Of Mice and Rats

Are you looking for a good book to listen to with your family on your next car trip? I suggest Redwall by Brian Jacques. The story is about a young mouse Matthias, who becomes the hero of Redwall Abbey when it is attacked by Cluny the Scourge.

How are you celebrating?

Whether in Times Square watching the ball drop, or at Sydney's famouus harbor where over 80,000 fireworks will be set off, New Year's Eve is a time to look back and forward.

If you're throwing a party, check out some great hors d'oevres cookbooks: Mastering Hors d'Oeuvres by Jan Weimer or Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook by guess who?

If you're a nostalgia buff, you can watch the Jack Benny Holiday Hour, especially the episode where he turns down a party invitation for a date that never happens. Or for "Friends" aficianados, check out the episode in Season I, disc 2, in which Ross arrives at a new Years Eve party with a monkey.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is divided into four nations—Earth, Water, Fire, and Air—each with its own type of elemental magic, known as “bending.” The four peoples lived together in harmony the Fire nation began to invade its neighbors. Only the Avatar, a special bender born with the ability to manipulate all four elements, could have ended the war, but when the Fire nation began its attacks, the Avatar had mysteriously disappeared.

A hundred years have passed since the Fire nation began its invasion, and it now seems poised to complete its conquest. But two siblings from the water tribe, Katara and Sokka, have just found the missing Avatar, a twelve-year-old boy named Aang, and his flying bison frozen in an iceberg. Can Aang learn to master all four elements and restore peace?

This cartoon isn’t technically anime, but it’s certainly heavily influenced by anime in its character designs and plot structure. Creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino have specifically cited the films of Hayao Miyazaki as influences. The action scenes are particularly fun to watch; each type of bending is inspired by a different martial art—for example, waterbending is based on tai chi, and firebending is based on Northern Shaolin—and that makes the showdowns between the different characters very exciting to watch.

DVD Top sellers on Amazon.com

Here are the latest Amazon.com Top Sellers available in our collection. No surprise that It's a Wonderful Life made the list...tis the season! My favorite is A Christmas Story. " Ralphie, you'll put your eye out!"

Little Miss Sunshine
Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest
An Inconvenient Truth
The Devil Wears Prada
It's a Wonderful Life
Cars
Talladega Nights

What is this Christmas thing anyway?

Are you concerned about what Christmas has become. Charlie Brown sure was. If you want to learn about the true meaning of Christmas, sit back and relax with your family as you watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.

There is a Santa Claus…

earthriseearthrise

Apollo 8, Launched on December 21, 1968, was the first manned mission to leave Earth orbit and head for the moon. After ten lunar orbits it was time to go home. To get back on the right path, the crew had to perform the Trans-Earth Injection burn while on the far side and out of radio contact with NASA. Everything went as planned, and when radio contact was restored (at the precise time calculated by NASA engineers) this was the transmission:

Apollo 8: Houston, Apollo 8. Over.
Mission Control: Hello, Apollo 8. Loud and clear.
Apollo 8: Please be informed there is a Santa Claus.
Mission Control: That's affirmative. You're the best ones to know.

It was December 25.

If NASA’s authority isn’t enough to convince you, take a look at NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker website. They’ve been tracking the jolly old elf since 1955 using state of the art radar equipment.

Silly Stories

In the mood for a cozy, crazy family storytime this holiday season? Join us on Wednesday, December 27 at 10:00 am in the Downtown Youth Story Corner for silly stories for all ages. Sing along in an old favorite from the Appalachian Mountains and a dancing folktale from Panama that has lots of opportunities for audience participation.

Poetry takes its rightful place

On December 20, 1985, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law empowering the Library of Congress to name a Poet Laureate each year. From 1937-1986, the position existed under the name, Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. The stipend awarded to this poet/consultant requires the publication of at least one major new work as well as appearances at selected national ceremonies. Poet Laureates have also taken as their charge innovative projects that broden the appeal of poetry to the general public.

The current poet laureate is Donald Hall, professor emeritus of the University of Michigan. Some previous poet laureates have been Robert Pinsky who created the Favorite Poem Project and Ted Kooser who developed the American Life in Poetry columns that appeared in many newspapers throughout the country. The position has provided established poets the opportunity to creatively spread the words of the muse and connect people with the pleasures of poetry.

A Picture Book Perfect for the Season

There's a new picture book in our collection that is just the thing for cozy family reading or a nice gift for a family with young children. That book is Winter Is the Warmest Season, written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer.
Maybe you're thinking this title doesn't work here in Michigan, but the book's large brilliant illustrations and clever text will convince you otherwise. "Cold jelly sandwiches turn into grilled cheeses" and pajamas "grow big warm feet."

For more books about the joys of winter, click here.

Whimsical Nutcrackers

Stop in to see the small collection of wonderful Nutcrackers in the youth department glass display at the downtown library. A friendly elf was kind enough to share these colorful characters for the holiday season. There is a bohemian artist, a pirate and other surprises!

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