Is Your Teacher A Monster?

Peter Brown, author and illustrator of the popular and fabulous picture book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, brings us a new bit of fun in My Teacher is a Monster. In this picture book Bobby has a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby. She was the meanest teacher who stomped and roared and did not allow paper airplanes in class. She was a monster. But then one day something happens and Bobby sees her in a whole new light.

The book is delighfully illustrated in true Brown fashion, and would be a fun read whether your teacher roars or not.

Waiting (not so) patiently for The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins?

Everyone’s going nuts for The Girl on the Train - they’re calling it the next Gone Girl, and a major studio has already snapped up the movie rights.

The Girl on the Train is Rachel, who is at rock bottom after her divorce, she’s lost her job and is rapidly boozing her way through her savings account. Each day she takes the train into the city and passes her former home - where her ex-husband lives with his new family. She blocks this out by daydreaming about a couple whose house is also visible from the train, imagining their perfect life and solid marriage. It’s a pleasant distraction from her unhappy reality, until the woman from her dream couple goes missing and Rachel finds herself embroiled in the fallout. It’s a great read, a psychological thriller in which the narrator is so unreliable, even she doesn’t know what she’s seen or done.

Here are a few titles that should help tide you over, for even more, check out this list.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson - An amnesiac tries to piece together her identity and her past, while determining who she can and can’t trust.

Defending Jacob by William Landay - This story of a family whose high school age son is accused of murdering a classmate heavily features the theme of the how well one can know another person - even a family member.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emme Healey - An elderly woman struggling with dementia is convinced that her friend Elizabeth is missing and in need of help, but in her search for Elizabeth, she begins to discover clues of her own sister’s disappearance many years earlier.

The Killer Next Door or Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood - In Alex Marwood’s thrillers, everyone has something to hide and things are not what they seem, but everyone in these seedy settings would rather mind their own business than look to closely at their neighbors, until mounting violence leaves them no other choice.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson - This dark thriller stirs together infidelity, a devious woman with a dangerous past and a swapped murder, ala Strangers on a Train.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight - A mother attempts to reconcile the truth behind her over-achieving daughter’s apparent suicide at her tony private school.

Literature as Words and Art

Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals by Dinah Fried features a photograph of a would-be meal depicting a novel, artfully laid out and photographed. It also features a quote from the book as well as a few bits of trivia about the novel or the food. This is done for many books, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Road, The Namesake, A Wrinkle In Time, and A Confederacy of Dunces.

Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines by Samantha Hahn features beautiful watercolors of women from various classic novels, along with a quintessential quote from the woman. The titles featured include East of Eden, The Bell Jar, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre, and more.

Both books are part of the book display on the 1st floor downtown that includes gems found within AADL’s art book collection – and oh there are so many beautiful art books! Sometimes judging a book by its cover can be a wonderful thing.

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space

Looking for a cool new non-fiction book with a twist? Look no further: Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space has just arrived! Join Professor Astro (a very smart kitty!) as he leads readers through our galaxy and beyond, stopping along the way to explain and explore our solar system. Have you ever wondered how a rocket works? Or maybe you've always wanted to know how to find your favorite constellation in the night sky? Professor Astro is here to help!

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space is overflowing with cool information, and covers varied space topics such as the life cycle of stars, the Apollo missions, the International Space Station, how modern space suits work, constellations, telescopes, and many more cool space topics. Much of the information is delivered through funky and retro illustrations. This is the kind of book you can spend hours with, pouring over the small details. This book was created by Dr. Dominic Wallman (who holds a PhD in Quantum Physics) and award-winning illustrator and comic book creator Ben Newman, making it both scientifically accurate as well as very visually appealing. This is a great book for all ages, and comes highly recommended!

Interested in learning even more about space? Try out the DK Guide to Space or The Story of Astronomy and Space for more information.

Cool new nonfiction for kids: Skyscrapers!

Are you curious about how huge buildings like the John Hancock Center, the Eiffel Tower and the Chrysler Building were constructed? I know I am, and I’ve always been interested in the architectural feats that keep such towering structures upright for—in some cases—over a hundred years. The amazing new book Who Built That? Skyscrapers, by Didier Cornille, is an introduction to familiar skyscrapers and their architects geared towards kids… but absolutely fascinating for all ages!

My favorite part of the book are the amazing illustrations that show different stages of construction of each building, including the inside skeleton and the frame, so readers can find out how the structure manages to stand so tall. It is so cool to see! Readers can also learn a little bit about each architect including what inspired them to build the featured structure, and what other unique buildings they constructed during their careers.

If you want to learn even more about skyscrapers, try Skyscrapers: Inside and Out, Unbuilding, or Skyscraper, all available at the AADL.

Award Winning Audiobook: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 2008. 8 hours.

Awards: Audiofile Magazine's Earphones Award for excellence in narrative voice and style and vocal characterization; in print, the book reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for paperback trade fiction in 2009.

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Narrators: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, Juliet Mills

The Society is a book club formed during World War II when the Nazi regime occupied Guernsey. Their story is told through a series of letters exchanged between the islanders and an English newspaper columnist in 1946. This correspondence reveals the members’ quirky personalities, as well as their joy and heartache during the occupation. The variety of characters - from a pig farmer to a phrenologist to a French concentration camp survivor - and the wonderful voice acting by five talented narrators make this audiobook truly outstanding.

For other multi-voice audiobooks, including some of the talented narrators mentioned above, try these titles:

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Silent House by Orhan Pamuk
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
The 19th Wife: a novel by David Ebershoff

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.

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