Download of the Day: April 26


Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Spanish gentleman Don Quixote, deluded and obsessed with the chivalrous ideals touted in books he has read, takes up his lance and sword to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked.

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Download of the Day: April 25


Tornadoes! - Cecilia Minden

Next time there's a tornado watch or warning be better prepared with this educational book about one of nature's fiercest creations.

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It's Only Stanley!

"It's very late, and Stanley is up to something. Will you figure out what he's doing before his sleepy family does?"

Author Jon Agee, known for his whimsical and deeply funny picture books, has just published a new gem: It's Only Stanley.

This charming story begins with the family dog Stanley howling at the moon late one night. The Wimbledon family springs awake, only to find that "it's only Stanley". But the story doesn't end there. The Wimbledons are awoken time and time again, as Stanley's activities become more and more fantastical. The clanking sound that wakes the family turns out to be Stanley fixing the oil tank, and the funky smell emanating from the kitchen is only Stanley making catfish stew. The story builds until it culminates in a very satisfying (yet somewhat bizarre) ending.

The entire story is written in verse, which adds a nice rhythm to this fun read-aloud. The simple watercolor illustrations also add to the story, with hidden gags and clues that hint towards the book's surprising ending. This hilarious book is a must-read for fans of Click Clack Moo.

For more interesting and hilarious reads by Jon Agee, check out Orangutan Tongs : Poems to Tangle Your Tongue, The Retired Kid, and Who Ordered the Jumbo Shrimp? : and Other Oxymorons.

Download of the Day: April 24


By The Sea - Geoff Cawthorn

Soothing piano in the vein of George Winston.

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Download of the Day: April 23


Shoot to Kill - Mark Boulle and the Haba Dudes

Bouncy guitar rythyms backed by an ever-changing array of different instruments characterize this indie rock album from Australian singer-songwriter Mark Boulle.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #526

Lady Montfort's (Clementine Elizabeth Talbot) annual summer ball is the highlight of the season, not just for the household but for the county, and all their London friends. With the millions of details to be seen to, her ladyship relies heavily on her capable and resourceful housekeeper Edith Jackson, a handsome woman in her early thirties. The 1912 ball went off without a hitch. Even the weather was perfect to show off the Montfort's new sunken garden. Tragedy strikes in the early hours of the next morning when the gamekeeper finds a body, hanging in a gibbet that turns out to be that of Teddy Mallory, Lord Montford's dishonorable nephew, just expelled from Christ Church, Oxford.

When it was discovered that a new housemaid and one of their London guests also disappeared during the night, Scotland Yard gets involved. After unwittingly witnessed a violent confrontation between her son Harry, Lord Haversham and Teddy in the early evening, Lady Montfort fears that the official police inquiry is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect. Taking matters into her own hands, the countess enlists the help of Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case.

In Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman "an enchanting debut, author Tessa Arlen (incorporates) exquisite period detail into her well-mannered mystery, offers readers an engaging peek into the lives of upper and lower classes of early 1900s England combined with a little history interspersed." For those who enjoyed English country house mysteries like Gosford Park and Kate Morton's The House at Riverton.

If the elegant estate on the jacket cover brings to mind another establishment depicted in a long-running Masterpiece Theatre TV series, it's intentional. In fact, Tessa Arlen will participate in a panel discussion entitled Downton Malice: British Historical Period Mysteries at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland, Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Historical mystery fans interested specifically in the Edwardian era may wish to check out the author's Redoubtable Edwardians blog, choke-full of fabulous information and readalikes.

Download of the Day: April 22


Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Jane Austen's beloved comedy of manners pits haughty Mr. Darcy against sharp-tongued Elizabeth Bennett in this tale of the errors of first impressions.

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PreK BITS - "I" is for "Issues" ... with clothing!

We had issues with clothing in Ms. Rachel’s Storytime this week.
BROWN BEAR In A BROWN CHAIR was sad and flat since nobody sees her sitting there. Is there a solution?
PETE The CAT: I Love My White Shoes keeps stepping in stuff that change the color of his new white shoes. Does he worry? Goodness NO!
"Cinderella Dressed In Yellow" is a jumping rope rhyme. You can find versions on YouTube and write your own verses.

For more stories about clothing issues try these favorites:
MR. FRANK by Irene Luxbacher … when Grandfather, the tailor, comes to live with the family.
ZORRO GETS AN OUTFIT … and how embarrassing!
PINK ME UP! when Daddy takes Violet to the Pink Girls Pink-nic. He needs a bit more pink to join in the fun.
MORRIS MICKLEWHITE And The TANGERINE DRESS … Morris loves an orange dress. It's beautiful. It's tactile. It's the color of tigers, and mother’s hair, and his cat MOO.
The GROWING STORY by Ruth Krauss. How to know you are growing ... when you think you are not.
NAKED! What's more fun than being naked?
MR TUGGLE’S TROUBLES … finds himself wearing a strange assortment of items as pieces of clothing go missing.
The KETTLES GET NEW CLOTHES. Evryone has their own opinions.
ANIMALS SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT WEAR CLOTHING! … persuasive examples in case you do not already know why.
So many issues. So little time.

Are you my mummy?

Do you enjoy reading about mummies from Egypt? Are you fascinated by the Terracotta Warriors of China? If so, you should check out At Home in Her Tomb-Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins. In 1972, a tomb was discovered in Mawangdui in Hunan Province. Deep inside was Lady Dai, who died more than 2000 years ago but who was perfectly preserved, along with clothing, games, lacquer dishes, and even food! Her tomb led to many discoveries about life in ancient China and this book brings both the archaeology process and Lady Dai herself to life.

Download of the Day: April 21


The Sign of Four - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Opium dens, foreign rebellions, colluding convicts - this story helped cement Holmes' position in readers' hearts.

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