Monthly Archives: August 2014

Wonderful Ones and Outdoor Storytime, Thursday, August 28


Sometimes life does not go the way we expect it to. It’s weird like that. 

Today I filled in for a coworker and did her ones storytime at 10, and then the outdoor storytime I’d been scheduled for at 11. I cobbled together the ones storytime using books I loved, thought of some songs that might work, and hoped for the best. By contrast, I’d had my outdoor storytime planned for a few days.

I guess I don’t have to say which one went better.

My ones are a lovely group, as are the parents in that group. They’re participatory and helpful and will sing along and clap and be involved in the storytime. 


Toot Toot Beep Beep was great for automobile noises. Everyone loves the ABCs, so Alligator Alphabet worked well. And I’d done Rrralph before, with older kids, and it worked just as well with ones, because the pictures were bright and fun. Although the humor went right over their heads, the kids liked the dog noise. Plus, I had the dog puppet, and he was a hit! (I had to keep him hidden during the storytime and read Rrralph last, because I knew that if I brought out the puppet early on in the storytime, the little ones wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else.)

Thus, happy that my last-minute storytime worked out, with a light heart I headed over to our outdoor storytime. 

It was terrible.

I mean, it wasn’t incredibly awful. But I had forgotten our crucial rule of outdoor storytime – you never know what mix of ages you’re going to get. So I had brought some books I thought would be good for preschoolers, and my attendees turned out to be a daycare group of toddlers. Luckily, I had brought The Seals on the Bus and If You’re Happy and You Know It.

But the turnout was small, the books weren’t right, it was hotter than blazes, even in the shade, and, worst of all, the adults talked throughout my entire storytime. Right in front of me, bold as brass. That doesn’t make me want to be there, and it doesn’t set a great example for the kids.


I forgot to add: this is the birthday card my coworkers made me. Do they know me well or what?

photo (1)


There’s a reason zombie novels are a hit with kids. 

Clear your fall calendars…

I’ve never been a huge fan of graphic novels and/or comics, but some of the stories just couldn’t be in any other form (hello, Maus, right??? It won the damn Pulitzer in 1992, the first graphic novel to do so). Here are 25 modern superhero classics.

Or just “go away.” That also works. 

Along the same lines, all of these. (You wouldn’t believe how many guys mention libraries on a date and are surprised that they still exist, and can’t imagine why, because they don’t read, or they actually say, “Wow, why would you ever want to be a librarian?” as if I’ve said I wanted to be a child slaughterer, at which time my heart shrivels and dies just a little bit more, and then I ask for the check.)

And, frankly, here are examples of WHY the library is so awesome.

Um, no. I’m sorry. It just doesn’t fly with me. (Coworker B was aghast when I showed him this.)

This, however, is a brilliant idea. I know my library needs one. 

From Friend D:

Another one bites the dust.

Check out this scholarship! How cool is that?

Let me tell you about how amazing NYC’s Morgan Library is. A few years ago Mama Bear and I went to NYC for the day to see an exhibit on Jane Austen’s letters. It was amazing to see them, but the curators had put a lot of thought and care into the exhibition. Fabulous. Here’s one I wish I could get away to see. 

From Friend E:

Even more books to read (Amy Poehler!)

From Friend J:

Bet you didn’t see this coming (NSFW).

From Mama Bear:

Again, clear your calendars. 

In What’s Annabelle Reading, my book club was last night, and I read Middlesex for that. Always good, though with some obvious flaws. Still, worth reading. For fun – and I know I’m weird – I read a terrific biography of Charles Manson. It focused on not only Manson and his followers, but also what was going on in the culture and counterculture, and how that shaped him. I couldn’t put it down. Yeah, I know. I’m weird.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, chickadees! I’m heading off tomorrow to go camping for a loooooong weekend. Be good!


Preschool Storytime, Friday, August 22


With all the excitement yesterday about John Green’s birthday, I realized I’d forgotten to post about my friday preschool storytime.

While I really do try to add an educational element into all my storytimes – colors, counting, zoo animals, farm animals, the alphabet, etc., – sometimes I just want to do a fun one. And so it was on Friday, when it was all Jan Thomas, all the time.


The kids had a great time with them, because they’re participatory, and the bright colors and funny words (they loved the recurring turnip theme). Any Jan Thomas book is a winner in my eyes.

Oh, and I made a new display for our Teen Space! You may not be able to see the writing as well as I’d like, but it’s a display of great YA first lines matched with the relevant book covers.


Links links links:

With all the turmoil in Ferguson, MO, it’s nice to see that there’s one place of calm.

I am a pleasant vibrator.

Muppet bookery.

What a cool idea! Wish I could go.

Another really cool idea! (All librarians do reader’s advisory, just so you know.)

“There is scandalous gossip about you. All of it is true.”

Spot on – kids don’t see diversity as an issue. Diversity is just there.

Or any time.

From Friend D:

Um, what?

From Friend E:

Some big names make book recommendations.

From Mama Bear:

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s R-rated memoir will be published.

Lately, it seems that Sherlock Holmes and intellectual property have gone hand in hand.

Vacations by the book

Friend E has been to PEI, and I’m dying to go, too.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I found In Paradise to be a rather sticky book, about a group of academics, spiritual leaders, Holocaust survivors, and random other people at a retreat at Auschwitz in 1996. It’s a short, philosophical novel that might make an interesting addition to the canon of Holocaust literature, particularly how we look at it so many years out.

Happy birthday, Birthday Twin!


I know when John Green’s birthday is.

reaction animated GIF

It’s today. (Well, for another 58 minutes, anyway.)

He’s my birthday twin, so I guess you know what that means.

It means that today’s my birthday, too. And I once tweeted this fact to him and Stephen Fry, who’s also an August 24 baby, and John Green tweeted happy birthday to me. Then I did this:

Sometimes I feel what this guy feels:

Only 20 minutes, pal? This is the guy who gave us Hazel and Augustus, told us DFTBA, started the Nerdfighters, and, frankly, has become a damn rock star of YA literature.

He shares my theory on the greatest food in the universe.

He’s a man who got The Most Powerful Man in the World to say DFTBA (in the gif below, in reference to his then-unborn daughter. And by the way, they went with Alice.)

That moment when Obama told John and Sarah's unborn daughter to DFTBA. :) -- Link to gif:

He’s a guy I am really, really proud to share a birthday with. He’s bringing nerdy back in a big way.

You got that right, pal.

He spits out other moments of brilliance, too.

Happy birthday, Birthday Twin. You are clearly awesome.

In short, I leave you with this.

Thanks for being an strong representative of not only nerd life, but all of life, and setting the bar high on awesomeness from people born on August 24.

In conclusion,

Thank you.

Toddler Storytime Wednesday, August 20 and Thursday, August 21


It’s been a busy week of storytimes. Toddler on Wednesday and Thursday, and then preschool today. I feel with each one, I’m getting more and more confident. (That doesn’t mean, of course, that I don’t still make mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes. And the good news is that I figure out what works and what doesn’t, and we roll from there.)

Thursday’s went nicely.

photo (85)

I’ve done I Love Animals before, and it’s been great – it’s a good book for talking about animal noises or farm animals. So many books are more than just what’s on the page. (See I Went Walking, below.)

photo (86)


You may notice a similarity between Wednesday’s and Thursday’s books – I am a Backhoe and I am a Tyrannosaurus . They were good books for getting kids up and moving – which I don’t usually do – and acting out noises and other sounds. Sadly, and I hate saying this, but they were good “boy books.” I generally try to keep princesses and dinosaurs and tea parties and pirates out of storytime because kids seem to participate better when we’re tackling a general subject like farm animals or going to the zoo or what have you.

(However, there was one little girl who’s a regular with her daycare, and before I named the dinosaur we were talking about, she said, “That’s an allosaurus!” (or something, I’m not great with dinosaurs.) Then I turned the page and read, “I am an allosaurus.” and she said, “That’s what I said!” So hooray for a girl being my resident dinosaur expert.)

Strangely, Wednesday’s storytime was nearly empty – only about 6 or 7 kids and adults, while Thursday’s was much bigger.

How about some links?

I got 100%, because I rule.

Much better than RHONY, but not as good as RHOBH.

More honest book titles.

Stolen from Coworker A’s blog: YA lit is a constant.

I may hate the idea of the movie, but The Giver matters. It hasn’t been around this long by being a puff piece.


Not all books are for everyone, and I know a lot of people – myself included – who hate quitting books. But sometimes you just have to give up.

Who designs book covers, and how do they choose them? A neat read.

Neat GIFs from the Smithsonian.

Libraries aren’t dying, so everyone just calm down.


From Mama Bear:

I want to go to all of these!

Every thing I needed to know, I learned from books.

How in the world was the interrobang left off of this?

But it is the world’s worst book cover, so there’s that.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I needed something to tide me over until my reserves came in, so I decided to tackle an old favorite (this one in ebook form) to get me through. I know, it sucks, but it’s still fun.

Why The Giver Didn’t Work


It’s more than with a little bit of schadenfreude that I report that the movie adaptation of The Giver bombed over the weekend. Friend D sent this to me, and I think it’s spot on

I love YA. I love the books, the writers, the passion that both the writers and the books inspire, and the principle of turning YA books into movies. We get lots of teens looking for copies of The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner (I’ll never miss a chance to link to that trailer) because the movie, or the prospect of the movie, has turned them on to the book.

But for every movie with the success of and adherence to the source material of the Hunger Games, there’s a Giver (or, as the above article points out, an Ender’s Game or an Eragon). 

So why don’t some book-to-movie adaptations work? Or, more succinctly, where did The Giver go wrong? 

First, you can’t mess with the source material. I think that the more faithful a movie is to the book, the better the movie will do in the box office and, naturally, with the fans. We the fans are very possessive of the books. The writers of The Fault in Our Stars movie kept a lot of the source material – and the original dialogue – from the novel. It didn’t hurt that John Green had unprecedented access to the set and even a voice in casting. Naturally, both the movie and the book resembled each other.

The problem with The Giver was that for godsakes, the first trailer was in color! I mean, I don’t want to spoil the book, but there is a MAJOR problem with that decision. I decided once I saw the trailer that I wouldn’t be seeing the movie, since they got one of the most fundamental quirks of the book all wrong. How could I trust the filmmakers after that?

Second, fans of the book cast the characters within their imaginations. Daniel Radcliffe was a good Harry Potter, for instance. Age-appropriate, and, trivially, resembling the Harry on the covers of the books, and Rowling’s descriptions of him.

But Brendon Thwaites, a 25-year-old actor, as a 12-year-old Jonas? It might not mean anything if Lowry’s character Jonas were older. But Jonas being 12, and all that the age implies, is crucial to the plot of the book. Jonas, at 12, is in adolescence, going through the things that adolescents go through, and I don’t believe that it can translate well when someone in his mid-twenties (I mean, come on), is trying to play a character a decade younger. (For the record, thirtysomething Gabrielle Carteris as teenage Andrea Zuckerman on Beverly Hills, 90210 was silly then, and it’s still silly now.)

And finally, I think that when the audience is privy to some of the (negative) background buzz, it can affect how we interpret the movie. A perfect example was in today’s Washington Postabout Katie Holmes, linking her (alleged) involvement in (the allegedly restrictive environment of) Scientology with the restrictive, dystopian society within The Giver. If it was a wink to the audience, it was a poor choice, and if it wasn’t, astute moviegoers will make their own connections between the two.

In short, I mentioned to one of my coworkers today that I’d be open to seeing The Giver… on Netflix … if there’s another Snowmageddon … and I’ve watched everything else on my list. Hey, it has Meryl Streep, so you could do worse, but still, I couldn’t have more negative enthusiasm for this movie than I already do.


A Q/A with the cast and author of The Giver. 

Can’t wait to read this. Murakami is a very interesting dude.

Fans of YA shouldn’t miss these.

Here’s hoping these fare better than The Giver. 

Letters About Literature: Dear Jhumpa Lahiri

An important line in an important scene. In short, another fuck-up within The Giver.

From Coworker J: What a treasure trove!

From Friend D: Sister A and I are very, very possessive of “our” covers. Our childhood covers, I mean. 

From Mama Bear:

I agree with these, but I thought Holden was a douche even then, and still think he’s a douche now. 

Happy Birthday, Celestina Warbeck! (If you know who that is without clicking the link, I’m proud of you.)

From Sister A: Girls get shafted. Not every YA protagonist is a Katniss Everdeen.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I was short of books over the weekend, and e-borrowed Silver Linings Playbook. It wasn’t completely in tune with the movie (or, rather, the movie changed a lot of the plot), but I liked the writing very much. And as a football fan, it resonated deeply with me.  Next I e-read the short and revealing The Reason I Jumpbecause I know some noncommunicative kids with autism, and I was curious as to what author Naoki Higashida had to say about living with his condition. Finally, earlier in the weekend, I’d read The Country Girls, which I found interesting – I love Ireland and books about it – but it was so dated that its relevancy was nil.

Baby Lapsit Friday, August 15


I had a big group of babies today – about 30-something, I think – and am generally used to a smaller group, which I prefer. But it’s gratifying to see that there’s so much interest in babytime. 

Today’s books were good, but I was so much more in the mood for songs and bounces, so we did those. Twinkle twinkle and open shut them and other good things. Babies are so cute and so much fun. 


We have a patron in the studio right now who is CLEARLY high as a kite. Red eyes, thinks everything I say is hilarious (usually that’s a good thing, but when I am intentionally not being hilarious it’s irritating), walking into walls… the problem is, unlike in the past, we can’t smell it on him, so we can’t prove it. I didn’t want to let him in the studio, but I guess I couldn’t keep him out without being able to conclusively say that he’s been riding the pot train today.

Anyway, links.

Stolen from Coworker L’s blog.

Stolen from Coworker E’s Facebook.

Every library and bookstore should have a cat. Period.

Mockingjay promo photos!

Keep calm and remember that Miss Bingley is a total bitch and Mr. Darcy really hates her.

Remember how much I hated the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory covers? Here are some better alternatives.

From Friend A: this is a great idea. We have a whole room at our branch.

From Friend D:


He’s 25? 

A disappointing Giver review

From Mama Bear:

A bad Giver review


Sister A mentioned how nice it would be to have all of these compiled into an anthology.

More #ireadeverywhere photos (Judy Blume!)

Amazing premise, and soon to be a movie….

As usual, the book is better than the movie, but these are still worth remembering.

Poor Mallory, still getting screwed over.

She’s genius, I tell you.

Seriously? Grow up.

In What’s Annabelle reading, sometimes it can be so much fun to revisit a book you loved as a child. In The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson is no exception. Then I read The Werewolf of Pariswhich for a werewolf book was incredibly boring. I wanted a thinner book to carry around the other day, so I reread Therese Raquin again for the billionth time. That’s a winner. 

Family Fun Time, Saturday, August 9


Hard work pays off; so do innovative ideas.

Let’s get this clear right now: I’m not going to pretend that my Family Fun Time (FFT) was the innovative idea, at least this time around.  Remember how I had a rather dismal turnout for my March FFT with the sports theme? I thought it was a good storytime, a fun and engaging one, and it was, and I decided to recycle it for this time around because I had hoped that I’d have a better turnout in the summer.

And boy, did I.

Posting our events on the local listservs and parent group sites has clearly worked out well. I had 20 attendees (that’s literally ten times the original turnout for the same FFT in March!), and the kicker is not just posting on the listservs, etc., but seeing if it works. 

I remembered to ask a lot of the parents/caregivers how they had heard about the FFT, and some said those listservs, some said the article I had put on the library’s website, and some said they had stumbled into it. So I guess Meat Loaf was right. 

Seems like the kicker is not just the posting, but remembering to follow up and see how many people are actually using it. (Also, I was doing sort of a piecemeal posting for each event, but what I think I’ll start doing from now on is posting weekly, with the full list of storytimes, events, etc. and telling people to mark their calendars.)

And now, links!

Yet another YA novel becoming a movie.

Let’s take a look at a Harry Potter/Scott Pilgrim mashup, shall we? 

This project is FOR SOME STUPID REASON in development because nobody double-tapped. #zombielandreference

Global gathering.

People are clever.

Again, people are clever.

This could be great, or this could be awful. My money’s on great. 

The Onion always gets it right.

These idiots clearly missed the point. 

In AWESOME Hunger Games news (or, more accurately, “In AWESOME Donald Sutherland news”)

From Mama Bear:

Here are more snarky book titles!