Friday, December 21, 2007

Miss Holly is Too Jolly!
By Dan Gutman
Most enjoyed by 1st through 3rd graders

Here's another adventure in the ever popular 'My Weird School' series. Miss Holly is in charge of this year's Christmas program and she is really getting into the holiday spirit. But for which holiday? There's Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa and Miss Holly is determined to celebrate all of them. Will the kids be able to keep up?

Under all the fun, there's some real learning here. Short descriptions of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa introduce kids to the significance of each holiday . Our 1st and 2nd graders absolutely love this series after reading it as part of the Monarch Award program. So if you're still in the holiday spirit, join Miss Holly and be jolly!

Stock Up!

Today's the last day to check out books from the Zion library before the Christmas break. Do you have enough to read over the loooooong two weeks of Christmas vacation? If not, come on up to the library today and check a book or movie out.

Over the break, stop in at the Marengo Public Library and sign up for their winter reading program. For every five books you read, you'll receive a small prize. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little
by Peggy Gifford and Valorie Fisher
Most appreciated by 3rd through 5th graders

Moxy Maxwell has been assigned the book 'Stuart Little' to read over summer vacation. She's had three whole months to get the book done, but Moxy keeps finding ways to put 'Stuart' off. Despite the fact that he's gone everywhere with her, she just has not had time to read 'Stuart'. Now it's the day before school starts and she still has not even opened the book. How could she, when she's been so busy practicing her daisy petal routine for tonight's swim show and trying to plant a peach orchard and trying to figure out which of the 211 Career Paths she should take and...and...

Moxy's bubble bursts and she's faced with the down side of having left Stuart under her bed. But what will Moxy think about 'Stuart' when she finally starts reading? Check out 'Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little' and find out - does she?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Winter's Day
By M. Christina Butler
Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton
Most enjoyed by Pre-K through 2nd grade

One windy day, cold air blew Hedgehog's house away. He bundled up in his hat, mittens and scarf and went to stay with Badger. But as he walked along, he met a family of mice, an otter, and a young fawn all shivering from the cold. By the time he reached Badger's house, Hedgehog had shared his hat, mittens and scarf with his friends. But Hedgehog was worried - would he be able to find enough sticks and grass to make a new house after such a terrible storm? Hedgehog's worries are put to rest when he find his kindness in sharing repaid by his friends..

This is a cozy book for a lap-sitting story time. Cuddle up and enjoy touching the fuzzy hat, mittens and scarf that appear on many of the pages. Let the wind howl outside while you stay warm along with little Hedgehog and his friends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tracking Trash:
Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion
By Loree Griffith Burns
Great non-fiction for 5th through 8th graders

Alrighty, folks, it's time for a little non-fiction on the blog today. The book we're going to...wait, wait, wait! Don't switch to another site just because I said non-fiction. Yes, the stuff is good for you just like eating your vegetables, but it's actually pretty interesting and easier to read than you think. Probably a lot easier than eating spinach. So hang with me.....

Back in 1990, a ship carrying stuff from Korea to the U.S. got caught in a bad storm in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Five containers of Nike shoes (about 80,000 all total) were washed overboard. Somehow, the container broke open and out floated the sneakers. No one knew much about the spill until the sneakers started showing up on beaches along the California coast. Now, who loses that many sneakers when they're at the beach? The story made the papers and caught the attention of scientist Curt E.'s mom. She showed the story to him and asked him to figure out where the sneakers had come from (yes guys, his mom made him do it!). Being a scientist who studies ocean currents, Curt used his knowledge along with data from the ship's log to determine where the exact spill occurred. He put out a call for all beach combers to keep their eyes open for sneakers in order to determine how far they all had floated.

During his research, Curt met another scientist, W. James, who had written a computer program that figured out the movement of the ocean's surface currents. So much data about ocean currents had been gathered that together, the two scientists were able to track the movement of all 80,000 sneakers. When another spill occurred two years later, this time containers carrying bathtub toys, Curt and W. James were able to track exactly where the tub toys would end up.

Pretty cool, huh? There's more, too. More spills, more about ocean movement, more about the impact those spills have on animals (the photo of what was found inside a bird carcass will make you really sad) and more about the people that are working to clean up these spills. After reading 'Tracking Trash', you'll want to be a lot more careful with your garbage, even though we don't live by the ocean.
Bonus: If you read this book, you are guaranteed to come up with at least three ideas for your science fair project next fall. I'll give you one idea - you read the book and see if you can come up with the other two!
Idea No1. - Can your project answer this question - How fast does packaging dissolve in salt water? Packaging, or the paper/plastic/cardboard the stuff we buy comes wrapped in, doesn't always last a long time in the ocean. The salt water eats away at it. But just how long does it last? Is one type of packaging better than another?

Monday, December 17, 2007

N is for Navidad
By Susan Middleton Elya
Illustrated by Joe Cepeda
Most enjoyed by anyone wishing to practice their Spanish!

Here's a great book to celebrate the Christmas holiday and learn some new Spanish words at the same time. The description on the dust jacket describes it best:

"Bienvenidos! to a celebration of Christmas, Latino-style!
From the angel (angel) hung above the door to the
zapatos (shoes) filled with grass for the wise men's camels,
each letter of this festive alphabet introduces children
to a new Spanish word."

The colorful illustrations bring out the joy in the 22 day celebration of Christmas to make this a great introduction to an important part of Latino heritage. Feliz Navidad!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Olivia Helps With Christmas
By Ian Falconer
Most enjoyed by young and old

Everyone loves Olivia, the most precocious piggie ever to grace the pages of a picture book. Olivia wants to help the family get ready for Christmas. There's so much to do. Put up the Christmas tree, watch for Santa, make cookies, watch for Santa, hang stockings so they're just so, watch for Santa. It's almost too much for this little piggie to take! But when Christmas day arrives, Olivia is more than ready to join in the celebrations.

If you're feeling a little Scrooge-ish right about now, pick up 'Olivia Helps With Christmas'. Your spirits will lift and you'll hurry off to bake some cookies or wrap some presents!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Book Wishes 2007

Here at the library, we've created a giant 'book wish' tree. The paper tree hangs on the landing in the stairwell up to the library. Each ornament hung by our students lists the name of a book they are hoping to find under the Christmas tree on Christmas day. Parents, ask your kids what book they put on the wish tree. They just might give you an idea for that last gift you have to buy!

Here's a sampling of some of the titles we're hoping to recieve:

MVP by Douglas Evans
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (reviewed here)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (reviewed here)
Miss Daisy is Crazy by Dan Gutman
The SOS File by Betsy Byars, et al
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
The OK Book by Amy Krause Rosenthal (reviewed here)
The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo

Wouldn't it be awesome if all of our book wishes were filled?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Talented Clementine
By Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Marla Frazee

Get ready for Clementine! If you haven't met her yet, pick up one of the titles listed above and meet a character you won't soon forget.

Clementine is a 3rd grader with her own unique view of the world. When best friend Margaret cuts off a chunk of her own hair, Clementine comes to the rescue. The cut part wouldn't look so bad, she thinks, if all the rest of Margaret's hair was short. So she offers to do the cutting, which Margaret happens to like at first. But the teacher isn't impressed and sends Clementine to the principal's office. Margaret's mother isn't impressed either, and is doubly upset when Clementine colors Margaret's hair orange with a permanent marker so that the two girls can look alike. But why, Clementine wonders, should Margaret's mother be upset when Margaret likes the color? Between cutting hair, helping scare pigeons away, and making bologna glasses, Clementine is never still for one moment.

In 'The Talented Clementine', the class is putting on a talent show but Clemetine is sure she doesn't have any talent. As much a she tries, she just can't sing or dance. Margaret makes matters worse because she's so talented, she needs to make an alphabetized list of all her talents. But when the night of the show rolls around, Clementine surprises even herself with the talent she displays.

Clemetine is a new favorite with some of our 1st graders. We've been reading 'Clementine' out loud during library story time and delighting in the antics of this wonderful character. While we don't always want to imitate her, we sure enjoy the adventures Clementine has!

P.S. Yes, Clementine really makes bologna glasses! Read 'Clementine' to find out how then go raid the fridge!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Inkheart Fans Rejoice!
Movie Debuts in March!

In case you're not much of a movie goer, you may have missed the preview for the upcoming film version of 'Inkheart' by Cornelia Funke. Watch the preview then tell me what you think. Doesn't it look like the movie version of this popular book is going to be awesome?

If you haven't read the book yet, be sure to do so before seeing the movie. But be warned - the book is over 500 pages long so start now!

Anxious for the third book in the series to come out? It's called 'Inkdeath' and is scheduled to debut in April 2008. Of course, if you can read German, you could get a copy from Germany and read it right now instead of waiting until April!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Great Joy!
by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Most enjoyed by all ages

Frances is getting ready for her Christmas pageant, but she's curious about the organ grinder and his monkey on the corner. Each day and night, they play for the few coins that clink in the monkey's cup. Frances is curious. Where do they go at night? Can they come for dinner? But Mother is too distracted with Frances's costume and the preparations for the holiday to pay Frances much mind. But Frances's heart is in the right place. Her compassion helps her share the message she's memorized at just the right moment and in just the right way.

Kate DiCamillo, beloved author of "Because of Winn Dixie" and "The Tale of Despereaux", has written a Christmas story to enjoy this season. The illustrations are truly superb. The chill of the streets, the warmth of Frances's apartment, the fear on her face as she can't say her lines in the pageant, are brought to life by Bagram Ibatoulline's beautiful drawings. The artwork is worth looking at well after the story is finished.

Add this one to your library and enjoy it for many Christmases to come!

The Arrival
By Shaun Tan
Most enjoyed by 4th grade and up

The other day, I posted about one of two amazing books on Zion's library shelves this year. The first was ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ by Brian Selznick. The second title, and today's feature, is ‘The Arrival" by Shaun Tan.

Imagine leaving your home and family to live in a new country in search of a better life. In the new country, you must find a place to live and a job. You know no one. The food is different. The people are not always friendly. You don’t speak the language. You don't know how to get places, can't read road signs, and rely on the kindness of total strangers. Yet you want to survive in this land that promises so much. Along the way, you make mistakes, miss your homeland and make new friends, many who are making the same journey as you.
Now imagine telling your story, but using only pictures. How do you show people your feelings - the fear, the kindness of strangers, the frustration, the homesickness? Shaun Tan is able to convey all of this through his wonderful artwork. While some might call this a graphic novel, it really isn't. It's an art book that happens to portray the story of a immigrant in a way that makes it meaningful to anyone. Even those of us who have never left America to travel to a new country can share the main character's experiences.
This is not a book to be picked up, read, and set down. You'll want to keep coming back to it over and over. Each time, you'll see, and feel, something new.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lawn Boy
by Gary Paulsen
Most enjoyed by 3rd through 6th graders

We are blessed to have a 4th grade teacher here at Zion who does a novel study of Gary Paulsen's Newbery Honor-winning book "Hatchet". Her students love this unit - they love the book, they love the project they do in tandem with the unit. They can't get enough of Gary Paulsen after they finish "Hatchet". And it's for those students, and any other fans of Gary Paulsen's books, that this review is directed. "Lawn Boy" is not Gary's usual backwoods survival story. It's more of a laugh-out-loud-funny survival story set in the suburbs.

Our narrator, Lawn Boy, receives an old lawn mower from his grandmother on his 12th birthday. A neighbor sees him mowing the family yard and asks Lawn Boy to mow his lawn for $20. As more neighbors ask for his help, Lawn Boy soon finds himself walking around with pockets full of cash. Enter Arnold, a stockbroker who lives down the street. He offers to be Lawn Boy's investment advisor. Before long, Lawn Boy is worth thousands and has a crew of twelve workers to do the mowing and landscaping for him. But things really heat up when Lawn Boy sponsors a prize fighter named Joey Pow.

Enjoy this book. It's wild, outrageous, and very funny. You'll want to start your own lawn service when you're done!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
By Brian Selznick
Most enjoyed by 3rd graders and up

"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" has been the most popular book on our fiction shelves this school year. Our fifth grade reading club read it and loved it. In fact, several parents read it and loved it, too. It is one of two books published this year that demonstrate that authors are constantly creating new ways of telling stories. Later this week, you'll read about the second book in our collection that deserves a look because of the way the author shares his story.
Inspired by old silent movies, author Brian Selznick has created a unique book in "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". Part graphic novel, part storybook, it tells the story of young Hugo, orphaned when his father dies in a museum fire. Hugo has been living in a Paris train station, struggling to repair the automaton his father died trying to save. Hugo repairs the clocks in the station which allows him to keep an eye on the small toy shop from which he steals parts to repair the automaton. Hugo hopes the automaton will reveal a secret message once it is fixed. The toy shop is run by a young girl and her grandfather, who catches Hugo stealing and puts him to work. As Hugo gets to know the grandfather, he realizes that the old man has a secret he's hiding that has to do with the automaton. Hugo hopes that by discovering the old man's secret, he'll finally be able to complete the automaton and discover it's hidden message.
What makes 'Hugo' unique is the way the story is told. Brian Selznick outlined the story, then decided which parts could be told in pictures instead of words. Each picture section is about 30 pages long and seamlessly carries the story forward, connecting to the next narrative section. As the illustrated pages turn, the reader gets the sensation of watching a movie, as the focus of a series of pictures zooms in on one aspect of a setting. While the book is over 500 pages long, it is a quick read. And, surprisingly, not intimidating to most readers. In fact, the combination of story and pictures is what makes this book so appealing.
Brian has created an awesome website for "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". On the site, check out the movie link to see the original silent movie 'A Trip to the Moon' from which Brian got his inspiration.
Parents, if you're looking for a book to give for Christmas, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" would be an excellent choice. It's appeal is greatest for 3rd graders on up.
We currently have a waiting list for this book. Stop by the library and add your name to the list so you don't miss this fascinating book.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Labels! We've Got Labels!

Thanks to a great suggestion by a thoughtful 8th grader, our posts now can be searched by grade level. Note that this is not the same thing as reading level. Grade level simply indicates the age group of readers that might be interested in a particular book. Be sure to check out the book itself to make sure it's a reading level you're comfortable with.

Labels are displayed at the bottom of posts. Click on the label that interests you to find all related postings.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The All-I'll Ever-Want Christmas Doll
by Patricia McKissack
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Most appreciated by all ages

"Christmas always came to our house, but Santy Claus only showed up once in a while." It's the Depression, times are tough, but Nellie won't give up hope that this year, Santy Claus will bring her a Baby Betty doll. Her sisters are sure she'll be disappointed. On Christmas morning, Daddy has a special surprise for all of his girls. It's just what Nellie wanted, but the beautiful doll must be shared. "It's mine!" Nellie declares, causing her sisters to play without her. But Baby Betty is not quite the playmate Nellie had hoped she'd be. Nellie finds that sometimes it's more fun to share than to keep something all to herself.

The lesson of this Christmas story is simple. It doesn't overwhelm the joy the sisters find in playing together. The watercolor illustrations are warm and set the time period perfectly. Enjoy this reminder about gifts and their worth with your family.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Elephant and Piggie Books
by Mo Willems
Most enjoyed by preschool through 2nd grade

Mo Willems, of 'Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus' fame, has created a new series of beginner readers that can't be missed. There are four titles in the 'Elephant and Piggie' series that are perfect for beginner readers to read on their own. The vocabulary is simple. Words are used repetitively and are easy to sound out. And, most important of all, Elephant and Piggie are two characters to read about over and over.

In "There is a Bird on Your Head', Elephant discovers that a bird has landed on his head. Soon it's two birds. Actually, as Piggie kindly points out, they are two birds in love who soon start making a nest on Elephant's head. But Elephant does not want birds on his head or a nest either. Piggie, being his friend, helps him get the birds off of his head, but not quite with the results he expected!

Everyone knows pigs can't fly but not Piggie. He wants to fly despite Elepahnt's gentle reminders that pigs can't. In 'Today I Will Fly', Piggie gets the help of Elephant and another friend to learn that sometimes, maybe everyone can fly a bit.

Other titles in the series include 'My Friend is Sad' and 'I Am Invited to a Party!' and provide just as much entertainment as the two books described above. Parents, if you're looking for some fun books to help your child increase their reading skills, the Elephant and Piggie books will do the trick.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy 50th Birthday, Mr Grinch!

It’s hard to believe but the Grinch is celebrating the big 5-0 this year. He hasn’t changed one bit, has he? Let’s hope not! The Grinch is a Christmas staple. Can you imagine celebrating Christmas and NOT watching ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’? So as we begin the countdown to Christmas, let’s say ‘Happy Birthday’ to the Grinch. May he continue to delight and entertain us for another 50 years!

But wait! Have you read the Grinch, watched the Grinch, and still can't get enough? Check out the fun Grinch website in Seussville. There's games and activities all about our favorite grump. Why, you can even decorate your Who tree with Grinch ornaments you print and color!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Leepike Ridge
by N.D. Wilson
Most appreciated by 4th through 8th graders

Okay, the other day, I wrote a post about a book just for girls and I shoo'd you boys away. Now it's time to come on back and read about 'Leepike Ridge'. It's got out-of-control refrigerator packing foam, a dead body, boiling crawdads, a lost dog , treasure hunters, and a house on a cliff. Sound interesting?

Tom Hammond's mad. The fourth grade teacher at his school has asked his mom to marry him and Tom can't stand the guy. To escape from the situation, Tom pulls packing foam he's saved from a new refrigerator and begins to float down the river at the base of the cliff. The stars are bright in the night sky, lulling Tom to sleep. When he awakens, he discovers he's floated to the river's edge and under cliffs. Riding the rapids, he lands in a cave, deep inside the cliff. As he tries to find his way in the dark, he feels the leg and boot of someone else. But this someone isn't moving - and hasn't moved for some time.

Tom knows he has to get out of the cave and home. But how? He doesn't even know where he is but he knows he doesn't want to stay. In the meantime, Tom's mom searches for him, convincing no one but herself that Tom is alive.

The trials Tom goes through as he struggles to find a way out of the cave will keep you turning the pages well past dark. Hmmm, speaking of the dark, this story takes place in a cave. To get the full effect of Tom's adventure, try reading it in the dark with a flashlight as your only source of light. Now that's bringing a book to life!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Voices from a Medieval Village
by Amy Schlitz
Illustrated by Robert Byrd
Most appreciated by 3rd graders on up

With the Boar's Head Festival coming up this weekend, this is a great time to take a look at this neat book. The author, librarian Amy Schlitz, wrote the book in response to a request from students for plays they could perform. Realizing the difficulty of finding a play with equal parts for 19 students, Ms. Schlitz took matters into her own hands and wrote one.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is made up of 22 narratives from young people living in an English village in 1255. The voices are those of kids ranging in age from 10 to 15. Most know each other because they all live in or around the manor of a noble lord. Some are poor, some are not. You'll meet a singing shepherdess who's voice saves a life, a falconer's son who wants to keep his beloved bird away from it's true owner. There's the lord's daughter who walks through town and doesn't understand when villagers throw mud at her. Isn't it God's will that she be who she is, a daughter of the nobility?

Mixed in with each villager's story are facts about life in the Middle Ages. But don't worry - you won't find the facts. They're worked into each story so well, you won't realize you're reading history.

So when the Boar's Head is over, and you'd like to go back to visit the manor house, pick up this book and grab some friends. Have fun reading the stories out loud. Go ahead and make believe you're a pilgrim on a religious journey or you've just outsmarted the lord and kept your family's prized cow. Who wants to be Nellie the sniggler? (See, better read this book to find out what a sniggler is!).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book of a Thousand Days
By Shannon Hale
Most enjoyed by 5th through 8th grade girls

Girls, you've gotta read this book. It's got a strong heroine, exciting adventure, a handsome prince, a little romance, and a yak. Yes, a yak. It plays a small but important role in the story (more about it later). Guys, this is probably one book you'll want to skip. Unless you like yaks. Watch for a new title in a day or two that might be more to your liking.

Dashti is Lady's Saren's maid. She begins her new position just as Lady Saren is sentenced to spend seven years in a tower for her refusal to marry the evil Khan Khasar. One day, through a vent in the windowless tower, Dashti hears a voice. It is Khan Tegus, Lady Saren's true love. But Lady Saren, upset over her imprisonment, refuses to talk to the Khan and orders Dashti to talk for her. With each of Khan Tegus's visits, Dashti likes him more and more, despite the fact that neither can see the other. But the visits end with the arrival of Khan Khasar, who destroys Lady Saren's homeland. As their food runs low, and rats begin to overtake the tower, Dashti finds a way to freedom for the pair and they begin to journey to a land of safety. Along the way, Dashti befriends a yak who keeps them warm on their journey and serves as their entry into the new kingdom. Forced to become servants, Dashti and Lady Saren scrub pots in the kitchen of the kingdom's khan. When the Khan's loyal army commander is injured in a battle, Dashti is called upon to help heal the man. As she enters the sick room, Dashti meets the kingdom's ruler, the man she's fallen in love with, Khan Tegus.

And that's where I'll stop. Set in Mongolia, Shannon Hale has written this variation on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Dashti is a young lady you won't soon forget. She's the reason you'll keep reading. No matter what trials face her, Dashti is always find something to sing about and be happy. Make sure you've plenty of time to read this book. You won't want to stop once you start!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The OK Book
By Amy Krause Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Most appreciated by all ages!

This book is one of the most popular here in the Zion library. Why? Because of OK. Have you ever really looked at OK? Try this now - grab a pencil, crayon or marker and a blank piece of paper. Write 'OK' on it in capital letters. Now turn the paper a quarter turn. What do you see now? Is your OK gone, replaced by a guy with arms and legs? Pretty cool, huh? And that's why 'The OK Book' is such a hit.

Little OK is just okay at almost everything. He always tries his best but so far, he's hasn't found what he's really good at. But that's OK with him. He knows that someday, he'll figure out what he's really good at but in the meantime, he's having fun trying. What a great message for all of us, right?

If you're considering the 'The OK Book' as a gift, why not give a copy that's autographed? Read Between the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock has a number of copies available that were autographed by the author, Tom Lichtenheld. In addition to 'The OK Book', Tom has written and illustrated several others, including a favorite here called 'Everything I Know About Pirates'. Contact the store directly for more information.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dog and Bear:
Two Friends, Three Stories
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Most appreciated by K - 2nd grade

Dog and Bear are friends. The best that can be. When Bear is stuck on a high chair, it's Dog that comes to help him out. When Dog wants to play, Bear reminds him that sometimes quiet time is as much fun as play time. The two friends are colorful and jump off the white pages. You'll wish they were real enough to curl up with as you read "Dog and Bear".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, the day before a looong weekend, and two days before all the Christmas sales start. As you think of the many blessings you have, don't forget to include your favorite books. Reading is your chance to relax and forget about homework and chores. As you read, you journey through another world or another time. You make new friends and sometimes meet a few characters you don't like. In America, we have the freedom to choose what we read, which gives you the chance to set aside a book if you don't like it. So give thanks for all the wonderful books you've read and those just waiting for you to open them up!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Do Unto Otters:
A Book about Manners
by Laurie Keller
Most enjoyed by everyone!

Otters have moved in next door to Mr. Rabbit and he's scared. He's never had anything to do with otters before so how should he treat them? Wise Mr. Owl tells Mr. Rabbit to simply 'do unto otters' as he would have them do to him. This gets Mr. Rabbit thinking - how would he like to be treated? He thinks of lots of ways - saying 'please' and 'thank you', taking turns and sharing. Of course, the list becomes the one he'll follow as he gets to know his new neighbors.

Laurie Keller has taken the Golden Rule of "Do Unto Others" and turned it into a fun reminder of fairness and kindness. There's lots of fun word play here (the otters like to co-otter-ate!) to make this a laugh-out-loud read for everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf:
A Year Told Through Stuff
by Jennifer Holm
Most appreciated by 5th through 8th grade girls

Ginny Davis' life seems like a roller coaster. One minute life is good - she wants that cool yellow sweater at the mall, she's sure she'll get the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the ballet, and her best friend is in her homeroom class. The next minute, her life is falling apart - her old best friend has her pink sweater and won't give it back, her mom is gettin remarried, and guess who's old best friend gets the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy? In the meantime, Ginny's big brother begins to commit acts of vandalism that seem to be leading him down a dark path.

What makes this book a great read is the way Ginny's story is told. We see Ginny's life through her 'stuff' - her to-do lists, school schedule, instant messages from friends, notes to and from her mom. Pictures of Ginny's lip gloss, the hair color she tries, the sweater she wants, are included to fill out Ginny and make her seem real. The result is not a typical chapter book with pages of black-and-white text. The book is colorful and crazy, just like Ginny. You'll wish Ginny was your friend once you read this book!

Thank You, Sarah:The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Most appreciated by all ages

Did you know that we almost lost Thanksgiving? Long ago, the holiday which began with the Pilgrims, soon fell out of favor. Most people simply ignored it. That bothered Sarah Hale, who loved Thanksgiving and thought everyone in the country should celebrate it on the same day. So Sarah took up her pen and became a 'superhero', writing letters and magazine articles to convince the public to support the holiday. She even went all the way to the top, to the President of the United States. It took Sarah 38 years and five presidents before finally reaching her goal of making Thanksgiving a national holiday. True superheroes are those who will stand up for what they believe is right and make their voice heard no matter what difficulties they face. Sarah Hale is the kind of superhero we can all look up to. Share this book with your family before you eat your Thanksgiving turkey. It will taste a whole lot richer!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cowboy and Octopus
By Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Most appreciated by anyone needing a laugh!

Cowboy and Octopus are two characters unlikely to become friends. And yet, they hit it off right from the start. Cowboy and Octopus shake hand and shake hands and shake hands get the idea. Cowboy loves to cook and beans are his specialty. He makes Beans and Bacon, Bacon and Beans and just plain beans, all for his new friend, Octopus. But Octopus doesn't like beans. What's a friend to do when he doesn't want to hurt his partner's feelings? Eat one bean, declare it the best and keep that friend! Jon and Lane have created another book full of their wacky humor. Try to read 'Cowboy and Octopus' and NOT laugh out loud!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scott Gustafson's Book Signing Cancelled!

We are so sad to report that Scott Gustafson won't be coming to Zion on Wednesday, November 14th. All copies of his new book 'Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose' have been sold already. His publisher will not have any more copies until the spring. While it's sad for us, this is great for Scott. Can you imagine being an illustrator and having ALL of your books sold? Great job, Scott! We'll try to have Scott come to Zion in the spring when more copies of 'Mother Goose' are available.

Monday, November 5, 2007

17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore
by Jenny Offil and Nancy Carpenter
Most appreciated by Pre-K through 3rd graders

Are you looking for a few good ways to annoy your brother or sister? How about your teacher? Then check this book out! WAIT! No, don't' check it out. I mean yes, check it out but just enjoy the laughs you'll get when you read it! The narrator of the story is a little girl who tries just about anything (like walking backwards to school) and finds out that not everything is a good idea (like flinging cauliflower at her brother during dinner). There are 17 things she's not allowed to do anymore but as you turn the last page, you wonder what she'll find to try for number 18!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Children's Book Week Coming Up!

The week of November 12th - 16 is National Children's Book Week. It's a week set aside by schools and libraries around the country to celebrate children's books. This year's theme is "Rise Up Reading". We'll be doing just that at Zion with a little celebrating of our own. New books have been ordered and will start appearing in the library that week. Author and illustrator Scott Gustafson will be visiting us to talk about his work. There will also be drawings all week for some awesome prizes, including autographed books! So make sure to 'rise up' and visit the library to see what's new!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Inheritance Trilogy Expands! Book 3 Release Date Announced!
Yes, fans of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series rejoice! Paolini's publisher has announced that Book 3 in the series will be released on September 23, 2008. So far, Book 3 does not have a title. Wonder what it will be?

Paolini also revealed that the series will expand to include a fourth book. Apparently, Eragon's story could not be tied up in just one more book so Paolini will write a fourth. No release date or title for Book 4 was announced.

So, while you count the days until September 23 of next year, why not reread 'Eragon' and 'Eldest' to keep the details fresh?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bats at the Beach
Written and illustrated by Brian Lies
Most appreciated by Pre- K through 3rd Grade

The moon is coming up. The stars are begining to shine. That means it's time for bats to go to the beach! All the things people do at the beach are thing bats like to do, too, like building sand castles, having campfires and roasting marshmallows. And take a look at those marshmallows - yummy (if you're a bat)! This book is loads of fun for this time of the year. So when the sun goes down, grab this book and keep an eye out for bats!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Pet Care Series in the Library!

Just added today! A new series of six books that talk about to to take care of your pet! Many of you have asked for books on how to take care of a dog or cat. These books cover all kinds of pets, from fish to birds to horses. Each book helps you decide what kind of animal you want, how to feed it, keep it healthy, and take good care of it. Stop in and check one of these books out!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Aurora County All Stars

by Deborah Wiles
Coming to Zion's library shelves soon!

House Jackson lives for baseball. Well, he did until last summer when his elbow was broken by none other than Frances Shotz. Since then, he's spent hours reading to Mr. Norwood Boyd, a old recluse who has shut himself in his house for years. This summer will be different, though. The Aurora County All-Stars play one baseball game each year on the 4th of July. And this year, House is ready to play. But when Frances Shotz arrives back in town to direct the county anniversary pageant, House's longed-for game is in jeopardy. Every ball player has been volunteered by their mama to participate in the pageant which takes place at the same time as the ball game. Somehow, House must find a way to play ball and let his team join the pageant. Fans of 'Love Ruby Lavender' and "Each Little Bird That Sings" will enjoy this new story about Aurora County. There's a bit of mystery surrounding Old Man Boyd, a touch of discrimination involving Frances' grandfather, and plenty of humor to round out the story.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Warm Zion Welcome

Welcome to Zion's library blog. Here's where you'll find out what we have in our library collection, fun events coming up in the library, and information about our junior high book discusison groups. Keep checking back during the week to see what new book reviews have been added!