Thursday, December 15, 2011
Here are all the details on this typewriter:
Patti from Baked Ideas made this amazing edible gingerbread typewriter for benefit of City Harvest, and it is displayed at NYC's Parker Meridien Hotel.
Thanks to Boing-Boing for the info.
So…. typewriter came to mind… a sort of gingerbread house for the letters that live inside!! Christmas unplugged, a letter to santa, granny’s laptop …… it was fun to think about.
First we made a model of the typewriter in cardboard, and then baked all the parts and crafted the roller, paper and metal keys out of sugar paste. The “glue” is royal icing, and cookies, stacked up, are the inner supports. The keyboard letters are cookies, iced in ivory and trimmed in silver. The iced gingerbread alphabet letters are frolicking in the sugar snow, sometimes spelling out words (fun, skip, eat, joy.)
I am glad we chose to make a typewriter. It is an image that is a reminder of a simpler time … wintery, happy and unexpected. I hope both kids and adults enjoy looking at it.
It’s 100% edible, down to the rice paper ribbon.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
This is a pretty convoluted storyline that involves pirates imitating pirates imitating pirates in a play within a play within a play. It's pretty wild and wooly.
This is a great series for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but I'd recommend you read some Sherlock Holmes before trying this series because it will have more meaning for you if you know some background.
Available at Multnomah County Library. I listened to this on audio.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
Powell's Cedar Hills Crossing location
Way back in 2002, Ron Koertge wrote a book called Stoner & Spaz. That was the story of a very unlikely couple. Ben, who has cerebral palsy and has trouble with mobility, and Colleen, a young woman who has a little problem with drugs. Or actually, it's a big problem. Who would think those two would ever even speak to each other, let alone become friends and then a couple? Well, pretty much no one, especially Ben. But when they meet up at the old town theater watching a movie, these two lonely souls are drawn together. Colleen challenges Ben, in some good ways and some not so good, and Ben challenges Colleen to give up her drugs.
Flash forward 11 years (in our time, not story time) and we're back with the sequel. Ben has become an accomplished filmmaker in the last few years, and Colleen, well, Colleen's still using, although she's trying really hard to kick it. But Ben is addicted to Colleen as ever, and he's unsure whether he can let go, or, more importantly, if he wants to. Enter AJ, another filmmaker and the kind of girl everyone sees Ben being with. She, like Colleen, seems nonplussed with his disability, which from Ben's side of the world is pretty unusual. She wants to hang out. And she's reliable, into films and filmmaking, smart. All the things Colleen's not. It seems like a perfect match, but is it?
Recommended for 8th grade and up due to mature subject matter, this is a valuable book for looking at the many sides of issues such as disabilities, drug use, and relationships. Sure to win some accolades come January.
Kana, a Japanese Jewish girl, is sent to Japan for the summer following her classmate's death to reflect on her behavior and to help her mother's family with their citrus orchard. Kana has hard time fitting in in Japan, and I think although it is very difficult, this helps her to understand her classmate's feelings in a way she might otherwise never have. Kana does a lot of growing up in Japan, and it is a difficult coming of age journey for her. And then just when she's getting herself in order, the author delivers a second punch that is very unexpected. Personally, I didn't think it was necessary and thought it was a little disruptive to the flow of the story, but I would be interested to hear what other readers thought.
I love the telling of this story in poetry. I think it fits the subject matter and the setting beautifully. I also really like the woodcuts that decorate the pages. I would recommend this story to seventh graders and up.If you read this and like it, try Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones.
I am reading another story right now about a girl going to a foreign culture to meet family she's never known, and it's interesting to make the comparison. That book is called How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, and you can look for a review of it soon.
This book had some really funny parts, but really, I was fairly annoyed by the main character throughout most of it, making it difficult to decide if I liked the book or not. I don't mind a bratty teenage character for a bit, I mean I was one, I can relate, but sometimes it's too much. It may also have been that I was listening to this book on CD, and there's no skimming when you do that, so I had to listen to every word. However, Jess also went from really bratty to really grown up in some of her thinking which would have been great if it were believable, but I wasn't buying it. She was just TOO grown up. It didn't feel like she'd really think the things she was saying all the time. Perhaps if I'd read the first book in the series I'd have enjoyed this more, although I did not even realize it was part of a series, which is testimony to its ability to be read as a stand alone. Fans of Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicholson books will probably enjoy this, but she's no Georgia.
PS I think it's kind of funny that someone whose name is STABeNOW grew up to write murder mysteries.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Blood from a Stone by Donna León I also listened to this book, and before I was fifteen minutes in, I was ready to go back to Venice, nevermind the murders that are turning up on every corner. Give me some crusty bread, some cappucino, some gelato, and a view of St. Mark's and I'll be fine. This is another Comissarrio Brunetti story, maybe the third I've listened to, and I have to say, that while I was transported back to Italy, and while I didn't think it was a bad story, I was not dying to get in my car and go somewhere just so I could keep listening. That's the critical test for me. And I also was not really pleased with the conclusion of the story. Again, I'd be interested to hear from others who have read it about whether you thought the ending was the right decision or not. For me, not. I will undoubtedly give Ms. Leon another chance, as she does write well and her stories do help pass the time on the drive, but I will hope for something a little more to my interest next time.
Monday, November 21, 2011
I thought I'd read some picture books about food topics this week in anticipation of Thanksgiving, which is definitely one of my favorite holidays. Of course, you can hardly go wrong when the whole day is about food (and football).
I started with Luck with Potatoes by Helen Ketterman and illustrated by Brian Flocca. It's a story about poor Clemmon, a farmer down on his luck. Things go from bad to worse for Clemmon, until he's lost his whole herd of cows and is really at the end of his rope. He decides to take his last little bit of money and plant potatoes, and what do you know, they grow like nothing he's ever seen! Turns out those cows he lost have found their way back home inside the potatoes! Clemmon definitely has some Luck with Potatoes. This story is set in Tennessee and has some vocabulary that might not be familiar to all readers, so this would probably be better for a read aloud than individual reading for kiddos in Oregon.
Sweet Dream Pie was my next choice. And I will be having some sweet dreams about pie this week, I can tell you, but I hope they're not quite like these dreams.... This book is by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Mark Teague. The story begins with Pa Brindle begging Ma Brindle to bake him a sweet dream pie. she doesn't want to, reminding him of the last time, but he wears her down and she agrees. I am telling you, you have never seen such a pie! It's full of every sweet treat you could imagine - gumdrops, marshmallows, cinnamon red hots, jelly beans, even cookies. And it's a magical pie. You can tell that for many reasons - one being it's size, but also because it sort of lulls the whole neighborhood in - almost like a hypnotizing pie. By the time it's done, after a whole day, everyone is hoping to get a slice. Ma tells them to just have one, but no one listens. She knows no one is going to sleep well, and she's right. Their dreams come pouring out into the street, "dreams of every shape, size and color drifted up from their dreamers and began to sport and play." The illustrator shows the difference between the real and the dreams in a clever way, I think. This book is a delight visually, and it has a good lesson, especially just before a pig out holiday! One piece of pie, remember that!
Nutmeg by David Lucas was next on the list. Nutmeg is one of my favorite holiday spices, but in this book Nutmeg is a person. And even though she's named for a very tasty spice, the meals in her house are pretty bad - cardboard, string and sawdust. Always. Yuck. Always, that is, until Nutmeg lets a genie out of a bottle, and you know what that means. Three wishes. So what does she wish for? Something different for breakfast, something different for lunch and, you guessed it, something different for dinner. The genie gives her a magic spoon. You'll have to read the rest of this wild adventure to find out what "something different" means to the genie. Will the spoon add some spice to Nutmeg's life?
Helen Cooper's Pumpkin Soup was the last in my pile. Sounds perfect for a rainy fall night, doesn't it? I loved this book best of all of them. The illustrations are beautiful (it's an award winner for art!), the characters are adorable, and the story is funny and sad and worrisome and happy. Cat, Squirrel and Duck live together happily in a cabin in the woods. They've got a system and it works. Everyone pitches in and does his part, and everyone's roles are clear. But when someone wants to make a change, all heck breaks loose. They have a big fight and Duck runs away. No one is happy. Cat and Squirrel go in search of her, but they can't find him. Will he make it back? Has he been eaten by foxes? Did he find some better friends? These are all the questions that Cat and Squirrel ask themselves and all questions that will be answered when you read this lovely little book. Enjoy!
Our Read Alikes lists are available on my website - look for the orca whale logo and click just below there.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Grace has always been attracted to the wolves that raom the woods behind her house, particularly to one wolf with golden eyes. Even though she was once attacked by wolves, she doesn't think wolves are evil. In fact, she thinks they're special.
Sam has always been attracted to a partcular girl, but since he's not human most of the year, he's been unable, or unwillling, to act on it.
Told in alternating chapters (and read by two actors, one boy and one girl, on the audio version), this is the story of how these two finally come together and look for a way to happiness together.
Next month's meeting will be on Thursday, November 17 at 3:30 to 5 PM in the WOMS library. The book we will be discussing is The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet available for checkout at the school library. If you're interested in joining the group, please come to the meeting or contact Mrs. Thompson at the WOMS library for more info.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Former LA Lakers basketball superstar Kareem Abdul Jabbar has a new book and DVD series coming out about the Harlem Renaissance called On the Shoulders of Giants, and he was at the American Association of School Librarians conference this weekend. I was lucky enough to meet him. I also got to meet some pretty sweet Star Wars characters there. Pretty cool stuff!
Monday, October 24, 2011
And to top off my discovery of Pinkalicious, LOOK what one of the Deep Creek Elementary students created at home! It's a pinkalicious pumpkin - can you believe it? Right down to the cupcake!
Lots of other pumpkin book characters here at Deep Creek today, too! Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
For weeks people have been nominating their favorite videos that promote children’s or teen books. And our panels of judges have reviewed the submissions and narrowed the field to 24 nominees.
These “people’s choice” awards will recognize those videos (and the individuals that created them) that do the best job of promoting books and bringing readers and books together.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Here, we have a completely different kind of book by the same author. This is a picture book, illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson. The story is about the 1938 boxing match between the heavyweight champion, an African American, Joe Louis and the German fighter Max Schmeling. Now perhaps that doesn't seem like much, but at the start of World war II, this was a VERY important match, and not just in the boxing world. Max Schmeling was the only man to have knocked Joe Louis down in a match before. Max Schmeling was a sort of poster child for Hitler's perfect race and a symbol of Hitler's regime. the whole country was rooting for Joe Louis, regardless of their skin color. Again, to many of you reading this blog, that probably doesn't seem like much, but in the 1930's, there was a lot of discrimination against people of color.
This is a fascinating story, well told and beautifully illustrated. Highly recommended.