Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!! Can't wait for Steve to get home from California tonight. He went out to watch the ProAm golf tournament at Pebble Beach. Wish he had gotten Drew Brees' autograph for me. He and a couple of other football players were playing. Bill Murray won this year! Brees is one of my favorite quarterbacks, along with Aaron Rodgers. I was so excited when the Packers won the Superbowl. I would not have been happy if that sleazeball Steelers' quarterback won. The idea of kids looking up to someone like him really bothers me. Brees and Rodgers are different - they give back to their communities and are not abusing their status.

Steve sent hand dipped chocolate covered cherries and strawberries from California for Valentines Day. Glad I was home when UPS delivered them or they would have sat outside and melted. Got into them as soon as I opened the box. The rest are in the fridge waiting to be savored. He spoils me and I love it!!

Now on to a book - my favorite part of these postings. I have an autographed copy of a delightful picture book based on the real life events - Astro the Steller Sea Lion by Jeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Shennen Bersani. Very impressive that the author is donating a portion of her royalties to the Marine Mammal Center and Mystic Aquarium. Astro was found alone on an island off the coast of California. He was brought to the Saulsalito Marine Mammal Center that cares for sick and injured marine mammals. Astro was later released into the ocean but kept finding his way back to the Center. He had spent too long with humans and could not re-acclimate to the wild so he was trained to follow commands and found a home at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. During one of his treks back to the Center after being released he joined a school field trip and even maneuvered his way through their coned walking route. I bet those kids were delighted!!

The illustrator - Bersani -visited both the Center and the Aquarium and spoke to the employees. Her attention to detail in the colorful, quite realistic double page spreads bring the settings, Astro, and the human caretakers to life. This is a Sylvan Dell Publishing title with copyright-free supplemental factual information about sea lions at the back of the book. In addition there is a really cool video about Astro to get kids involved at And, lots of activities for the teachers. The author is currently a Middle School Language Arts teacher and has a cool website of her own: And, a fun blog - True Tales & a Cherry on Top:

Astro is a must have for all elementary school libraries and public library children's collections. Great combination of a read aloud worthy picture book story supplemented by information on Steller Sea Lions. Teachers and Internet savvy kids will love the online content as well. This is a superb example of how the picture book can span the gap between storytime and the curriculum.

That's it for tonight.