our giant stuffed orangutan! You can visit with the orangutan this Monday night between 6 and 7:30 pm. He will be welcoming everyone to our Library Carnival in Meeting Rooms 1A, B and C. We'll have games, prizes and ice cream treats for you to enjoy. And it's all free -- thanks to the Friends of the Library!
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