Monday, March 31, 2014

Finger Puppet update

When I first started blogging, I talked about a large order of finger puppets I was working on. Now that the puppets are nearly finished, I thought I would share some more photos with you.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review - The Ninja Librarians

Title: The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand
Author: Jen Swann Downey
Genre: Fantasy
Similar Books: the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
                     the Time Warp Trio series by Jon Sciezka
Ready for adventure, especially of the swash-buckling variety
Summary: When Dorrie and her brother Marcus fall through the floor of the Passaic Public Library, they discover a secret world of lybrarians with fantastic skills. The longer they spend in Petrach's library, though, the more they learn about dark forces at work.

My Opinion: It is truly awesome to see librarians portrayed as action heroes, champions of free speech throughout all of time, rather than mousy or stodgy. Apart from just that and the appeal of the action (which is pretty thrilling, by the way), this book is well worth reading for the characters. It is peopled wit ha full cast of complex characters, including secondary and tertiary characters.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Books on Screen

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Many people are not even aware that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was originally a book. Written by Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame) the book takes a much different journey. While on a drive in a newly renovated car, the Pott family happens upon gangsters who lead them on quite a chase around Britain and France. The family escapes on multiple occasions by following instructions from the car.
The film takes on an entirely different (and, it implies, imagined) adventure to a town in the fictional nation of Vulgaria where the people are living in fear of the horrifying Child Catcher. The car's occupants in the movie are Caractacus Potts, his children, and the father's sort-of girlfriend, Truly Scrumptious.
Essentially, you have two entirely different stories, the only common thread being the fantastic flying car. Even so, both stories are entertaining, albeit in different ways.

Also worth noting, there are three authorized sequels to book written in the last few years by Frank Cottrell Boyce. 
Additionally, did you know the screenplay was written by Roald Dahl? I didn't until I did some fact checking for this post.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Graphic Novel Spotlight: the Amulet series

Amulet: The Stonekeeper; The Stonekeeper's Curse; The Cloud Searchers; The Last Council; Prince of the Elves  by Kazu Kubuishi

This is probably the most popular graphic novel series in our library (with the possible exception of Jeff Smith's Bone). And with good reason. The illustrations are very detailed while maintaining a cartoony style. The story is told in words and images in equal measure. Add in complex world building and characters who change and grow, and this is pretty much the ideal graphic novel series for middle grade readers. Besides, who wouldn't love a floppy eared bunny sidekick named Miskit?
On a side note, if you are following the series you know there are currently five books in print. Book 6, Escape from Lucien, is scheduled to be released August 26 of this year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ninja Librarians Recon Team

This week's Ninja Librarians Recon Team prompt is: Name 10 items that you would take from a book if you could (and the book you took them from!) and let us know what you'd do with those items.

Here's my list.
1. Hermione's beaded bag from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    I've long desired the beaded bag. It would make travel, and especially moving, a breeze. Imagine packing up your whole house, boarding a plane, and moving across the country!

The world's most amazing accessory
2. Starstuff from Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry
    Starstuff is what allows Peter and the Lost Boys to fly. It creates all magic in Neverland. Who wouldn't want that?
3. The box from Cardboard by Doug Tenapel
    The cardboard in this graphic novel has a kind of magic. It can be made into anything and the object then becomes fully functional. It's the truly multi-purpose product.
4. The Book from The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka
    The Book allows Joe, Sam, and Fred to travel through time and meet various historical figures. I don't know about you but meeting Galileo sounds pretty awesome to me.
5. The Simon Snow books from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
    When I read Fangirl, I found myself very wrapped up in the world of Simon Snow, even though the books are only somewhat described. I desperately wanted to know what would happen to Simon. I just really want to read these books.
6. Sir Bobblysock from the Claude series by Alex T. Smith
    While Sir Bobblysock is character, he is also a sock and therefore a thing. I think he technically counts. He is a very fun character, cute, and a great companion.

See him hopping along there?
7. The ice cream from A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
    I can't decide which flavor I would pick. The Blackberry Sunrise has a magical ability to help you remember which would be amazing as I have some loved ones I would like to remember better. The other flavors just sound delicious.
8. Chuck's sneaker collection from Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo
    I'm a big fan of Converse sneakers and Chuck has a pair in every color. I drool enough of the green ones on the cover. Imagine the complete collection.
9. Any of the robots from Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    While the robots were not my favorite parts of Cinder I can't deny their usefulness as tools, information storage devices, and companions. Really, any of the robots from the book would do.
10. The pickle car from Mr. Frumble's New Cars (along with several other Busytown books) by Richard Scarry
     Mr. Frumble was always one of my favorite Busytown characters (Lowly was the best) and he drove a most unique car. If your car was shaped like a pickle you wouldn't have any trouble picking it out in a crowded parking lot and simply by virtue of his shape and uniqueness it would kind of be a theft deterrent. Everyone looks cool driving a pickle.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I've previously shared with you some knitting, crochet, and sewing projects. I've also been known to make polymer clay ornaments. Christmas may still be nine months away, but I work on these pretty much all year long. These are a few of my favorites from the past few years.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review - Stay Where You are and Then Leave

Title: Stay Where You are and Then Leave
Author: John Boyne
Genre: Historical Fiction
Similar books: Navigating Early  by Clare Vanderpool
                     Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster boy  by Gary D Schmidt
Quietly thoughtful

 Summary: When Alfie was five, his father went off to fight in World War 1. Now Alfie is nine and his father has stopped even writing to the family. His mother works night and day as a nurse and taking in laundry. Secretly, Alfie does what he can to help out, skipping school several days a week to shine shoes at the train station. Then Alfie finds out that his father is a patient at a hospital for soldiers with shell shock.
My Opinion: I was thrilled to see a book for young readers about World War 1, a part of our history that our schools don't teach much about. Much as he did with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (a book that you definitely should read, if you have not already), Boyne treats the topic of shell shock with sensitivity, while staying realistic. The scenes in the hospital are almost frightening, even for the adult reader. The scenery and situations are deftly described as seen through a child's eyes. Add in the attitudes and atmospheres unique to the early 1900's, and you have a must read book.
Other Information: Stay Where You are and Then Leave releases March 25.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley  

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Have you read the Divergent trilogy yet? It is one of my current favorite teen series. With the movie coming out tomorrow, we held a Divergent program last night. We had one activity for each faction, designed in such a way that those unfamiliar with the books could still enjoy the program.

Candor - the truthful
Would you rather/...

Erudite - the intelligent
trivia challenge

Amity - the peaceful
friendship bracelets

Abnegation - the selfless
cards for the troops

Dauntless - the fearless
fireballs and henna tattoos

This is the design we created to represent the divergent. It's own faction symbol, if you will.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Graphic Novel Spotlight: Jellaby

Jellaby: the Lost Monster   and   Jellaby: Monster in the City
by Kean Soo

Jellaby has a very simple visual style, especially the people. In some books this can be problematic, but Soo really makes it work in his favor. The simple style with it's purple/pink color palette draws in the eye. Jellaby in particular is amazing. He is the sweetest, most expressive, big-eyed monster you've ever seen. Plot-wise, the second book is more action heavy than the first, but both books have a lot going on emotionally. These are an entertaining read both for the surface reader and the person who is willing to look a little deeper. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ninja Librarians Recon Team

I am super excited about the upcoming release of Jen Swann Downey's The Ninja Librarians: the Accidental Keyhand
This book!

I'll be posting my review of the book next week. In the meantime, I've been tasked with helping to promote the book.  Once a week until the release of the book I'll be posting my answers to prompts provided by the publisher, Sourcebooks.

This week's prompt is: Which characters would you like to meet from a book?
I have kind of a lengthy list.
Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia
Mole and Rat from The Wind in the Willows
Professor Lupin from the Harry Potter series
The BFG from the book of the same name
Kathy and Tommy from Never Let Me Go
Jeeves from Wodehouse's series
Father Tim from the Mitford series
Junie B. Jones from the series of the same name (that kid is a riot)

As a bonus, Sourcebooks has also made the book trailer for The Ninja Librarians available this week. You can find it here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Zippety's Birthday Bash

Saturday was the Zippety party and as far as I could tell it was a resounding success. Activities included making a birthday crown

pin the bow tie on Zippety

 balloon races

 a Zippety story

 and, of course, cake.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book review - Kung Pow Chicken

Title: Kung Pow Chicken #2 Bok Bok Boom
Author: Cyndi Marko
Genre: Humor/Superheroes
Similar books: Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
                     Claude series by Alex T. Smith
Epic Superhero humor

Summary: Gordon and his brother Benny fell into a vat of toxic sludge at their Uncle Quack's science lab. Now they fight crime as Kung Pow Chicken and Egg  Drop, while trying to keep their super hero lives a secret, especially from their mother. At the opera, they must rescue beloved singer Honey Comb from an evil scientist.
My opinion: This series is a great introduction to superheroes and chapter books for young readers. The stories are clever, funny, and well supported by the illustrations. We've had book #1 in our collection for more than a month now and it never stays on the shelf for long. I thoroughly enjoy giving Kung Pow Chicken to young readers.
More information: Bok Bok Boom releases March 25, 2014.

Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Zippety's own story

The book is complete. It took a solid week of hard work, but Zippety's story is finished in time for his party on Saturday and I'm pretty pleased with the end result. The book itself came in a kit of three book blanks, saving us from having to figure out a way to get our story bound. Here are a few images of the book and it's interior.