The Grudge Keeper

It can be difficult to find youth books about being kind that aren’t didactic or patronizing (I’m looking at you, Berenstain Bears!). Luckily, the new and beautiful book The Grudge Keeper escapes these problems and offers a lovely tale of a town learning to be kind.

Written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, The Grudge Keeper follows a man who is responsible for holding on to all of the grudges that his fellow citizens experience. After a terrible storm, the grudges fly everywhere and the townspeople must learn how to live without them. The illustrations in this book are fantastically old-fashioned and weird; they remind me of the art in The Triplets of Belleville. And the vocabulary is equally delightful, with words like “tiffs, squabbles, umbrage, and imbroglios.” This book is a winner for kids and adults alike.

Americanine: A Haute Dog in New York

Enchanted Lion Books never ceases to enchant with its delighful picture books. Americanine is hilarious!

In Americanine a dog comes back from New York City with all sorts of stories to tell his doggy friends. They tell him he’s changed. He says “Yup, I’ve become total Americanine." Throughout the book the red, white and blue clad pup gives the scoop about how chic and hilarious New York is. He visits many familiar sites including the Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, Grand Central Station, Broadway, Central Park, The Guggenheim, and bridges, the subway, and even restaurants that give out doggy bags! It is one wild adventure for this dog and his friends are just pawing at him for more stories. With funny doggy banter and colorful illustrations, this one‘s a winner.

For more New York City themed picture books, check these out.

Comics are Magic!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (often abbreviated FiM) has taken the world by storm since it started on TV in 2010. If you're a fan of FiM, then you'll want to check up on all your pony friends in the My Little Pony comics! Keep up with Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight Sparkle as they have even more adventures in the magical land of Equestria.

Check out our newest issues, volume 6 and volume 7. In volume 6, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity are headed to Manehatten to watch The Great and Powerful Trixie's magic show. But when Trixie is accused of stealing a diamond, it's up to the Ponyville Ponies, with the help of Babs Seed, to figure out if Trixie is being framed. Meanwhile, Angel, Winona, Tank, Owlicious, Opal, and Gummy are trying save Ponyville while Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, and the rest of the town's ponies have fallen under the hypnotic song of a kelpie! And finally, Discord decides to take Fluttershy and the Cutie Mark Crusaders on a trip through time (which is, of course, full of Doctor Who references) and show them some exotic animals, including the mysterious butterdragon.

In volume 7, the Mane Six are headed to Canter Creek to investigate the disappearance of Applejack's great granduncle Chili Pepper. Turns out a group of bull outlaws, the Cattle Rustlers, have been terrorizing the town and are trying to get Chili Pepper's ranch! The ponies have to come up with a plan to get rid of the bulls, all while Twilight refuses to use her magic against them. Then, leave the west behind and head back to Ponyville, where the Everfree Forest is taking over! Looks like there are more bull problems as Twilight and her friends clash with another bull who is trying to clear out the forest and build a theme park. Unfortunately, King Aspen, leader of the deer in the Everfree Forest, doesn't think the ponies can help and has decided to expand the forest right into Ponyville and Canterlot! Princess Twilight will have to stop the bull, protect Ponyville, and help the deer and ponies become friends again, before the forest takes over everything!

Whichever pony you prefer, be sure to read the rest of the library's My Little Pony comics.

Crazy Creatures and Bizarre Beasties

Why settle for regular boring old animals when you can discover CRAZY and AMAZING facts about the biggest weirdos in the animal kingdom!? We have so many new books about strange creatures that are just trying to do their best in this wild world.

The Dictionary of Ordinary Extraordinary Animals takes the animals you thought you knew and teaches you knew and strange facts about all of them. The colorful pictures in this book pair with detailed descriptions to provide a solid introduction to over three hundred animals!

The Curious Critters series by David FitzSimmons is a fantastic group of books that boasts gorgeous close-up photographs of a whole host of animals. Each page is accompanied by a poem, song, or monologue written from the animal’s perspective. Although I like the text, it’s really the photography that sets these titles apart from other animal books.

If you just want to skip right to weird facts, take a look at When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses. This book is packed with facts about the tactics prey animals use to defend themselves. My favorite fact? The Horned Lizard shoots blood out of its eyes to scare off predators!

For even more books about crazy animals, check out these recommendations!

I Smell a Good Book Series

Looking for a fun and pretty way to explore the world around you? I See…, I Hear…, and I Smell… are books in the same picture book series by PatrickGeorge. With bold, colorful illustrations and simple text the books are a great way to get little ones thinking about the world around them by exploring through their senses. There are even some funny finds.

For more fun with senses, check out these other titles as well.

The Story of Lewis the Downtown Cat

Lewis the Downtown Cat is a picture book written by Beth Johnson and tells the story of Lewis – the “famous” cat that resided at Downtown Home & Garden in Ann Arbor and was a recognizable and familiar site at the store until he passed away at the end of 2014. It’s a cute little book and kids will get a kick out of seeing a glimpse into how Lewis spent his days at the store and surrounding areas – chasing chipmunks, sleeping, popping into Mark’s Carts and snooping around the Fleetwood Diner. The book rhymes and is written from the POV of Lewis!

For more of Lewis' story you can read about his death here, and read about Downtown Home & Garden’s new cat, Wallace, here!

Library Lists: Introducing Fine Art to Kids!

We know that kids love to create their own art, and children can recognize and be influenced by different artistic styles from a very young age. Learning about fine art can seem dry, but there are lots of great books geared towards younger ages that introduce famous artists and their work in fun and unique ways. Here are a few suggestions:

In the family-oriented An Eye For Art, children are introduced to over 50 famous artists and their work representing a huge range of styles and techniques. Related activities ranging from focused looking to creative writing and the child’s own artistic development accompany the information and images about each artist.

Learning Through Art, published by the Guggenheim Museum, offers art and art appreciation exercises based on well-known 20th century paintings and pieces from the Guggenheim.

Art Up Close: From Ancient to Modern is a beautiful book that emphasizes the finer points of various masterpieces by turning them into an “I Spy”-like game. In the same series, and just as well-done, are the Louvre Up Close and Masterpieces Up Close.

In Modern Art Adventures, kids are introduced to the fresh and unusual artistic styles of the past three centuries, then let loose to create their own art inspired by the techniques they’ve learned. Over 35 hands-on projects make sure that there’s something for everyone in this book.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden is an adorable introduction to Monet, his family, his garden at Giverny and his work. Readers will join a young girl as she visits the home and garden of Monet, and the illustrations include photographs from the painter’s life and of his work.

Ooh! Matisse is the most basic of introductions to fine art for the youngest readers. Portions of Matisse’s cut-out paper art are splashed brightly across the pages, and young readers will learn to recognize both the art and the words that describe it (“flower,” “square,” “figure,” etc.)

The Collins Big Book of Art opens with a useful timeline of the history of art: when different styles were developed and where, and what artists were doing around the world at different points in time. This collection is great for kids interested in artistic variety: from cave art to pop art, it has it all.

If you’re interested in other cool fine art books for children, check out the suggestions on this list.

Artist Appreciation: Matisse

Kids in grades 3-8 are encouraged to join us at the downtown library Thursday afternoon, June 25, at 2:00pm for a Henri Matisse program! A short presentation will discuss the artist's life and style of work and then attendees will have the chance to create their own art in the style of Matisse.

This is a great way to learn about and create your own fine art!

She Blinded Me With Science

A few new fact books in the same series have hit the shelves in the youth department that immediately caught my eye. With bright, colorful photographs and diagrams, along with easy to read small blurbs of factual information, it’s a winner for the curious of all ages.

Extraordinary: Facts from the everyday to the exceptional answers questions about the biggest, smallest, slowest, coldest, etc., on a variety of topics such as space, human body, history, plants, and places. Why don’t haircuts hurt? How do mushrooms grow so fast? What game do 250 million people play? Can a car run on chocolate?

Weird Or What: A cornucopia of curious questions and answers delves into topics such as earth, history, nature, transportation, and society and culture. How big is a swarm? Why is an octopus spineless? Who decides what’s fashion? Which animals lived in the ice age?

If you’re into books such as the Guiness Book of World Records these are right up your alley.

Stonewall Award 2015 Winner and Honor's for Children's and Young Adult Literature

The Stonewall Award is an annual award handed out by the ALA for books that recognizes exceptional merit relating to the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) experience. The award has different winners for adults, young adults, and non-fiction.

This years winner for the Youth award (the Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award) was This Day in June a picture book that illustrates a pride parade. It also includes some wonderful end matter that explains GLBT history and some of the references made in the book.

The honors books are
Beyond Magenta: transgender teens speak out a book where 6 transgendered or gender neutral young adults are interviewed and photographed in order to represent them before, during, and after their acknowledgement of gender preference.

I’ll Give You the Sun a story about Jude and Noah two twins. Noah keeps falling in love with the boy next door and Jude cliff-dives and wears red lipstick and does the talking for both of them, but three years later neither one of them talks much. Just what could have happened to cause this change?

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress is a story about a boy who love to wear a tangerine dress, his adventures and how he deals with adversity.

If you are interested in past stonewall winners check out this list

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