Monthly Archives: January 2011

Monday Children’s Book Reviews for January 31, 2011

Children’s Classics, Part 4: Moving Up Fiction

When you’ve read all the Early Readers, but you’re not quite ready for the thicker books, check out the Moving Up section!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

“Life is delicious in the town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and juice, snows mashed potatoes, and blows storms of hamburgers — until the weather takes a turn for the worse.”                    [J BARRETT]

The Velveteen Rabbit, or, How Toys Become Real by Margery Williams Bianco

Nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”                                 [J BIANCO]

Freckle Juice by Judy Blume

More than anything in the world, Andrew wants freckles. His classmate Nicky has freckles — they cover his face, his ears, and the whole back of his neck. (Once sitting behind him in class, Andrew counted eighty-six of them, and that was just a start!)

One day after school, Andrew screws up enough courage to ask Nicky where he got his freckles. And, as luck would have it, who should overhear him but giggling, teasing Sharon (who makes frog faces at everybody!)

Sharon offers Andrew her secret freckle juice recipe — for fifty cents.                                  [J BLUME]

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

“This Newbery honor book captures the nonsensical logic of childhood in an amusingly deadpan fashion. The story begins when Elmer Elevator (the narrator’s father as a boy) runs away with an old alley cat to rescue a flying baby dragon being exploited on a faraway island. With the help of two dozen pink lollipops, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a fine-toothed comb, Elmer disarms the fiercest of beasts on Wild Island.”         [J GANNETT]

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

“Meet Stanley Lambchop. He’s an ordinary boy with an extraordinary problem. He’s four feet tall, about a foot wide . . . oh, and half an inch thick.

“At first being flat is fine. It’s fun going in and out of rooms simply by sliding under the door. And it’s exciting being mailed to your friends in California for a visit. But it’s not always easy being different, and soon Stanley wishes he could be just like everybody else.

“Will he ever be normal again?”                                          [J BROWN]

Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand

“Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses begs his grandfather to tell him again the story of the night he was born. In a question-and-answer litany, the boy and his grandfather share the telling of the events on that special night — the wild storm; the frantic ride for the grandmother/midwife; the birth of the frail, sickly boy; and the blessings of the blue horses. Through dialogue, readers learn how the boy, who was born blind, teaches his horse to run the trails. They enter a race, and although the boy does not win, his grandfather tells him that he has `raced darkness and won.'”                                     [J MARTIN]

Blue Moose by Daniel Pinkwater

“A man who runs a restaurant on the edge of the big north woods meets a talking blue moose that moves in and spends the winter serving as head waiter.”                                             [J PINKWATER]

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

“The game under the tree looked like a hundred others Peters and Judy had at home. But they were bored and restless and, looking for something interesting to do, thought they’d give Jumanji a try. Little did they know when they unfolded its ordinary-looking playing board that they were about to be plunged into the most exciting and bizare adventure of their lives.”               [J VAN ALLSBURG]

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

“It is Christmas Eve. The boy is in his bed waiting. A train pulls up to his house. The conductor calls to the boy to board the train. To where? Why, to the North Pole! The boy boards the train. There he finds other children, all heading to the North Pole to see Santa Claus.”                                        [J VAN ALLSBURG]

Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood

“The poor mother of seven children, each named for a day of the week, goes off to market promising to return with individual gifts that each child has requested and admonishing them to lock the door to strangers and not to touch the fire. The gullible children are tricked into disobeying their mother by the witch, Heckedy Peg, who turns them all into various kinds of food. The mother can rescue her children only by guessing which child is the fish, the roast rib, the bread, etc., a trick she neatly performs by matching each kind of food with the gift that each child had requested (Monday asked for butter, so Monday is the bread, etc.).”                             [J WOOD]


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Looking for tax forms??

 Looking for tax forms? The Union City Library will be providing the standards forms. At this time, we do NOT have any 1040 instruction booklets. Once they arrive, it will be announced on this blog. You can also download the instructions on the IRS website at

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Monday Children’s Book Reviews for January 24, 2011

Children’s Classics Part 3: Non-Fiction

The list of great children’s non-fiction is much too long to include everything, but these samples will get you to the right area to find more!

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

“A collection of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology including eight genealogical tables”  

[J292.13 HAMILTON]


The Princess and The Pea by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrations by Paul Galdone

“A young girl feels a pea through twenty mattresses and twenty featherbeds and proves she is a real princess”                     [J398 ANDERSEN]

Cinderella, or, The Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault with pictures by Marcia Brown                     

“There is perhaps no better loved, no more universal story than Cinderella. Almost every country in the world has a version of it, but the favorite of story-tellers is the French version by Charles Perrault.

“This translation is excellent for story-telling and also for reading aloud. Marcia Brown’s illustrations are full of magic and enchantment from the little cupids putting back the hands of the clock to the last scene at the palace.”                                         [J398 PERRAULT]

Paul Bunyan, a Tall Tale retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg 

“Recounts the adventures of the great American folk hero, Paul Bunyan, and his big blue ox, Babe, as they dig out the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and the Grand Canyon”                [J398.2 KELLOGG]

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears : a West African Tale retold by Verna Aardema with pictures by Leo and Diane Dillon

“In this origin story, the mosquito lies to a lizard, who puts sticks in his ears and ends up frightening another animal, which down a long line causes a panic. In the end, an owlet is killed and the owl is too sad to wake the sun until the animals hold court and find out who is responsible. The mosquito is eventually found out, but it hides in order to escape punishment. So now it constantly buzzes in people’s ears to find out if everyone is still angry at it.”

The book won a Caldecott Medal in 1976 for its illustrators, Leo and Diane Dillon                 [J398.2 AARDEMA]

Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch, a modern abridgment by Edmund Fuller, with a new index

“Familiar Greek, Roman, and Germanic myths as well as legends about King Arthur, Charlemagne, and their knights are retold”                    [J398.2 BULFINCH]

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle, illustrated by Scott McKowen 

“Tales of the English hero, son of a nobleman, who became an outlaw in protest against the king’s injustices to the poor.

“Reprint of the original edition, the finest modern version of the English outlaw’s merry adventures. Includes 23 full-page illustrations.”                             [J398.20942 PYLE]

Paul Bunyan by Eric Blair, illustrated by Micah Chambers-Goldberg 

“Relates some of the legends of Paul Bunyan, a lumberjack said to be taller than the trees, who had a pet ox named Babe. He once hitched Babe to a road that took too long to travel and had her pull it straight.”                                  [JE 398.20973 BLAIR]

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs. A tale from the Brothers Grimm translated by Randall Jarrell. Pictures by Nancy Ekholm Burkert   

“Retells the tale of the beautiful princess whose lips were red as blood, skin was white as snow, and hair was black as ebony. The drama and suspense of Snow White’s flight and refuge with the seven dwarfs begins when the Queen finds out that she herself is not fairest of them all.

“Burkert’s tapestrylike paintings, strong yet delicately detailed, radiate a spiritual beauty that enriches the movement of the story in its medieval setting. Jarrell’s style, graceful and dignified, stays close to the original.”                        [J398.21 GRIMM]

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights written and illustrated by Howard Pyle 

“In these wonderfully illustrated tales, renowned storyteller Howard Pyle carries us back to the enchanting world of King Arthur and his Round Table. The book chronicles the adventures of Arthur as he draws the sword Excalibur from the anvil, proving his right to the throne, and as he courts and wins the heart of Guinevere. Later he suffers the treachery of the wicked Morgana le Fay and witnesses the tragic fate of the Enchanter Merlin. In Pyle’s classic retelling, the legends come alive in unsurpassed vividness. More powerful than any of Merlin’s spells, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights has enthralled and delighted generations of readers fascinated by chivalry, magic, and the unforgettable drama of medieval times.”                                                [J398.22 PYLE]

Aesop’s Fables by Jerry Pinkney  

A collection of nearly sixty fables from Aesop, including such familiar ones as “The Grasshopper and the Ants,” “The North Wind and the Sun,” “Androcles and the Lion,” “The Troublesome Dog,” and “The Fox and the Stork.”           

[J398.2452 AESOP’S]

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock  retold by Eric A. Kimmel, illus. by Janet Stevens 

“Coming upon a moss-covered rock with magical powers, Anansi the spider uses the rock to trick Lion, Elephant, Giraffe, and Zebra, but Little Bush Dear soon turns the tables on the mischievous Anansi.”                         [J398.24525 KIMMEL]

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark collected from American folklore by Alvin Schwartz, drawings by Stephen Gammell

“Tapped from the oral traditions of American folklore, these ghost stories and tales of weird happenings, witches, and graveyards have startling, funny, or surprising endings.

“There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney.”                            [J398.25 SCHWARTZ]

My Very First Mother Goose edited by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells 

“To a small child, words are magical. And the most magical of all are the beloved, venerable words of Mother Goose. Now folklorist Iona Opie has gathered more than sixty treasured rhymes in their most perfect, honest form. From “Hey Diddle, Diddle” and “Pat-a-Cake” to “Little Jack Horner” and “Pussycat, Pussycat,” these are familiar verses that have been passed from parent to child for generations; these are the rhymes that are every child’s birthright.”                            [J398.8 MY]

Betty Crocker Kids Cook!  Betty Crocker 


Over 60 simple recipes show you how to fix every meal of the day plus snacks and desserts.


Chow down on delicious food, from Chicken Lickin’ Quesadillas to Indoor S’mores.


Cool illustrations and color pix of every recipe make cooking an adventure.

[J641.5622 CROCKER]

You Come Too: Favorite Poems For Young Readers  by Robert Frost, illustrations Thomas W. Nason   

You Come Too is a book comprised of Robert Frost’s most favored and widely enjoyed poems. As always wit, wisdom and gentleness are found in the poems that make up this wonderful book.”           [J811 FROST]

Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein    

If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer,

A wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er,

A magic bean buyer …

Come in … for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.

Shel Silverstein’s masterful collection of poems and drawings is at once outrageously funny and profound.      [J811 SILVERSTEIN]

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl    

“Do you think Cinderella married the prince and lived happily ever after, and that the three little pigs outsmarted the wolf? Think again! Premier storyteller Roald Dahl twists the fate of six favorite fairy tales, in this picture book edition with vibrant new cover art by Quentin Blake. Fairy tales have never been more revolting!”                                                                          [J821.914 DAHL]

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One Day In California Libraries

Snapshot Day data!

On a typical day over ONE MILLION Californians visit a library

The library is the one free community space that sustains democracy, levels the playing field, values the individual, nourishes creativity, opens young minds, builds community, supports families, builds technology skills and offers sanctuary—all free of charge to the user.

On California Library Snapshot Day:

1,012,563 Californians visited a library.

Library websites were accessed 1,223,887 times

770,831 items were checked out or renewed

Librarians answered 93,292 reference questions in person.

Librarians answered 16,577 reference questions by telephone, email, instant message, text message, mail and more!

169,707 people used a library computer.

2,170 programs were held for children, teens, adults and families. 62,354 people attended those programs

26,962 people received literacy tutoring, homework help, and information literacy instruction at a library.

No other organizations or agencies provide Californians with everything that libraries provide—and over one million Californians on one day in October proved it.

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Monday Children’s Book Reviews for January 17, 2011

Children’s Classics Part 2: Early Readers

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish

“Ever since Amelia Bedelia made her debut almost thirty years ago, young readers have been laughing out loud at the antics of this literal-minded but charming housekeeper who never fails to confound the Rogers family. After all, who knows better than Amelia Bedelia what “dust the furniture” and “dress a chicken” really mean!”                     [JE PARRISH]

Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman

“Never having seen his mother, after falling from his nest, a baby bird makes humorous mistakes trying to find her.”                                [JE EASTMAN]

A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban

“Thelma always seems to get Frances into trouble. When she tricks Frances into buying her tea set, it’s the last straw. Can Frances show her that it’s better to lose a bargain than lose a friend?”                                        [JE HOBAN]

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

“When a little boy plants a carrot seed, everyone tells him it won’t grow. But when you are very young, there are some things that you just know, and the little boy knows that one day a carrot will come up. So he waters his seed, and pulls the weeds, and he waits …

“First published in 1945 and never out of print, … a triumphant and deeply satisfying story for readers of all ages.”                           [JE KRAUSS]

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

“Frog and Toad agreed: it was a perfect day for a swim. And Frog was kind enough not to look at Toad in his bathing suit, per Toad’s request. But when the swimming was over, a crowd had gathered to see Toad in his funny-looking suit, and neither Frog nor Toad could make them leave.

“The endearing pair hop along through five enchanting stories, looking for lost buttons, greeting the spring, and waiting for mail. Their genuine care for each other makes Frog and Toad two of the finest amphibious role models around.”                     [JE LOBEL]

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

“This timeless Dr. Seuss classic was first published in 1960, and has been delighting readers ever since. Sam-I-am is persistent, changing as many variables as possible in the hopes of convincing the nameless skeptic that green eggs and ham are a delicacy to be savored. He tries every manner of presentation — in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox, with a goat, on a boat — to no avail. Then finally, finally the doubter caves under the tremendous pressure exerted by the tireless Sam-I-am. And guess what?”           [JE SEUSS]

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

“Enter the world of Little Bear. Children will be entranced by Little Bear’s trip to the moon, his birthday party, and his wishes and adventures.

“This is the first of the five classic books about Little Bear, introducing the funny and strikingly childlike bear cub and his friends. The combination of Else Holmelund Minarik’s simple, yet eloquent, stories and Maurice Sendak’s warm, tender illustrations have made this beloved character an enduring favorite among beginning readers.”                                         [JE MINARIK]

Morris and Boris by Bernard Wiseman

“Morris the Moose and Boris the Bear have three exasperating encounters.”         [JE WISEMAN]

Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

“Shortly after a breakfast generously supplied with pancakes, Nate the Great got an urgent call from Annie.

“I lost a picture,” said Annie. “Can you help me find it?”

“Of course,” said Nate. “I have found lost balloons, books, slippers, chickens. Even a lost goldfish. Now I, Nate the Great, will find a lost picture.”

“Oh, good,” Annie said.

“Nate, with the cool detachment of a Sam Spade, immediately plunges into his new and baffling case. Getting all the facts, asking the right questions, narrowing down the suspects. Nate, the boy detective who “likes to work alone,” solves the mystery and tracks down the culprit. In the process he also discovers the whereabouts of Super Hex, the missing cat.”                       [JE SHARMAT]

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The Shadow Effect

The shadow effect : illuminating the hidden power of your true self

Three best-selling authors ( Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson)come together for the first time to deliver a comprehensive and practical guide for harnessing the power of our dark side by embracing it and learning more about ourselves from it, rather than trying to ignore it.

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Monday Children’s Book Reviews for January 10, 2011

Something different for the next few weeks – a look at some old, and not so old, children’s classics.

Part 1: Picture Books

Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack

“A little boy was hunting for a present. “Good morning, Mrs. Hen,” says Danny, “Can you give me something for my mother’s birthday?” So he asks all the animals and nothing seems right for a present until at last he meets Mr. Bear. It is fun to guess what Mr. Bear whispered to Danny, and of course the last picture shows.”                                  [JPB FLACK]

Curious George by H. A. Rey

“In this, the original book about the curious monkey, George is taken from the jungle by the man in the yellow hat.”                  [JPB REY]

Corduroy by Don Freeman

“A toy bear in a department store wants a number of things, but when a little girl finally buys him he finds what he has wanted most of all.”                  [JPB FREEMAN]

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

“In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room — to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one — the little bunny says goodnight.”                      [JPB BROWN]

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

“Set in picturesque Paris, this tale of a brave little girl’s trip to the hospital is as appealing today as it was in 1940. The combination of spirited heroine, timelessly appealing art, cheerful humor, and rhythmic text makes “Madeline” a perennial favorite with children of all ages.”                        [JPB BEMELMANS]

Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells

“What’s a mouse to do when little brother and big sister take up all mom and dad’s time? Yup. Plenty of noise!”

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a timeless tale of a little boy’s adventures in the deep, deep snow. Peter makes a snowman, makes angels in the snow and pretends to be a mountain climber.”                     [JPB KEATS]

Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

“Late one Christmas Eve after the town has gone to sleep, the boy boards the mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives, Santa offers the boy any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the harness of the reindeer. The gift is granted. On the way home the bell is lost.

“On Christmas morning, the boy finds the bell under the tree. The mother of the boy admires the bell, but laments that it is broken, for you see, only believers can hear the sound of the bell.”     [J Moving Up Van Allsburg]

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

“Follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats his way through a varied and very large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep. Die-cut pages illustrate what the caterpillar ate on successive days. The beginning reader may watch a hungey caterpillar eat his way to the cocoon stage, when he hibernates for two weeks to emerge as a beautiful butterfly.”                       [JPB CARLE]

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