A Fine Dessert: a "treat" of a story!

What a charming and special new book! A Fine Dessert, by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall, tells the story of four families in four different centuries who are all making the same delicious dessert. The ingredients for the yummy treat, blackberry fool, remain the same over the years, but the methodology for getting the materials and making the dessert changes with the times.

In the 1700s, a girl and her mother collect blackberries and then whip cream by hand from the milk from their cow. In the 1800s, a slave family in Charleston, South Carolina, picks blackberries from the plantation garden and uses a whisk made by the local blacksmith to whip the cream. In Boston in the early 1900s,a girl and her mother buy blackberries from the market and use pasteurized cream delivered by the milkman that morning. And in modern day San Francisco, a boy and his dad buy blackberries and cream at the grocery store, print a recipe from the Internet and use an electric mixer to whip the cream.

The authors do an amazing job of depicting both the similarities and differences between the families and lifestyles over time. They manage to weave in some bigger topics (slavery, gender roles) in a subtle way and provide great historical portraits of each of the time periods. And, the best news is, the recipe for blackberry fool is included at the end of the book!

Yum!

Download of the Day: April 17


Canto Y Danza - Chambure Vihuela Quartet

For authentic Spanish Renaissance polyphony, you can't do much better than this quartet.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #524 "There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees; and there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living..." ~ Elmore Leonard

Called a "powerful, timely debut" The Turner House * * by Angela Flournoy is especially poignant for readers in Southeast Michigan.

Set in Detroit's East Side, it is the story of an American family spanning five decades, from the Second Great Migration in the 1940s to the present, weathering the series of boom-and-bust associated with the auto industry and the history of the city.

Francis and Viola Turner raised all thirteen of their children in the house on Yarrow Street. Now widowed and ailing, Viola is forced to head to the suburbs and move in with Cha-Cha (Charles), her eldest. The house, once a proud symbol of working-class respectability, now stands among abandoned lots and urban plight, and is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children must gather to decide its fate.

Narrating the family saga are Cha-Cha, who feels the full burden of being both father and brother to his 12 siblings; Troy, a former vet and a disillusioned policeman, wants to illegally short sell the house; and Lelah, the youngest daughter whose gambling addiction has cause her her job, her apartment, maybe even her family, finds it necessary to squat in the Yarrow Street house unbeknownst to her siblings.

"The Turner House brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It's a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home."

"Flournoy's writing is precise and sharp..., the novel draws readers to the Turner family almost magnetically. A talent to watch."

The author, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former librarian, grew up on the west coast but spent time throughout her childhood at her grandparents' home on Detroit's East Side. She will be at the Chelsea District Library on Saturday, April 25th as part of the Midwest Literary Walk. Click here for details and other near-by opportunities to meet the author.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Download of the Day: April 16


Moby Dick, or the Whale - Herman Melville

Queequeg and Pequod sure are funny names, but the narrator of this book just wants you to call him Ishmael.

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2015 Michigan Notable Books Announced

Each year, the Library of Michigan selects a list of titles for recognition as Michigan Notable Books. These have been singled out as exceptional titles published in the previous year that highlight Michigan people, places, and events.

In addition to drawing attention to books with a Great Lakes region focus, "...the list continues to offer something for everyone. The 2015 list represents fiction, short story collections, history, children's picture books, mysteries, poetry and memoirs," says State Librarian Randy Riley. This 2015 list includes a range of diverse offerings, from dystopian fiction bestseller Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel to Derek Jeter's YA novel The Contract, from a history of Detroit's crucial supply role during WWII in A.J. Baime's The Arsenal of Democracy to Josh Greenberg's River of Sand guidebook to fly fishing in the waterways of the Great Lakes region.

Ready to explore the books for yourself? Here's a Michigan Notable Books|list of this year's honored titles in the AADL catalog.

Download of the Day: April 15


Fugitive Visions - Piano Masterworks By Chopin And Liszt - Ivan Ilic

Chopin and Liszt from a pianist who has performed at Carnegie Hall and Ireland's National Concert Hall, among other high-profile venues.

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Behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live is one of the longest-running television programs in the country, and is certainly one of the most beloved. Featuring live comedy sketches and variety performances as well as popular bands and musical guests every week since it first aired in 1975, SNL celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year. Fans of SNL will absolutely love Saturday Night Live: The Book, published this year in honor of the show’s 40th year. The large, brightly colored book is filled with facts and never before seen, behind-the-scenes photographs from every season of the show. Also included are interviews with Lorne Michaels, cast members, and other contributors to the show, and fun, goofy details about some of the more famous skits.

As a huge SNL fan myself, I even liked the portion of this book that shows photos of every host the show has had, and lists the air date, host and musical guest for all 784 episodes of the show. It was amazing to see the hundreds of various people that have hosted over the years!

The AADL also has lots of great SNL episodes on video, including the Best of Steve Martin, the Best of Will Ferrell and the Best of Amy Poehler collections, and many complete seasons. If you’re interested in reading more about the show, try Live From New York: the complete, uncensored history of Saturday Night Live as told by its stars, writers and guests.

Live from New York it’s Saturday niiiiiiiight!

PreK Bits - "S" is for Splendid Spring Stories

Ms. Rachel shared bunny tales from WAITING FOR SPRING STORIES by Bethany Roberts.
Bunnies are in each episode of “Spring Showers” and “The Wind And The Clothes”.
Since the book is out-of-print and no longer in our library, you would be able to request this title through MelCat loan.
Ms. Sara sang and accompanied the song “Wake Up You Sleepyheads” while Ms. Rachel led the action.
The Allard's sing this song on their CD Sing it! Say it! Stamp it! Sway it! : vol. 1.

For more spring stories try the following favorites:
AND THEN IT’S SPRING by Julie Fogliano.
WAKE UP! IT’S SPRING! by Lisa Campbell Ernst.
HOME FOR A BUNNY by Margaret Wise Brown.
JUST PLAIN FANCY by Patricia Polacco. Two young Amish girls are concerned when one of their hen eggs hatches into an extremely fancy bird.
HANK FINDS AN EGG by Rebecca Dudley. Hank finds a lost eggs and tries to return it to its home.
MUNCHA! MUNCHA! MUNCHA! by Candace Fleming. Ach! Rabbits in the veggie garden!!
And then of course the classic! The TALE OF PETER RABBIT by Beatrix Potter, with Peter’s sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

You may choose more spring stories from our public list PreK Bits – SPRING Stories for 1-6 yrs.

The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes

Have you been dying to learn to cook authentic Italian food, but didn't know where to begin? The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes is a great way to introduce older children to the art of cooking. This book is specially adapted for kids from the famous The Silver Spoon, the "best-selling bible of Italian cooking" first published in 1950.

The first few pages of this simple and illustrated guide explain basic cooking and cutting techniques, as well as common kitchen equipment and utensils. This first section emphasizes safety above all else, which is essential for a young person who is somewhat new to cooking. The rest of The Silver Spoon for Children consists of easy and delicious recipes. Learn to make a beautiful mozzarella and tomato salad or a hearty minestrone soup. Try your hand at linguine with pesto, lasagna, or potato gnocci. You can even learn to make your own pizza dough and pizzas! Deserts round out this full collection, with recipes for delicious hazelnut cake, banana cream or fruits of the forest ice cream.

This book is recommended for older children looking to learn more about cooking. It includes easy-to-follow instructions and full-color photographs, as well interesting and artsy illustrations on every page. This beautiful book is a must have for any aspiring future chef.

Download of the Day: April 14


The Saint Valentine’s Day Murders - Ruth Dudley Edwards

This proves it: bureaucracy can kill. Office politics and anger escalate to pranks and death in this classic British mystery.

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