New Nonfiction for Kids: Get the Scoop on Animal Puke!

Animal- and nature- lovers will delight in all of the amazing facts they find on regurgitation and emesis (a.k.a. vomit) in Get the Scoop on Animal Puke! by Dawn Cusick! Despite the slightly off-putting cover of this book, this eye-catching new addition to the youth collection is sure to be a hit! Vomit as seen in nature doesn't have to be considered disgusting. As written by Cusick, "...gross and weird things we see in nature help animals compete and survive. Animal puke isn't gross: it's really pretty cool."

Here are some amazing facts that I was surprised to learn from this book:

  • Some animals vomit to protect themselves from predators or poisonous food.
  • Scavengers like turkey vultures expel highly acidic vomit to ward off potential thieves from eating their carrion food.
  • You may remember Genie's advice about camels in the movie Aladdin: "Watch out, they spit!" In truth, the "spit" that Genie is warning us about is really vomit, which camels eject when scared. Apparently it smells really bad.
  • Have you ever seen video of a snake eating an entire egg in one mouthful? They have trouble digesting the egg shell, so they make sure to spit that part back out after they eat it.
  • Many animals are "ruminant," meaning the plants or foods they eat are not fully digestible the first time, so they need to keep chewing it until it can go through their intestines. All ruminant animals have four(!) stomachs, and include cows, goats, deer, and giraffes.

Want to learn even more amazing and strange animal facts? Check out these fascinating animal books!

AA/Ypsi Reads 2015 Book Chosen!

The votes are in and it's been decided this year's book for the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Reads 2015 will be A Tale For the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

The theme was A Very Good Read. A five-member panel consisting of: area blogger Mark Maynard; Ann Arbor News Entertainment Reporter Jenn McKee; Musician San Slomovits; Ypsilanti City Council Member Dan Vogt; and Ann Arbor City Council Member Chuck Warpehoski - chose the book earlier this month from two finalist titles.

A brilliant, unforgettable novel, A Tale For the Time Being is an inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home. Published in 2014, the novel won the Medici Book Club Prize the L.A. Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, "My Year of Meats," "All Over Creation," and "A Tale for the Time Being." Her critically acclaimed independent films, including "Halving the Bones," have been screened at Sundance and aired on PBS.

Read "A Tale For the Time Being" with your community and be sure to see the author who is scheduled to appear at the annual Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads event on Wednesday, February 11 from 7 – 8:30 pm at Rackham Auditorium!

Vanessa and Her Sister: new fiction on the life of Virginia Woolf

Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar, is a brand new book that offers a look at a fascinating time and place in world history. The year is 1905 and pre-war London is bustling with young artists and intellectuals. The four orphaned Stephens siblings—Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby and Adrian—decide to take a house together in fashionable Bloomsbury. All young, gifted and unmarried, they bring together a glittering circle of talented and outrageous friends that will eventually become known as the Bloomsbury Group. At the center of the circle are the sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. When the book opens, Vanessa, the painter, has never sold a piece of her work and Virginia, the writer, has just had her book review turned down. But as time passes, the sisters and the others in the circle begin to meet with success. When Vanessa falls in love, her complicated and possessive sister feels dangerously abandoned and begins a tailspin of self-destruction. With the threat of tragedy looming over the family, Vanessa must decide how to save herself and her loved ones while also protecting her own happiness.

This book is has been recommended for fans of Loving Frank, The Chaperone, and The Paris Wife and offers a fascinating and intimate viewpoint of the life of Virginia Woolf and her struggles with mental illness.

Kate Atkinson Fans Rejoice!


Kate Atkinson, whose epic Life After Life tore up time and space and heartstrings, has announced that her next book will return to the same world, this time focused on Teddy, the beloved youngest child in the Todd family. Her new book, "A God In Ruins" will be released in May 2015.

The article in The Guardian describes that the plot "will explore how Teddy – "would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father" – navigates "the perils and progress of the twentieth century."

After the multiple realities explored by Life After Life, I'm very interested to discover in what reality "A God In Ruins" occurs, and if the story moves in a linear fashion, or if Teddy has some second chances of his own.

If you haven't read Kate Atkinson before, Life After Life is a great place to start. When it was published in 2013, it enjoyed great success, winning many awards and much critical praise. I also highly recommend her ingeniously plotted Case Histories, which kicks off her excellent Jackson Brodie mystery series.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #494 - “Magic: it was what happened when the mind met the world, and the mind won for a change.” ~ Lev Grossman

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg is "an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight (readers) of all ages."

19 year-old Ceony Twill, graduated (at the top of her class) from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Despite her dreams of being a smelter, she has been assigned as a "Folder," (paper magic) - the lowest in the hierarchy in the pantheon of magicians.

Things get off to a rocky start when she is greeted at the door by a paper skeleton, but under the tutelage of the amiable Emery Thane, Ceony learns to bring the most amazing paper creatures to life. That is until Emery's past comes back to haunt him. To save her teacher's life, Ceony must face an Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic and embark on an unbelievable adventure.

Just released is The Glass Magician, the sequel.

If you have been floundering for something magical to read since The Night Circus, your wait is over. Fans of Karen Russell and Lev Grossman might want to check these out too.

Chicken Soup with Rice, so nice!

In November’s gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail
And spout hot soup-I’ll be a whale!
Spouting once, spouting twice
Spouting chicken soup with rice!

There is a small collection of books that travels through life with me and comes out when I want the comfort of an old friend. The book Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak is one of them and is almost always plucked from the bookshelf around the time the leaves near the end of their fall dance and coats and mittens become a part of my daily wardrobe. Written in 1962, it‘s part of a small collection of books Sendak called the Nutshell Library. (The other titles in the series are: Alligators All Around: an alphabet, One was Johnny: a counting book and Pierre: a cautionary tale.) Each book tells a different story in rhyme and covers topics like the months, counting and the alphabet. Chicken Soup with Rice covers the days of the month and you get the picture early on that the little boy in the book really loves chicken soup with rice! The book is delicious in its play with rhymes and the illustrations are true Maurice Sendak. A nice compliment to this little gem can be found on Carol King’s CD Really Rosie. She put the words to song and created a nice little ditty that will have you humming it for days.

PreK BITS - "J" for Journey and Jaguar

Ms. Rachel received "J" in the Letter Box .... so-o what can you do with "J" ?

Mouse went on a "Journey" to mother's house ... a story from MOUSE TALES by Arnold Lobel.
We used verbs that begin with "J" (jiggle; jog; jazz; jitterbug; jump) to the tune of "Walk Walk Walk ... Around The Block" ... accompanied by Miss Sara's music.
Jaguar took a jealous journey with his jungle drum, ... just as Leopard did in LEOPARD'S DRUM, an Asanti trickster folk tale.

For more books on Journeys:
JOURNEY, an illustrated masterpiece for taking a visual journey.
DREAM ANIMALS a Bedtime Journey
FOLLOWING PAPA'S SONG
WE'RE SAILING DOWN The NILE, a Journey Through Egypt
The QUEEN'S PROGRESS, a sumptuous journey through the English countryside with Queen Elizabeth I in 1500 on her way to her summer home.
MY NAME I NOT ALEXANDER an imaginative journey, where Alexander discovers how great men become heroes.
RED KNIT CAP GIRL

Hook's Revenge!

New to the shelves is Heidi Schulz's Hook's Revenge! This rousing adventure book features thirteen-year old Jocelyn, better know as Captain Hook's only daughter! After Hook meets his untimely end, Jocelyn must track down the fearsome crocodile that killed him in order to avenge her famous father. Along the way, Jocelyn meets a few familiar faces, including pirates, mermaids, fairies, and even Smee, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys themselves. Especially hilarious is the narrator, who tends to be a bit.... snarky. Over the course of the novel, Jocelyn finds her calling behind the helm of her ship and leads her swashbuckling friends through dangerous adventures. Hook's Revenge is a funny and touching book about a young girl struggling to find her place in the world.

Looking for other popular pirate books? Try Magic Marks the Spot and it's sequel: The Terror of the Southlands. Both novels are a part of The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series by Caroline Carlson, and follow main character Hilary Westfield, a girl who escapes finishing school to join a group of buccaneers on their pirate adventures.

British culinary history comes to life in Historic Heston

I was fascinated when I picked up the amazing new cookbook Historic Heston, by Heston Blumenthal. The book is a James Beard Award Winner for Cookbook of the Year 2014 and that prize was certainly well-deserved. In this fascinating tome, Blumenthal takes readers and chefs on a journey through the culinary history of Britain, from the middle ages all the way to modern day. “Alighting upon the most iconic and intriguing dishes, such as Meat Fruit, Powdered Duck, Tipsy Cake and Mock Turtle Soup, he delves into the story behind each one, before using them as inspiration for his own modern recipes,” reads the cover. I was particularly wonder-struck by the photography in the cookbook by Romas Foord: the image of a beautiful orange on one page is revealed to be constructed completely out of marzipan on the next. Later in the book, a close-up of meat stew is detailed enough to expose the individual spices in the broth. Seeing the ancient dishes as they would have been created in midieval times is a treat and Blumenthal’s adaptations to make them modern are completely usable. Historic Heston is truly a must-peruse for those interested in cooking, photography or British history.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday February 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up.

This is a monthly meetup that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects. Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources. These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing and considerations of fiction and non-fiction writing.

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