Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Storytime - Animals

Baby Storytime

Opening Song:
Open Shut Them (Twice through)

What do you Say?  by Mandy Stanley

Spot goes to the Farm by Eric Hill

5 Little Ducks (with finger puppets)
If You are Happy and You Know It
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Old MacDonald - with puppets

Felt Board:
Animals Pairs taken from Mel's Desk from the Flannel Friday Roundup.

Our felt board really does not like Velcro and I did not have time this morning to put felt on the back of the baby animals, so this was pretty much chaos.  Controlled, but chaos nonetheless.  I think that I will keep trying this (after I put felt on everything) and hopefully they will get the hang of the matching.

Ending Song:
The More We Get Together

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter Storytimes

For my storytimes last week I used most of the same stories for Family Storytime and Toddler Time. Toddler Time I did not use Bunny Trouble. It was too long for them.  I think I had a shorter one that I used but I did not write it down and have since forgotten. :)
Both groups had a blast doing Little Bunny Foo Foo.  One little boy in my toddler time cracked up everytime we bopped Foo Foo on the head.  Too cute. :)

Opening Song:
Open Shut Them - sung through twice
For Family Storytime I always add a second verse since they are the big kids.

Books: Splat the Cat: Where is the Easter Bunny?  By Rob Scotton

 Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Bunny Trouble by Hans Wilhelm

Action Songs:

Little Bunny Foo Foo
(I used stuffed mice and a rabbit and let the kids act this out gently! I wore my princess crown and had my wand to be the Good Fairy.  Good times were had by all.)
Bunny Pokey - I used bunny ears, paws, nose, and tail.

5 Little Bunnies
Five little bunnies standing by the door
One hopped away, and then there were four.
Four little bunnies sitting near a tree,
One hopped away, and then there were three.
Three little bunnies looking at you,
One hopped away and then there were two,
Two little bunnies enjoying the sun,
One hopped away and then there was one.
One little bunny sitting all alone,
He hopped away and then there were none.

We played pin the tail on the bunny.  I cut out a ton of bunny tales from different colors.  The older kids had to close their eyes and spin them around.  The younger kids could either spin a few times or just pin the tail on the bunny.  ( I thought about doing an exercise with colors for the toddlers and even during baby storytime, but it just didn't work. They were too eager to put something on the feltboard!)
(this refused to rotate to normal.  so just tilt your head a wee bit....)
Closing Song:
The More We Get Together

I had the bunnies cut out along with crayons and cotton balls for the kids to decorate with.  I gave them all a piece of green construction paper and they glued everything on.  Then decorated the eggs. 


Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Dirty Life Review

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and LoveThe Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this memoir and Ms. Kimball's story. It really was quite fascinating that she would give up everything she knew: her career, her home, her city all for love and a farm. During parts of the story I totally wanted to become a vegetable farmer. I quickly got over it and realized that a small garden with a few tomato plants would be all that I could ever manage though.

There was a lot of farming jargon that I did not understand. I was reading it on my Nook, so I did a half-hearted attempt to lookup words but if the Nook didn't recognize it then I just moved on. So during those descriptions I could not visualize what she was talking about. This was mostly the machinery that they used for the fields.

There was definitely a part where I skipped paragraphs. I am not a fan of weird foods. It makes me gag just thinking about them! Talking about eating hearts and livers made me squeamish enough but when she broke out the whole section on what they did with the testicles and blood, well, I just skipped the page. Seriously, I almost gagged. But that is just me.

I did run into a few parts that I had to wonder if what she wrote was true, kinda true but embellished, or just made up all together. Blame this on my pessimism of memoirs. Between James Frey and now Greg Mortenson, I am totally wary. The first time I started questioning her was in the beginning of her story where she talked about cooking at the farm where she was interviewing Mark for the first time. In one paragraph she discussed her lack of cooking skills, even admitting that she never once used her oven in 7 years. The next paragraph was a huge description of how she walked into the very well stocked kitchen and knew immediately how to chop, steam, sauté and poach food. My friends that have no cooking skills do not even know those words let alone how to just immediately walk into a random kitchen and start doing all of those things. I’m a pretty good cook and I wouldn’t know the first thing to do with Kale let along to know to sauté it and then poach eggs in it. It seemed a bit of stretch.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

A Review of Matched

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. That was a good one! I was so sad when it ended and realized the next one isn't out yet. :(

I feel like I have been on the hunt for a new book series since I finished Mockingjay. This is definitely one that I am excited for the next book. There are some dystopian books where I find the main character, usually a girl, to be whiny and a bit annoying (yes Katniss, I'm talking about you). However, Matched's Cassia is a breath of fresh air. Cassia reminds me of Delrium's Lena. Cassia just wanted to follow the rules, just like Lena.

Cassia just wanted what The Society wanted for her. She wanted a great Match that she would be Contracted with, get a great job, and live the perfect life she was supposed to. Everything was going as it should for Cassia, until the day after her Match banquet. As she views the microchip with all of her Match’s information on it, something happens: Another face flashes onto her screen. From that point on, her world seems to be flipped on its side. As her Grandfather reaches the end of his life, he too encourages Cassia to not go gently in life. Rules are not always the best and life is more than just doing what you are told.

I really liked the author’s take on a dystopian world. This society all came down to equality and finding the best match possible to eradicate all bad things such as disease while also creating the best possible marriages and therefore children. The whole society was based on science. For Cassia, this was enough for a while, and then she discovered choosing for herself and also, love. Love is definitely a powerful drug and motivates us to do crazy things. I am really looking forward to where Cassia’s adventure will take us next.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed

Jane Austen: A Life RevealedJane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef

I am reading this because I feel left out. I do not love love love Jane Austen. I'm not going to lie - I get bored trying to figure out what everyone is saying. It's quite highbrow for me. :) So I'm going to read about her life and see if it helps me "get" her. I want to love her writing like everyone else...

Well, I am still not in love with Jane Austen. I still can't say that I want to run out and read her books. But I really liked this biography! I really enjoyed learning about her and all that happened in society during her life. I liked that the author gave the readers the background from where Jane drew her inspiration for her characters. She was a writer of characters. Her books were about character development and relationships, and not much else. Honestly, I would think I would enjoy that, but, alas. I'll let others read her and tell me all about it. :)

The pictures that are in the biography are great. They really helped transport me to that time and place in order to picture what was happening in Jane's life. I really enjoyed learning about her relationship with her sister. It was an incredibly tight bond.

If you are looking for a biography that offers fabulous insight but it not incredibly bogged down with details, this is a great book to pick up. It was a quick read and quite interesting. Also, she summarizes all of Jane Austen's major works, so it is like I have already read them!

Thank you NetGalley for this book.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Deadly Review

DeadlyDeadly by Julie Chibbaro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not think that I was a big fan of historical fiction, but this book made me reconsider that. This book was just so so good. I really would like to read her other book now. She has me hooked!

Prudence lives in New York City during the early years of the 1900s. He father has been missing at war for several years and her brother died from an infected wound before her father went off to war. It is just Prudence and her mother. Her mother has Prudence attend a school that teaches her how to be a lady in society, with the hopes that she will have a better life than her parents. However, this school is not where Prudence wants to be. She is facinated with science and how things work in the body. She is determined to find a job where she will make a difference. She finds that job working for the Department of Health and Sanitation. Through her work, she comes across a case of typhoid that seems to point to one person as the carrier - "Typhoid Mary." Through this case and her job, Prudence learns a lot more about science and the human body than she ever dreamed but she also learns about human nature. She must question people's motives and decide for herself if the end justifies the means.

I am so not a big history buff. In fact, I am pretty sure I didn't pay attention at all during any of history classes. They completely bored me. So thanks to Julie Chibbaro, I had a small history lesson through her book. And it was fantastic! The whole premise was just fantastic. Go read it!

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Lake of Dreams Review

The Lake of DreamsThe Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I hate to say this, but this book needed more editing. I listened to the audio and it was I just kept hearing paragraphs that could have been edited down into like a sentence. Honestly.

The story was interesting. At least the part of the story that had to do with Lucy's past. She was back home to help take care of her mom and had a ton of free time on her hands. She stumbled upon some papers that lead her in this huge story arc about a relative no one knew about. This relative ended up being a part of the Women's Rights movement. Completely interesting. How ridiculous to think that at the beginning of the last century, it was illegal for women to know basic anatomy. Makes me incredibly thankful for the society I live in.

However, Lucy's present was also boring and predictable. I saw from a mile away that she and her old high school boyfriend would reconnect. I'm thankful for the turn that storytime took though. Otherwise, it would have been one cliché after another. Also, I just found Lucy so very immature. She is two years younger than I am and honestly, I would be appalled at myself if I acted the way she does. Ruining the surprise of her brother's girlfriend's pregnancy? C'mon. Totally rude. Running back into the arms of the high school boyfriend? Really? You have a boyfriend. Don't be 16. And I really thought the way she acted about her dad's death was also somewhat unbelievable. I have watched my husband lose his mother and brother. Grief is messy for sure. But Lucy's reaction to a lot of it- just ridiculous.

Parts of this story were interesting but others, I just did not care about at all. I was really looking forward to reading a meaty adult novel, but honestly, I've read better young adult novels.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

23Things Finale

I really enjoyed 23Things. I think my favorite activity was the social networking, because it forced me to use my Twitter account. And since I've started using it again, I've been able to connect with a lot of professional librarians and learn so much more about what is out there for librarians.

I think this program was very needed for our system. I think it is unfortunate that there were many that did not participate. Most of the excuses I heard was lack of back time. Which is definitely a valid excuse. Because I believe that in order for libraries to prove their relevance in today's society, we do need to keep up with technology. I don't think it would work to make this kind of training mandatory, but I almost feel like it should. And if we could somehow make sure everyone had the time to complete the assignments so there would not be any excuses not to complete the training.

I definitely think we should offer 23Things classes to patrons. Most of this is information that they seek out on a daily basis. Offering these types of classes might even free up reference staff to help with different kinds of reference questions. I mean, I do love showing people how to get on Facebook and all, but it would be nice to be able to concentrate on other things as well. :)

Thanks to the 23Things team. Super fun and educational. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review of Delirium

Delirium (Delirium, #1)Delirium by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh this book! Lauren Oliver wrote a dystopian novel that breathed a breath of fresh air into the genre! I was getting so frustrated with teen novels and all of their melodrama! This book had the romance, intrigue, adventure, and suspense without all of the Twlighty drama.

Lena Halloway is about to turn 18. She is counting down the days. Because once she turns 18, she will have the cure and life will be perfect. She’ll be matched, go to college, marry her match and live a very peaceful life. That is all she ever wanted.

A few weeks before her scheduled cure date, her best friend starts asking questions and acting different. Lena at first wants nothing to do with the questions and the rebelling. But then she has a taste of what else is out there and she starts to question what the government said. She watches a raid party coming sailing through her neighborhood and watches the raiders terrorize people and animals alike. If these raids are in their best interest, why all the violence? Why all the hatred. After all, if they are to be cured of the disease, of love, how can the opposite of love still exist? And is love, the deliria, really all that terrible?

This book just kept me wanting more. I am in awe of the author. The research and time she put into this series is amazing. At the beginning of each chapter, there is some sort of quote that is from one of Lena’s history books or life manuals. Lauren Oliver not only wrote the book but then she wrote the history of that society. Amazing. Honestly, just amazing.

Watching Lena experience and taste love and loss was amazing. She grew from a girl who never broke the rules and longed for a peaceful existence into an amazing woman who was ready to die for her beliefs. It was an incredible transformation.

Can’t wait for the next book!

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Book Review of "Bumped"

BumpedBumped by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“What would happen if girls were encouraged to have sex? To get pregnant?” This is the question that the author, Megan McCafferty, asked and then explored in her new book Bumped. I was very much looking forward to reading her next book. I really liked the Jessica Darling series, probably more in the end because of Marcus Flutie, but regardless, she sucked me in! I thought this book had an interesting premise before I started reading it. There is a crazy teen mom phenom happening in this country as McCafferty notes. It started with teen celebrities getting pregnant and now we have shows on MTV about teen moms. Teen pregnancy has definitely become glorified. As a new mom myself I could not even fathom dealing with this when I was a junior in high school. I love my baby, but man, does he wear me out!

Bumped follows identical twin sisters, Melody and Harmony, who are sixteen years old. They were separated at birth and have grown up in two completely different cultures. Melody was adopted by a couple of professors and lives in New York city. Her parents, economics professors, predicted what would be happening in their culture by the time their daughter was 16. They provided her with all the best tutors and coaches, hoping that their daughter would be super intelligent, beautiful and athletic. All leading her to be one of the most sought after surrogates. Harmony of the other hand was raised in a fundamentalist compound in Pennsylvania, where you do your chores everyday, seek after God, and basically do what you are told with no questions asked. There are rules all over the place that she must follow. Inside her culture, modesty and purity are valued where materialist things are not. Both have high expectations placed upon them.

In their current society, there is a virus going around the population that wipes out people’s fertility to the point that only teenagers can get pregnant. Melody’s parents predicted this would be the case and once she came of age, they sought out the highest deal for her. People who are unable to have children start paying teenagers that they think will represent them the best in their future children. They pay the teens to have sex and get pregnant. The couple get paid once they deliver the baby to the couple.

Harmony finds herself feeling out of place on her compound. She is forced into a marriage with a boy who is also questioning their beliefs and neither of them love the other. Harmony then flees in order to find her twin so she can help Melody find God and realize the error of being paid to have sex.

While the book had an interesting premise, I found myself super uncomfortable while I was reading it. Maybe that was the point though. Two extremes taken all the way to the extreme. I did get annoyed how their vernacular was infused with sex and pregnancy terms. It started out as clever and tongue-in-cheek, but it eventually became unfunny.

I have to say that by the ending, I was definitely sucked into the story and rooting for the twins. I think Zen reminded me a little of Marcus. :) Mel and Harmony had started to find their way and what they would and would not stand for. Which is the point of being a teenager. I look forward to seeing how their story ends in the next book.

Thank You NetGalley for this read!

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Book Review of "The Forest of Hands and Teeth"

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think a 3 star review is generous for this book. If I could, I would do 2.5 stars.

This book is the movie The Village meets zombies. I very much loved that movie and I think that was a big part of the reason I read this book. However, the book’s main character Mary, was so very hard to like. I think when I am reading teen books sometimes I really do need to be reminded of who the target audience is and how I acted as a teenager. I am positive I was just as melodramatic as Mary minus the zombie apocalypse. And I am pretty sure I would have been pissed if I was being forced to marry a boy I did not love. Totally get that. However, despite the interesting plot, I really could not get past Mary and her ridiculous drama. Honestly, as I was reading this story the thought that kept running through my mind over and over was "Well thank goodness there is still teen melodrama even in the face of a zombie apocalypse."

So Mary grows up in this village that is surrounded by forest, where the unconsecrated live. She and her village live in fear of a breech of the fence that protect the village from the unconsecrated. Her father has gone off into the woods and she has never seen him again and her mother walks along the fence line every day, hoping to glimpse him, either alive or well, dead. After yet another family tragedy, Mary is forced to live with the Sisters in the church. No one has spoken for her so she is destined to live the life of a spinster, and in that village, that means living with the Sisters.

First, she was consumed with wanting to be bound to Travis and not Harry along with her dream of seeing the ocean. I completely identified with her dream of wanting to see the ocean. If all you have ever known was a forest full of zombies and a fence that kept them out, well then sure, you totally deserve to go on an adventure and see the ocean. However, even when she gets the chance to leave her village and live in a house all by herself with the love of her life- she gets bored. Really? I’m sorry, but what teenage girl who is stuck in a fully stocked house with her crush and no supervision would get bored? That was when I started getting ridiculously frustrated with Mary. Also, I was a bit frustrated with the whole both brothers were in love with her scenario. That was a bit too Twilight for me.

And I think the final straw for me with this book was when they reached the second village and they go into the house only to find that a baby was turned into a zombie. That was so not necessary. I guess if I was a teen reading this book I might not be as affected by that scene. But as a mom, I was super affected. It just did not in any way move the story along and I felt that it was completely unnecessary.

I liked the orginial idea behind the story, which was what kept me reading, or rather listening. If our system ever gets the sequel in audio form, then I would probably listen. I am more interested in the part of the story of how the US became overrun by zombies than I am with Mary’s plight.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Online Reader Tools

This week is going to be fun! fun! fun! In case I have never recommended GoodReads to you, consider this your recommendation. I LOVE GoodReads! However, I would never have found it if it wasn't for my first manager here at LFPL (Thanks Charlton!). GoodReads helps me keep track of my booklife. Several of my friends went back and added all of the books, or as many as they could remember, from their childhood. I honestly can not remember back that far! Today, I blame baby brain for this, however, I had a GoodReads account long before the child arrived so I can't blame him for everything....

So GoodReads! Go there. It's fabulous. You can add authors as friends and see what they are reading along with keeping up with their blogs. I have actually corresponded with Allan Stratton after I read his book Chandra's Secrets. He's asked me about how I was doing in library school and if I was home from UK (bless his heart, he's obviously not from Kentucky! Had to explain that no, I was unfortunately never in England, only Lexington. Should have looked into the distance learning program over there..). Besides getting to know authors, you get to keep track of books you have read, want to read, and currently reading. I have recently joined NetGalley and get to read e-galleys of books before they are published. I then review them on GoodReads for the publisher. See- look at all the places GoodReads can take you. :)

For this exercise, I had to recommend a book to Joe Patron. Joe and I are only starting to get to know each other but from the little I know about him, he is a HUGE fan of paranormal romances. (he has that glint in his eye!). One of my favorite takes on the vampire genre is Meg Cabot's Insatiable. Joe hadn't read it yet, so I thought he should check it out. It's a good one! And there are more to come in that series. You can thank me later Joe.

Because I am not signed up for enough emails that tell me about books, I signed up for more through LFPL. I should have only signed up for 1, but I think I signed up for like 5. I signed up for BookSizzle, Children's Chapter Books, Children's Picture Books, Fiction Best Sellers, New Fiction, and TeenScene. And that is 6, not 5. Who's counting?

I honestly did not know LFPL offered these. I receive newsletters about books from Library Journal and several of the publishers. For me, receiving the newsletters about what is coming out is super helpful to me for readers' advisory. I am never going to read everything that is out there but I can at least attempt to be educated in as many areas as possible. I find myself doing readers' advisory for all age groups so it behooves me to know about a broad selection of books.

NoveList - At one point during one of our book club meetings, I pulled this up to look at something. One of the ladies was in awe of it and wanted to know how I had access to it. (I love my book club ladies!) Who knew NoveList could make you look cool? :)

For my search in NoveList, I used criteria for books for our summer reading promotions. We are attempting to figure out what we are going to use for stories, props, etc., for when we go into the schools. My initial search criteria was ages 0-8 using make believe and then magic, as topics. I started looking at the popularity of the books for more inspiration. I chose The Curious Garden as my first book choice. To continue my search, I selected picture books for children and transformations. There are some great choices on there! I tend to use Fantastic Fiction more when I am doing readers' advisory, but now that I have played more with NoveList, I think this will be just as good of a resource. This will be great for me as well when planning for storytime. Thanks 23Things!