Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Dr. Seuss Day!

We had fun for Dr. Seuss Day this year!

I wanted to have a fun carnival-style party for the kids to celebrate one of the most influential authors of early literacy.  (For more information on Theodor Geisel, click here)

Can you guess who I dressed up as?

I read a book and I had a guest reader (special guest and regular storytime reader... my awesome sister!).  I read Green Eggs and Ham and Jill read Fox in Socks.

Thanks, Jill, for reading!!! (Fox in Socks is her specialty--those tongue twisters don't phase her)

Green Eggs and Ham!

The view through the truffula trees!

Yummy snacks! Truffula seeds, and Lorax oranges, just off to the side are the "1 Fish, 2 Fish Goldfish" and the Hop on Pop-corn!

Can't be thirsty if you have Pink Yink Ink Drink, right?

My staff got into, it too!

Oobleck... some kids loved it and some were hesitant.

Cat in the Hat Stack!

Oh, the Places You'll Go Suitcase Journal (made from a lunch bag!)

We had a very good time and are looking forward to next year!!

Monday, 6 March 2017

New Book Review--Scar Island

Welcome to Scar Island.  Actually, un-welcome...

Island, lighthouse, asylum, boys' reform school, sanctuary or prison?


I found this book to be strongly written, great character development and excellent pacing.  While I usually lament the lack of plot resolution in action books--this one didn't actually  need it.  The resolution is built into the characters and continues to tell the story after the last page.  The story is dark but not too dark, scary but not overwhelming.  While an experienced reader can't help but draw comparisons between this and Lord of the Flies the author deflates any arguments of comparison by referencing that and other classic titles--incorporated so that I now want to read or re-read the books mentioned.

The adult/parent/educator part of me really enjoyed the homage paid to classic literature as well as the emotional appeal of reading aloud that plays a part in the plot as well as an unexpected librarian who acts almost as an oracle.

I am taking this book home for my boys to read--they are going to love the dismal setting, the well-paced action and the strong characters.  Z and E will identify with some, shy away from others, and feel the sense of healing they undergo as the story reaches its peak. Fantastic adventure with just enough poignancy to satisfy but more than enough action to keep things exciting!

Thank you Dan Gemeinhart for this superb story!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

New Book Review--Children's Books!

Woo hoo!  New picture books came in and I really enjoyed these:

The Secret Project by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter

This nonfiction picture book is an excellent introduction to an incredibly powerful part of recent science history, the invention of the atomic bomb.  Living in New Mexico, close to Trinity Site anything set here peaks my interest.  In an understandable way, the author details the secrecy and importance of what the scientists did in the secret lab in the secret town and captures a little of how their daily lives were lived in such a remote area.  The text concentrates on the secrecy and scientific importance of the project but does not overlay moral judgement of if it "should" have been done.

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering

Apropos of the title, I unexpectedly fell in love with the story of Alfred Fiddleduckling.  From his beginning as a precious cargo to his lonely adventure on the sea, Alfred Fiddleduckling is special.  I melted when I saw the illustration of him discovering the fiddle (I play violin so I already have a soft spot here) and learning the magic of the sounds he could make.  The rest of the story is haunting but beautiful and the author cleverly lets the young readers finish the story on their own.

Good Night! Good Night! by Carin Berger

If you've ever had to put a toddler (or toddlers) to bed... read this! You'll laugh at the accuracy!

Bob, Not Bob! by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Poor Little Louie has a cold.  And, even though he's a big boy, he wants his mom when he doesn't feel good.  Unfortunately for him, his stuffy nose confuses everybody so that his beloved dog, Bob comes trotting to the rescue every time Louie calls for "Bob (mom)!"  I love the indicative font that shows who Louie is calling when the mistake happens (hint, look for the heart).  It's just a sweet story of how important mom really is and how she can make things better even when you're sick.

More to come!

Monday, 13 February 2017


I was recently privileged to be interviewed for a wonderful blog called Bridget and the Books: A girl who loves to read.  Here you can find reviews of books for all ages and, even better, interviews with authors, illustrators and crazy librarians like me!  Check it out...

Here is a link to the interview in it's entirety.

Meet the Librarian: Lisa Collins

I included a couple of pictures for them to post that made me look good... but here's what story time and hiking with my dog really looks like!

Friday, 20 January 2017

New new new!

I haven't posted in a long while.  Since last year, actually. But only because exciting things were happening.

I was accepted as the supervisory librarian at a different library!

Getting that call is what I call a "cheese Gromit" moment.

Super exciting.  So between the new position, Christmas, and the New Year, I've been a little busy. More book review and library tidbits are still on the way, never fear!  Although you are less likely to get glimpses like this classic that ushered me out the door of the public library the week I left...

I need some words.  Psycho... psychotic... 
I need more than that to go on.
I need more context than that.
Oh, but he might... (gesturing to the empty chair at the computer) I'm going to run out of time. (goes back to computer).
30 second lapse of time
(walks back over) These might be words you hear in a bar.  Pathological sociopath? Have you heard those words?
I've heard those words but not necessarily together.
OK (goes back to computer).

Until next time!

Monday, 7 November 2016

ORD--On the Reference Desk

Here are a few highlights from the Reference Desk recently:

Older gentleman with a gray mustache walks up, holds up an empty bottle and spits his tobacco juice into it.
Do you have a San Antonio phone book?
No, but I can look something up for you.
The ladies over there said you have one.
We have some phone books but not for San Antonio but I can look something up for you.
--exchange about what he wants--
(spits again into bottle)
(leans waaa-aay over to look at the computer screen and breathes tobacco breath all over me)
Well, I guess that's the number I need.  Do I owe you anything?
Nope, just have a nice day. (Leaves to sanitize hands)

Helping a lady find some audiobooks on CD.
Ooh, there's an author we like. Have you read this one?
No, ma'am.
You hadn't read a good book the last time I was in, what do you do with your time?
I read a lot of nonfiction (internally ranting, out of the tens of thousands of books in this library, you're criticizing me for not having read the 1 or 2 you have?!).

Man having trouble logging into the computer after having just gotten his library card.
(me, walking over to ask if he's having trouble and dodging the chair he just pushed back)
Are you having trouble logging--?
Here, you can have this (shoving his new library card in my direction).  Do you have a shredder?
You can turn in your card at the front desk.
(Striding away, angrily mumbling) You can have this back, it's no good to me.
(Throws library card across the circulation counter and on the floor and strides out).

Terms of endearment lately: honey, sweetheart, darling.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Book Review--Tales of the Peculiar

Riggs has done it again!  

Tales of the Peculiar is a singular achievement in that it supports the Miss Peregrine's series (you can read my previous reviews of  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, and Library of Souls) but can also stand alone as a set of fairy tales that can be enjoyed in their own right, independent of the Peregrine epoch.
Each tale introduces a character, many of them the first peculiar of their respective homes. It records their awakening to their own abilities as well as the realization that a mark of distinction such as this is not always understood, valued or even tolerated by the broader world.  While some are heartbreaking others show a glimmer of hope and even acceptance.

There are several footnotes by the 'author' Millard Nullings and a few of his notes at the ends of the fables to lend credence to the fictional author's knowledge and authority. The stories themselves have an ominous, creepy feel to them but, like the rest of the series, do not glory in the grotesque just for the sake of fright (anybody read Goosebumps?  Those are gross just to be scary with no other intention or redeeming intellectual value). Additionally, the wood engraved illustrations are wonderful and match the tone of the stories.  Andrew Davidson's precision and delicacy with the medium is awe-inspiring.

I knew it was going to be a good book when I perused the publication data page and saw that it was "Printed in a nomad's tent in the desert of Lop, known to some as the Great Lop Depression..." and "Bound at great expense in a facility deep underground, the entrance to which ... you should not attempt to locate, for your own safety."  And the final plea, "Please don't read the third story in this collection aloud backward. The publisher cannot be held responsible for what may occur."

If you enjoyed the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series, you will find this a satisfying addition.  If you haven't read it (and you should) but enjoy fables and fairy tales, you will also find this enjoyable!

p.s. since I was a loyal library patron, I borrowed all of these from my local public library but if anyone wants to know what a good Christmas gift might be for me... (hint hint hint)