Friday, December 2, 2016

Library Love: Advent(ish) Edition!

We've been finding some wonderful books at the library lately! (And of course, a few Maisy books too... you would be disappointed if I didn't mention that, wouldn't you? ;) ) However, I won't be picturing the Maisy books, as I have quite a few books for this post and I don't want to *ahem* waste the space. But first, a note about the title: since this is the season of Advent, I've been (somewhat) trying to find books that are "in season" but not Christmas, per se. So, pretty much, what that means is that many of these books are Winter-themed. We take what we can get!

Kitten's Winter - Eugenie Fernandes
I was pleased to see this one in the library because I had seen it on some other booklist somewhere (the internets is wide and ranges) and for whatever reason, I had put all 4 books in this series on my daughter's Amazon wishlist. Thus, good to see this one now and find out if it's worth keeping on said wishlist. Verdict? Yeah... let's keep it. The text is really simple, but along with the illustrations, it's actually somewhat educational. Plus, it has a cat in it. And as I have learned, cats are one of the good "hooks" into getting my daughter engaged.

The Trees of the Dancing Goats - Patricia Polacco
I had gone to the library for a different Polacco book, but alas, it wasn't available. However, this one was and it came highly rated. It's a story of how a Jewish family helps a Christian family during a particularly cold Christmas. I really like the premise of the book, but we haven't actually read it yet, so I'll just plonk it right here til we do.

Gingerbread Baby - Jan Brett
I have just discovered this author/illustrator and I am in love! The first book I found by her was "Annie and the Wild Animals", and what I loved was how the text tells the main story but her illustrations (vivid and lush and beautiful) tell an additional, supporting story. This story is just as good, and is a variation on the traditional "You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man" trope. Our library has a few others by this author, so I'm definitely going to check them all out (for myself, if not for my kiddos).

Stick Man - Julia Donalson
OK, so I first saw this story as a cartoon on Netflix - it was "sitting" next to the Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child (which I'm so excited to give the Proper Book Version of to the wee girl for Christmas, by the way... thanks Auntie Louise!). And I could immediately tell by the pictures that it was by our favorite British author, Julia Donaldson; but, I couldn't convince the wee girl to watch it on Netflix. Then, lo and behold, I saw it in our library! (Library Love!) It's a sweet story of a Stick Man who gets separated from his family, has quite an adventure and is returned to his family on Christmas day. I have to admit, it's not as lovable as her other books (Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale, The Gruffalo, Where's My Mum, etc...) but it'll do. And it's Christmas themed - so, yay! Why not.

As it turns out, there is quite the selection of (Americanized) Julia Donaldson books at our library, so we picked up a few more:
Tabby McTat - The Musical Cat
Where's My Mom? - this one is soo clever! Hands down the best of the 4 here (IMHO)
and also...
The wee girl seems to like this one best, and will quote it at random times during the day... "Superworm is super long! Superworm is super strong! Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip hip hooray for Superworm!" (Bless.)

The Bog Baby - Jeanne Willis
This book was so sweet it brought tears to my eyes! Maybe it was because it was about the adventures of 2 sisters - or maybe it was because the Bog Baby sucked his toes and I just find that endearing - or maybe it was just because I can/do cry at the drop of a hat. In any case, the wee girl and I loved the story and I liked that it also had a little form at the back for what to do in case you find your own bog baby. I'm thinking this one may have also been written first in the UK and then "Americanized" - so I'm going to try and remember to look it up when we head back there next year.

Nobody Likes a Goblin - Ben Hatke
I saw this in Bonnie's IG feed and since it came with her endorsement (and that of everyone who also commented on it) I decided to look it up. Can I just say that I *love* it when something I see online also happens to be at my library? Even if I have to put it on hold, it still means I get to see something that otherwise I would have to buy to take home. And as it turned out, everyone was right! This is a great book to get the fantasy loving girls/boys/dads in your life. :)

A Pipkin of Pepper (and Pumpkin Soup, again) by Helen Cooper
So, I have to admit, the most exciting thing about watching my wee girl grow up is seeing her remember and make connections to things she has done in the past. (This is actually a sophisticated skill that needs to be recognized and encouraged to help little learners become life-long learners. But I digress.) In this case, she was reading one of her eBooks, "A Friend for Merida"... ok, pause. Reading is a very generous word here. She was actually just listening to the bagpipe intro to the book over and over again, when I asked her, "Do you like listening to the music?" "Yes," she said.
"Do you know that the instrument playing is called a bagpipe?"
"Oh, like the cat in that book?!?"
"Yes, honey! Just like that." (Of course, at this point I'm racking my brains trying to figure out what the heck she's talking about. Later on though...)
"Mom, can we go get the Pumpkin Soup book from the library?"

Ah. *That's* what she was talking about!

"Of course, honey!"

So here we have it again in our Library love list - but what should we find when we go to check it out? O-ho, there's a sequel to Pumpkin Soup! So now that is in our books-to-read as well.

As for me? I had checked out a book last week, completely on a whim, which sounded like it would be right up my alley...
The Women in God's Kitchen - Cristina Mazzoni
But after reading the introduction, all of a sudden this came up:

Lab Girl - Hope Jahren
When I had heard about this book, I immediately went to see if it was available at our library, and... it was! BUT I was number 82 in line to put a hold on it (no joke). This was months ago. And funny thing, a few weeks ago when I went to check on this hold, I was still number 59 in line! But here it is, in my hands. So I'll have to put the food writing on hold while I sink my teeth into this one. (ha ha. pun intended). One of the recommendations for this book is from Ann Patchett, and that seems like high praise, indeed.

Whew! So there you have it! Clearly, you like to read too, if you're all the way down here still reading... if so, what have you checked out from the library lately? Would love to hear your recommendations.

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