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Weekly Shhhout-Out

Roaming librarians file dispatches from the world of information.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You Don't Have To Say Goodbye

Ever closed a book and felt sad to say goodbye to the characters you have come to love?  Yes, and it happened more often as a child, didn’t it?  Well, now children don’t have to say goodbye.  There are a wealth of websites that extend the experience of a book, and the life of a character.

One of my favorite children’s book characters is the overwrought Pigeon in Mo Willem’s picture books such as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. You can find the Pigeon here, starring in games, activities and hilarious videos along with Elephant and Piggie and Naked Mole Rat.

On the Random House site you can find The Cat in the Hat, Junie B. Jones, The Berenstain Bears, and more, including Arthur.

Characters with web  pages that will appeal to preschoolers include:

Some characters have more than one page, especially if they are a TV star, too.  Look for Curious George at PBS and on the Houghton Mifflin Books site. Olivia can be found on her own site and also on the website for Nickelodeon. All these sites provide plenty of things to do.

Older kids might enjoy hanging out with Stanley Yelnats, the hero of Holes. Others might want to know more about Humphrey, the classroom hamster made famous by Betty Birney. Many kids are still interested in Harry Potter, and who can resist George, Harold, and Captain Underpants?

I really enjoyed reading the real life stories behind the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh. They were quite surprising.

For more games, children might like to visit the Childrens Book Characters Quiz on Squidoo, or name the popular children's book characters in a visual quiz on Sporcle. The Roald Dahl site has quizzes and games based on his famous characters such as Charlie and Matilda, and the website for HarperCollins has lots of pages featuring games based on the characters in the books they publish, such as Amelia Bedelia, Fancy Nancy, and the sleepy bunny in Goodnight Moon.

Perhaps, after all this, the children you know might like to dress up as their favorite character or even go on a road trip to see the ducklings in Boston inspired by those in Robert McCloskey's book, Make Way for Ducklings.
Make Way for Ducklings, Boston Public Garden, Boston
Or the statues of Ramona and Ribsy in Portland, Oregon, right out of Beverly Cleary's books.


If you have to stay close to home, visit the Eric Carle website and watch the videos of him reading from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and talking about his life and work.

AnnetteAnnette K.



CATEGORIES: Annette K. , Children's Books , Characters
POSTED: 10:00:00 AM |

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gardening For A Good Read

One of the glories of gardens is the space and visual stimuli they provide for quiet contemplation and for reading.  The garden design books give lots of examples, lush, austere, expansive, cozy; whatever your available space and inclination allow.  Reading or drawing while sitting amongst plants is a great pleasure.  

 Here are a few pictures from garden design books of contemplative spaces suitable for reading, and adaptable for city or suburban environments.

Welcome into the garden through a wooden moon gate arch and down a path to relax and enjoy the sunlight or the shade with a good book.   Photobucket From: Well-designed Garden    

Or enjoy a garden bench among poppies, foxglove and catmint Photobucket  You

You may enjoy sitting in a woven-willow arbour in the rose garden which has had its lower criss-crossing stems stripped bare so that the pattern remains visible but the canopy becomes dense by midsummer.   Photobucket   From Dream gardens  

Sit and enjoy chair for reading nestled in a lush composition of texture and color. Photobucket  A

A bench made of living pin oak planted in its traveling crate. The leaves are pruned off the lower shaped areas to make the piece look more attractive.   Photobucket  

From Eden on their minds

Enjoy a garden floor with a variety of size, shape, and colored stones that adds its own organic vitality mingling with the plants. Photobucket From Stone in the garden

And relax into your surroundings in a comfortable chair and sit among the colors and textures of stone, terra cotta, flowers and greenery with your book.

Photobucket From Town gardens

For more ideas, find these books and more in the 710-719 section of the non-fiction in your local library.

With thanks to Sun Chong at Little Falls for her editorial advice.

CATEGORIES: Gardening , Nell M. , Reading
POSTED: 11:49:00 AM |

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Get Prepped...

Mental Non-Sequitar is a strong point for me...so I think I'll indulge.
Savor a taste of something from the list below:

  • When was the last time you updated your resume? Whether you need to fine-tune an existing document or develop one from scratch, the libraries have a great online resource for tips on polishing your entrance into your next big move.
  • Feel like getting into shape for Summer? Who doesn't? Whether you're into low-impact exercise, intense sweat sessions or anything in between, the libraries have books and DVDs to meet your needs! Check out the following folks using the Catalog (type the name in the Search box, and select "author" from the dropdown):
     -- Leslie Sansone (Walk at Home programs)
     -- Jackie Warner (Circuit training, weights/strength)
     -- Jillian Michaels (Circuit training, weights/strength)
     -- Shiva Rea (Yoga)
     -- Kelly Coffey-Meyer (Pilates, body sculpting)
    ...you can also browse the shelf at your local branch looking for call number 613.7
  • Home foreclosures. Identity theft. Wills, estate, and probate. Lemon laws. These are real legal issues facing everyday people. Where can you get information to start off dealing with these? MCPL has a Law section under its "Research a Topic" link on the homepage. Here you'll find educational resources, referrals, and generic legal forms to put you "in control" of understanding and working within the law. This site offers legal information. MCPL makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, but it must be evaluated critically by the user. MCPL does not provide legal advice, applying law to individual circumstances.  For legal advice, an attorney should be consulted.
  • Running late on that Spring cleaning project? Well, it's never too late! And MCPL can help you locate the proper place to donate your stuff! Check out Use It Again, a database put together by the county's Department of Environmental Protection . There are links to places accepting book donations, computers, electronics, and divers-n-sundry other miscellany. Give it a browse! It just may inspire you to start digging around the attic!


POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

April Showers

A gush of bird-song, a patter of dew, Photo by Scott Bauer of cherry tree blossoms near the Tidal Basin at Washington, D.C. from http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/apr99/k5876-18.htm
A cloud, and a rainbow's warning,
Suddenly sunshine and perfect blue--
An April day in the morning.
- Harriet Prescott Spofford, April  

After a brief taste of summer, Mistress Weather returned us to a more typical spring season. Gardeners across the region are getting their hands dirty preparing vegetable gardens for planting and finding early annuals to bring color to April’s rainy days. My husband and I still have a LOT of work to do with the landscaping and yard around the house we bought last year and the work will probably take us a few years to make it as we dream it can be. We do plan to have a small kitchen garden this year, though, and I have been working my way through books about smaller gardens to figure out the best crops for my space. Now I just have to hope for a few days without rain so I can get the planting started…

Photo from NASA Image of the Day gallery at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_206.htmlRain is not the only form of shower to watch for in April. The Lyrid Meteor Shower happens in the skies April 20 – April 21, with best viewing predicted for pre-dawn hours. Set your alarm for 2:00 am (or just make it a “star party” and stay up all night!), grab a blanket and a lawn chair (or an old camping mattress like my mom and I used to do) and head outdoors to take in the show. Think it might be too bright in your neighborhood to see anything? Join the National Capital Astronomers group at their first Exploring the Sky event for 2012 on April 21. If you miss this one, don’t worry—there are other meteor showers throughout the year, most notably the Perseids in August.

CATEGORIES: Science , gardening , Tina R.
POSTED: 5:01:00 PM |
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Last edited: 11/6/2007