The Wide Mouthed Frog is My Hero

For the past year I’ve focused on my travel blog – The Library Lady Travels. But recently my husband started writing children’s books which got me thinking about my blogging roots.  I think it’s time to revisit the Library Lady Writes – so here goes!

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I used to love reading to my children. I’d pull out the books I’d brought home from the library, they’d gather their blankets and teddy bears, and crawl into my lap for storytime. Unfortunately, those children – who are now in their 30’s – are too busy for storytime anymore. But all is not lost because now I can read to the grandchildren! Being the Library Lady I have accumulated quite a collection of children’s books over the years, and I’d like to share some of them with you.

The Wide Mouthed Frog

By Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert

This book wins hands-down as a storytime favorite. With its bright illustrations and fun pop-up animals, it’s a treasure. I guarantee Frog’s adventures will have your children laughing out loud.

As frog visits his neighbors, blue feathered bird, and furry brown mouse,  he brags about his very wide mouth. All is well until he happens onto a big green alligator.
“I am a wide-mouthed frog and I eat flies,” he tells the alligator. “What do you eat?”  The alligator says, “I eat delicious wide-mouthed frogs.”
Wait for it – wait for it – there’s a big SPLASH . . . the surprise ending is delightful and your kids will want you to read it again and again.

Another thing I like about this book is how durable it is.  Pop-up books often have a short shelf life especially in the library, but this is made of sturdier stuff which is good as little hands can’t help but reach for the colorful pop-outs.

Saturdays and Teacakes

By Lester L. Laminack and Chris Sonpiet

This book about a boy and his grandma will steal your heart. Every Saturday the boy hopes on his bike –  faithful friend in tow – and travels to grandma’s house, where he mows her lawn. While he’s there he and grandma bake teacakes, work in the garden and sit on the porch swing relaxing and enjoying tomato sandwiches.  Not much action in this little gem, but that’s the appeal. It’s a gentle, joyful tribute to days gone by and an inspiration to grandma’s who love spending time with their little ones.

I can’t review this book without a serious nod to the illustrator Chris Sonpiet. His artwork is always amazing, but in Saturdays and Teacakes, it’s over the top.  The magnificent illustrations in this book would be worth the purchase price even without the sweet story.   Luckily we get to enjoy both. Don’t miss this “sit in Grandma’s lap” favorite.

The Princess and the Pig

princess 2

 by Jonathan Emmert / Polly Berantene

Fans of Peppa pig will also love this crazy tale of mistaken identity.

What happens when a baby princess is accidentally exchanged for a piglet?  I dare you not to laugh as the families of both babies try to cope with this unexpected turn of events. In this spoof of a fairy tale, almost everyone lives happily ever after.
Moral,  of the story: a princess can be something of a pig, but a pig cannot be a princess.

Come with Me

come with me

By Ashley Wolff

When a boy picks his favorite from a new litter of puppies he tells her about the adventures they’ll have when she’s old enough to come with him.  Come with me Pumpkin, down through the meadow; down to the sea . . .

In a series of whimsical watercolors, author and illustrator Ashly Wolff take readers to a boy’s favorite places in his seaside town. He and Pumpkin listen to the seals barking on the rocks, look for hermit crabs and starfish in the tide pools, and stop for cookies at the bakery. When the wind blows across the Pacific it tickles their ears – “Oh Pumpkin I can’t wait until you can come with me”.

Whether you live by the sea or just dream of doing so you’ll love this book.  Share it with the little and the big people in your life.

One thing I look for in a children’s book is a story that’s fun for the child as well as the adult who’s reading to them. Each of these books meet that criteria, and I hope you’ll enjoy them all.

Book illustrations courtesy of the Amazon Book store.

Library Lady’s Favorite Books of 2019

I’ve been doing a lot of travel writing lately but feel it’s time to get back to my roots and write some book reviews!  I’m lucky enough to be a book-lover who works at a library, so I have plenty of opportunities to learn about great reads. As many of you ask me for book recommendations, here are some of my favorites for 2018.

Fiction Books

bird

Dear Mrs. Bird – A.J. Pearce

Set in London during WWII this book is about an adventurous young woman who takes a job as a war correspondent, or so she thinks, but when the dust settles, she finds herself working as an advice columnist for a women’s magazine. Emmaline can’t resist answering letters that her boss has deemed unfit, and so the fun begins.  Warm and funny, an eye-opening look at life during the bombing of England.

gentlemanA Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

The author takes us to Russia in 1922, where the aristocratic Count Alexander Rostov, has been condemned to death by a Bolshevik tribunal. Thanks to his popularity and social prominence his life is spared, but the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel for the rest of his life. As he adjusts to his new circumstances, we get to know this witty and elegant gentleman and the profound effect he has on those around him. (One of my favorites!)

indigoIndigo Girl – Natasha Boyd

Set in the 1700s, this is the story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, a young Southern woman who must run her father’s plantation when he is called away.  To save the family from ruin, Eliza decides to grow Indigo, an unheard-of crop for that area.  With help from the plantation workers, she attempts this risky endeavor, but not everyone is on her side. Based on a true story. “Reader’s Choice” winner for Salt Lake County Libraries.

Continue reading

Human Library, Living Books

human library 2Have you ever been to a Human Library?  Here you can check out Living Books, and on Saturday I did just that.

The Salt Lake County Library System gathered a variety of people, i.e., books who were willing to share  their life experiences, and brought them together with readers who wanted to hear their stories.

I chatted with a retired soldier who had been involved in every American conflict since Viet Nam.  One man, a Muslim, told of being raised in apartheid South Africa, and another who was known as the Tom Brokaw of Iraq, recalled fleeing for his life after speaking up one too many times. I talked with a woman about the terror and the joy of escaping a life of polygamy, then discussed educational theory with a non-tiger Mom. There was an urban farmer, a polio survivor who climbed mountains, as well a an author, a songwriter an artist,  a member of the LGBTQ community and many more.

The Living Books festival originated in Denmark in 1993. The city had experienced a strong societal shift due to a large number of immigrants,  and the new and old members of the population were not getting along. The first Human Library was aimed at giving people a chance to sit down together as neighbors. It was an opportunity to break down barriers and  prejudice, and it serves the same purpose today.

“This event gave people  a chance  to talk with someone they wouldn’t ordinarily meet,” said the Imam of the Salt Lake Islamic society. “When you bring people from opposite ends of the social and political spectrum together in a  non-judgmental setting, a lot good can come of it.”

“We’ll do this again next year,” said Liesl Seborg,  coordinator of the event.  “Hopefully everyone will come back and bring their friends.”

And that’s what it’s all about – friends.  The people who attended today have some new friends to show for it, and judging by all the animated conversations and smiling faces, the event was a great success.

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Poster for the Original Human Library

http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/musing-mondays-mar-31/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Paws Up!

Rosie Bear

Rosie Bear

Rosie Bear here, fresh from a long winter’s nap – yawn. I actually had no intention of hibernating this year as I had way too many books to read, but one night last October, I was reading a long, looong book, and the next thing I know – it’s March!  Anyway, it’s time to get back to work.

As some of you may know, my friend the Library Lady had a falling out with the PBS series, Downton Abby.  (https://geanieroake.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/downton-abby-emphasis-on-the-down/)  As a result, even though her husband, and that ridiculous dog Lucy still stayed glued to the set on Sunday evenings, the Library Lady swore off all things Downton. Well, I bet I can get her to change her mind . . .  with this!

The Missing Diamond By Nick Page

The Missing Diamond
By Nick Page

Mouseton Abby – The Missing Diamond,  is unbearably cute and everyone will want to read it. Mouseton Abby originally belonged to the monastic mice of the Stinky brotherhood of the Holy Goatcheese, but it eventually ended up in the hands of Sir Roquefort, the Earl of Mouseton.

This mysterious story is filled with lots of fun characters, with many cheesy names like the Dowager Countess Lady Gouda. As the story goes, Lord Roquefort, who is very forgetful, loses the Great Cheesy Diamond, right before the annual celebration of Cheesemas, and the hunt is on.

Mouston Abby is a fun book for the cubs, and also for Mama and Papa bears especially if they like Downton Abby, which the Library Lady doesn’t, but she might give it a second chance after seeing this cute book!

Speaking of great books.  Here’s another must read.

By Amy Hest

By Amy Hest

Mr. George Baker is a Reading Rainbow book, and rightly so since it’s all about one of my beary favorite subjects – Reading. Mr. George Baker  is a hundred years old.  He’s sitting on the front porch of his house waiting for his friend Mr. Harry “in charge”, who is five.  When Harry arrives, he tells us about Mr. Baker and  his crumpled hat and long stretchy legs in saggy baggy pants with pockets full of candy.

They wait, and talk about some of  the things Mr. Baker  learned over the years, and some of the things he didn’t.  One of the didn’t is learn to read.

“That must be corrected”, he says.

Finally the wait is over. They stand and walk to the street as the school bus arrives, and  Mr. Baker and Harry both get on the bus. Though everyone wants Mr. Baker to sit with them, he always sits by Harry. When they get to the school, Harry goes to his room, and Mr. Baker goes to room 7 with the other adults who are  . . . learning to read.

This  honey of a book, also has furry beautiful pictures. You won’t sleep through this one!

Four Paws UP!

Four Paws UP!

Books I Loved in 2013!

beautiful booksI’ve discovered I have very eclectic taste in reading material. In other words, I work at the library and read anything and everything that catches my eye.   My favorites for last year range from comedy – Dad is Fat!, to tragedy – Nothing to Envy, Ordinary Lives in North Korea.  Animal stories – Dog On It a Chet and Bernie Mystery, and people stories – Coming Clean, a hoarders’ story. Someday I will be a lady of leisure and have time to read all the books in the library, but in the meantime  . . . here’s the lowdown on some of the standouts.

(Do you have a favorite?  I’d love to hear about it.)

Growing Up Amish, By Ira Wagler

growing up amishThis is the true story of a young man growing up in the Amish community.  Ira Wagler tells a fascinating  story of life among the Amish –  and it’s nothing like the embarrassing reality shows  that litter the cable channels.  The author grew up in a loving family with lots of brothers and sisters.  His parents though kind and supportive were also very devout and expected their children to follow suit. Ira, a rambunctious teenager had a hard time falling in line, and the result is both heartbreaking, and heartwarming.  I was entranced by this book, and found myself googling the author to find out what happened in the next chapter of his life.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling

is everyone hanging outYou may remember Mindy Kaling from her stint in the excruciatingly funny T.V. series, The Office. But even if that show wasn’t your cup of tea, this book might be.  Kaling is hilarious as she recalls embarrassing moments from her childhood and adolescence.  She also dishes the – not exactly dirt on her co-workers  from The Office, and shares behind the scenes tidbits from other shows she’s worked on.  Kaling is self-effacing, and funny, and reading the book felt like swapping stories with a college roomie.


The Kitchen House, By Kathleen Grissom

the kitchen houseFrom the opening paragraph, Grissom’s book grabs you and doesn’t let go.  The reader is hurtled into the inner sanctum – the kitchen house – of a colonial plantation, and the stories of the inhabitants keep you riveted. The events in this novel are narrated by many voices, from the slaves in the kitchen, to the plantation owner and his family. The message is clear – man is meant to be free. One man should not own another, and even the wealthy can be slaves if they worship the wrong gods.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, By Helen Simonson

major pettigrewI wasn’t sure about the Major at first.  His gruff and ethnocentric character was hard to like, but something kept me going and I soon caught on. Major Pettigrew’s bluster was all bluff, an attempt to conceal his own feelings of inadequacy, but underneath the rough exterior lay the heart of a marshmallow. When the Major has an unexpected breakdown over a death in the family, his widowed neighbor Mrs. Ali comes to his aid.  Embarrassed by his display of weakness, not to mention the unexpected feelings for one he considers beneath him, Major Pettigrew resolves to avoid further contact. This is not to be however, and the result is delightful story of two lonely people who find love when they least expect it.  I’ll read this book again someday.

Nothing to Envy, Ordinary Lives in North Korea, By Barbara Demick.

nothing to envyThis is a haunting chronicle of day-to-day life in North Korea.  While not my usual fare, this affected me profoundly, and changed the way I see the world.  For a detailed review of Ordinary lives click here:

https://geanieroake.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/book-review-nothing-to-envy-ordinary-lives-in-north-korea/

Cutting for Stone, By Abraham Verghese

cutting for stoneHave you ever read a book where you so love the characters that you wished they lived next door? Cutting for Stone is one of those.  An epic story of twin boys, one given up for dead at birth, who go on to live amazing lives.  Set in a charity hospital in Ethiopia, the Doctors work miracles in this understaffed and overwhelmed facility. Though the medical details can be a bit graphic at times, they serve to heighten the stakes in this heart wrenching tale of  love and survival.

Dad is Fat, By Jim Gaffigan

dad is fatA perfect beach read.  Gaffigan is a stand up comedian who lives with his wife and five children in a small apartment in New York City.  This collection of essays on parenting is great fun, and will strike a chord with anyone who has ever tried to retain their dignity while raising small children.

Coming Clean, a Hoarder’s Story,  By Kimberly Rae Miller

coming cleanKimberly Rae Miller grew up in a house of horrors.Her parents were hoarders, and though they acknowledged their problems and regretted what they were doing to their beloved daughter, they were powerless to stop. Despite spoiled food in the refrigerator, rats skittering through piles of garbage, and unusable plumbing Kimberly survives and manages to keep their family’s secret. The author tries to underplay the frightening aspects of her childhood, and goes on to focus on how she coped with the after effects. This book is a success story on many levels.  Coming clean is so well written that you care about the author and find yourself rooting for her to make it.

Dog On It, A Chet and Bernie Story, By Spencer Quinn

dog on itChet and Bernie are partners in crime, crime solving that is. Bernie is a somewhat bumbling, but well-intentioned human, who owns a detective agency.  Chet is his partner and dog. The story is told through the eyes of Chet who though very bright, still does dog things like wolfing old abandoned hot dogs he digs up from under the Bar-B-Cue grill. This story is a light-hearted mystery that holds your interest and will definitely make you laugh

Fall of Giants, By Ken Follett

fall of giantsWhile not a huge fan of war stories, I started this because I loved Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth, and World Without End.  This turned out to be just as good, and I inadvertently learned a lot about the lead up to, and start of World War I.  The author makes these characters come alive and I really cared about what happened to everyone.  Though a long book at 985 pages, I didn’t want it to end, and I look forward to reading the next installment.

I’m already hard at work on next years list.  Happy reading everyone!

How To Be Happier 7 Days A Week

Laughing Man 6Having a bad day? Feeling sad or discouraged?  Read on:

“Don’t compare yourself, celebrate yourself!”
“Run your own race, you have something great to offer.”
“Live without excuses.”
“Guilt will steal your joy.”
(Excerpts from guilt Will Steal Your Joy, by Joel Osteen)

I’m not usually a fan of Television evangelists. However sound their their message, there’s always the danger of one of those excruciating public apologies when caught in the midst of some scandal or the other. Who can forget Tammy Faye Baker‘s   (http://tammyfaye.com/)  tear-induced runaway mascara, when hubby Jim confessed his infidelity on a worldwide broadcast. Thanks to this and many other public implosions, the image of the T.V preacher has suffered over the years, but Joel Osteen seems bent on changing  that.

joel osteen

While Osteen is the acknowledged Mega King of the Mega T.V. churches, he seems to be a horse of a different color. With his rock solid marriage, and  practical, positive message, there’s a lot to like about the man.

I’ve been listening to his audio book, and his stories are homey and down to earth; real life situations that anyone can relate to. And though I’m not personally a member of his  flock, I like to pick up nuggets of truth wherever I  find them. Osteen’s book is a virtual gold mine.

Here’s a few more sample’s:

“We have what we need to be happy, we just don’t have the right perspective.”
“You cannot give Thanks to God and stay down and discouraged.”
“We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our reactions.”
“When you allow what someone says or does to upset you, you’re allowing them to control you.”
“Every day tell your children, your spouse, those who mean the most to you, how much you love them.”
“Today you are living in tomorrows good old days.”

I picked this book up because I needed something to listen to while I waited for my real book to come in from another library.  By the time my hold showed up I couldn’t put this one down.  Osteen’s book is funny, entertaining and inspiring.  I recommend it to anyone who find themselves grappling with the complexities of everyday life.

Laughing Man 2

Beary Beautiful Book Nominees

GRR, this is Rosie Bear again. Many people have asked whether I plan to hibernate this winter. I say NO WAY, I have too many books to read.Today I’m spotlighting two nominees for the Rosie Bear Beautiful Book Award.  I’ll mention  several of these throughout the year, and  on the one-year anniversary of this blog, the Library lady and her friends will vote for the winner.  Here’s two of my favorites

saturdays and teacakesSaturdays and Tea Cakes

Story by Lester Laminack
Paintings by Chris Soentpiet

If you could see this book in person, you’d know that this tiny photo doesn’t do it justice.  Saturday’s and  Tea Cakes is one of the most splendiferous picture books this little brown bear has ever seen. Artist  Chris Soentpiet gets 4 paws and ten claws up.

The story, set in the 1940’s, is  about a young boy who rides his bike to Grandma’s house one Saturday to help with her chores.  On the way he passes through a small town, populated by classic cars, an old-time gas station, and quaint houses and shops.  In the countryside he rides by sweeping meadows and peaceful country farms. But it’s the  scenes at Grandmas’ house that really make the book.

After greetings and hugs, the two sit down in Grandma’s cozy kitchen, with its red formica countertops, 40’s dinette set, and vintage everything.   In return for  the boy’s help with  chores, Grandma makes her special  Tea Cakes for a treat. Later they rest and visit on a front porch surrounded by Snapdragons and Hollyhocks. As the day wanes,  it’s time for the boy to return home.

This gentle book  would make a wonderful gift for a grandchild, or grandparent.  It’s all about  family, and the special love that bonds the generations.

water dance

Water Dance

by Thomas Locker

Water Dance is another gorgeous book. Illustrated by oils on canvas, it shows us water in all  its varied and beautiful forms.

At the foot of the mountains:
I leap from a stone cliff.
Spiraling . Plunging.
I am the waterfall.

At other times I am drawn upward by warm sunlight:
In white -silver veils I rise.
I disappear into the air.
I am the mist.

At the end of the book there is an excellent explanation of the water cycle that any parent or teacher could use for further discussions.  Either as a teaching tool, or  a cozy read before bed-time, Water Dance is a grrreat book for the cubs.