Monday, July 26, 2010

I wrote this on June 3rd and it never got posted. I just found it on the desktop of my laptop. I was certainly "on a roll" that night! I haven't watched any of the vampire shows since then. Just hasn't been time. I rarely ever watch a show when it is actually airing as we TiVo it and we can delete the commercials. I watch NCIS in real time once in while but we often catch up on favorite shows when on the weekend. Steve doesn't like the way Gibbs slaps the agents on the back of the head in NCIS so he isn't as keen on the show as I am. I think he is just "jealous" as I like "old gray haired guys" and he is now beginning to resemble that description! :-)

June 3rd
Guess it is my night for vampires. I'm on my second vampire TV show for the night. Was sitting on the bed going through cards and play bills from the Broadway shows we've seen since we moved to Lexington. Mama Mia is my favorite. Time to do some cleaning and sorting again so I don't look as much like a pack rat as I am. All women walk into the walk in closet to see how big it is and when it is stuffed with "stuff" and clothes it doesn't look as big as it is. Boy did I do a weeding of clothes. If I actually do lose the weight I've gained I am going to be so excited I will want new clothes anyway. But, it was sad to set aside all of the beautiful dress suits I bought for conferences and realize it may be a long time, if ever, that I can do the kind of conference traveling I did for so long. Most of me misses it, but there is part of me that does not. I've become a major home body unless I am traveling with Steve to watch out for me.

Back to vampires. I caught an episode of Vampire Diaries based on the series by L. J. Smith. Very interesting. I think I am hooked as I was a major Buffy and Angel fan. Went onto B&N and saw that the books have been reissued in paperback format with the actors on the cover. Smart marketing move for those teens who watch the show first. Or, for collectors. The Awakening is the first in the series. Will have to see if I can find some of them at Half Price Books.

Right afterward came Moonlight. I think I have seen an episode of this before as I recognize the blonde reporter. The TV listing shows this as the very first episode "There's No Such Thing as Vampires". Maybe I can catch the whole set of episodes if CW is running reruns of it. Sixteen episodes during 2007-8. Guess that may be why I remember it - I probably saw an episode back then. Oh man - the reporter is the little girl he saved 20 years ago. Okay, I'm more hooked on this one!! No book, though initially it was conceived as a book Isn't it amazing what you can find on Wikipedia. And no - I am not going to debate the accuracy of Wikipedia entries!

I have more than my share of problems with insomnia so I relate to little Sylvie in The Sleep Sheep by Anna McQuinn and Hannah Shaw. Sylvia had gone through all of the usual rituals - even three bedtime stories and she still can't sleep. Mom tells her to count sheep but they just aren't following her "orders" - they are all over! How is she supposed to count them at that. She needs them in a line - oh now, now they are dancing - no way to count "rumbaaa-ing" sheep. Cute! Then they hit the sleep sheet equipment rental and headed out on bikes, skateboards, scooters, etc. Sylvia is having trouble keeping up with them, let alone count them. They end up at the beach and engage in all kinds of activities - playing cards and game called Sheep and Adders! You have to look closely at the illustrations to catch some of the really humorous stuff. I love illustrators that add these wonderful details that the kids might not catch but the parent who has read the book a hundred times does. The sheep eventually fall asleep and that really frustrates poor Sylvia as she's the one who is supposed to fall asleep, which she eventually does so the oldest ewe covers her up and comments on how exhausted she is as she thought Sylvia would never nod off. A very cute book. There are book covers showing in Sylvie's room like Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown which makes sense as it is a classic bedtime story, but not Tom's Midnight Garden. It's a middle grade mystery by Philippa Pierce about a young boy who is sent off to stay at his aunt's when he gets the measles and discovers a playmate when the clock strikes thirteen. Mattie ensures Tom's summer away from home is adventurous but he isn't sure he wants to be her "forever" friend. I wonder how many other librarians will notice this title on the last page of The Sleep Sheep and it jars him/her out of the story as it did me. Would this stop me from sharing this delightful book with little ones - nope! I wouldn't say a word about it.

I received a box of ARCs from Disney/Hyperion and found myself with tears in my eyes as I read Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares. It won't hit bookstores until October and there isn't even a picture yet on B&N and what a wonderful headshot of a smiling Kennedy. Rappaport covers his life from birth to his death and inserts Kennedy's own words to compliment her text. What a beautifully done picture book biography. Tavares' Illustrator Notes share his visit to John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to find photographs he would work from for the illustrations. Although he did not use them, other than one with the note, he was touched by the informal photographs that were clearly taken by the Kennedy family. They helped remind him that the Kennedy family was "normal" - like any other family and not the bigger-than-life "royalty" of the Boston area. An absolutely beautifully done biography, but this is no surprise as Rappaport is known for her well researched, picture book biographies including Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln See a pattern here? Although a unique biography, Rappaport and Tavares have teamed up before with the excellent Lady Liberty which I would assume can be found in every children's collection. Basically, there isn't anything Rappaport has written that I wouldn't consider a "gotta have" in every elementary school library. I would also consider them for middle and high school collections as excellent ways to introduce these historical figures and their important words.

Speaking of authors who write nonfiction for children whose name you should recognize is Ken Robbins. He has written over 25 books for children and you should find a good many of them in your nonfiction children's section. I have his newest title - For Good Measure: The Ways We Say How Much, How Far, How Heavy, How Big, How Old in front of me. I don't like math or working with measurement but this is a very visually attractive book and even I enjoyed paging through it and seeing what he used from "real life" to help define the terms. His superb photographs visually define the measurement terms along with the concise defining text. Did you know that the gem measurement of a carat comes from the term carob? A carob seed was supposedly so uniform that they were considered a good standard of weight. The diamond ring laying on top of pile of carob seeds sure makes it clear to this jewelry lover which one I'd choose! :-) The kids who grow up in the northern states will know what a cord of wood is but I wonder how many kids who live in warmer climates even know what how much a cord of wood is. Just ask my older brothers - they would all know after splitting more than their share of wood for our wood stove and furnace growing up.

Even though the fact that the beret in Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenheld is not black as the text says it is, it is a very cute book and one to share with the art teacher. I really dislike when a color is stated and the item supposedly that color is a muted tone and could, as I did with the beret, be considered a grayish purple instead of black. Bridget loves to draw but when she loses her beret, she has artist's block. It isn't until she unwittingly begins to draw again a she helps with a lemonade stand sign she is back in the flow and soon the neighborhood is covered with her art. While the neighbors enjoy the art show Bridget is where you'd expect her to be - back drawing on her own. There is a really cool concluding double page spread with advice on how to start your own art. I love that he used O'Keefe for the short section on Looking at Things Differently. She certainly did!