Deliver us from Normal

Eleven-year-old Charles Harrisong’s mom buys Christmas cards in August, and his brother thinks of the Trinity as a toasted marshmallow on graham crackers. Already I like this family, who appear in Deliver Us from Normal by Kate Klise. I stumbled across this BOCD in our catalog, and now it definitely will be winter listening for me and my 12-year-old. Here’s another promising sign: Every night Charles revises his list of “The Most Embarrassing Things in My Life.” I'm pretty sure my son does this, too.

Snow Flakes are Falling!

They are falling everywhere! Come to the Malletts Creek Branch on Saturday, December 6, 2008 from 11:00 - 12:00 to see how many different kinds of snowflakes you can make. Use them for winter and holiday decorations. For preschoolers - 3rd grade. All supplies will be provided.

Cobblestone Farm Museum’s Country Christmas

Cobblestone Country ChristmasCobblestone Country Christmas

Sunday, Dec. 7th noon to 4 pm
2781 Packard Rd., Ann Arbor
(734) 994-2928
Suggested donation of $1.50 kids, $3 adults, $7 family for program support

Cobblestone Farm will be presenting a 19th century Yuletide celebration featuring live dulcimer music with the Village Strings, a chance to meet Father Christmas, see holiday cooking on a wood stove, and go on tours of the decorated farmhouse with costumed interpreters.
The museums will also have an exhibit commemorating Pearl Harbor Day (December 7th) and showing examples of a 1940's era Christmas. The gift shop will be open and the animals in the barnyard will be out for the kids to see.

For more information on an old fashioned "country Christmas," check out The Pioneer Lady's Country Christmas: a gift of old-fashioned recipes and memories of Christmas Past by Jane Watson Hopping.

The Great Pumpkin Says: Let's Be Safe Out There


Halloween is fun, fun, fun, but let's remember our Halloween Safety Tips. Tree Town ghosts, gremlins and Spidermen should trick-or-treat between 5 and 8 p.m. this Friday. Don't forget to use reflective tape on your costumes and to look both ways before crossing streets. The Great Pumpkin will be very proud of you!

So Much Fun, It's Scary


Oooh, it's going to be spooky at the Michigan Historical Museum this Sunday, Oct. 26th, for Haunted History: A Spooky Walk Through Time. Little ghouls, goblins and ghosts can come in costume and listen to tales, take a bite of treats and talk to lumberjacks and voyageurs throughout the decked-out museum. Even big kids will get a special Halloween goodie bag.

Goodnight Goon, an adorably terrifying bedtime tale for the kiddies

Goodnight GoonGoodnight Goon

Michael Rex is a big fan of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon but he thought it “severely lacked big-toothed monsters and small creatures in peril” so he came up with Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody. And how fun it is! Full page color illustrations keep your eyes looking everywhere for eyeballs and bats and other cute and scary treats. Say goodnight to all the creatures, skulls, tombs, martians, goons, bones, bats, and mummies who rub their tummies. And perhaps leave that nightlight on as you try to doze after reading it.

Toddlers: Tired of Your Toys?


Parents: Could your preschooler’s playroom use peppier provisions? Come visit the Toy Library at Bryant Community Center. The toys are gently used, in good condition and there’s no time limit to borrow them. Toys are free for all Ann Arbor families. The library will be open on Thursdays from 1:00-3:30 pm. However, this Friday October 24th is the Grand Opening! Come take a look at the wide range of toys available for the borrowing!

Make sure that your kids are "Fire Smart!"

October is Fire Prevention Month. Please take some time out to remind kids how to be “fire smart.”

This super Web site is just the thing to help you teach elementary-age kids the basics of fire safety and prevention. The “Where’s the Fire?” five-minute online video covers all the basics in an entertaining way.

The library has some great fire safety resources to offer, as well!

Stop, Drop, and Roll and Fire Safety are both great books that teach kids about fire safety. The Big Red DVD, suitable for kids ages 2-8, takes a "fireman's view" and features fire trucks and fire safety lessons along the way. The Fire Busters DVD includes fire helicopters, planes, boats, and trucks.

The library also has plenty of wonderful picture books featuring fire trucks and firefighters. Check some out, and get fire smart!

Children and War

All experts agree that the best way to get children to read is to make the material relevant for them. This year there have been many books published about American children whose lives are impacted by war. War is a reality for many children today. In these books it doesn't seem to matter if the war in question is World War II, Vietnam, Korea or Iraq, the stories are very much the same.

Don't Talk to Me About the War by David M. Adler tells the story of a young Jewish boy growing up in Broolyn in 1940. He doesn't like to listen to all the war talk going on.
When the Sergeant Came Marching Home by Don Lemna. When Dad comes home from the war in 1946 he tends to run the family as he did his troops.
Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell. When twelve-year-old Jaime's beloved older brother chooses the Army instead of college and gets sent to Vietnam, her world is turned upside down.
Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park. A young girl's best baseball friend goes off to fight in the Korean Conflict.
100 Days and 99 Nights by Alan Madison. Seven-year-old Esme must survive 100 days and 99 nights (one tour of duty) without her beloved father.

Suburban Wildlife with a South American Twist

When school ended, the 10-year-old classroom degu (South American rat) came home with us. The teacher told us that Cedar, named for her reddish fur, might not survive the summer, given her advanced age, in which case we should freeze her (near the cool-pops?) until fall, when she would get a proper school funeral. I did not fall immediately in love with this creature, despite her being cute, caged, fairly clean, and friendly. Instead, I clicked into the Oxford English Dictionary, to learn that a degu is “a rat-like animal, rather smaller than the Water Vole, the head and body measuring from seven and a half to eight inches in length.” A definition often makes me fonder. Now I like Cedar, sort of, and having her around has made me curious about the new book Central Park in the Dark: More mysteries of urban wildlife. Who knows, maybe Cedar has dozens of cousins in New York City.

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