Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ahoy there, Matey!

Arrggh! Time for another blog post! Shiver me timbers, this is hard work...maybe I'll just walk the plank instead! Yo ho ho, me hearties!

Ok, that's all the pirate talk I know. Maybe I could think of more if I had an eyepatch...
I think we've all wanted to be a pirate at some point in our lives. Not because we want to rob people and waggle our cutlass at them, but rather because they get to dig for treasure and wear cool things like hook hands and tri-corner hats with feathers.

Thanks to Johnny Depp and Jack Sparrow, pirate popularity is still going strong. If you've got a little tyke with a big imagination and a penchant for pirates, why not check out our BRAND NEW Pirate Learn-With-Me Kit?

The recipe requires 5 books about pirates, including a pirate cookbook and a one featuring a fierce female pirate. You can't dance a jig without music, so we have included a Shake Your Pirate Booty CD. Add a Barnacle Bart puppet, and a spyglass in a fancy wooden box. Mix it up with a 100 piece Pirate's Bounty floor puzzle, and all you need to do is stir in a little make-believe!

Interested in our other Learn-With-Me Kits? See a  listing here.

And don't forget.... X marks the spot.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Need a Fairy-Tale Ending?

I am just loving celebrating the special days/weeks/months I found in Chase's Calendar of Events, as you can see from several previous posts. Especially when they relate so easily to wonderful books!

So today we are going to honor World Folk Tales & Fables Week (March 18-24) by highlighting 2 of our best NEW folk tales & fables!

Aww. Ain't he cute?
A folk tale is a tale or legend originating among a people and typically becoming part of an oral tradition. A fable is a short moral story, especially one with animals as characters. These are some of my favorite stories, and probably some of your favorites as well, because they are the ones everyone has heard in some variation at some point in their lives. They transcend culture, location, language and time. Did you know that a version of Cinderella is told in countries all over the world, the earliest recorded version being from China? We have Cinderellas from many different cultures here at the library, but our newest acquisition is The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony L. Manna & Soula Mitakidou

There's an old saying in Greece - "A child becomes an orphan when she loses her mother". That's what happens to the girl in this story, whose name we never learn. She is referred to as "the orphan", even though her father still lives. A cruel stepmother who counts every drop of water the orphan is allowed to drink, and two cold-hearted stepsisters add to her misery. But the spirit of her mother reaches from the grave and tells her daughter what to do. Mother Nature brings her brilliance, beauty and gracefulness, not to mention dazzling dresses. A white cloud drops out of the sky and turns into a mare, which she rides to meet the Prince No glittering ball here, but the prince does try to meet the orphan by leaving a sticky trap of honey and wax on the church doorstep. All that gets stuck in the goop, however, is her shoe. The prince uses this tiny shoe the color of the deep blue sea to find his one true love,  and they lived happily ever after. The End!

Rabbit's Snow Dance: A Traditional Iroquois Story as told by James & Joseph Bruchac

Way back when, Rabbit had a long, flowing, beautiful tail. He had a long tail, but was rather short on something else - patience. He liked when it snowed, because then he could reach the juiciest berries and leaves high on the bushes and trees. He wanted snow now, but it was summer. Not willing to wait, he performed a snow dance, ignoring the other animal's cautionary pleas. Amazingly, his dance worked! It snowed something big, and Rabbit happily munched on snacks. But it kept snowing, until everything was covered except one lone branch sticking out from the highest tree. On this branch Rabbit sat and fell asleep. During the night, all the snow melted down to the very ground. Upon waking, Rabbit fell out of the tree, catching his long, beautiful tail on every branch on the way down. At the bottom, he was aghast to see his new short fluffy tail. And that is why, at the time when the snows go away, you can see bits of Rabbit's tail stuck on the bushes. Some people call them pussy willows, but we know the truth. The End!

That's why folk tales and fables are so great to read aloud - sometimes you get to say "and they lived happily ever after!", but you always get to declare in unison "THE END!" Our folk tales and fables often get overlooked because they are shelved in the non-fiction section, but don't let that stop you. What a fun way to be a link in the great chain of tradition and pass down the stories that children have been loving for hundreds of years!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's a DOG-brary!

Now I know that usually pets are not allowed in the library, and that you have to leave Rascal tied up outside, or sticking his head out the car window. But for a short time this Saturday, March 23, our library becomes a DOG-brary!

I don't mean that you should rush into the library with your favorite canine and get a new book to "chew on". But we will be having our TAIL-WAGGING READERS program, in which kids can drop by and read a book to an interested furry friend.
Here is patron Bridget Kearney from Coopersburg meeting up with one of our pretty pooches.
Last month we had a great turnout! About 25 kids stopped by, and 5 trained and certified therapy dogs (along with their handlers) were on hand to get reading!

Great for reluctant readers, our dogs never judge or correct pronunciation. They only listen politely and give sloppy kisses.

This program is drop-in, so no need to sign up. It runs from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, in our StoryHour Center. Children ages 2-12 are welcome, parent or caregiver must stay.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm laughing with you, not at you.

Need a good laugh? March is International Mirth Month. Must be because March is so close to being Spring, and yet feels so far. When you feel like crying after one more windy, frigid day, why not have a giggle with your kids instead?

Kids love to laugh. They're not picky about why they are laughing...could be a friend's joke, a sibling's misfortune (think harmless America's Funniest clips), the fact that they secretly poured orange juice into your coffee, or just some noisy bodily functions. They have a great sense of humor, and are quick to see the "funny" in every situation.

So when your baby rubs spaghetti all over his head for the 12th time, just laugh along with the rest of the kids. It will keep you young.

When your kids ask you to tell them a joke, do you give them a blank stare? There's help for that.
 Try one of these snort-worthy titles offered by SLPL.

Just Joking: 300 Hilarious Jokes, Tricky Tongue Twisters, and Ridiculous Riddles

Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids - Rob Elliott

Real Kids' Jokes by Real Stand-up Comics - Andrea Henry & Myq Kaplan

 And for a freebie, try this one thunk up by a very cute little SLPL patron:

 What is black-white, black-white, and green?
 Two skunks fighting over a pickle!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To Give is Better Than to Receive

Or so they say....but we know that they both rock! Giving is great, getting is great. So let's exhibit a little mutual cooperation here, and everyone can be happy.

We, at SLPL, want to GIVE you something. Throughout the months of February and March, we have been hosting our 1st-ever blog giveaway. Click on the tab at the top of the page to find out all the details, but it's super easy. All you have to do is subscribe to the blog...that you are already reading and hopefully enjoying...making it easier to accesss. Wow, what hardship!

And in return, you, the loyal reader, have a chance to GET something. At stake: $20, $15, and $10 gift certificates for the library, to be used EITHER in our Book Sale Room, OR to pay off those unseemly fines (not naming any names).

Entries are being taken until March 31st, so get busy.

P.S. Read the Giveaways page closely for some hints on how to get extra entries!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's a Windy Day...

What better day to talk about The Wind in the Willows, one of my favorite children's classics? Although I have to admit that I have watched the 1949 Disney animated adaptation many more times than I have read the actual book. That cartoon version was oddly paired with the story of Ichabod Crane, voiced by Bing Crosby (who else?) and was a beloved favorite of my childhood.

On March 8th, we celebrate the birthday of Kenneth Grahame, the author of this eternally resonating tale of Toad and his faithful friends, Ratty, Mole and Badger. They live in the bucolic English countryside surrounding Toad Hall, a stately manor and the chief residence of Toad himself. Toad is an adventurer, and a not-very-responsible one at that. He becomes obsessed with his latest crazes, such as boating or romping about the countryside in a gypsy caravan. So his friends know they are in for trouble when Toad sees a motorcar for the very first time. Although they try to contain his exuberance by locking him in his room, he escapes out the window and after stealing a motorcar, ends up in jail. 
But this is only a minor setback to brave Toad, who disguises himself as a washerwoman and once again escapes his prison. After many adventures on the lam, Toad returns to his friends at Toad Hall full of remorse and promises to change. He arrives just in time to help Ratty, Mole and Badger save Toad Hall from a gang of no-good weasels that have taken up residence.  In the end, all is set right, and Toad swears that he has given up his old, irresponsible ways. But wait, what is that little spark in his eye?

Published in 1908 and based on bedtime stories that Grahame would tell his son, Wind in the Willows has endured on the bookshelves of discerning children everywhere for over a century.

Now there's a sequel! Return to the Willows, written by Jacqueline Kelly and illustrated by Clint Young, was published in 2012.

Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger are back in a riveting tale of bravery, bravado and hot-air ballooning! Or so it says on the book jacket. I have not read it yet, so I cannot comment further, but it looks great!
Best wishes for more exciting adventures, Mr. Toad!

Check out the artwork for Return to the Willows here, or read an excerpt.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What we have here is a puzzling situation...


Welcome to the new Puzzle Place area of our Children's Department!

You may recall that within the past year we have really spruced up our kid's area, adding (in turn) a Block Building Table, a Big, Beautiful Dollhouse, and an Imaginarium Train Table.

I can say for sure that our traffic has increased. Sometimes it's so loud and full of kids having fun in there, that I have to put on my headphones in my office to concentrate! Which is a great problem to have. We are thrilled to have families come and spend an hour or two at the library, picking out books and then playing for awhile.

But back to the puzzles...we have 3 difficulty levels, but many kids will enjoy doing them all. The "Chunky" puzzles are great for pudgy little toddler hands, and the animal cut-out puzzles are challenging enough for their older siblings. Doesn't that bright rug look so comfy? Parents, your knees will thank me later.

Puzzles are great for developing minds. They build hand/eye coordination, develop fine motor skills, and encourage logical thinking and problem solving. The kids might think they are just having a good time, but we know better (wink, wink). 

This is all thanks to the funding received for our Family Place programming grant. 
Let's give them a round of applause!

BONUS SHOT: The Wild About Reading Cave is right next door!