Audiobooks for Kids: Wildlife Adventures

Author Carl Hiaasen, born and raised in Southern Florida, spent his childhood amongst the mangrove swamps and freshwater lagoons that surrounded his home. In his books for kids, Florida’s wild places and wild animals take center stage. If you’re in the mood for a wildlife adventure, check out his audiobooks:

Chomp – Wahoo Crane and his classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” who went missing while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades. Read by James Van der Beek.

Scat – Nick and his friend Marta decide to investigate when a mysterious fire starts near a Florida wildlife preserve and an unpopular teacher goes missing. Read by Edward Asner.

Flush – With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home. Read by Michael Welch.

Hoot – Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. Read by Chad Lowe.

Frank Bank, aka Lumpy on Leave It to Beaver, has died

Frank Bank, who played Lumpy Rutherford in the popular 1950s sitcom, Leave It to Beaver, died yesterday.

In a role that today probably would not be played for laughs, Lumpy was a large overweight friend of Wally Cleaver (played by Tony Dow), Beaver's aka The Beav's (Jerry Mathers) older brother. Even then television made the connection between being bullied at home (Lumpy's father often berated him -- ("big oaf " and "big boob" were two favorite insults of Mr. R.'s)) and passing it on to the outside world (Lumpy often targeted The Beav).

In real life, Bank was a very successful California municipal bonds broker who was known for his generosity. He and another Beaver actor, Ken Osmond who forever immortalized the slimy suck-up to grown-ups, Eddie Haskell, raised lots of money for veterans' charities.

Mr. Banks died just one day after his 71st birthday.

Drop Everything And Read!

April 12 is D.E.A.R. day! D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) took off after Beverly Cleary wrote about the program in her book, Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Now, every year on Beverly Cleary’s birthday, readers across the country drop whatever it is they are doing and read! Books, newspapers, e-books, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re reading! If Ramona loved it, you'll love it too, right?

If you want to participate, check out the D.E.A.R. website. They’ve got reading lists, activity sheets, and lots of great ways to join in the fun on April 12 (and the rest of the year too!).

Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters

I love picture books that are both bizarre and beautiful, and Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, written and illustrated by K.G. Campbell, fits the bill. The book has a wonderful sense of language and moody illustrations that float the story along.

When Cousin Clara’s house is consumed by a crocodile, she comes to stay with young Lester’s family, and she brings with her a basket of knitting supplies. After a while she gifts Lester a handmade sweater, which may sound delightful, but the sweater is simply horrendous and Lester is less than thrilled. It turns out that Lester has “curiously bad luck with sweaters,” and each time one gets destroyed, Cousin Clara is there with yet another dreadful sweater, as she is a "curiously speedy knitter.” How will Lester escape a life destined for a million ugly, lopsided, polka dotted, fuzzy, horrible sweaters?!

Kids! Submit Your Art To Be Juried for the 2013 Kids' Art Fair

Sunday May 5, 2013: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original, is calling young artists from Washtenaw County in 3rd - 8th grades to submit their artwork to be juried for the 2013 Kids' Art Fair (to be held at the Townie Street Party on the evening of Monday, July 15.).

You need to attend only one of these three drop-in sessions at Pittsfield Branch. Interested young artists should arrive with 4-6 samples of their original artwork and be prepared to show and discuss their art with Jurors. Artists will have ample opportunity to show and discuss their art work with Jurors.

Drop-in sessions will be held: Sunday, April 28 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Wednesday, May 1 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and Sunday, May 5 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Meet the the Author & Illustrator of the “Vordak” books!

Friday, April 26 | 7:00-8:00pm | Pittsfield Branch | K-8th Grade | Adults

Author Scott Seegert and illustrator John Martin, both from Michigan, are responsible for the wildly funny and silly Vordak the Incomprehensible book series. They’ll both be at the Pittsfield branch on Friday, April 26 talking about their books, leading a drawing exercise, and will perhaps be bringing a little surprise! If you’re into funny books, drawing, and super villains, then this event is for you.

The Vordak books, including How to Grow Up and Rule the World, Rule the School, and Double Trouble, are most appropriate for kids in grades 3rd – 8th, but this library program will be enjoyed by those grades in K-8th, as well as adults! It’s always fun to hear an author talk about their work and then get to meet them, and here we’re lucky to meet the author AND the illustrator!! Be sure to also check out the Vordak website, with all sorts of fun things to do.

Books will be for sale after the program, and there will be a book signing.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

If you haven't seen My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic yet, stop everything you're doing and put a request on The Friendship Express or Princess Twilight Sparkle now!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an animated TV series developed by Lauren Faust and based on the long-running Hasbro My Little Pony toy franchise. But don't let its overtly commercial roots fool you - MLP:FiM is a whip smart show for both kids and adults, hilarious and heartwarming at the same time, with an excellent sense of comedic timing and a commendable moral compass. Bright, engaging visuals and upbeat musical sidebars will have you hooked on this charming show in no time.

The Friendship Express is a collection of five non-contiguous episodes from season 1 and 2 of the show, while Princess Twilight Sparkle is a collection of five non-contiguous episodes from seasons 2 and 3. Episodes of the show air at 10:30 AM EST on The Hub, and Netflix currently streams seasons 1-3.

Shadow Puppet Show With Patrick Elkins

Sunday, April 21 | 2-2:45pm | Downtown Multi-Purpose Room | K-5th Grades with an adult

It's National Library Week! Let's celebrate with a live performance!

Join us for a shadow puppet show with master puppeteer Patrick Elkins. Perhaps you saw him wandering and performing downtown a few weeks ago during FoolMoon?! The Ypsilanti-based Elkins will be performing a wonderful shadow puppet show geared towards kids in grades K-5. Adults welcome! See you there!

Audiobook for Kids: Spunky Girl Detective

Have you ever wanted to solve a mystery?

Well, in Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen, thirteen-year-old Sammy has no intention of becoming a detective until she happens to see a theft at the hotel across the street… and the thief sees her too. And she thought starting seventh grade was her biggest worry! Now Sammy is dodging the police, trying to outsmart a thief and hiding out from a suspicious neighbor, all while navigating the treacherous world of junior high.

This excellent audiobook series continues with Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man, Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy, Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf, Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary, Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy, Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes, Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception, Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen and Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaways.

Fans of spunky, modern girl detectives may also wish to check out these audiobooks: Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison, Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams and Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach.

Chu’s Day, by Neil Gaiman

Best-selling author Neil Gaiman brings us a delightfully silly picture book! Chu's Day is his first book for smaller kids, and it delivers. A little panda bear named Chu spends the day holding onto a big sneeze that just won’t come out. And as we learn, when Chu sneezes, bad things happen. He visits places around town half sneezing, when eventually, we find out what his sneezes can really do. It’s a cute story, and kids will enjoy ACHOO-ing along with little Chu.

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