Larf by Ashley Spires

I love a good sasquatch story, and Larf does not disappoint.  A loveable, hairy, seven foot tall vegetarian who enjoys the quieter things in life.  He is content to live alone with his pet bunny, until the day he makes an enormous discovery that changes everything.  You will fall in love with Larf.

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Ms. Karrie and I have had many discussions about the wonder that is Jon Klassen. I have read and enjoyed ALL of his work.

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.



The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll is a fun, beautifully illustrated children's Halloween book.  

Unbeknownst to a village mouse named Clayton, and a field mouse named Desmond, each mouse has been feeding and watering the same pumpkin in hopes of winning separate contest.  One mouse wants to win a contest for his town's biggest pumpkin, while the other mouse nutures the pumpkin in hopes of growing the town's biggest jack-o-lantern. 

This delightful story tells how the two mice accidentally find out about each other and realize that with their team work, they both have a chance to win their contests.

Great news, kids and parents! The early literacy website is now available for free on ELPL computers! Designed in collaboration with early childhood literacy experts and completely free of pop-ups, ads, and external links, ABCmouse is an interactive website that allows preschoolers, kindergartners, and early elementary students to learn and explore in a safe and educational online environment. From arts and drawing to games and puzzles, songs, the ABCs, animals, and more, ABCmouse is a great resource for your little learner. Check it out on one of our computers at ELPL or ask a librarian for more information!

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).




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. 

Happy Birthday, Harold and the Purple Crayon!

Happy birthday to Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson! The classic children's book that tells the tale of a little boy and the fantastic world he creates with his purple crayon turns 60 this year! Authors and readers from all around the world are celebrating this wonderful story with tributes to Harold, and you can join in the celebration too! Join us by re-reading the book, watching the cartoon, or listening to the audiobook, all available through ELPL, or stop by to create your own work of art in the library, including our Harold-themed coloring and activity sheets in the children's room. Leave your creations with the staff if you would like it to be displayed on the wall!

Books & Bagels - October 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Children's Storytime room

In October we will be discussing the book Inside Out and Back Again by

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The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Some picture books just beg to be read out loud, and The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak (you might recognize him from TV’s The Office and The Mindy Project) is one of those -- except, as you might have guessed from the title, this is a picture book with no pictures in it! That’s right, none at all.

Never fear, though. This title is so fun to read out loud that even the most visual of readers will enjoy it. The rules of the book are simple: whoever is reading it has to say absolutely everything written down in it, no matter how silly. Even if it’s gibberish like “bliggity blaggity” or “glibbity globbity.” The text itself quickly becomes the art, using fonts, sizes, colors, and orientations as cues to the reader, occasionally breaking the fourth wall and inviting kids to participate with the silliness on a meta level (isn’t it fun to make mom or dad say something so goofy?). This hilarious, interactive book lets imaginations (and silly sides) soar, and it won’t take long to get both kids and adults laughing out loud!

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton is probably best known for her webcomics -- she’s the creative mind behind the ultra-popular Hark! A Vagrant, a hysterical take on history, as well as several autobiographical comics about her experiences growing up in Nova Scotia. In The Princess and the Pony, her first picture book for early elementary readers, she brings her trademark charm, humor, and eye for setting to the table again, this time as we join the fearless Princess Pinecone on her quest to receive the perfect birthday present. This year, she doesn’t want yet another cutesy sweater -- she has her heart set on a fierce battle horse to ride during the hero’s competition! She knows she can take on the other fearsome warriors on once she has a trusty steed of her own.

When her pony shows up, though, it’s not quite what she was hoping for. It’s short and fat, it’s eyes point in different directions (sometimes), and it has an unfortunate tendency towards gassiness. There’s no way Princess Pinecone will be able to become the ultimate champion riding this pony into battle... is there?

Full to the brim with engaging drawings, silly humor and vocabulary, and strong messages (particularly those of friendship, acceptance, combating stereotypes, and the fact that everyone -- even round, flatulent ponies -- have something valuable to bring to the table), this a book that kids will want to read over and over again, and parents (especially if they’re fans of Beaton’s work themselves, in which case they might recognize the eponymous pony from her earlier comics), will be happy to indulge them.

Find The Princess and the Pony at ELPL (as well as a printed collection of Hark! A Vagrant for adults).