Friday, November 30, 2012

Dog loves drawing by Louise Yates

I read Louise Yates' first book about Dog, Dog Loves Drawing, for Cybils in 2010 (oddly enough, for some reason I seem to have thought Dog was female. But apparently she is a he. Oh well, it doesn't really matter). I thought the illustrations were lovely, but I'm prejudiced against "I love books" books.

However, I love sentient drawing books, a la Harold and the Purple Crayon so this one was right up my alley and I bought it right away for the library.

Dog still loves his books and his bookshop, but one day he gets a package with a blank book. It's from his Aunt Dora, who encourages him to write his own adventures. He starts with a door, then some doodles, then he draws some new friends and the adventures begin. Sometimes they get a little scary, but he can always draw himself out of trouble and there's a happy ending for all.

What I really liked about the illustrations in this book was the simple, child-like nature of Dog's drawings. They're markedly different from the expert illustrations that set the scene and Dog himself, and they look as if a child could draw them, but they're still professional and beautiful. It adds to the story to see the original drawings as the "real" world and Dog's stick drawings as the art.

Verdict: A lovely story that children and parents will enjoy, whether or not they are "artistic." I like that the book encourages doodling!

ISBN: 9780375870675; Published 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; Review copy provided by publisher (used in fundraiser for colleague. it's a long story); Purchased for the library

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Raul Colon

In free verse, Hopkinson tells the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan from their first meeting to their first trip together and Helen's first letter home, written by herself. She describes the frustration of Helen and Annie's determination and the wonderful moment when Helen first connected words and the objects they represented.

Information about the different methods Helen used to communicate and Annie's life before Helen are interspersed throughout the text, but the main theme of the story is Helen's joyous journey as she discovers the world around her and the ability to communicate. Quotations from Annie Sullivan's letters are included throughout the book. The story ends with a recreation of Helen Keller's letter.

The endpapers are covered with historic photos of Helen and Annie and the story begins with an author's note giving background information about the lives of the two women. There is a list of further reading and websites contained in the publication information on the final page.

The illustrations are simple watercolors, but they give life and power to the spare prose, showing Helen's vigorous movements and Annie's calm support. Simple scenery and backgrounds focuses the action on the characters and the bland earth tones give a quiet, peaceful feel to the story.

Verdict: This is a lovely book and beautifully written. It has collected quite a few stars and awards. But. Do we really need another biography of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan? There are numerous picture book, middle grade, graphic and even manga biographies of these two extraordinary women already on the scene and while this is a lovely and well-written book, it doesn't bring anything new to the story. A school library that needs multiple books on these historical figures will want this, but it's an additional purchase for a public library, especially if you already have multiple titles on this subject.

ISBN: 9780375857065; Published September 2012 by Schwartz and Wade/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This week at the library; or, How much work can you get done in 4 days?

Random Commentary
  • For the health and sanity of all (and because people hardly ever show up anyways) we don't do programs Thanksgiving week. The homeschool group did come on Monday morning, accompanied by some snakes which was apparently a huge hit.
  • I spent most of the couple days we were open frantically trying to finish projects that should have been done a long time ago, including the program plans for the next three weeks, and trying to become accustomed to Baker and Taylor.
  • I am not accustomed. Right now I am hating that I have to click and scroll a gazillion times times to do something that in BWI took me about 3 seconds and 2 clicks. I am also hating all the junk that's crammed on the page, none of which I want, and which makes it difficult to see the things I DO want, especially when they're inserted in tiny type, instead of nice bold red like BWI.
  • Oh BWI, I miss you so much.
  • Decided to work on the budget for next year instead. Why does the money always look like so much until I start portioning it out and then suddenly it's all gone and I haven't budgeted for summer reading prizes!?
  • All the fish died. I am not really upset about this as I was ready to let the fish go (other staff were ready some months ago) but it was yet another thing in this crazy day.
  • The entire system, internet and ILS, crashed on Wednesday so I went home early. Plus, I was working Saturday and I had to go the middle school to retrieve some of our books that had mysteriously reappeared after a long absence.
  • Saturday was enlivened by an endless stream of phone calls "are you open?" and accompanying nasty remarks about the library being closed on Friday and a visit from the police but only ONE minor computer problem!
Approximate hours this week
  • Monday 12-8
  • Tuesday 9-5:15
  • Wednesday 9:15-12:30
  • Saturday 9:45-2

Friday, November 23, 2012

Super Chicken Nugget Boy and the Furious Fry by Josh Lewis, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Life at Bert Lahr Elementary School isn't easy. There's tough bullies, a wimpy principal, and other perils like the mysterious pool of greenish goo. When Fern Goldberg arrives, he seems like just another average kid. Until he gets targeted by the principal's bullying son and through an amazing (and gross) sequence of events become Super Chicken Nugget Boy.

Spoiler - as opposed to the cover, he actually becomes a giant chicken nugget. Really. It's not a costume. The costume comes earlier.

It's wild and wacky and a bit gross, with ninjas and over the top bullies (the principal hands out months of detention on his son's demands because otherwise his wife will yell at him).

The black and white illustrations are just as kooky as the text, with both comic panels and illustrations inset. They show the characters making witty and silly statements and some additional action scenes.

Verdict: This wasn't one I personally got (although the ninja scene was very funny), but I can see it being very popular with younger kids who are fans of Captain Underpants. Parents will probably appreciate that it has the same wacky humor and illustrations but is much lighter on the potty humor.

ISBN: 9781423114918; Published April 2010 by Disney/Hyperion; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wedgieman: A hero is born by Charise Mericle Harper, illustrated by Bob Shea

You have to wonder why no one ever though of putting these two wacky authors together and having them make an easy reader before. It's genius!

Veggiebaby is a superhero. He's hungry and looooves vegetables! Despite the warning sign, he plays with his food, but that doesn't seem to bother him because he soon grows up to be Veggieboy! Veggieboy practices his superhero skills; flying, superstrength, x-ray vision, and shapechanging. Oops, maybe not that last one...Soon, Veggieboy becomes Veggieman! He gets a cool new costume and sets out to do brave deeds. Unfortunately a little wardrobe malfunction happens and he has a new name: Wedgieman!

This is a really fun - and funny - easy reader. It's subtle, but not so much that kids won't get the humor. The illustrations and text complement each other perfectly, and as I said these two authors are a great fit. I thought the final story, where Wedgieman gets his new name, wasn't really necessary. It didn't really fit with the vegetable theme and the story was already funny enough without it. However, kids will no doubt find it hilarious and ask for more Wedgieman adventures.

Verdict: Step into Reading is doing some really good things with their new easy readers and this one will be a great hit! Recommended.

ISBN: 9780307930712; Published 2012 by Random House; Review copy provided by publisher (added to summer reading prize books); Purchased for the library.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Lemonade in Winter, a book about two kids counting money by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Two cheerful siblings run a lemonade stand in winter, despite adults' warnings that they won't sell anything. Happily, they are wrong and the quarters pour in. Not enough to recoup their initial outlay, but enough to get popsicles!

There's lots of counting money throughout the story, mainly quarters and dollars. Every time they sell some lemonade, the older sister explains how much they made. They have to count their quarters to buy the lemons and limes, and then count again when they're done to see their profit. A final section has an explanation of coins, how to tell them apart and how they add up to dollars.

Karas' illustrations are cute, but I would have preferred something more life-like for kids learning to identify money. However, this is a good read-aloud and a few pictures on a flannel board or some real change will help the kids match and compare.

Verdict: An excellent addition to your concept books. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780375858833; Published September 2012 by Schwartz and Wade/Random House; Review copy provided by publisher (used as prize for 10KBK); Purchased for the library

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This week at the library; or, Things are back to crazy normal

  • Tiny Tots (cancelled - Miss Pattie is sick!)
  • Toddlers 'n' Books 10 and 11am session (I did them this week, Miss Pattie was gone)
  • Preschool Interactive
  • Learning Curve (off-site)
  • Books 'n' Babies (Miss Pattie)
  • Learning Curve (2 sessions) (off-site)
  • Tibbets Kindergarten (off-site)
  • Messy Art Club
  • We Explore Healthy Snacking/Kids in the Kitchen (Miss Pattie)
Random Commentary
  • As you can see, when Miss Pattie is gone our world falls apart! I came in on Monday to a message that she was sick and the vision/hearing screening she does had been rescheduled to Tuesday morning. Panic!! Fortunately, I had some books I had pulled for her, so I just took them for myself.
  • Monday night, I put out some crafts in the storyroom (can't sub for Tiny Tots, I'm on the desk), turned on some music, and about 25 people showed up. They were (mostly) pretty understanding and had fun making die cut puppets and chatting for a while.
  • Tuesday morning I had the staff at the reference desk hand out the registration stickers and I did a rather abbreviated animal sounds storytime. This is what we did, as best as I can remember, for both sessions. It's a real measure of how much I've grown and relaxed as a librarian and in storytime that these were fun (if tiring) storytimes for everybody. No kids collapsed in tears b/c Miss Pattie wasn't there, I didn't end storytime in shame and mortification after 10 minutes for lack of attention and attendees, and I had good rapport with the parents and kids.
    • Shakes and The Tempo Marches On by Jim Gill
    • Talked about animal sounds
    • Read Find a cow now by Janet Stevens (kids thought the dog was a cat, but otherwise a big hit)
    • Did a five little leaves rhyme (told parents I wasn't ready for snow or Christmas yet and got some clapping in response!)
    • Read The Wide-Mouthed Frog pop-up
    • Read Monkey See, Look at me (all the kids stood up to do the actions)
    • Read Leaf man (some kids had drifted away a bit)
    • Made die-cut puppets.
  • We are going to draw a veil over Thursday. It was mostly fun (except for the one very unpleasant patron interaction) but tiring.
Approximate hours this week
  • Monday 11:45ish to 8
  • Tuesday 9-5
  • Wednesday 9-5
  • Thursday 9:30-5:30
  • Friday vacation!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

There's been quite a bit of buzz for this title and all the kids I've mentioned it to have been interested. They had to wait their turns though, because I wanted to read it first.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I knew, as soon as I saw the cover and read the first couple chapters, that it was going to be a little more kooky than I personally prefer, but a little kooky in fantasy is ok with some kids so I persevered. My main problem with this book is there are so many characters, plot points, fairy tale mentions, and more that I kept expecting some of them to fall out of the book.

The premise is fresh and intriguing; The various Prince Charmings are tired of being identified by their fairy tales and not having individual personalities. Cinderella's Prince Frederick is really a nervous, squeamish, immature guy who's scared to ever set foot outside his palace. Rapunzel's Prince Gustav is the youngest of 17 brothers and hates being laughed at for his failure to rescue her - or do anything else right. Prince Duncan rescued Snow White by accident and is...veeeery eccentric, although he's the only one who has worked things out enough to marry his princess. Prince Liam's whole identity is in being a hero, but when he rescues Sleeping Beauty he discovers that not only is she a horrible person, his entire kingdom cares only about her wealth.

Filling out the cast is the adventurous Cinderella, Liam's spunky younger sister, a villainous evil witch, career-confused giant, dragon, hilariously capable and grumpy dwarves, a dangerous and very young Bandit King, and a Host of Others.

At over 400 pages, this is a challenging read. Kids who are young enough to enjoy a little wacky fantasy may be confused and discouraged by the plethora of characters and plots. The writing is fresh, the ideas interesting, and the characters have promise, but I wish the book had been pared down a bit, rather than going for the every-plot-point-and-the-kitchen-sink approach.

Verdict: I'm not sorry I purchased this and I think there will be kids who enjoy it, but the length and confusing plots and characters keep it off my best books of the year list. I will be looking for the sequels to see how this debut author shapes up in future titles.

ISBN: 9780062117434; Published 2012 by Walden Pond/HarperCollins; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sita, Snake-Queen of Speed by Franzeska G. Ewart, illustrated by Helen Bate

Ever since she heard about the most amazing ride ever, Sita, Snake-Queen of Speed, from her best friend Kylie, Yosser is desperate to go. But there are a couple problems. First, is getting her parents' permission to go to an amusement park. Second, is finding the money. On top of that, her parents are thinking of sending her to Our Lady of the Sorrows, a private school, Kylie's dad's best prize-winning ferret has disappeared, and Yosser isn't sure things will ever work out.

This is a very British book. Slang, school terms, and a variety of cultural references pepper the story. Yosser's ethnicity is never spelled out, but just accepted as a matter of course - she's illustrated with a headscarf and there are small, casual references to her family's culture. To the average American child, Kylie's family will be just as foreign, with her punk rock hair, accent, and her dad's ferret hobby.

The other thing that's very British about this story is the length. I've noticed many British publishers put out these short - less than 100 pages - stories for middle grade audiences. While I'm always looking for shorter books for reluctant readers, it's a fact of life that most kids and parents feel that longer = older, so I could see people thinking this was a beginning chapter book and picking it up for their under 8 readers, especially with the animals featured on the cover.

Verdict: The characters are fresh and interesting and I think many kids would like the length, but it's just a little too different for my small town. The hardcover, an older edition published in 2008, might work better, but that cover is rather cartoony and again, I would have problems with younger children picking this up. The characters use several slang words and mild language that my parents would be upset about, including "hell" so this isn't for us. A larger library with a more diverse population would probably enjoy this title.

ISBN: 9781847803306; Paperback edition published July 2012 by Frances Lincoln; Review copy provided by publisher (added to summer reading prize books)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: New Bearport titles

I am excited to show off some new additions to some of Bearport's fun and informative nonfiction series today. I purchased Wild Baby Animals for our easy reader collection last year and they've been a huge hit and I'm so thrilled they've done a new series to go along. This one is Water Babies! These books are a little smaller than the traditional easy reader size, a nice small square that sits easily in the hands. Affordable, library binding, like all Bearport's titles.

The sample title I received was Manatee Calves. Simple vocabulary, large type, engaging photographs, and additional information will make this series as popular as the previous one and I can't wait to buy it! I'm not crazy about the captions for the photographs, but some people seem to like them.

Next, there's a new addition to the Plant-Ology series, Meat-Eating Plants: Toothless Wonders. The Plant-Ology series has a wide variety of titles featuring everything from poison to pollination, but this particular title will probably have the most popular appeal. I was surprised to learn that Venus Fly Traps are only native to one specific area along the US coast - I had always thought they were from the jungle. There's a lot of different meat-eating plants featured in this book and it's a good introduction. There are also science experiments and vocabulary included.

Lastly, there's a new title in the long-running and popular series Dog Heroes. We own a couple of these and they're quite popular, although I usually have to display them, otherwise only the kids looking for dog breed books see them. Dewey, you are not friends with browsing. Anyhow, I was really interested by Surf Dog Miracles. I had never heard of surfing dogs before, but apparently it's quite a popular sport with competitions, judging, and they raise a lot of money for charity. The book mentions specifically that only dogs who really enjoy it participate and I was a little surprised that there isn't any controversy about having animals participate in this, but apparently the owners are really careful to only use animals that enjoy the sport and it's very safe. I did double-check online, but you can generally trust Bearport to be unbiased, as in their Baghdad Pups where they talk about both sides of the arguments.

Verdict: I'd highly recommend Water Babies for your easy reader or nonfiction collection. I'd also say you should have at least some of the Dog Heroes series, kids love these true animal stories and they're very well-researched and informational. Plant-Ology would depend on whether you need more titles on these specific topics, but they're a good choice if you do. I will definitely be purchasing the Water Babies series and maybe some more Dog Heroes.

Water Babies: Manatee Calves by Ruth Owen, ISBN: 9781617725999
Plant-Ology: Meat-Eating Plants: Toothless Wonders by Ellen Lawrence, ISBN: 9781617725890
Dog Heroes: Surf Dog Miracles by Meish Goldish, ISBN: 9781617725777

Published 2012 by Bearport; Review copies provided by publisher

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This week at the library; or, Back to programs!

  • Walworth Homeschoolers (outside group)
  • Toddlers 'n' Books 10 & 11am sessions (Miss Pattie)
  • Preschool Interactive
  • Books 'n' Babies (Miss Pattie)
  • Lego Club
  • Family game night (Miss Pattie)
  • Tour for St. Pat's kindergarten
  • We Explore an all natural Thanksgiving with the Welty Environmental Center
Random Commentary
  • I don't usually gush about the stuff that comes with review books, but Enchanted Lion sent me a packet with the most gorgeous postcards of their picture books - enough to share with all my librarian friends! Plus some left over to paper my bulletin board with Fox and Chicken postcards. Lovely.
  • My aide was gone Friday through Monday and the shelving imploded.
  • Realized during the Monday staff meeting that I had completely messed up the little scanning we did manage to complete, so Friday was pretty much a total bust.
  • Arrived on Monday. Panicked when I realized almost nobody had registered for We Explore - only 6 families and the kindergarten from St. Patrick's school (all 13 of them). Started calling schools to get some more kids. No luck, but maybe will hear back later.
  • Another joyous encounter with lexiles. At least this year G has a relatively understanding teacher who said she can read as low as 1100 and only has to complete two tests. Apparently her English grade is based on Reading Counts tests...and she has a lexile of 1300+. Did I mention she's in 6th grade and really likes Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and other mysteries? Are these 1100+ lexile level? No, they are NOT. Her love of reading is dwindling with painful obviousness. I can usually find something she likes, sort of, but it's painful. 
  • Had better luck with purple sweatshirt girl who had seen a book at the Scholastic bookfair that looked exciting, but the lexile was too low, hence her request for "books about kidnapping in the 800 lexile." Happily for all concerned, most of Willo Davis Roberts' titles are in the 800 range and most involve kidnapping.
  • The idea fairy bopped me with an awesome idea for a middle school program, but do I have enough time? Probably not, but...really want to do it! It was a super SHINY idea!
  • More inventory annoyances. Grrrr.
  • We had a great group for We Explore after all! I did a tour beforehand with the 13 prek and kindergarten kids from the local Catholic school, then we all joined in the big room for the program. We had about 100 people! about 50 kindergarteners from the elementary school, the Catholic school kids, and about 40 families with quite a few homeschoolers. It was a great program with stories, crafts, and things to touch and talk about and the kids did a great job playing and learning together, although they were from very disparate groups. Lesson here, grownups!
Approximate Hours This Week
  • Monday 12-8
  • Tuesday 8:40-4:40
  • Wednesday 9-6
  • Thursday 9:40-5:30
  • Friday 9-4

Friday, November 9, 2012

Here where the sunbeams are green by Helen Phillips

Mad is the quiet one, Roo is the brave one. They're sisters and everything is perfect, living with their mom (a librarian) and their dad (the Bird Guy). Then Dad gets a special job working for La Lava, a "green" resort at the foot of a volcano in Central America. They all agree he should go; it's a wonderful opportunity and with La Lava's help, maybe no more birds like the Lava-Throated Volcano Trogon will go extinct.

But then the Weirdness starts. Dad hardly ever writes or calls and when he does he acts strangely. The representative from the resort, the annoying Ken/Neth, is getting way too friendly with Mom for Mad's liking. Roo is obsessed with deciphering the last code Dad sent, and Mad is lonely and scared and worried.

Mom finally decides to take Mad and Roo down to the resort and figure out what's going on, but the Weirdness just gets more weird. Mad and Roo meet a maybe-friend, definitely crush, Kyle, and they find themselves in the world of the jungle; beautiful, dangerous, and full of surprises. In the end, they have to find hidden strengths to rescue their parents and an exciting discovery.

The best part of this story is the character of Mad, the narrator. She often feels left out because she's not brave like Roo, has trouble learning Spanish, and generally feels in her little sister's shadow. Her worries about her parents are always spot on and her confusing feelings about growing up are genuine and realistic. I could have done without the crush and the first kiss, but that's just my personal bias. The author does a fairly good job of staying away from too many stereotypes. The reader is kept guessing about the villains' real intentions and loyalties until the end and there's plenty of suspense as the kids try to figure out who they can trust.

The fantasy elements come in the magical elements of the jungle, which, although beautifully written, are never really spelled out. Are the prophecies and legends really true? There are plants, flowers, and creatures that seem magical, but the jungle has a lot of amazing flora and fauna - who's to say these don't exist somewhere? References are made to Roo's "special" abilities, but they are never really explained in detail. The story has a fantasy feel, but it's as much the atmosphere and the writing as any actual events.

Although the book is 300 pages long, and the ending is rather abrupt and too-good-to-be-true, there are some loose ends left hanging, like the girls' mom's weird behavior. I would have liked to see more local/native inhabitants involved in what is supposed to be an environmental fantasy. Instead, Kyle's local grandparents' additions to the plot are mysterious drinks, retelling old legends, and complete helplessness. It's all on the (American) kids to save the day. The "evil corporation" trope is rather tired and I thought the "beautiful villainess" was a little too stereotypical. It's also hard to believe that, if the magical cure really works, everyone is just going to abandon it because of a few kids, an aging movie star, and a little volcanic activity.

Verdict: Despite some of the more unbelievable aspects of the plot, there are some really well-drawn characters in this story and the jungle descriptions are magical. I especially liked that, while Mad was able to overcome her fear in the end, she didn't suddenly become as brave and magical as Roo and accepted that. While I wouldn't hand this one to kids looking for fast-paced adventure or realistic stories about the environment, kids who like fantasies with strong characters will enjoy this story.

ISBN: 9780385742368; Published November 2012 by Delacorte; Egalley provided by publisher through Netgalley; Purchased for the library

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ready for Pumpkins by Kate Duke

It seems like forever since I've seen a new Kate Duke guinea pig book! I am soooo thrilled to see that she is back with her adorable, funny, and educational cavies.

This is a little bit of a departure from her previous concept books, but it's not at all disappointing.

Hercules, or Herky, is the classroom pet of Miss MacGuffey's first grade. He's happy with his life and enjoys learning things. But life gets even more exciting when the kids learn how to grow seeds! Herky is determined to try this magic out for himself, and he soon gets the chance when he spends the summer on Miss MacGuffey's family farm and gets a little helpful instruction from a new friend, Daisy the bunny.

Herky learns to relax and enjoy his garden, as well as a little bit about how seeds grow in this charming story. Kate Duke's simple illustrations are cute and accessible with lots of little storytelling hints; fairy tales, activities, and more are all woven into the story. I loved the part where Herky realizes he wants a garden - it's so perfect!

Verdict: This isn't specifically a Halloween story, but will make a great read-aloud for Halloween, Thanksgiving, gardening, and school-themed storytimes. Kate Duke knows what kids, teachers, and librarians like to see and hear and she delivers it in this sweet gardening story. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780375870682; Published August 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher (kept for my personal guinea pig book collection); Purchased for the library.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Lost Trail: Nine days alone in the wilderness by Donn Fendler with Lynn Plourde, illustrated by Ben Bishop

In 1939, Donn Fendler went hiking on Mount Katahdin and is separated from his friends and family. Nine days later, after a massive rescue effort, he staggers out of the wilderness alive.

This graphic novel brilliantly retells the true story, as recounted by Donn Fendler himself, current newspaper accounts, and the 1939 book, Lost on a mountain in Maine.

Donn and Lynn recount his terrifying adventure in simple, clear prose. He survives landslides, wild animals, bugs, raging rivers, starvation, and storms with a determination to survive, faith in God, and a little Boy Scout training. The gritty reality of a kid lost in the wilderness isn't softened, but there's no graphic violence and the story isn't terrifying but rather riveting as the reader follows one boy's determination to make it back to his parents.

Bishop's black and white art is clean and precise. He captures the fear, hallucinations, starvation and overall determination and hope as Donn struggles through his ordeal. The simple panels focus on Donn, with his surroundings lightly penciled in and occasional larger pictures of the wilderness threats he faces. There are additional notes on Donn Fendler's life and an interview with him, discussing his ordeal and how he survived.

Verdict: This is a simple story of survival, but the authors have done an excellent job of retelling the story so it's still factual but updated for a new generation and the art goes well with the text. I know quite a few boys who love factual accounts like this and I'm surprised more libraries don't own it. I will definitely be adding it to my juvenile collection and probably take it to my big booktalk at the middle school this fall. It does have several mentions of prayer and faith, but I consider that perfectly reasonable in a factual, first-person account and it will fit well with my community.

ISBN: 9780892729456; Published 2011 by Down East; Borrowed from the library via inter-library loan; Added to the library's wishlist

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This week at the library; or, No programs doesn't mean no working!

Random Commentary
  • It was a really good thing I didn't have programs this week, because our staff is dropping like flies! We are giving the hospitals good business...I still managed to get some of my program planning done though.
  • Friday was our staff work day - most catastrophic/annoying day ever. First of all, our director just got out of the hospital and is still pretty sick. Another librarian got hit with flu last night, but came in anyways because the newsletter HAD to be done. Yet another was at a funeral for a family member who died a few days ago. And another staff member was at a chemotherapy appt. We were a small group.
  • Ok, so the main thing we were going to do was inventory. We opened the boxes and surprise! Our helpful system staff only sent...2 scanners. to inventory a 70,000 item collection. Many unprintable words were said, especially when I discovered they had also helpfully taken out the transfer cord that would allow me to upload the data. I did find another and we got some inventory done, but it was NOT as productive a day as we all had planned. Grrrrr.
  • Saturday was our annual fundraiser - a craft fair. I sort of did some of the publicity this year, but with all the other emergencies and stuff that happened, I was a bit doubtful that it would go well. I guess I'll find out on Monday.
  • Nothing else really happened this week - just lots and lots of desk time and struggling with planning programs, making phone calls for winter/spring programs, fixing errors in the publicity, cleaning out the storyroom, kicking people off the computers for watching porn, telling the kids to clean up all the candy wrappers, etc.
Approximate hours this week
  • Monday 12-8
  • Tuesday 12-8
  • Wednesday 9-5
  • Thursday 8:30-4:30
  • Friday 9-3

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Mythical 9th Division: Operation Robot Storm by Alex Milway

Albrecht, leader of a top-secret division of yetis, is right in the middle of their yearly competition with the bigfoots of the 6th division when he gets a call. Immediately, he collects his fellow soldiers, the powerful Timonen and the ancient but wise Saar and they're off to Wales to solve the mystery and save the world!

The wacky adventures of Albrecht, Timonen and Saar, involving a supervillain, robots, heroic miners, and yak-tossing, are pretty typical for this genre of nonsense/fantasy/adventure, although using mythical creatures is a nice touch. Each chapter begins with a short comic, usually involving a twist or funny surprise and the chapters are interspersed with additional black and white illustrations and diagrams of the yeti's gadgets, the evil robots, supervillain lair, and more.

Older readers probably won't appreciate the over the top kookiness of this story and it's definitely quite British (the story of the yetis admission to the British Army could definitely have been left out) but younger readers will enjoy the superhero/supervillain flavor, funny black and white comics and illustrations, and the very readable length, only a little over 200 pages.

Verdict: Not required, but definitely an additional purchase if you have fans of this genre. I'll probably get the series next year, when I do my yearly order from Usborne/Kane Miller.

ISBN: 9781610670746; Published 2012 by Kane Miller; Review copy provided by the publisher (added to summer reading prizes); Added to the library's wishlist