Once Upon A Northern Night

Once Upon A Northern Night is a beautiful NEW picture book written by Jean E. Pendziwol with pictures by Isabelle Arsenault.

Once upon a northern night
While you lay sleeping,
Wrapped in a downy blanket,
I painted you a picture.

Using lyrical and poetic language the narrator describes the wintry landscape outside a sleeping child’s window, creating a narrative that makes way for a picture painted with words and imagery full of magic and wonder. The illustrations are reminiscent of older storybooks like the Caldecott honor book Blueberries For Sal. This would make a wonderfully calm and enchanting bedtime story.

Art Table: Pop Art!

The next time you’re at the Downtown Library, pop into the Youth Department and check out the new art project at the art table. This month you’ll have the chance to create some POP ART!

Pop art is the art of every day things. This art form works off things in pop culture and mass media. We’ve got crayons, paper and samples to get you started in your own artistic endeavors. And for some books as inspiration, check out these youth titles about pop art.

Youth Nonfiction: The Mad Potter

A new book found on the Art Shelf in the Youth Department downtown is The Mad Potter: George E Ohr, Eccentric Genius. Part of the Ladies Library Collection, The Mad Potter is also an ALA Notable Book, 2014 Sibert Honor, 2014 Best Book of the Year via Booklist, 2014 Best Book of the Year via School Library Journal.

Who was this eccentric genius? He crafted thousands of ceramic sculptures and took them to art fairs and shows but nobody was buying any of this oddly shaped pieces. After his death over 5,000 pots were discovered, and he had boasted that no two were alike. The authors of the award-winning Ballet For Martha have brought us a curious biography about a curious artist. Be sure to also check out their other artist biographies!

A Modern Fairy Tale

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” had inspired many fantastic works in the last few years, including Disney’s Frozen and Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs. Fans of the latter will definitely want to check out the latest Snow Queen-inspired novel, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.

The story takes place in a magical, labyrinth-like museum in a country where the snow never stops. While exploring the museum one day, Ophelia discovers the prison of the Marvelous Boy, a boy who never ages and who is destined to give the sword to the hero who will slay the Snow Queen. Though still grieving the death of her mother, Ophelia agrees to team up with the Marvelous Boy to help him defeat the Snow Queen and end the endless winter.

What I loved most about this novel was its careful balance of fantasy and reality. While much of the plot and the tone of the story feel like a dreamy or sometimes nightmarish fairy tale, Ophelia’s grief and its effect upon her family keep the heart of the story incredible real.

Secret Pizza Party

Remember how funny and adorable and hilarious Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri is? Well, they’ve got another picture book out, made just for you fans of silly!

Secret Pizza Party features a raccoon that LOVES pizza. “Pizza smell” gives him the “happy screams.” But the poor raccoon in this book is always being chased off by someone with a broom. All he wants in life is some pizza! Eventually a plan is hatched for a secret pizza party. One that involves avoiding the broom factory and the raccoon-sniffing broom-bots. Will this raccoon ever get some pizza?! Read the book and find out.

You might also want to read Dragons Love Tacos, if you haven’t already. And for more funny picture books check out this nice list we've created!

New Youth Magazines: LEGO Club & LEGO Club Jr.

LEGOs! Will we ever have enough of LEGOs? Probably not. There’s always another set coming out that we just HAVE to have. And with the LEGO Movie recently released, well, some of us are extra LEGO-minded. AADL now has subscriptions for two LEGO magazines for kids.

LEGO Club Magazine (formerly called Bricks Kicks and later LEGO Magazine) features different bits in each issue, such as Lord of the Rings, Lego Castle, Lego Atlantis, Lego City, Lego Legends of Chima. It addition to feature articles the magazine also includes comics, building ideas, cool creations, and games.

LEGO Club Jr. Magazine is aimed at children six and under and features activities, cool creations,and building ideas.

And of course be sure to check out some of the oodles of great LEGO books the library has to offer.

Audiobook for Kids: Malcolm at Midnight

Many favorite children’s books feature heroic mice, but what about heroic rats?

In Malcolm at Midnight by W. H. Beck, we meet Malcolm, a rat who becomes a class pet when fifth-grade teacher Mr. Binney mistakes him for a mouse. When Malcolm learns about rats’ bad reputation, he decides it might be best to let everyone continue thinking he’s a a mouse, especially after he joins the Midnight Academy, a secret society of class pets that has vowed to keep the school safe. But when the leader of the Midnight Academy goes missing and everyone discovers Malcolm is really a rat, he will have to set off alone to save the school from real evil of McKenna School.

Reminiscent of Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux but with a familiar classroom setting, this book would be a good choice for animal lovers and children with classroom pets.

For more books featuring heroic rodents, check out this list.

Family Science Workshop

Join us on Saturday, February 15th from 10 - 11 AM at the Pittsfield branch for our second Family Science Workshop, brought to us by the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. This workshop will be Meals with Megafauna: Sabertooth Cats, Dire Wolves, Mastodons & Man. Come learn about the strategies used by predators and prey to stay alive during the ice age. The workshop is intended for children in grades K-5, accompanied by an adult.

We also have plenty of ice age items in our collection, and don't forget to check out our Sabertooth Cat kit from our Science Tools collection.

The Bear’s Song

The Bear’s Song is a charming picture book written and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. The beautiful, large and detailed illustrations help tell the story of a bear and his cub. Little Bear darts off after a bee, because honey is where the bees are! Papa Bear is left to run after Little Bear. He searches for him in the forest, in the big, busy city, and eventually an opera house—where things get a little silly for Papa Bear.

It is a darling story that is great for lap reading. Kids will enjoy searching for Little Bear and the bee on each of the pages as the story unfolds.

Highly acclaimed, the book has been on many top lists, including New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2013 and Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Books of 2013, which both feature some amazing children’s books!

The Candymakers

Since February is a traditional time for candy, it also seems like a perfect opportunity to sample this sweet story, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.

Reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this book introduced readers to four twelve-year-olds competing in the Confectionery Association’s annual Best New Candy contest. Alternating between the perspectives of contestants Logan, Miles, Daisy and Philip, the story unfolds in truly surprising and delightful ways. Through these alternating perspectives, we come to learn that each contest is carrying a secret, but they will have to trust the others enough to reveal all in order to ensure a happy ending.

The audiobook, narrated by Mark Turetsky, is also worth checking out.

Perfect for fans of Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society or Pseudonymous Bosch’s The Name of This Book is Secret.

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