Monday Children’s Book Reviews for March 30, 2015

hooray for hoppyHooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood

“When Hoppy the rabbit wakes up on the first day of spring, he discovers a world full of wonderful things. He uses all five senses to sniff the fresh air, listen to the birds sing, taste the fresh grass, watch the lambs in the meadow, and touch the warm ground.”                [JPB HOPGOOD]

moonpenny islandMoonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb

“Moonpenny is a tiny island in a great lake. When the summer people leave and the ferries stop running, just the tried-and-true islanders are left behind. Flor and her best, her perfect friend, Sylvie, are the only eleven-year-olds for miles and miles—and Flor couldn’t be happier. But come the end of summer, unthinkable things begin to happen. Sylvie is suddenly, mysteriously, whisked away to school on the mainland. Flor’s mother leaves to take care of Flor’s sick grandmother and doesn’t come back. Her big sister has a secret, and Flor fears it’s a dangerous one.

“Meanwhile, a geologist and his peculiar daughter arrive to excavate prehistoric trilobites, one of the first creatures to develop sight. Soon Flor is helping them. As her own ability to see her life on this little lump of limestone evolves, she faces truths about those she loves—and about herself—she never imagined.”

[J Springstubb]

backwards birthday partyThe Backwards Birthday Party by Tom Chapin and John Forster

“Have a happy birthday—the backwards way! Full of fun and based on the hit song from Tom Chapin and John Forster, this is a celebratory birthday bash like no other.

“Put your clothes on inside out, heat up the ice cream, and hang on to your party hats—because everything’s out of whack at the backwards birthday party!”                [J782.42 CHAPIN]

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Write Your Story….The Learned Leprechaun!

 Write Your Story @ the Union City Library

eiffel_tower_blueJoin our senior library member Bruce Haase and write your memoir. Bruce is a life long reader, he now writes memoire-based, creative non-fiction. These are informal meetings to support each other and organize your thoughts for writing. Sharing is optional.

Meetings take place the third Tuesday of the Month

  April 21, May 19, and June 16….1 — 3 p.m.

 Please bring your pen & paper.

For more information: Bruce Haase,  Email:

or  Union City Library 510-745-14:  Location: UNION CITY BRANCH – Get Directions

the following story was submitted by Bruce Hasse

The Learned Leprechaun: a tale of Irish Boston, on a hidden and forgotten lane

a fiction?, it could be…

 March 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Back then and there, in the old Irish section of Boston resided a weathered, “Previously Enjoyed Published Collections & more…,” shop. Above the door, a slowly swinging, fading and peeling, wooden sign bore a cartoon of a hat and glasses clad Leprechaun, in a wind-storm. He’s running past an overflowing kettle, chasing tumbling books and papers that are leading him up a path. “The Learned  Leprechaun” was painted, in green and gold, on the streaked and dusty front window.

Smiling, I thought, “how clever, he’s passing up gold in pursuit of knowledge!” Now, being a reader and searcher myself, I couldn’t let this two-dimensional fellow pass by. Feeling captured, I was drawn into the three-dimensional store, to seek that “most elusive,”  the fabled fourth dimension, that dimension of erudite wisdom.

Inside it was warm, with air slightly stale. Left over scents of pipe tobacco, whisky and ale. Dust and mouldering books, drying and cracked ancient leather, with traces of old pizza and older Irishmen seemingly added for seasoning. There was a soft, clear sound of classical, “old sod,” folk music quietly tip-toeing out of leaning stacks and crooked aisles. Here and there a comfortable chair or two sat, with floor lamps and side tables, no hinted encouragement to ‘move on’…

Behind a check-out counter two old men sat, bent over their small desks. Each wearing those jeweler magnifier things, both busily operating on books, rather then watches and such. Wandering the aisles I came across a few customers, pulling down volumes and looking at the front fly leaves. They would laugh or smile, sometimes their eyes would squint slightly and they stayed motionless in contemplation. I watched as they found their answers, and with a humph or a grin return the book to it’s nest and move up or down the shelves.

In front of me were a few copies of Moby Dick, I pulled one and opened it to the front flyleaf. There, in an elegant calligraphy was written, “To fish with vengeance may be hazardous to one’s health.” and a note that, “This warning is brought to you by the US Dept. of Labor, OSHA Division and The International Association of Great Whales.” Below was a clever sketch of a lightly tinted grey Sperm Whale, winking and pointing at the reader… Another copy of Moby Dick had a sketch of a square-rigged whaling ship, decaying on the ocean floor, above it, a large old whale was regaling three younger, smaller whales, he was pointing down and bragging proudly, his chest all puffed out. The three in his captive audience rolled their eyes in boredom, “Oh my, how often had they heard this old tale before…”

I picked up “The Catcher in the Rye,” there was no drawing inside, but it was signed with a quote, “Protect your little siblings and all of the children, the world’s a dirty place.” ~ Holden Caulfield ’51 …
In “A Tale of Two Cities”, just a sketch of a Guillotine and an apron wearing shopkeeper using it to slice sausage. A small caption, “It was the wurst of times”, spelled “w-u-r-s-t,” sat below, as if daring the reader, ‘don’t dare groan!” Not being able to stop myself, I groaned…

“Oliver Twist” Beckoned, I tried to guess what would be inscribed to entertain me… It was signed, ”Oliver Twist,” with this four line verse, “You best take heed, Mister Dickens, I have need, to get my pickens!” It took me a moment to remember that Dickens was the author, and Twist was the character.

I had only a half-hour to stay in the shop, things to do you know. I stayed three hours, and purchased four books. Two of them already lived in my library, I needed these new additions for the flyleaf’s…
The old men were personable and funny, their eyes with intellect, surely did twinkle, but alas, they weren’t short nor possess the Irish brogue . Sadly, they were not Leprechauns, oh, how I wished that they were. I shall pretend that they are, I’ll return to “The Learned Leprechaun” it’s so near, not too far …  (end)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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“Sock Creatures!” Workshop for Tweens & Teens

sock monstersTweens and teens, join Teaching Artist Angie Wilson for this special, free workshop to learn to sew a stuffed creature from colorful socks and gloves! Everyone will assemble and customize their own hand sewing kit to take home for more sewing adventures. All materials provided. Ages 10 and up.

Union City Library: Fri., 3/27, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
34007 Alvarado-Niles Rd.; 510-745-1464

These events are part of a series of 250 free Art IS Education events presented by Alameda County Library in partnership with the Alameda County Arts Commission and the Alameda County Office of Education.

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Spring Preschool Story Time

Introduce your 3 – 5 year-old child to the joy of reading — bring them to Preschool Story Time at the Union City Library!

story timeNo registration is required for this ten-week series running March 24 – June 2. [No meetings March 17 and April 7] The Union City Library Preschool Story Time, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, is a fun introduction to books, fingerplays and stretches for our youngest Library patrons. Say after the stories for a fun and relaxing play time.

It’s free! It’s fun! Come join us! Yes, the Library is closed then, but the doors are open at 11 a.m. for stories and play!

For more information contact: Patricia Ryan (510) 284-0625

Location: UNION CITY BRANCH - Get Directions

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Monday Children’s Book Reviews for March 23, 2015

red a crayons tory Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

“A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as ‘red’ suffers an identity crisis in the new picture book about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

“Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!”                            [JPB HALL,M]

mastermindsMasterminds by Gordon Korman

“Action-packed and full of unexpected twists, this new series from New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman is perfect for young fans of James Patterson and John Grisham.

“Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. In this idyllic place, every lawn is perfectly manicured and everyone has a pool and a tree house. Honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie—they know it’s a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places.

“Eli has never left Serenity . . . Why would he ever want to? Then one day he bikes to the edge of the city limits and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one—least of all their own parents.”        [J KORMAN,G]

gingerbread for liberty Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff

“Christopher Ludwick was a German-born American patriot with a big heart and a talent for baking. When cries of ‘Revolution!’ began, Christopher was determined to help General George Washington and his hungry troops. Not with muskets or cannons, but with gingerbread!

“Cheerfully told by Mara Rockliff and brought to life by Vincent Kirsch’s inventive cut-paper illustrations,Gingerbread for Liberty is the story of an unsung hero of the Revolutionary War who changed the course of history one loaf at a time.”                                                   [JB LUDWICK]

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Healing with the ARTS

Jacket“Have you ever painted a mural with your neighbors to renew your community? Sang a song to uplift your mood? Danced with your children to bring the family together? Each of these acts has the power to heal your body and your community. Through art projects–including visual arts, dance, writing, and music–along with spiritual practices and guided imagery, Healing with the Arts gives readers the tools to heal physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ailments. Acclaimed by hospitals and caretakers from around the world, Healing with the Arts brings a proven twelve-week program out of the medical community and into your home and neighborhood. Internationally known leaders in the Arts in Medicine movement, authors Michael Samuels, MD, and Mary Rockwood Lane, RN, PhD, use creativity and self-expression to pave a path to healing. Whether improving your personal health or the health of your community, join the thousands of people who have already awoken their innate healing ability through art”–

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Monday Children’s Book Reviews for March 16, 2015

night owlNight Owl by Toni Yuly

“Night Owl loves the nighttime! He can see everything, but when he doesn’t see Mommy Owl, he starts to listen . . . .

‘A reassuring bedtime story for little night owls everywhere.”         [JPB YULY,T]

smek for presidentSmek for President by Adam Rex

“In this much anticipated sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday, Tip and J.Lo are back for another hilarious intergalactic adventure. And this time (and last time, and maybe next time), they want to make things right with the Boov.

“After Tip and J.Lo banished the Gorg from Earth in a scheme involving the cloning of many, many cats, the pair is notorious-but not for their heroics. Instead, human Dan Landry has taken credit for conquering the Gorg, and the Boov blame J.Lo for ruining their colonization of the planet. Determined to clear his name, J.Lo and Tip pack into Slushious, a Chevy that J.Lo has engineered into a fairly operational spaceship, and head to New Boovworld, the aliens’ new home on one of Saturn’s moons.

“But their welcome isn’t quite as warm as Tip and J.Lo would have liked. J.Lo is dubbed Public Enemy Number One, and Captain Smek knows that capturing the alien is the only way he’ll stand a chance in the Boovs’ first-ever presidential election.

“With the help of a friendly flying billboard named Bill, a journey through various garbage chutes, a bit of time travel, and a slew of hilarious Boovish accents, Tip and J.Lo must fight to set the record straight-and return home in once piece.”                             [J REX,A]

origami folding frenzy Origami Folding Frenzy: Boats, Fish, Cranes, and More! by Christopher Harbo

“Provides instructions and photo-illustrated step diagrams for folding a variety of traditional and original origami models, including animals, decorations, and a money suit.”               [J736.982 HARBO]

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