Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Discovered while weeding

While straightening the 398s this morning, I came across a fascinating old relic.  It's titled "The Space Child's Mother Goose" by Frederick Winsor, published originally in 1958, this copy was from the fourth printing in 1967.

This is a collection of nursery rhymes that have been shot into the space age.  Well, the 1950's space age.  As surprised as I am that these oldie-but-strange titles can still be found in here, I'm always delighted to find them.  Here are a few of the space age verses written for the 1950's space child:

Little Jack Horner
Sits in a corner
Extracting cube roots to infinity,
An assignment for boys
That will minimize noise
And produce a more peaceful vicinity.

Ah, gender bias in children's books!

A Follower of Goddard
And a rising Astrogator
Were agreed that superthermics
Was a spatial hot pertator.

They reached a Super-Nova
On a bicycle named Beta
And I'd tell you more about it
But they fused with all the data.

That one kind of left me scratching my head.

Hey Diddle Diddle
Distribute the Middle
The Premise controls the Conclusion
The Disjunctive affirms
That the Diet of Worms
Is a Borbetomagic confusion.


This little pig built a spaceship,
This little pig paid the bill;
This little pig made isotopes,
This little pig ate a pill;
And this little pig did nothing at all, 
But he's just a little pig still.

I'm guessing the little pig that ate the pill woke up and unplugged himself from the matrix?  The next one gets a little dark:

Embryonic, zoonic,
Tectonic, cyclonic,
We humans are never humane.
Explosion, erosion,
Corrosion, implosion-
And back into Chaos again!

Occasionally, the author offers 'definitions' in rhyme, like this one:

Quantum: The Quantum is only a tittle or jot: On a little theory hangs a lot.

There is a real glossary at the end of the book, however, where we learn that Borbetomagic pertains to the ancient city of Borbetomagus, now Worms.  So now that verse makes perfect sense.  

UPDATE: Apparently, there is a new limited edition currently available.  I'd love to have new copy of this for the library if anyone would like to donate it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Further Adventures in Author Stalking

Those of you who actually read my blog (and I guess, if you are reading this now, than I am talking to you) may remember that I wrote about a forthcoming book by the great Lemony Snicket and the Caldecott award winner and honoree Jon Klassen called The Dark.

If you follow me on Facebook, you'd know that Mr. Snicket's representative Daniel Handler and Mr. Klassen were at Hicklebee's this morning and so, therefore, was I.

They presented a slideshow in which they showed pictures from their childhoods and some of the things they've done in their lives before they collaborated (a word which here means 'worked together') on The Dark.  Mr. Snicket's representative explained that while Mr. Klassen wasted his childhood playing on swings and looking at pictures, Mr. Snicket was busy doing research.

Here, Mr. Snicket's representative is demonstrating how he learned to perform the trick pictured in the slideshow.  We also learned that while Mr. Snicket is not afraid of the dark, he is afraid of crabs, and his representative appears to be as well. 

To add a layer of difficulty to the reading, Mr. Snicket's representative tied a blindfold on to Mr. Klassen who continued to illustrate the reading blindfolded.  There was a surprise ending to this but I won't give that away here.  I'll share it at school next week.

Here is the dynamic duo signing my books (one for me and one for Marshall Lane). 

This one proves that I was there.

If you would like the opportunity to meet Mr. Klassen and Mr. Snicket or his representative, depending on who shows up, they will be at the Burlingame Library tomorrow at 4.  It's about a 45 minute drive from here so if you leave right after school, you should be there in plenty of time.  I highly recommend you do this.  Especially if, like me, you love books and you like friendly and funny authors and illustrators.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Promoting Kindness and Peace

It's hard to be a parent of young children on days like today.  As much as we'd like to shield them from tragedies, the tragedies keep happening and we must help our children deal with them, even when we can't make sense of them ourselves.

I think it is really important to remember that the good people in this world far outnumber the bad, that we can smother the badness with kindness and love, and that we shouldn't lose faith in our fellow humans.

I've compiled a list of library books that promote kindness and peace, in hopes that it might be of some help to someone.  I will post it on the library home page tomorrow morning.  If you don't see anything you can personally use on my list, or the books are not available, check with your local public librarian.  I'm sure he or she can recommend something for you.

I wish you all peace and let's all remember kindness.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the library catalog homepage.  Click the Star icon to find the list of books I mentioned above.

Also, April 25th is Pay It Forward Day. Let's spread some kindness, that day and everyday.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Good Friend Mac Barnett

Okay, well, he's not really my good friend but he is a very nice fellow and also very funny.  He happened to tweet on Friday that he would be at the Burlingame Library today reading some of his books to kick off National Library Week. Well, Burlingame's not so far away so I decided to go because Mac Barnett is a great writer!  Just ask him.

I'm so glad I did because I got to hear him read from his new not-yet-published book Count the Monkeys, which is illustrated by Kevin Cornell and will be coming out in June.  It is delightful and hilarious and I cannot wait to read it to you guys!  Sadly, I won't be able to until next school year but you don't have to wait to read it for yourself once it comes out.

Here is a picture of Mr. Barnett reading from his new book with an expert page turner (she claimed to be a volunteer from the audience but I think she was a plant):

After the reading Mr. Barnett kindly signed books for the folks in attendance.  I asked him to sign a couple of books for Marshall Lane and he asked if he'd been to Marshall Lane.  I said 'no, but you've been to Hicklebee's' to which he replied, 'oh I've signed books for Marshall Lane before' and I said 'yes, many.' (Look for Mac Barnett in the list of labels to the right to see evidence of this.)

Here is a picture of me with Mr. Barnett that makes it look like we are good friends.

Mr. Barnett is a very nice man with a high tolerance for stalkery school library techs.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Library Fun Facts

With all the squeesploding going on around here, I haven't had a chance to post some fun circulation stats, which I meant to do on the first, when I ran all the reports. I won't keep you waiting any longer.

Top Ten most circulated titles for the month of March:

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, by Jeff Kinney
2. We Are In a Book, by Mo Willems
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal, by Jeff Kinney
4. Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, by Jeff Kinney
6. Cardboard, by Doug TenNapel
7. Listen to My Trumpet, by Mo Willems
8. Bad Kitty Meets the Baby, by Nick Bruel
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Ugly Truth, by Jeff Kinney
10. Amulet: the Stonekeeper's Curse, by Kazu Kibuishi

Any surprises there?  Not really.

Top Ten Search terms entered into the catalog in the last 30 days:

big nate
diary of a wimpy kid
star wars
monster fight club
Graphic Novels
Most Popular
boxcar children

Most of these searches occur on Thursdays and Fridays.

Total number of books checked out in March: 2,683
Total number of books placed on hold in March: 223

And from Renaissance Place, the number of words read so far this year (students who have taken AR quizzes) : 55,142,915

And the top ten books on which students have taken an AR quiz:

1. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
2. Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling
4. Thea Stilton and the Mystery in Paris, by Thea Stilton
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J. K. Rowling
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling
7. Big Nate: in a Class By Himself, by Lincoln Peirce
8. A Crazy Day with Cobras, by Mary Pope Osborne
9. Miss Nelson Is Missing, by Harry Allard
10. Road Robber, by Joy Cowley

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A singularity of children's book authors.

Some of you may have read on Facebook yesterday that my head had exploded in a fit of squeee.  This is true.

After I posted here yesterday, I went on Twitter to promote my blog post.  While scrolling through my feed, I noticed that Jon Klassen and Lemony Snicket had kicked off their book tour for The Dark, a book I knew was coming. This made me excited and hopeful that they'd make an appearance somewhere in the Bay Area so I could stalk them together, as I've already stalked them separately as evidenced here and on my author shrine wall in the library.
Then someone tweeted that Neil Gaiman had shown up and joined the presentation.  How cool is that? But what was Neil Gaiman doing there?  I know he's pals with Lemony Snicket but is that enough cause for him to pop in on a book tour?  I decided to do a little digging and that's when I discovered that he was there because he is the reader of the audio book version of The Dark! Squeeeesplodey!
So here is a third author - my all time favorite author, no less - that I have stalked separately:
Working in collaboration with two of my other favorite authors on one project!  And they were all in one space for some very lucky children in New York.  You can read about it and see pictures here.

And, of course, I had to have this amazing work so that is when I discovered that the ebook is an enhanced ebook with Neil Gaiman's audio reading built into it so you have Jon Klassen's beautiful illustrations, Lemony Snicket's amazing words, and Neil Gaiman's velvety voice all at once.  This was my bedtime story last night and it made me so happy.

Also, it turns out Mr. Klassen and Mr. Snicket will bringing their book tour out this way on April 29 at  the Burlingame Public Library.  I'm going, who's with me?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Peace through Catastrophic Sneezing

Last week in the library for storytime I was reading Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex.  The target audience of this book is very young but it was universally enjoyed by kinders as well as 4th graders.

The story is about a cute little panda who makes bad things happen with a sneeze, such as destroying a circus.  After reading the story to a third grade class, one boy raised his hand very enthusiastically to make a comment.  I'm paraphrasing here now because it's been a few days but I think it's worth sharing.  He said if he was the author of this book, he would put in an army general and then if there was a war, the general could put Chu in front of the army and blow pepper in the panda's face and then Chu would sneeze away the other army.

I guess it wouldn't take long for the other army to counter with a sneezing sloth or marmoset or something.  And then we'd have to come back with a sneezing lemur and so on because we cannot allow a cute-sneezing-animal gap.  Still, I can't help but think that the world would be a slightly better place if wars were fought with cute sneezing animals.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Detour for Knitting

I've designed another hat that I will be posting for sale at my Ravelry store.

This hat, which is really more like a hood, was inspired by my youngest daughter.  Her taste in clothing is a little bit quirky so I wanted to design something different for her that other people might find interesting.  I had made some Christmas hats with pom-pons on them, which was fun, so I wanted to incorporate those, plus some cable knitting, which is my favorite.  This is what came of it.
I think it's super cute.  It's knit in a chunky alpaca, which makes it warm and floppy and slouchy.  And I love the color.  I used Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, and in my test knits, I discovered that substituting with a chunky wool does not yield the same results, even if you get gauge.  You can read more about this pattern and see more pictures on my Ravelry pattern page.

I made a black and orange one for my other daughter to wear to OSU football games.  Go Beavers!