Bird is the Word!

Hello everybody, and how do you do?! This week Ms. Amanda told bird stories at preschool storytime! Tweet tweet!

We heard the story of A Funny Little Bird who is great at camouflage. We heard the story of Home Tweet Home, where two little birds left the nest and flew off to live somewhere else…. Like on top of a tortoise! And we listened to I Heard Said the Bird, where there is a new one born and the silly farm animals are trying to figure out which animal has a new baby.

We hung out with a parrot, an ostrich, an owl, a turkey, and a penguin, and it was a fun time!

Here’s a handy list of all the stories we’ve read this summer, and here more bird books if you’re looking for more wing-flapping fun.

The Grudge Keeper

It can be difficult to find youth books about being kind that aren’t didactic or patronizing (I’m looking at you, Berenstain Bears!). Luckily, the new and beautiful book The Grudge Keeper escapes these problems and offers a lovely tale of a town learning to be kind.

Written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, The Grudge Keeper follows a man who is responsible for holding on to all of the grudges that his fellow citizens experience. After a terrible storm, the grudges fly everywhere and the townspeople must learn how to live without them. The illustrations in this book are fantastically old-fashioned and weird; they remind me of the art in The Triplets of Belleville. And the vocabulary is equally delightful, with words like “tiffs, squabbles, umbrage, and imbroglios.” This book is a winner for kids and adults alike.

Love and Mercy

The film Love and Mercy is a bit of a music biopic that sheds light on the story of Beach Boys’ singer and songwriter Brian Wilson. He is wonderfully portrayed by Paul Dano and John Cusack at two very different stages of Wilson’s life and the split storyline darts in and out, detailing Wilson’s workflow, anxiety, and musical genius. In the end it shows Wilson in the 1980s as a very broken man under the overbearing care of his therapist Eugene Landy, and then the inevitable release of this care which leads to where he is today. It’s a well done story and it was great to hear all the Beach Boys music throughout the film. Those boys sure can harmonize.

Download of the Day: August 3

Nerd Nite #13 - Michigan's Woodstock: The 1970 Goose Lake International Music Festival: The Greatest Show You've Never Heard Of

This is the story of Michigan's huge outdoor music festival at the height of the hippie era... and no one's heard of it, because nothing went wrong.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #545 - "I have heard the mermaids singing each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me ..." ~ T.S. Eliot

"Dazzling...[a] quirky, raucous, and bewitching family saga", high praise by Sara Gruen for Erika Swyler's debut novel Book of Speculation, and rightly so. I simply couldn't put it down.

After his younger sister Enola runs off to read tarot cards for a traveling carnival, cash-strapped librarian Simon Watson lives alone in the decrepit family home that he watches nervously as it slowly crumbles toward the Long Island Sound. An old bound journal arrives at his doorstep one late June, almost at the same time his sister returns, restless and secretive. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of "mermaids" in Simon's family have drowned, always on July 24, including his mother.

As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly convinced that Enola will be the next victim of the family curse, and the answer must lie in the book.

"Debut author Swyler creates a melancholy world with hints of magic at the edges... Fans of historical novels, especially titles with circus themes or touched with a hint of the supernatural such as Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, Katharine Dunn's Geek Love, or Katharine Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, won't want to leave this festival."

The Mermaid's Child by Jo Baker - the acclaimed author of Longbourn brings us the magical story of a young girl in search of her mother...who her father believes just might be a mermaid. Malin Reed, always odd and awkward never quite fits in. When her father dies, she takes to the road in search of her mother. Apprenticed to a series of strange and wonderful characters, Malin embarks on a grueling journey that crosses oceans and continents - she even disguises herself as a boy in order to get a position on a slaving ship. Misadventures, rescues (by an eccentric librarian), icebergs and pirates, Malin's journey eventually comes to a fitting end.

This pungent early novel, only now available in the U.S, (is) "beautifully written and hauntingly strange,...a remarkable piece of storytelling, and an utterly unique work of fantasy..."

The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble, set in a mythical Pennsylvania mountain tells the story of three foundlings taken in by Auntie, a village wise woman. When Clara realizes that her sister Maren, is slowly but surely turning into a mermaid, she and best friend O'Neill set out to take Maren to a new home in the sea. Adventure finds them when a traveling show kidnaps them all, and Clara must overcome her inner doubts about who she really is in order to save them all.

"Like all good fairy tales, this one touches on deeper themes of sibling rivalry, jealousy, insecurity, and questions of identity...Noble's treatment of the mermaid theme is fresh and original, and even her minor characters are beautifully depicted."

Like mermaids? You might also enjoy Mermaid : A twist on the classic tale by Carolyn Turgeon, and The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford.

Download of the Day: August 2

Good and Cheap - Leanne Brown

While studying nutrition at NYU, Leanne Brown wrote this cookbook as a way to teach people how to eat well and affordably. You need to download this cookbook.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

Download of the Day: August 1

From Gecko Feet to Adhesive Tape - Wil Mara

Learn about how nature has inspired technological innovations with this book on the similarities between gecko feet and a new adhesive tape.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

FAST, FRESH & GREEN

Looking for a way to liven up your dinner routine? Have you considered vegetables? That’s right, you read correctly, vegetables!

This book, FAST, FRESH and GREEN: MORE THAN 90 DELICIOUS RECIPES FOR VEGGIE LOVERS by Susie Middleton, offers tons of recipes that elevate common vegetables beyond the everyday with tips for the perfect cooking approach. These are not your grandmother’s vegetables! (Okay, I know we all still LOVE our grandmother’s veggies.) But, imagine the difference between steamed broccoli and ‘Grilled Broccoli Rabe with Lemon and Parmigiano’ (page 187). And for summer, the chapter on “No Cooking” is perfect, featuring recipes like ‘Heirloom Tomato, Summer Peach and Fresh Herb Gazpacho Salad’ and ‘Colorful Chinese Kick-Slaw,’ both of which sound like the perfect side dish for a sticky August evening.

And for more yummy book suggestions featuring veggies, see here.

Cloth: 30+ Beautiful Projects to Sew from Linen, Cotton, Silk, Wool, and Hide by Cassandra Ellis

Everything has a story, even cloth. Cloth is a most unusual craft book in that Ellis shares history and stories and impressions of each kind of cloth, along with intriguing projects and beautiful, full-page pictures. All of these natural fibers have long associations of human use and are still valued today for being timeless, beautiful, strong and eco-friendly fabrics.

The aesthetic sense of each kind of cloth glows from the page, but in an understated and time-worn way. There is nothing glossy, or glitzy, or frivolous here. The projects are useful and practical, while still being beautiful and artistic. Additional information on appropriate tools, natural dyeing and resources for natural fiber cloth, and patterns enclosed in a folder at the back, make the book easy to use as well as a joy to peruse.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer you will enjoy sampling the projects and, if you are not, enjoy this lovely book for the calm, graceful, elegant mood it inspires.

Download of the Day: July 31

Circonflexe - Oliostere

This jazz-funk album is described as "progressive jazz frolicking on melodic polyrhythms" and who can say it any better than that?

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

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