In the Mood for Magic? Try Magyk!

If you enjoy children's fantasies with ghosts, princesses, evil wizards and plenty of good wizards too, then give Magyk by Angie Sage a listen. It will take you to a magical world where young wizards’ eyes turn green when they learn magic and where magic spells may be written on a piece of breakfast toast!

Excellently narrated by Allan Corduner, this story begins on the day that the wizard Silas Heap discovers a baby girl in the snow and his own newborn son, Septimus Heap, is supposed to have died. But ten years later, the Heaps learn that everything is not as it appeared. Their daughter is really a princess who must now outwit the assassins who killed her mother, the queen, a decade before, and their son…well, you’ll just have to check out the audiobook to learn what happened to him.

The series continues with Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren, Darke and Fyre.

When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky by Lauren Stringer

In 1913 Paris, two Russians, Igor Stravinsky the composer and Vaslav Nijinsky the dancer/choreographer, took the western European art world by storm when the Ballet Russes premiered The Rite of Spring on May 29th. This book, composed with much alliterative, musical language, and onomatopoeia, tells the story of the friendship and collaboration between composer and dancer. Focusing on the changes to their work and personal styles that resulted from their meeting to the culmination of their efforts, the ballet The Rite of Spring, the story conveys their composition process in a lively, upbeat fashion, with a percussive vocabulary. Children may be surprised to learn about the commotion the composition caused, and the riotous ballet is sure to catch their attention. Vibrantly colored illustrations, inspired by Matisse and Picasso, of the musical notes, instruments, and dancers depicted, enhance the tone of the story and complement the text well. Stringer trusts readers with a challenging and exciting account of the transformative power of visionary, risk-taking art.

If you're feeling inspired after reading the book, try making up your own dance to the music. NPR Music is inviting "professionals and the public alike to take the last minute of Stravinsky's inimitable score — in an exceptional performance by conductor Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra — and create a new video to go along with this music." Follow this link for more information, or to see some of the submitted videos. Happy Dancing! Happy Spring!

Bernard Waber, creator of the beloved Lyle the Crocodile picture books, has died

Bernard Waber, who turned his commercial graphic arts training into a successful career as a children's book author and illustrator, died May 16th.

Waber, a World War II veteran and devoted movie buff, first introduced Lyle the lovable crocodile in his 1962 book, The House on East 88th Street. In this fanciful, gentle, funny story, the Primm family discovers Lyle hanging out in the bathtub of their Upper East Side brownstone. Lyle made several more appearances, including in Lyle Finds His Mother (1974) and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (1965). His final Lyle book, Lyle Walks the Dog: A Counting Book (2010), was a collaboration with his daughter Paulis Waber.

While most of Waber's books involved whimsical illustrations of animals -- The Mouse that Snored and the delightful A Lion Named Shirley Williamson (1996) -- Waber also had a gift for using human subjects to zero in on and allay common childhood anxieties. In Ira Sleeps Over (1972), little Ira frets about whether or not he can bring his teddy bear to a sleepover. In 2002, Waber published Courage in response to September 11th. He had started it before the attacks, but added firemen and police officers to his examples of people, both ordinary and extraordinary, who exhibit courage every day.

Waber forever endeared himself to book and movie lovers when he said that the way he endured frequent relocations as a child was to seek reassurance from his parents that wherever they moved, a library and movie theater would be close by. "...The Library and cinema were life-giving urgencies, a survival kit for any new neighborhood."

Waber, who was 91, died at his home in Long Island.

Let’s Listen to a Story, Pardner

If you’ve got a hankering for life on a ranch, then you might enjoy these audiobook tales.

For the youngest cowpokes, there’s Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, a series of short friendship stories about a young cowgirl and her horse. It's a 2006 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award nominee. The series continues with Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Rain or Shine, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Horse in the House, and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies.

Slightly older buckaroos may also enjoy the adventures of Hank the Cowdog, who acts as the Head of Security at his ranch. You can listen to Hank’s hilarious adventures in The Case of the Tender Cheeping Chickies, The Case of the Monkey Burglar, The Case of the Booby-Trapped Pickup, The Case of the Most Ancient Bone, The Case of the Blazing Sky and The Quest for the Great White Quail.

Jim Gill Workshop for Anyone Who Has Young Children or Works with Young Children

What a rare opportunity for anyone who has small children in the family or teachers and caregivers who work with small children. Jim Gill is coming to Ann Arbor to give a workshop and a family concert.
The workshop will be at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the Downtown Library. The concert will follow at 7:00 p.m. At the workshop he will talk about how music plays such an important part in children's development. You will learn a lot but you'll also be entertained.
A Jim Gill family concert is fun for the whole family.
Don't miss these great events that are a part of our Children's Book Week celebration.

Scaredy Squirrel and Chester (two flawed but hilarious characters)

Have you ever planned for a vacation or a birthday party only to have nothing go as you expected? Well Scaredy Squirrel knows just how you feel.

Scaredy Squirrel has many fears. Just to name a few, he is afraid of germs, walruses, bunnies, beavers, Godzilla, pirates, sea monsters, falling coconuts, and biters (anything that may bite him). In order to do what he wants Scaredy Squirrel develops elaborate plans that will help him avoid all of his fears. But when things don't go according to his plans, Scaredy Squirrel is forced to face his fears and realize that there was not anything to be scared of in the first place.

If you enjoy Scaredy Squirrel, you might also want to check out Mélanie Watt’s other books, like Chester.

Chester is a cat who loves to be the center of attention and the best way he can do this is to insert himself into stories that Mélanie writes. With his trusty red marker, he quickly hijacks the stories and becomes the main character in Chester, Chester’s Back, and Chester’s Masterpiece. The plots turn increasingly frantic and comical as both Mélanie and Chester fight for the power to write the story.

Oh, No!

Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann, the picture book Oh, No! has the most gorgeous illustrations... and the story is sweet, too! It tells the tale of a group of jungle animals who one by one fall in a deep, dark hole and can’t get out! Then along comes tiger. Will he save them? Oh, no! -- He’s a hungry tiger! Then how will the animals ever get out? With repeating text and a fine bunch of animals, kids and adults will lap it up.

KinderConcert this Friday!

Back by popular demand, this Friday, May 10 at 9:30 and 10:30 am at the Downtown Library, KinderConcert will entertain and educate the littlest music appreciators. We’ll sway to the piano music of Kathryn Goodson, KinderConcertKinderConcertwe’ll dance with Gari Stein and we’ll bounce to the horn played by Kurt Civilette.

The picture book Woolbur has won the 2013 Michigan Reads! Award

The 2013 Michigan Reads! title has been announced! The award goes to the picture book Woolbur, written by Leslie Helakoski and illustrated by Lee Harper.

Woolbur is a unique story about a young sheep who is not afraid to be himself! Some of his antics include running with the dogs and dying his wool blue! His mom and dad are worried about him at first, but his grandparents tell them not to worry. In the end, the other sheep start to see the beauty in Woolbur’s creative ways and realize it is not so bad to live outside the box of a “normal” sheep life.

Helakoski, originally from Louisiana, is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and currently resides in southwest Michigan near Kalamazoo. Her picture book Big Chickens also won the Michigan Reads! Award for 2007.

The Michigan Reads! One State, One Children's Book program “focuses on the importance of reading and sharing books with children, especially toddlers through early elementary, and the vital role libraries play in providing access to the quality books, programs and services that lay the foundation for reading and school success.”

E.L. Konigsburg, two-time Newbery Medal winning author and illustrator, has died.

E.L. Konigsburg, author and illustrator of 21 books for children, teens, and adults, has died.

Elaine Konigsburg, born Elaine Lobl in New York City, grew up in small Pennsylvania towns as the middle of three daughters. Though her family would rather she cook or clean, she was a voracious reader. She taught science at a girls' school after graduating college with a chemistry degree and marrying David Konigsburg.

After her third child began attending school, Konigsburg began to write, publishing Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth, which received a Newbery Honor, and Newbery Medal winner From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in 1967.

Of her characters, Konigsburg said, "the kids I write about are asking for the same things I wanted. They want two contradictory things. They want to be the same as everyone else, and they want to be different from everyone else.They want acceptance for both."

Konigsburg won another Newbery Medal in 1997 for The view from Saturday, making her one of five authors to win the prestigious award twice.

Her historical novel A proud taste for scarlet and miniver and short story collection Throwing shadows were both National Book Award finalists.

I encourage you to take a look at E.L. Konigsburg's books in the AADL catalog. You may find yourself revisiting an old favorite or trying something new!

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