It's Only Stanley!

"It's very late, and Stanley is up to something. Will you figure out what he's doing before his sleepy family does?"

Author Jon Agee, known for his whimsical and deeply funny picture books, has just published a new gem: It's Only Stanley.

This charming story begins with the family dog Stanley howling at the moon late one night. The Wimbledon family springs awake, only to find that "it's only Stanley". But the story doesn't end there. The Wimbledons are awoken time and time again, as Stanley's activities become more and more fantastical. The clanking sound that wakes the family turns out to be Stanley fixing the oil tank, and the funky smell emanating from the kitchen is only Stanley making catfish stew. The story builds until it culminates in a very satisfying (yet somewhat bizarre) ending.

The entire story is written in verse, which adds a nice rhythm to this fun read-aloud. The simple watercolor illustrations also add to the story, with hidden gags and clues that hint towards the book's surprising ending. This hilarious book is a must-read for fans of Click Clack Moo.

For more interesting and hilarious reads by Jon Agee, check out Orangutan Tongs : Poems to Tangle Your Tongue, The Retired Kid, and Who Ordered the Jumbo Shrimp? : and Other Oxymorons.

Red: A Crayon's Story

Favorite children’s author and illustrator Michael Hall has given us another lovely book with Red: A Crayon’s Story. A red crayon struggles to draw the things that he is supposed to: fire trucks, strawberries, ladybugs… everything he draws and colors turns out blue! The other crayons all have tips and advice for him, but nothing works. Kids will quickly see the problem: the crayon has been mislabeled and is actually a blue crayon with a red papering! Readers will cheer Red on as he struggles to find his true calling… and will celebrate with him when he ultimately draws a beautiful BLUE ocean and realizes his talents.

Other books by Michael Hall are My Heart is Like a Zoo, Cat Tale, and Perfect Square.

2015 "Write On!" 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Contest Winners!


Congratulations to the 2015 “Write On!” 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Contest Winners!

After a record 138 entries, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place stories were chosen from each grade, and the 2015 winners were announced at the Awards Celebration held on April 19th!

Come back soon to read this year’s short story submissions on the library website!

The Lion and the Bird

The Lion and the Bird is a beautiful picture book written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc and published by Enchanted Lion Books. They are creating some of the most wonderful books lately and the illustrations in this book are no exception. It’s a gorgeous book that tells the story of friendship through the seasons.

Lion is working in his garden when he hears a sound. He soon finds an injured bird that he decides to care for. Since Bird can’t fly with an injured wing he stays with Lion all winter long and they become the best of friends. Then spring arrives, and with the warm season comes more birds. Lion knows that Bird must fly off with them. As the seasons change and autumn arrives, the birds start to fly off for winter. But what about Bird? Where will he go? You can only guess.

At the Art Table: Springy Flower Stencils!

The next time you're at the downtown library, bring the kiddos into the youth department to check out what's out at the art table. This month we're exploring texture by using crayons and stencils to make flower rubbings! We have a bouquet of flower stencils for you to work with. And afterwards take a look at the children's art books that are on the kiosk right next to the art table. We have a lot of books on a variety of art styles as well as individual artists!

Gardening with Kids

It's Spring! It's National Gardening Month! It's even almost Earth Day! Perfect time for the whole family to start or nurture a garden together! Gardening with kids is a fun, engaging activity that encourages learning and exploration, building quality relationships, and creating something rewarding. Check out these books for ideas about gardening with youngsters, from toddlers on up:

Gardening Lab for Kids: Fun and easy projects - plant seeds, plan your garden, and make things for your garden (tool totes, rain gauges, stepping stones, terrariums, and way way more!). A beautiful layout and page design makes this an extra good choice for inspiration.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Ever heard of a sunflower house? And what's a pizza patch?? A bean tunnel sounds fun! This highly recommended book will help the family create inspiring, kid-friendly garden spaces and special projects! Illustrated with colorful drawings by the author.

Fairy Garden Handbook: Fairy gardens are a big hit with all ages these days. Why not get a wee one to help make one?! Those little imaginations can run wild with these fairy garden projects and tips. Beautiful photos accompany the text.

The Family Kitchen Garden: A practical guide to growing a garden with the whole family. This book is full of the info adults need to make a successful kitchen garden, while also including guidance on choosing plants, tools, and tasks that make sense for kiddos. Perfectly balanced for creating a functional garden that includes the whole family in a meaningful way.

Ready Set Grow!: Each simple, fun, and colorful spread features a different project, plant, or tip for the garden. Very easy to follow along step-by-step.

Grow It, Cook It: Bright photos for each step of growing edible plants, and then cooking with them, will engage youngsters who are ready to try something new. Recipes include cute tomato eggplant towers, mini pumpkin pies, scrumptious chocolate mint mousse, and more.

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!

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! Desserts 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.

Fairy Tales and Journeys Across the Sea

Set in 19th century Norway, West of the Moon tells the story of 13 year old Astri, who has just been sold to a cruel goat farmer by her greedy aunt. Clever and determined, Astri makes a daring escape to reunite with her sister and find a way to America. Remembering the heroes in fairy tales told by her mother gives Astri the strength to persevere in her journey and uncover family secrets.

Margi Preus was inspired to write the novel after reading a mysterious diary passage written by her great-great grandmother, Linka Preus, who immigrated to America in the 19th century. Fascinating images and information about Linka’s world are included in the Author’s Note.

For other retellings of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, try East or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. If you’d like to read the Norwegian fairy tales mentioned in the Preus novel, check out East of the Sun and West of the Moon: old tales from the North.

New Nonfiction for Kids: Why'd They Wear That?

We’ve all seen pictures and paintings of people wearing some pretty crazy clothing and fashions over the course of history. Why have clothes changed so much over time? What caused different accessories and styles to come into fashion… and to fade back out again? If questions like this pique your interest, National Geographic’s Why’d They Wear That? is the book for you! Filled with amazing fashion facts and the reasons behind some of the more obscure style trends we’ve seen over time, this awesome book is also packed with great pictures of clothes and the people that wore them.

Did you know that in the 1700s in France, women’s hoop skirts were so wide that they had to turn sideways to get through doorways? After the storming of the Bastille, these cumbersome skirts quickly went back out of fashion—women couldn’t hope to escape with their lives if they couldn’t even get through a door!

And, before the 1860s, shoes weren’t mass produced with left and right feet: they were all just straight! So, wearing shoes was often very painful. You could only custom order right and left-footed shoes if you were very wealthy. Finally, it 1865, this problem was remedied when appropriately designed shoes were made widely available.

Why’d They Wear That has information like these crazy facts you just read, and so much more. And, for another cool book on fashion and style over time, try The Fashion Book.

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