One Was Johnny: A Counting Book

Maurice Sendak is most commonly remembered as the author/illustrator of the 1964 Caldecott winner Where the Wild Things Are. For years I kept a beautiful first edition copy of this classic on my bookshelf. When my daughter was born it became part of her library collection and remained in pristine condition under her care. It wasn’t until it was passed onto to my son (my wild thing) that this book was destroyed. On his first day of ownership he ripped off the cover and pretty much tore it to shreds! Lessons are learned every day in my household. A few years before Sendak’s Caldecott winner was published he wrote a book that still holds a special place in my heart. I’d forgotten about this little gem until it practically jumped off the shelves into my hands. The book One Was Johnny: A Counting Book was written in 1960 and features a little boy who wants to be alone to count in peace. With each number comes a new animal or person that brings chaos into his private little sanctuary. Not to worry though! Johnny is a clever little boy and uses his skill of counting backwards to rid his home of the crazy lot of animals and even a shoe stealing robber! The book is fun, easy to read and great for new readers. The illustrations alone tell the story and the rhyming verse makes it easier for young ones to practice their reading skills effortlessly and joyfully. Check out this sweet little book for your own little wild thing, or even for yourself.

Wild Swan Theater: The Ugly Duckling

Wild Swan Theater will present "The Ugly Duckling" Oct. 17-Oct. 19 in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College. Resident playwright Jeff Duncan has put his own spin on the classic tale by H.C. Andersen. The performance is designed for children in preschool through second grade. More information is here.

September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy there! Well shiver me timbers once again Talk Like a Pirate Day is upon us and it will be a glorious one. If you are curious as to how this international event started, you can check out the story posted here on the original website. You can also view the countdown and see a map of events happening around the world that are related to Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you really want to embrace the pirate speak, you can even change your language settings on Facebook to English(Pirate). Now for a friendly disclaimer, pirates in reality were nothing to laugh about and the creators of Talk Like a Pirate Day will be the first to admit it. Pirates were and are for the most part pretty despicable people so the promotion of speaking like a pirate is not a general endorsement for the pirate lifestyle.

If you want to skip talking like a pirate and would rather read about or watch them instead, make sure to check out the materials that AADL has featuring these terrifying tormentors of the sea.

Fair winds me hearties!

Take an Autumn Prairie Plant Hike! @Furstenberg Nature Area

Sunday September 22, 2013: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Furstenberg Nature Area

Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) volunteer and Master Gardener Aunita Erskine lead a nature walk through Furstenberg's Native Garden.

Learn about the ecology of the park, how to identify many of the autumn prairie plants and how people have historically used some of the plants for food and medicine.

Furstenberg is off Fuller, across from Huron High School. Meet in the parking lot near the Native Plant Garden.

This event is intended for all ages.

Michigan Theater's Family-Friendly Film Series

It’s that time of the year again! School is back in session, the days are getting cooler and the Michigan Theater is holding it’s fall Family-Free Film Series Sundays at 1:30 pm! The series begins Sunday September 15th with a showing of the film Wallace & Gromit:The curse of the Were-Rabbit. Tag along with the eccentric inventor Wallace and his faithful dog Gromit as they try to lure a massive tribe of rabbits out of a vegetable garden! On September 22nd step into the world of our favorite Ogre in the movie Shrek! This favorite is loosely based on William Steig’s 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek and features the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.
Mark your calendars for this free family event! Michigan Theater Sundays at 1:30 pm Free for kids 12 & under!

World Hobbit Day Celebration!

Saturday, September 21 | 2:00-3:30pm | DTN-MPR | All Ages

September 22 is the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo, hobbits from J.R.R. Tolkein’s famous fantasies The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. World Hobbit Day has been celebrated by fans all over the world since 1978, and this year AADL is getting in on the game, and we’re celebrating a day early.

Join us for a wonderful celebration of these fantastic books and movies. (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is in theaters on December 13th!) In our Shire-for-a-day there will be Hobbit-themed games such as a Lord of the Ring toss, craft projects such as dragons and beards, and special snacks such as lembas bread.

Feel free to dress up as your favorite Middle Earth character to get into the spirit of things! (Note: Even hobbits have to wear shoes while in the library.)

Write Michigan Short Story Contest

The second annual Write Michigan Short Story Contest just began one week ago on September 3! All ages are encouraged to enter their stories of 3000 words or less in one of the following categories: Youth (up to 11 years old), Teen (12-17 years old) or Adult (18 or older with a $10 entry fee). Writers have three months to enter, with November 30 as the final submission date. A few of the judges for the contest include Liesel Litzenburger, Lori Nelson Spielman, Ruth McNally Barshaw, Deborah Diesen, and Laurie Keller.

To find out more information about submitting a story, click here.

Want even more opportunities to write and express yourself? Keep an eye out for three of AADL’s exciting writing programs: National Novel Writing Month (November 2013), It’s All Write Short Story Contest for teens (January 2014), and the Youth Short Story Program (March 2014) for grades 3-5!

An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales

An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales is a beautifully magical masterpiece written by Theresa Breslin and illustrated by Kate Leiper. The pair work seamlessly together as Breslin weaves one wonderful story after another and Leiper brings the tales to life with gorgeous, colorful pictures.

The stories that Breslin chooses to tell are captivating. Many of the them exist in other cultures but Breslin tells their Scottish versions. For example, the popular tale of Cinderella is very similar to the story told about the girl in the rashie coat. If this book existed when I was a child, I think it would have quickly became the one I begged my parents to read to me at night.

Be prepared to lose yourself in the illustrations. Leiper succeeds in drawing the reader into the story with the images that she creates. Even if you are not interested in the stories alone, you may be convinced to read one after seeing the accompanying pictures.

If you are interested in more tales from Scotland, check out the other books that AADL owns here.

There's Still Time to Find AADL's Geocache

The Summer Game may be over, but you can still look for AADL’s Summer Game Geocache!

Our geocache will remain in place through the end of September, so if you didn’t have a chance to find it over the summer, there’s still time. Plus… you can snag some awesome AADL swag. We’ve just hidden a number of AADL mini flashlights in our cache (not even available from the Summer Game Shop).

So what is geocaching? If you haven't heard of it before, you should know that geocaching is a real-life treasure hunting game. Players can log onto the geocaching website to find the coordinates of caches (small containers usually containing a logbook and inexpensive "treasures"). They can then locate the caches with a GPS or GPS-enabled device. You can find out more about geocaching at Geocaching 101 or from the geocaching books in our collection. You can also find out more by visiting our original geocaching blog post, where we answer lots of FAQs and include a handout for new geocachers.

Wildlife at Pittsfield Branch

Now that the summer season is winding down it's a good time to look for wildlife outside the back windows at the Pittsfield Branch. The Pittsfield Branch is built partly on stilts above the Malletts Creek. The Reading Room at the rear or one of the study rooms offer a perfect vantage point to observe the birds and multiple turtles that can be seen in the summer and fall. Turtles hibernate in the winter so soon they will be burrowing under the soil in the water for the cold season, but for now they can be seen on any sunny day basking themselves on the rocks. There are also multiple bird houses on the wetlands so be sure to stop and gaze out the windows on your next visit to the Pittsfield Branch!

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