Monthly Archives: October 2014

Baby Lapsit, Friday, October 24


I know I mention all the time how much I love babytime, so I’ll skip my usual squeeing and go straight to the books.


Sometimes in my enthusiasm I go a bit too long, so we didn’t even have a chance to get to If You’re Happy and You Know It. So I’ll save that for another time.

Oh, in other news, I just discovered that my undergrad’s Quidditch team has a fabulous motto. F&M’s motto is “Lux et Lex.” Light and law. The quidditch team’s motto? Lumos et lex. LOVE IT.


In today’s top spot, oh, Sesame Street, you did it again. Furry Potter.

I had no idea she lived in the U.S.!

A little bit of truth about libraries from Coworker J’s blog.

I saw Gone Girl on Thursday (A solid A-, not too shabby), and, related, the Amazing Amy books are now available for purchase.

I’m in the “as long as they’re reading” camp.

FINALLY. This drives me up the WALL.

Some neat facts about The Raven. (The Poe Toaster is a fun bit of Baltimore lore. One very clever and wonderful man once hypothesized in The Baltimore Sun that the Poe Toaster could have been… guess who? And that copy of The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes that Mr. Sherman bought for $1.25 in 1938? It’s one of my top three most prized possessions. Thanks, Granddad.)


The Dos and Don’ts are pretty on.

From Friend D:

Clever, indeed.

If by ruin, you mean “Make it better.”

From Friend L:

A backstory on Umbridge. There is a god, and her name is J.K. Rowling.

From Mama Bear:

As every adult should.

Sorry, I think it’s gone there already.

Judy has all the answers.

Don’t get librarians started on Twitter… especially when it comes to baseball.

Just got the newest issue of VF in my mailbox, and look what’s in it

It’ll be a fun companion book to Fey’s and Kaling’s memoirs.

From Sister A:

Happy to see my hometown represented!

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I’m quite behind on listing my books read, and I apologize. Finally I got my mitts on We Were Liars, which I looooooooved – I had read some E Lockhart in library school – and the twist at the end was one I had genuinely not seen coming. It was YA, but at times didn’t feel like it.

My next novel was What is Visibleabout someone I’d always found fascinating: Laura Bridgman. She was famous before Helen Keller, and in addition to having lost her hearing and sight, she also had no sense of taste or smell. I was more interested in the book’s focus on her than the focus on Dr. Samuel Howe (who ran the Perkins Institute) and his wife, Julia Ward “Battle Hymn of the Republic” Howe. A quite interesting look at a now-forgotten figure in U.S. history.

Finally, I just finished Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar, which was SO much better than The Interestings, which if you remember, I did not love, or even like. Whether it was because this was YA, or because the characters were actually relatable, I don’t know, but this was a winner. It makes me want to go back and read this again for the millionth time.


Toddler Storytime, Wednesday, October 22


Who would have thought that a rainy Wednesday would have provided one of my favorite storytimes ever?

Rain throws off our days. Adult sections not so much, but for children and teens, yes. For instance, most of our toddler and preschool storytimes are composed of daycares, so if it’s a rainy morning, it’s a solid bet that attendance at those storytimes will be thin.

And they were – for a while I thought I wouldn’t have anyone at all at my toddler storytime. But there had been two toddlers hanging out, so I suggested we have a short one, with a few songs and just a few of the books I’d picked. Why head into the storytime room, either? It would be too big for just the few of us, so we chose a cozy corner of the early literacy room, just the three of us and the relevant adults, and started off with some songs and Freight Train. (In a nice coincidence, one of the little boys was a train enthusiast, so he was ultra-stoked to be there today.)


I pulled out our extra board book copies of Freight Train so that everyone could read along individually. We did our “Five Little Pumpkins” poem, sang Old McDonald, and read/sang The Whistle on the Trainwhich was a HUGE hit. It’s a pretty pop-up book, and I can’t wait to find an excuse to use it again.

By the end of storytime, there were about 7-8 little ones with their grownups, all snuggled up together, and it was a pleasure to do something different. I received a lot of compliments, too, on changing it up a bit. I guess we can thank Mother Nature for that, even though just 30 minutes before I’d been shaking my fist at her.


This is my life.

I’m going to bug you about this…

From Friend D:

You know what, if JKR wants to do this, well, you know what, she can do it, because she’s amazing.

Patron privacy is of the utmost importance. Period. I, Any librarian worthy of the title, should respect that. (That article reminds me of this, which I just saw the other day.)

From Mama Bear:

Get a life, people….

I don’t think “quirky” is a new thing, but if it becomes a trend, that’s okay by me…

What idiot would complain about this? Seriously!? This is my DREAM. I’d happily snuggle up with the latest bestseller, make a nice little pillow with some of the stuffed animals in the children’s section, and fall asleep happily reading. In the morning, when the staff came to open up, I’d go, “Oh, hello, any place I could get a cuppa around here?” They’d apologize profusely, which I’d wave off, and they would probably press a pasty, a cup of tea, and free books into my hand, all of which I would graciously accept. I tell you – it’s my dream.

And then Waterstones showed they had a sense of humor about it.

From Sister A:

No thanks.

Preschool and Ones Storytimes, Wednesday October 15 and Thursday, October 16


I love trying new things during storytimes. I’ve never before made a “lesson” out of my storytimes – the only group that would really work for would be my preschoolers, so I figured that I might as well try, especially if I could manage it without hitting them over the head with an idea.

So I brought in a flip paper board and asked the kids, “Where are we?” and was prepared for answers including the town, to “a building,” to “the storytime room,” and would whittle them down till I got “a library,” but every single child said, “a library” immediately.

Talk about hitting the nail on the head on the first try, hey? So I asked about the kinds of things people could do at the library, and it took a little coaxing, but I managed to get some good answers out of them:


(I did have one consistent hand-raiser and answer-shouter, who reminded me of me at that age, particularly because I used the “Can I hear some new voices?” question to see if I could get anyone else to answer, which teachers did on me.)

Then we read some books about libraries, all of which were winners:


They really loved The Midnight LibraryI really liked the storytime, and maybe I’ll try it, revamped, with my toddler group, or the next time I do a kindergarten outreach.

On Thursday, I had my lovely little ones, and it was a HUGE group! Why so many, I wonder? But we had a great time, as always, with some old favorites.


No child ever shrinks from yelling “No!” throughout Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, and the parents always have a good laugh.

Here are some links now.

In the top spot: Sister A and I both have a thing for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, both the book and the movie. (It’s my fault; I read it first, so I got her into it, and the rest is history.) The movie, of course, isn’t as good as the book – what is? – but the movie will still make you bawl. 

This is a little dirty. Read at your own risk.

More dirty Potter.

Library Friend D gave me #10 on a shirt. It’s the best.

I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live in years, but this hit the nail on the head.

Spot on, I think.

If this is based on Marla Frazee’s book, it’ll be hilarious.

The Holmes flats! Hanukkah’s coming up…

I can’t wait to get this. (When I sent it to Mama Bear, she responded, “If he follows you home, can we keep him?”

One of my favorite chapter books ever ever ever, through the eyes of an adult.

From Coworker W: Keeping it real from Pooh Bear. 

From Friend L: In an email titled: “IT’S GONNA BE A TRILOGY!”

From Mama Bear: What do we really know about our favorite detective? (No, not Encyclopedia Brown…)

I didn’t read this until I was in library school, and I wish I’d read it earlier. Sadly, I think it’s really dated, but still valuable as the book that started it all…

A few weeks ago, Gilmore Girls became available for streaming on Netflix. Sister A is a huge fan, but I’d never watched it, and I finally started. I really like it, and now it’s something else for us sisters to obsess over! It also means that I understand this.

A Walter Dean Myers award!

Great nominees for the National Book Awards (Jacqueline Woodson!)

Of course they still apply. They always will.

Good choice for my home state.


Man Booker war Australian yawn.

Claudia FTW, obviously.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, sometimes a good book is like comfort food. I have comfort books – as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before – and one of my favorites, in my top five, easily, was shockingly NOT written by someone with a British accent or named Austen or Bronte. I know. Calm yourself. But The House of Mirth has always struck a chord with me. I read it in college in an English course about outsiders. I read it in my first round of grad school, twice, I think. And I have loved it since the first reading.  (The 2001 movie was surprisingly well done – worth a watch.)

The title, by the way?

Oh, and I also read The Fever. I’d been really excited to read that AND Conversion, and found, after reading both, I liked the latter much better. Maybe it was the YA writing, the dual points of view (from both a teenager and a teen present at the Salem witch trials)… either way, Conversion won Annabelle’s mysterious-illness-among-teenage-girls head-to-head challenge.

I also read Deborah Feldman’s Exodus, and I liked her first memoir better.

Preschool storytime, October 8, and Baby storytime, October 10


The best laid plans of mice and men, something something something. I forget how it ends, but I know it has something to do with day care groups bringing whatever age kids they want to a preschool storytime.

(I’ve written about this before, so I’ll let it go for now, but let me just say that having babies, toddlers, AND preschoolers all together for a storytime does. not. work. AT ALL.)

But I had chosen good books, at least.


You’re Finally Here! was a lot of fun, and so was A Moose that Says Moooooooooo. Kids respond to the unusual, and breaking the fourth wall (the former) and blatant silliness (the latter) both qualify.

Today’s baby lapsit was quite popular! More babies than usual. And even a library friend and her infant stopped by, which was nice, but the first thing I thought when I saw her wasn’t, “Yay, friend M!” but “Oh, no, friend M is also a branch manager, is she here to evaluate me or something?” and I was actually a little nervous at first.


I didn’t love Who Said Meow?, but that was my own fault – it would have worked better with toddlers or preschoolers.

And the Five Little Pumpkins poem experiment – there’s a book!! – has been going swimmingly. There are a lot of hand motions now I’ve come up with, and the parents are into it. What I’ve noticed is that kids aren’t memorizing the words (and that’s not really the point), but they’re definitely into the hand motions and the “oooooooooo!” ghost noises part, which is my favorite, too.

Two moments of note today:

1) A little toddler almost did not make it to the bathroom, so his mama whipped out his portable potty, something else was whipped out, and he quite luckily had good aim into said potty. Change of clothes, slight wiping of the computer chair, and we were all back to normal. Ladies and gentlemen, a year after Annabelle started work, she finally saw her first Public Weenie.

2) A mom and her embarrassed teenager came in and asked for Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret today, and both the mom and I were gushing over how awesome it is, and how it’s a benchmark of every teen girl’s experience, and I read it, and her mom read it, and every single woman who was ever a teen read it, and it’s amazing. I was so proud to pass the torch. (The teen was nonplussed.)

Lotsa links.

In the top spot, a hail and farewell to Zilpha Keatley Snyder, who died this week.

In spot #2, mazel tov to Patrick Modiano for picking up the Nobel Prize in Literature!

Book titles, answered.

An NSFW laugh at our favorite housekeeper’s expense…

For the record, I do not think it’s a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad children’s book.

From Friend D:

Every city can be a city for a book lover as long as there’s a good coffee shop, a good pub, and a good book in your hand.

You may have seen Rowling’s Harry Potter riddle. You may also have seen that some genius solved it.

Not always a good idea.

From Friend G:

This isn’t news, but it still breaks my heart a little bit everytime I remember it.

From Mama Bear:

After so long, it’s time to bury the hatchet.

This is great.

When does the next plane leave?

A fun way to figure out which of fall’s new releases is right for you.

I wouldn’t want Neil Gaiman irritated at me.

When I was a little girl, I had a copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever in the back seat pocket of the car, and that was The Car Book. It went through a few iterations because it kept falling apart, but it was there for yeaaaaaaaaaaaars. He is my first favorite author. (Why I’ve never considered a Lowly Worm tattoo, I don’t know.)

TL;DR: there are lots.

STEAM Team, October 5


It frustrates the living crackers out of me when I prepare a program on a topic I think is pretty cool, with some neat visual aids – thanks, YouTube – and then people don’t come. I had, I think, 5 today? I would love to have so many people that the tables would overflow. That I wouldn’t have enough supplies. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful problem to have? Wouldn’t that just be great???


Today would have been Louis Lumiere’s 150th birthday, so me and my 5 talked about the early days of cinema, and I showed them the video of the train arriving at La Ciotat, and the baby being fed, and the men in the sea, and the kids particularly liked hearing (the probable legend of) how the audience thought the train might come out of the screen, or they might get splashed by the water on the screen. Then we made flip books! Mine came out terribly, but the kids seemed to have a good time.

I can promote all I like with flyers and on listservs and the web, but I wish I knew how to get attendance up higher.

Lotsa links.

In the top spot: Get ready to ovulate, ladies!

I’m not opposed to bribery…

Depends on who’s starring in it.

Well, duh.

Gaskell was one of my special ladies – I focused on her during my time abroad and my graduate school writing.

From Friend C, a librarian in DC:

Her coworker wrote this interesting blog post on incorporating yoga (!) into library programs. A damn good idea, I think.

From Friend D:

You bet your bottom we won’t. For comparison, I tell parents all the time that I can neither confirm nor deny if their minor child has been in the library today. Personal information? Nope.

“I thought I’d killed enough teenagers. But then I thought it’d be fun to kill teenagers again.”

I’m just going to say it: I have always, always, always hated The Giving Tree. There. I said it. Go ahead and judge me.

A chat with Gillian Flynn.

Amazing letterhead! (Tone it down a bit, Harpo.)

Slang isn’t new, you know.


From Library School Friend D:

How’s your vocabulary? I took it after having had a strong margarita, so I didn’t do as well as I’d like.

From Mama Bear:

Like I need another reason to love London.

From a small town near my parents’ house. I guess Sister A and I don’t need to head to Orlando now, huh?

From Friend T (see her excellent reading recommendation below):

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge! I’ve read 131. I like the variety.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I very much enjoyed a recommendation from Friend T, The Martian, which is very very science-y and math-y, but made me feel as if I were on Mars with our stranded hero, Mark Watney. I read it and felt quite happily geekbrainy. (Apparently a movie adaptation is in the works with Matt Damon.) In an abrupt about face, I went from that to new release The Good Girl, which has apparently been compared to Gone Girl, an accurate comparison I can see only in the fact that the two books share the word “girl” in the title. A shallow kidnapping caper with a twist a blind man could see coming. Meh.

Ones Storytime on Thursday, October 2


Oh, my adorable, fat-cheeked, round-bellied Wandering Ones. The storytime kids who have just found their legs and refuse to sit still. It’s sort of half-and-half among the adults: half of the parents apologize for their wandering little ones (I tell them they have nothing to apologize for, that this behavior is normal for their age, the kids are still absorbing something out of story time, and it’s a social activity for both the kids and adults), and the other half of the parents are clutching their kids tightly, unwilling to let them wander off, as if it’s bad manners to let their kids wander during story time and afraid they’ll crash into things.

I’ve actually come up with what’s turned into a great solution: during my “hello and welcome to storytime I’m Miss Annabelle please put your phones away and sing along with your kids they love it when you participate if your child is crying feel free to take him/her out and you can come back when s/he’s more in the mood or you don’t have to come back at all go as the spirit moves you I’m really happy to have you here thanks and let’s get started” talk, I’ve added another bit of spiel.

The part of the room where the kids sit, between me and the door, is all mats. But behind me is the easel with the flannel board on it – it’s tipsier than a freshman at a frat party – some stacked mats, and other supplies, toys, and musical instruments. In other words, things that are MUCH more interesting than I am. (We have to find a place to store all these things away from prying hands and eyes.) So my new bit of spiel is something along the lines of “I know that kids love to be on their feet during storytime, which is fine by me. But if you could help me by restricting their wanderings to just the mat area, please. There’s a lot of stuff behind me that we don’t want little hands to get into” – and I gesture with my hands here to demonstrate “behind me” and “in front of me” – “so if little ones could just stay in front of me, that would be best. Thanks so much.” The adults have been really responsive and helpful with that. This change has primarily stemmed from the flannel board once toppling over on my head (OUCH), plus I like to see who I’m talking to. This isn’t really a problem with the babies or preschoolers, but it’s been a useful reminder with the ones and the toddlers.

Any child of any age is welcome in a storytime at our branch – this isn’t the way at all of my city’s branches – but personally I think that since we’re really careful about planning our storytimes for each age group’s growth benchmarks with age-appropriate stories and songs, that’s the group that should attend. Of course, one step in either direction isn’t bad (a baby can attend ones or vice-versa), but a baby won’t be comfortable in preschool storytime, and the other way around.


Today was fun! We had a lot more dads than usual (we had four!) and I used some new books, too.


All new books, in fact. I use a lot of Jane Cabrera and Mem Fox, and both Mommy, Carry Me Please and Two Little Monkeys didn’t disappoint.  (With Mommy, Carry Me Please, I asked the adults to give a little tickle or touch with the body parts named where the animals carried their babies, and that was popular – the back, the belly, the feet, etc.)

I also brought back my five little pumpkins velcro and poem from yesterday. My kids are now definitely my guinea pigs. Which sounds bad, but hear me out. I’m doing at least two storytimes a week throughout October, of all different age groups, and I’ll be using the five little pumpkins in each one, at least twice within each storytime. I’ll be interested to see how each age group picks it up, remembers it from storytime to storytime, whether the words or the hand motions. Even today, after the second time we did it, I saw a lot of the baby sign language motions for “more.” So they like it, as did my toddlers yesterday. A good sign!


Today’s top spot goes to Sister A with E.B. White. 

Samantha Parkington is BACK!!!

11 questions for R.L. Stine.

Some Game of Thrones casting news for Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. 
Some Game of Thrones casting news for The Scorch Trials (the sequel to The Maze Runner)
A particularly good better book title…
Dream adaptation casting (the Cormoran Strike one, I think, is spot on…)
From Friend D:

A quiz to figure out what you should read next. (I got the one book I refuse to read.)

There are Harry Potter fans (like me), and then there are people who are just one toe over the line (like this guy)

From Friend E:

If Mohammad won’t go to the mountain…

From Mama Bear:

I got 11/15 and am “a total book nerd.” 

How do favorite books and assigned reading intersect? Here’s a Venn diagram. (Science!)

Good news for Sherlock Holmes fans (not you, Cumberbabes)…

Toddler Storytime, Wednesday, October 1


When you have a large storytime, it means that it’s well-attended, popular, and that children, parents, and caregivers are out in force (or else it’s raining, like it was here today). But I love small storytimes. I had a small group of regulars today, and everyone worked well together.


I’ve used Look Whooo’s Counting before, because the repetition is great for this age group. By the end of the book, some of the kids were counting on their fingers with me. Success! (The description in Worldcat isn’t great – from page to page, the number to count grows, so on the first page you count to one, then on the next page to two, then to three, so it’s building.) I loved it. We had fun trying to come up with animal noises in Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear(do YOU know what a peacock says???) and, instead of Trick or Treat, which was cute, since the kids were getting wriggly, I did Caps for Sale.

In between the books, I did a poem about pumpkins, because now that it’s October, I am using my full storytime authority to get ready for Halloween, because it is my favorite library holiday and I’m making the most of it. So using my incredible artistic ability (*snort*), I cut out some friendly-looking pumpkins – try finding that on the internet – and glued them to construction paper, with some velcro on the back to stick to felt, and found a great pumpkin poem online, and I’ll do it at least twice each storytime in October.

IMG_1677 (1)

Surprisingly, the kids were really into it. I showed them the pumpkins, and we counted them, and then I stuck them onto the felt and we counted them again, and I read the poem, sticking them on the felt one by one. At the end, I told them that when they saw me next, we’d do the poem again.

IN OTHER VERY EXCITING NEWS!!! It’s official: Sister A and I have booked our tickets, reserved our hotel, and we’re going to Florida in November – just before Sister A’s birthday, not a coincidence – to…. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! We are BEYOND excited. There will be pictures and tales and incredible stories to share, don’t you worry.

Some links, because I have to save some for storytime tomorrow:

In the top spot, from Mama Bear, because this is also exciting news.

From Friend D:

Haters gonna hate, which as a slogan I think sums up Banned Books Month very well.

Haters gonna hate, part deux.

Haters gonna hate, part trois, and apparently the problem with Harry Potter is that Harry, Hermione, and Ron aren’t always respectful. Let that sink in.

Haters gonna hate, part quatre, because kids shouldn’t know about mortality?

From Friend L:

Mmmm, smells yummy.

From Sister A:

Need home decorating ideas?

In What’s Annabelle reading, I read The Actress as an ebook, which was fluffy, and poorly disguised (an ingenue is plucked from obscurity and by and marries a superpopular A+++ action star who isn’t hiding his homosexuality well – I read it as, well…. without naming names, that girl whose name rhymes with Patie Lomes who was on that popular 90s teen show and a guy who was in a movie that rhymes with “Fission Limgossbile”… I’m sure you can read between the lines.)