PreK Bits - "T" is for Tubby Time

Today was sponsored by the letter "T" in Ms. Rachel's Storytime.

First ... PARROT TICO TANGO stole the fruit and needed to make things right.
We did "A-Tooty-Tah" for wiggle time.
Then ... we caught the baby and gave her a bath for TUBBY.

For more TUB stories try the following:
PIGEON NEEDS A BATH by the one and only Mo Willems.
RABBIT EARS ... Hopscotch refuses to clean his ears until ....
KING BIDGOOD'S In The BATHTUB .... and "he won't come out!"
GULLIVER SNIP and his swashbuckling bath-time.
QUEEN VICTORIA'S BATHING MACHINE is an historical experience with the real Queen Victoria.
Next time... Don't forget to lather up and play with those bubbles!

How To Build Your Own Country

Are you a kid that likes making stuff? Are you tired of people bossing you around all of the time? Why not start your own country? How to Build Your Own Country is exactly the guide you need to turn your diplomatic dreams into a reality!

How to Build Your Own Country is the essential guide for creating a new country. This book leads you through important steps in the country-building process, such as naming your country, finding a population, designing a flag and motto, and writing a national anthem. Once you've created your new country, it's time to keep your citizens in order! Let this book guide you through tricky tasks such as setting up a government, holding elections, making the laws and serving your citizens. Once you've got a handle on your country's internal politics, this book also looks at how to best handle keeping the peace between different nations. Pretty soon, you may find yourself with a fully functioning country on your hands!

As you read, you will frequently run into fun facts or interesting stories along the way to help you visualize how these tips played out with other real-life countries. This book includes comic-style illustrations, making it exceptionally easy to pick up and read. This fun and interactive book is a must read for kids of all ages.

Need some inspiration for your new country? Check out books like 100 Countries, 5000 Ideas or Building Manhattan to help spark your own creativity and imagination.

The End of Always deals beautifully with timeless issues

The setting of the new book The End of Always, by Randi Davenport, is unexpectedly haunting: turn-of-the-century Waukesha, Wisconsin, provides a stark backdrop to the chilling story that Davenport unveils slowly to readers. Seventeen-year-old Marie Reehs is consumed with memories of her mother, who died in a mysterious accident to which her father was the only witness. In her heart, Marie knows that her violent, abusive father murdered her mother, but her older sister is desperate to keep what remains of the family together and begs Marie to forget what she has seen. As Marie toils away every day at the local laundry, she vows that she will not marry a violent man, as seems to be the legacy for the women in her family. When she starts a love affair with a handsome and charismatic young man, she thinks that he may be the answer to her prayers for freedom, but readers must press on until the end of this luminescent book to find out if Marie will be able to break free from the Reehs women’s dark family curse.

Reading about domestic violence in a historical context was interesting and eye-opening. Although difficult to read at times, The End of Always is ultimately an uplifting and powerful story of a courageous woman trying to take charge of her own life.

TV Shows! One Case, All Discs.

Many of the television shows that are popping up the in catalog may be series or seasons you’ve seen or heard of before, but the good news is that the complete season of the series is in one case and there’s an extended check out period! So there’s no juggling your holds list making sure you get disc 2 before disc 3 of that show you’re dying to see what happens next on. Some are Blu-ray, some are DVD.

This is a great opportunity to binge on some shows you may have missed out on, not had time to watch yet, or just need to see again. Shows like Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, Doctor Who, Northern Exposure, The Good Wife, Battlestar Gallactica, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Freaks and Geeks, and many more. So many shows! Check out the list for more shows featuring complete season sets. Something in the collection is sure to help you get through February.

A New Book from Harper Lee

That's right, you read that correctly! Harper Lee will publish her second book this July, more than 50 years after the release of her masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird. Her second book is called Go Set a Watchman. The book features an adult Scout visiting her father Atticus 20 years after the original story takes place. Lee wrote Go Set a Watchman before To Kill a Mockingbird, but thought that the draft had been lost until recently, when it was unearthed by her friend and lawyer.

Go Set a Watchman will be published by Penguin on July 14, 2015. You can prepare by reading To Kill a Mockingbird (either on your own or with your book club), watching the movie, or reading Charles Shields' amazing biography of Lee, Mockingbird.

Taco Tuesday: Books!

It’s Taco Tuesday! What are you making for dinner? Are you reading books about tacos? No?!

AADL has some fun children’s picture books to help complete your Taco Tuesday. Even better would be to nom on some tasty tacos while reading together.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is hilarious! And is probably my favorite taco book of all time. The author also has a new non-taco book called Big Bad Bubble that is also worth a read. If you want to make Tuesday pizza day instead, then read Rubin’s Secret Pizza Party and be ready for laughs.

Have you ever eaten Mud Tacos? In this picture book the kids find out that the best thing about making mud tacos is not eating them. But no worries, after the kids take a trip to the market some real tacos are in order and are way more delicious.

Hungry yet? Don't eat mud. If you’re looking for dinner plans, here’s a list of taco-tastic cookbooks with recipes to last for many Tuesdays to come.

The 2015 Notable Books (Literary Fiction)

Being announced at the same time as the Reading List is one of the grand dame of ALA awards. "Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader." Here is the current fiction list:

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
How much sacrifice does the love of a sister require?

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Navigating the dark of World War II a German boy and a French girl survive using senses other than sight.

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell
The human condition: bleak but not without moments of redemption.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
A deceptively simple story reveals complexities of life choices.

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
A thoughtful exposition of love, in all its endless varieties.

The Enchanted: A Novel by Rene Denfield
Death row inmates await escape through execution in this weirdly gorgeous tale.

Narrow Road to the Deep North: A Novel by Richard Flanagan
Australian beaches, Burmese jungles, love and death permeate a story of World War II POWs.

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
From fish farm to big pharma, 100 years later it’s all the same.

Orfeo: A Novel by Richard Powers
On the run from Homeland Security, Peter Els reflects on a life of attempted creation and immortality through music and chemistry.

Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories by Ron Rash
A brutal and beautiful collection of human tales set in the Carolinas.

Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel
Love, music, and Shakespeare sustain survivors of a global pandemic.

Tigerman by Nick Harkaway
Funny, strange, and dangerous, the island of Mancreu may be beyond saving, but perhaps a superhero can bring redemption. “Full of win.”

Consult the full list for Poetry and Nonfiction picks.

The 2015 Reading List

While most of the country's households were glued to the Superbowl, and Chicago was slammed with a memorable snowstorm, the intrepid librarians at ALA Midwinter announced this past year's best of the best in genre fiction - the Reading List. The winner in each of the 8 categories are:

Adrenaline
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Detroit serves as the economically battered backdrop of this inventive, visceral suspense story about a series of bizarre murders that draws a group of memorable characters into a complex web of violence. Smart, stylish and addictive, this page-turner shows how the American Dream has failed many on a personal level.

Fantasy
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Following the sudden, suspicious deaths of his entire family, exiled half-goblin Maia becomes emperor, a role requiring diplomacy and adherence to strict protocols. Focusing on the intricacies of court life, this elegant novel unfolds at a pace that allows readers to savor the rich tapestry of character, setting and plot.

Historical Fiction
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Banished from the court of Versailles, spirited Charlotte-Rose de la Force meets a nun who weaves together the strands that form the Rapunzel fairy tale, revealing its surprising origins. A captivating marriage of history and folklore featuring characters true to their time periods, yet timeless in their dreams and desires.

Horror
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
Beneath the streets of 1970s New York, Joey meets the merry children, a gang of ancient child vampires, and discovers that immortality isn't all fun and games. Gritty, clever and gonzo, this fresh take on the vampire mythos gets darker and creepier as the pages turn.

Mystery
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver
This classic English mystery follows Amory and her estranged husband, Milo, whose paths cross at a seaside resort, where suspicious deaths implicate Amory’s former fiance, Gil. A vivid mystery that sparkles with personality as Amory and Milo puzzle out the truth behind the murders and negotiate their own complicated relationship.

Romance
Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
Comic misunderstandings ensue when playboy Bollywood director Samir travels to America to secure an annulment for his brother, married at age four to Mili in a traditional arranged Indian wedding ceremony. Appealing protagonists, a diverse supporting cast and a colorful multicultural backdrop lend this charming story unexpected emotional depth.

Science Fiction
The Martian by Andy Weir
Stranded on Mars, wisecracking botanist Mark Watney proves that an astronaut has to be smart, resourceful and, perhaps, a little crazy to survive. Strong characterization, well-researched but accessible technical detail, and a deft blend of suspense and humor will please science enthusiasts and fans of survival stories on any planet.

Women's Fiction
My Real Children by Jo Walton
Patricia Cowan, an elderly woman suffering from dementia, remembers two different lives, two different careers, two different families and two different worlds. A striking novel of how tragedy turns to joy and heartbreak turns to love with a narrative twist that hooks the reader and never lets go.

Check out the shortlists and readalikes, in the complete list.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #510 - She waited for the train to pass. Then she said, "I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom..." ~ Haruki Murakami

Just adding my 2¢ to the well-deserved buzz on The Girl on the Train * * * by Paula Hawkins, a debut psychological thriller that will make you take a harder look at people you think you know.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning to London. As it flashes past suburban homes and stops at a signal, she watches the goings-on in the enviable lives of a prosperous young couple, just a few doors down from where she used to live. And then she saw something shocking. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in the unfolding nightmare. Film rights optioned to DreamWorks.

It's funny that this morning's New York Times interview with the author should mention that "Hawkins joins the ranks of a new generation of female suspense novelists — writers like Megan Abbott, Tana French, Harriet Lane and Gillian Flynn — who are redefining contemporary crime fiction with character-driven narratives that defy genre conventions. Their novels dig into social issues, feature complex women who aren’t purely victims or vixens, and create suspense with subtle psychological developments and shifts in relationships...", as I was just about to blog Harriet Lane's latest - Her * *.

When Nina Bremner recognizes Emma Nash on a London street, it sends a shockwave through her well-ordered life. She craftily engineers an incident with a lost wallet to strike up a conversation and a friendship with the unsuspecting Emma, who is overwhelmed with motherhood with a toddler and late pregnancy. Desperate for adult company, Emma is swept away by Nina's generosity and compassion. What draws Nina to Emma is murkier.

"With chilling precision, Lane narrates the re-entwining of these two women's lives through domestic details. Afternoon teas, disastrous shopping trips, cluttered homes and even well-populated playgrounds begin to seep with danger. And the net inexorably tightens. A domestic thriller of the first order."

Flying somewhat under the media radar is yet another British psychological thriller - A Pleasure and a Calling * * by Phil Hogan, his first major US release.

William Heming is your well-mannered neighborhood real-estate agent in a small English town. But unbeknownst to his clients, Heming keeps the keys to every property he has ever listed, and snoops on all the occupants at will, and often brazenly makes himself at home. This secret "pleasure" turns sinister when a rude dog walker offends Heming, who takes it upon himself to serve justice, thus setting off a dramatic and deadly chain of events.

"Hogan's Mr. Heming is a monumentally diabolical character, the fact that he narrates the story further ups both the stakes and the tension. Readers won't soon forget this first-rate, white-knuckle suspense novel."

* * * = 3 starred reviews
* * = 2 starred reviews

The French House: An American Family, A Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All

Off the coast of Brittany, on the tiny island of Belle Ile, in the tiny village of Kerbordardoue, was a tiny, ruined house. There was no bathroom, no running water, not even a sink, but plenty of dry rot and mold. New Yorkers Don and Mindy Wallace were enchanted. They had visited the island years before and were taken with its wildness and beauty, its very Frenchness, and its link to Breton agrarian tradition. In spite of its many drawbacks, it was the oldest house on the village green and the Wallaces could not resist the allure of living in the place they had loved years ago. They bought it.

There followed years of sketchy renovations, financial stresses and run-ins with antagonistic neighbors. The French House, in the tradition of many expats who have found home in the byways of European villages, is a memoir of the whole experience and a love-song to Belle Ile, its beaches and villages and the eccentric and lovable villagers, with whom they eventually cease to be at odds, many becoming dear friends.

Twenty-nine years later the house is still not completely finished. Oh my. But Don Wallace still conveys the deep attachment and contentment of finding home in such an unlikely place. Told with humor and heart, and meant to be savored slowly, The French House goes beyond being the history of a house and becomes a testament to living your dreams, overcoming all obstacles to follow your deepest longings, bonding with family, neighbors and place to create home.

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