Materials We Have

The Story of Jumaji

JUMANJI!!! Would be what one yells upon winning the game created by Chris Van Allsburg - that is if you can make it through! Jumanji is the tale of siblings Peter and Judy and how they attempt to entertain themselves while their parents have gone out to the opera. Their parents left them with one direction, "please keep the house neat." How can two kids manage to keep the house neat when battling lions, monkeys, rhinos, and a monsoon? The most important part of the game Jumanji, is that it is not over until one player reaches the golden city and yells out Jumanji. Who knows what the roll of the dice will bring to the game? Do you think you'd have what it takes to finish the game? Read this Caldecott Medal book and look at the way Chris Van Allsburg tells the story, not just through his words but also through his beautiful illustrations.

Beyond the Wild Things

We all know and love Maurice Sendak for his creation of the Wild Things and their terrible roars! But, I grew up listening to Really Rosie which combined many of Sendak's other books into the story of Rosie and the Nutshell Kids. Here are the 4 books we have here at the library that you can read along with as Carole King sings the stories of Rosie and the Nutshell Kids.

The Sign on Rosie's Door is the inspiration for Really Rosie, taking the characters introduced in the book to tell the stories of his other books. The idea is that on a regular summer day in New York City, Rosie and her friends (the Nutshell Kids) use their imaginations to create fantastical situations and make up alternate realities to their regular neighborhood.

Chicken Soup with Rice tells the story of the year, what we do in different months and how to enjoy our surroundings.

Pierre, a cautionary tale in five chapters and a prologue. What happens when the only thing you say is, "I don't care?" Take a lesson from Pierre and beware of hungry lions!

Alligators all Around is an alphabet tale. Using alliteration, Sendak and King have created an easy to follow alphabet sing-along!

Check out everything and have a Rosie Day!

The Tale of the Once-ler

"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees." When I was a child, the recycling movement was really just starting to gain public notice. We started having paper recycling boxes at school and I would help my neighbor take recyclables to Granger every weekend. Now, we can just roll our new recycle bins out to the curb every other week and the city helps us take care of it. In the early 90s, my older sister had to give a performance of The Lorax. For weeks and weeks, I heard this story on repeat. It was started out as entertaining, and after the 50th time, it was like a broken record. But, looking back on it, Dr. Seuss has created a cautionary tale of why we must take care of our planet. There are things that exist in limited supply and once gone, they may never come back. The Lorax is the story of the Once-ler, a driven business-man who creates a product called a Thneed. The Thneed is made from the Truffula Trees. The Lorax comes to raise the alert that by chopping down the Truffula Trees, the Once-ler is harming the Brown Bar-ba-loots, the Swomee-Swans, and the Humming-fish. When the Lorax can take no more, he leaves the Once-ler with one word of wisdom: Unless. Unless care and concern for the environment exists within all of us, our impact on the planet will end in very poor living conditions. Take the lesson of The Lorax and make the effort to live a more sustainable life and help make our community a better place.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

As a children’s librarian, it’s probably no surprise to my friends and family that I like to give picture books as presents when babies are born. I always tried to pick a few of my best loved classics as well as some modern favorites, and recently a pattern among the modern titles has begun to emerge -- I think I’ve brought Andrea Beaty’s 2013 book Rosie Revere, Engineer to the last three baby showers in a row that I’ve been to. But in my defense, this book has absolutely everything I love in a picture book. Bold, eye-catching illustrations? Check. Clever and irreverent writing? Check. An inspiring, stereotype-defying message? Check plus.

Rosie Revere, Engineer is the story of a young girl whose love of all things tinkering, inventing, and engineering is hindered by her fear of failure. She dreams of building an airplane, but what if it doesn’t fly? What if it’s true that girls are no good at inventing? What if absolutely everything goes wrong? Luckily for Rosie, her great great aunt Rose (recognizable as an grown up version of Rosie the Riveter) is also an engineer who spent time building airplanes during World War II, and she helps bolster Rosie’s confidence and remind her that the only failure is not trying. Together, they craft Rosie’s first attempt at an airplane.

I have to add in my favorite passage, which takes place right after Rosie’s first attempt only hovers for a moment before crashing, because it encapsulates the spirit of the book so well:

It crashed. That is true.

But first it did just what it needed to do.

Before it crashed, Rosie…

before that…

it flew!

Your brilliant first flop was a raging success!

Come on, let’s get busy and on to the next!

Tell me that’s not an awesome message for any young reader!

Find it at ELPL here.



Coulrophobia: It by Stephen King Started my Fear of Clowns

I have to admit, while many people are terrified of clowns, I never really gave them a thought one way or another before reading and watching

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Halloween is the perfect time to discover (or rediscover) the ultimate children’s book all about the things that go bump in the night: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz.

Older readers might remember this 1980s series of spooky stories from their childhoods -- although perhaps not for the stories themselves, but for the nightmarish illustrations that accompany them. Dreamlike, inky, splotchy, and grotesque, these pictures are the kind that stick with readers (especially at bedtime), and years later still have them reminiscing -- remember those books with the seriously creepy drawings?

Purists might be dismayed to know that the newest editions of the books have changed the style of illustrations to something less nightmare-inducing, but either way, these books stand the test of time as the scary stories for kids. These are classic, creepy (and short!) stories that range from silly rhymes and gotcha endings to the seriously macabre and scary. For younger readers who may prefer less unsettling artwork, check out the updated version that’s illustrated by Brett Helquist (best known for his drawings accompanying Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events). If not, brace yourself and brave the original artwork by Stephen Gammell -- but beware, they’re genuinely freaky!

A great nostalgia book for slightly older readers, and a great introduction to the genre of scary stories for upper elementary and middle school aged kids (with mindfulness towards the creepy illustrations and content).



Staff Reviews: Sunshine

Do you like reading books about vampires?

I'm here to recommend a book with a strong heroine, who works in the restaurant business, and has her otherwise normal life disrupted by a vampire.

She is not Sookie Stackhouse.

In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, vampires are not hidden from the world.  Neither are demons, fae, werewolves, or any other sort of supernatural beings.  Humanity knows about them, we fought a war with them, and we won.  Right?

At the start of the book, the "Voodoo Wars" are in the past. The SOF (Special Other Forces, kind of like a human SWAT for dealing with things-that-go-bump-in-the-night) are standing guard.  And so humanity can go outside without, for the most part, worrying about whether they're going to end up as lunchmeat for something with big, sharp, pointy teeth.  There are still bad parts of town, and places that one doesn't want to go after dark.  There are a few differences from our world, of course.  You might get as much mileage out of a charm as a gun, and some gangs are a bit more...nocturnal...than usual.  Still, it's entirely probably possible that one might live out one's life without becoming anything remotely resembling "fang fodder".  In fact, both you and your close friends might never even be mistaken for any variety of giant, human, slurpee.

This is what Rae "Sunshine" Seddon wants to do.  Live out a normal life, I mean.  The slurpee thing is not so high on her list.  She was raised by her mother after her father disappeared, and she works at the family restaurant.  There, her excellent baking skills produce things like Killer Zebras and Bitter Chocolate Deaths, as well as other, less-imaginatively-named confectionery treats.    However, one day she goes to spend time at a somewhat remote lake, and gets caught up in a struggle between vampires who are trying to convince one of their kind to be less of a picky eater.  What happens after that, dear reader, is awesome.

The book won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 2004.

Go read it.


This movie is very strange, which makes sense because it's a Tim Burton movie. But the basic premise is that Coraline crawls into another world, somehow, and is trapped there with fake parents. The mother is incredibly creepy, has buttons for eyes, and tries to keep Coraline with her. I saw this movie a long time ago, so I could be wrong about the basic gist. What I do remember, however, is that it was a little scary for the age group it's intended for. I was probably 13 or 14 when I saw it and I got freaked out. (That's not saying much, though, because I can't stand anything even remotely scary.) The animation and creativity of the movie is really cool, but I honestly don't think that's enough to actually watch it. The best way to describe this movie is simply weird.