New Downloadable Stories by Laura Pershin Raynor!

Local and national storyteller Laura Pershin Raynor tells stories for all ages – not just your favorite storytime tales.

New in the AADL catalog are two of her albums that are now available to listen to online as well as download – for free! These are stories for older children, teens and adults. So if you love listening to well told, funny tales of youth and bygone eras, look no further.

First up is Tough Cookies. This album features Cootie Shots, Yiddish Curses, Bleeding Madras, Tater Tots and International Intrigue that spices up the pot in this story brew about girls with pluck.

Summertime & The Livin' Is Easy features surprising summer stories about garage bands, mysterious celebrities and city slickers in the not so Wild West.

Beyond downloads, a couple other albums by Raynor are available for actual check out. Whether you're familiar with Laura's story magic or not, these are worth a listen.

Just learning about AADL's download collection?! Check out ALL the other music, book and pattern downloads available on aadl.org for free!

At the Art Table: Dinosaurs!

Roar! The next time you’re in the youth department downtown visit the art table and see what we’re making. This time around we have out dinosaur stencils and primary colors! Test those fine motor skills by outlining dinosaurs. Make a blue T-Rex. Make a yellow stegosaurus.

For more inspiration, check out some books on how to draw dinosaurs.

Good Dream, Bad Dream

New to the shelves are several picture books relating to common childhood fears, specifically fear of the dark and of the unknown. In Good Dream, Bad Dream (Sueño Bueno, Sueño Malo) by Juan Calle and Serena Valentino, little Julio is afraid of the monsters under his bed. Julio's father reminds him that "for every bad dream, you can have a good dream to help defeat your fears", and Julio explores the different heroes who could rescue him from a variety of monsters. This exciting story features monsters and heroes from many different cultures presented in action-packed comic-style illustrations. Additionally, this bilingual book is written in both English and Spanish, making it accessible for speakers of either language.

Also new is The Problem with Not Being Scared of Monsters by Dan Richards. In this tale, the main character finds that he is not afraid of monsters at all! In fact, his monster friends may be getting just a little too comfortable. This funny book uses wacky illustrations and a non-traditional plot line to tackle common childhood fears. For additional stories on this subject, consider Light's Out by Arthur Geisert or Floop in the Dark by Carole Tremblay.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

I love the unique new picture book, Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, written by Lynne Cox and illustrated by Brian Floca (who won awards for his work last year in Locomotive). The adorably depicted book tells the true story of Elizabeth, a southern elephant seal who lived in the Avon River in Christchurch, New Zealand for many years. Most elephant seals live in large groups in and around the ocean, but not Elizabeth! In attempt to place Elizabeth in her natural habitat, volunteers tow her hundreds of miles out to sea on three separate occasions, but Elizabeth always manages to return to her home in the city. Her tremendous endurance and determination wow the locals, and are sure to impress readers as well!

“Nature and urban life rarely intersect so incongruously: There’s something inherently funny in seeing commuters gawp and swerve around the huge, regal mammal,” says The New York Times Book Review. “Children may wonder, “Who has the right of way?” That’s a very good question, which Cox, with great restraint, allows readers to ask — and maybe answer — for themselves.” Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas is truly a special new addition to the AADL collection.

Beary Good Stories

This week at preschool storytime Ms. Amanda told bear stories about all sorts of bears off on different adventures. We met a bear who had a little problem in “I Have A Little Problem,” said the bear and no one would listen to him. We also met a baby bear who liked to count all the new animal sounds he encountered as winter approached in Baby Bear Counts One. And we tiptoed around in Tiptoe Joe as we met a new tiny little bear cub. The library has so many wonderful bear picture books, and they are perfect for this time of year as you snuggle up with a good, warm book.

Pete the Cat Fanmail and Puppet-making!

Are you a fan of Pete the Cat? With his groovy blue color and cool style, how could you not be?! Join us on Monday, December 22 at Traverwood from 2:00 to 3:30pm to make a Pete the Cat puppet and write letters to Eric Litwin and James Dean, the author and illustrator of the popular children's series. This event is intended for kids in grades K-5. All supplies will be provided!

NPR’s Books to Read, Books to Give

It’s that time of year when all the “best of” lists start popping up. NPR always puts together a nice, categorized list of recommended books called the Book Concierge. This year is no exception.

The site features NPR staff and critics guide to 2014’s great reads, and is easily filtered into categories for easy browsing, and you can choose more than one category. Want adult fiction AND a love story AND a short read – you can easily pluck it out using the filters! The lists include adult, young adult and children’s books. Give it a whirl and see what books you missed this year. Choosing new books was never so easy!

Animalium

If you have not yet seen this giant beauty resting on the new youth nonfiction shelf, please allow me to draw your attention to it. I know I will forever be indebted to the person who first showed Animalium to me. It is one of those rare books that is both captivating to look at and to read. Maybe I should make myself clear here, it is captivating if you enjoy learning about animals and reading facts about them. If you are expecting a great fictional story, then perhaps it would be best if you check this out for the sole purpose of enjoying the pictures. Furthermore, please don't dismiss this book because it is intended for youth, I choose to believe "youth" really just stands for "youthful" and there really is no age restriction when it comes to appreciating beautiful illustrations of wildlife.

The large colorful illustrations are wonderfully detailed and the shadowing and chosen colors give the pictures great depth. Being an amphibian girl myself, I was particularly drawn to the page including the the Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) which has "an oversize vocal sac in which it rears its young." Little tadpoles in a frog's throat never looked so pretty.

Be warned though, when I say "giant beauty" I mean bring a sturdy bag because this is no pocket book.

You may also want to check out Welcome to Mamoko or Maps, both published by Big Picture Press and with equally fascinating pictures and intriguing concepts. Or maybe this has piqued your interest about animals and now you want to learn more. Great! Here is a list of other Awesome Animal books that may help you with your research.

Charming Film of Unlikely Friendship

Based on the beloved French picture book series, Ernest & Celestine is a charming tale of unlikely friendship between big bear Ernest and little mouse Celestine.

While the other mice are all afraid of hungry bears, Celestine is a lonely dreamer who fills her notebook with sketches of bears and mice as friends. Then one day Celestine meets Ernest. Ernest, too, is an outsider, and it isn’t long before the two become friends. When a scrape with the law forces the friends to flees, they only grow closer while hiding out through the winter. Elegantly balancing lighter scenes of growing friendship and delightful comic gags with heavier scenes of the fear and prejudice that threaten to keep these friends apart, this movie offers a fresh take on a classic tale of friendship. Its gorgeous watercolor style, which gives the film the flavor of the original picture books, is another reason to watch. The animation style is like no film I’ve seen before and was definitely one of my favorite things about watching it.

This film was nominated for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It is rated PG for a few scary moments.

Two New, Amazingly Illustrated Picture Books for All Ages!

Two beautifully illustrated picture books have just been added to the library collection.

Before After, by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui is a wordless book that depicts amazing, related images on each of its pages. On one of the first pages is a drawing of a flower bud and on the opposite page, the beautiful daisy is in bloom. Later in the book, you see a coffee plant, and turn the page to see a steaming cup of coffee itself. I particularly enjoy the humor that subtly permeates this book. For example, on one page there is the image of an egg and on the opposite, the image of a chicken. When readers turn the page, they first see the image of the chicken, and on the opposite page the image of the egg. This is a stunning book and truly worth a perusal by readers of all types.

Telephone, by Mac Barnett and Jen Corace is a hilarious and wonderfully illustrated book about birds sitting on a telephone wire…playing Telephone. When mother mourning dove tells cardinal to “Tell Peter: fly home for dinner,” things get immediately jumbled when baseball-playing cardinal tells goose, “Tell Peter: hit pop flies and homers.” Things only get more confusing from there. I loved the individual personalities of the birds in this book, conveyed so well through Corace’s drawings. This is definitely a fun read!

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