Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

The Water Seeker

"What would you do if you knew you had a special gift - a sixth sense - that was passed down from one generation to the next? A gift that could help people in times of need, but one your father often saw as a trap. Would you use that gift?" The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt is the story of Amos Kincaid, a boy who could find water where it lay beneath the land, unseen by ordinary eyes.

After his mother dies in childbirth, Amos is raised by a succession of women who are each symbols of the American West: a missionary, a rough farm worker, a new bride, and his father's second wife, an Otoe Indian woman. Each of them contributes something unique to the boy's upbringing under the watchful presence of his mother's spirit. The boy is also shaped by the rough men of the wilderness: his father Jake, a reluctant dowser and trapper, and the Blocks, a family of boys as close as brothers to Amos. All come together in the vast wilderness of America sharing tragedy and triumph as Amos grows into manhood on a perilous journey along the Oregon Trail.

Recommended for readers in grades 5-8

Some Picture Books Are a Little Scary


I was thinking about Swimmy, by Leo Lionni, and how as a child I was both drawn to and scared by the story. If you don't know, this book for preschoolers and primary grade children features a little black fish who must undertake the classic hero's journey after his entire family is eaten by a giant tuna. While I love to share this book, I recommend it carefully. No one deserves to get frightened when they're not looking for a scare. But what about when they are?

In School Library Journal (www.slj.com) John Peters notes that, "do you have any scary stories?" is second only to "where's the bathroom?" in the list of most commonly asked reference questions from very young children. We have a natural instinct to protect children from things that might frighten them, but what are they telling us when they ask for these stories? According to Peters, children who ask for scary stories are "searching for ways to articulate, control, or at least build a little resistance to the fear that comes from feeling surrounded by a world rife with shadows, sudden dangers, and unknown rules."
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The True Meaning of Smekday

I had a great time listening to The True Meaning of Smekday, the recipient of the 2011 Odyssey Award. (The Odyssey Award is presented by the American Library Association to the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the U.S.) How can you not love a friendly, tongue-clacking "Boov" alien nicknamed "J.Lo" (because Boovish names are unpronounceable by humans) who becomes the unlikely companion of an intrepid 11-year old car-driving heroine named Gratutity (nickname "Tip")? Throw in a cat called "Pig," a flying car called "Slushious," and other colorful characters, along with some strange, funny, and occasionally horrifying events - well, the result is a futuristic road trip like you've never imagined.

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Get Reading, Get Moving!

Whew! Looks like Spring has finally arrived! What a great time of the year to get outside and Get Moving!

Whether you like to hop, jump, skip, kick a ball, ride a bike, or do some yoga, there are a lot of ways to exercise for fun - and we have a lot of books with great tips on how to keep your body fit and strong. Did you know that in addition to keeping your heart and muscles strong physical activity can also keep your brain strong?
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Frogs - Where are You??

There is nothing that heralds the arrival of Spring like the sound of the spring peepers. I enjoyed listening to their chorus when it was warm enough a couple weeks ago to open the windows and hear them singing in the evening from the creek in the backyard. But frogs are often hard to see - especially now that the weather has turned cold again!

To get a wonderful close up peek at spring peepers and other frogs, take a look at Nic Bishop's book Frogs. It's filled with beautiful color photographs of a variety of frogs and fascinating facts about them, too. Read more »

Watership Down


Are you a fan of Erin Hunter's Warriors Series or the swashbuckling adventures of Redwall Abbey? If so, you owe it to yourself to check out Watership Down by Richard Adams, one of the greatest animal fantasy novels of all time.

A band of brave rabbits sets out from their doomed warren on an epic journey across a dangerous land. Along the way, they must face weasels, birds of prey, cats, men, and hostile bands of other rabbits. Filled with nail-biting escapes, brave heroes and terrifying villains, Watership Down will keep you up way past your bedtime. It's one of those rare, "stand alone" fantasy novels, but the characters searching for a new home in this story will stay with you for years to come. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

Moon Over Manifest


It is 1936 in the depths of the Great Depression and Abilene Tucker has been sent by her wandering father to live in the dying town of Manifest, Kansas. She spends the summer making friends and trying to discover the truth about the town, its colorful inhabitants, and her father's past. The mystery revolves around the years 1917-18 when America was fighting in World War I and a deadly outbreak of influenza swept the world. Abilene and her buddies delve into old newspapers, find hidden clues, and uncover secrets through a diviner's stories to reveal the extraordinary friendship between two young men, Ned and Jinx. Abilene is disappointed when she believes there is no trace of her father in Manifest but for the first time in her life, she begins to think of a place as home.
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Seusspicious Behavior: March 5

The Cat in the Hat, courtesy of WTIU and PBS Kids, invites you to attend our Seusspicious Behavior events at the Library this Saturday, March 5, between 1 and 4 pm.

What's Your Favorite Dr. Seuss Story?

I find it hard to pick a favorite Dr. Seuss story... I enjoy both the early reader chapter books and the longer stories that I remember my parents reading to me as a child: Bartholomew and the Oobleck, Yertle the Turtle, and even What Was I Scared Of? (probably because those pale green pants were a little creepy). But on a cold, cold wet day like today, I'd have to say that my favorite Dr. Seuss story is The Cat in the Hat, Seuss's first book for beginner readers.

What's your favorite Dr. Seuss story? Let us know. And share it with a friend to help celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2. This is Dr. Seuss's (Theodor Geisel's) birthday, and a day that the National Education Association honors by calling for every child to be reading in the company of a caring adult. We'll be celebrating on Saturday, March 5th with some Seusspicious events. Join us!

Jimi: Sounds Like A Rainbow

Jimi: Sounds Like A Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix is written by Gary Golio, and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, using mixed media in colors both bright and pastel, on plywood. Hendrix was fascinated with music, sound, art, and color at an early age. As a young boy, he even used a broom as a pretend guitar, playing and singing to an imaginary audience in his bedroom. He listened constantly to blues, jazz, gospel, classical, folk, and rock and roll music, but was also mesmerized by sounds he heard in the street and in nature, and by the colors of things around him. In his mind, according to the author, colors had sounds to them, and he wondered "Could someone paint pictures with sound?"

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