Notes from the Black Lagoon

Posts Tagged ‘book reviews

Most of you know that librarians (unfortunately) do not simply sit around and read while we’re working at the library. That would pretty much make it the best job ever, but I don’t think our patrons would be too happy with us! Anyway, like most librarians, I do LOVE to read and try do so as much as possible. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbit

This book is on the reading listsfor the schools around here, so I thought I would read this to be in solidarity with all the kids who are groaning and moaning about doing their summer reading. Initially, I was intrigued by Babbit’s exploration of the question “What is delicious?” in this new fairy-tale. Being pretty enamored of food myself, I naturally replied “Mac and cheese with ketchup”. But then I thought “Well, maybe pizza”. As the Prime Minister sets out to define every word in the kingdom for his dictionary, more and more people disagree about Delicious, from the king down to the peasants. Young Gaylen, the PM’s trusty apprentice and adopted son, is immediately dispatched to register everyone’s delicious idea of the perfect food. Soon, tensions mount and different factions (“Plum cake!! No! Pork Chops!”) are on the brink of war. Along his journey, Gaylen encounters some very odd characters and learns just how the world really works. Sounds good, right???!! Well, let me just say, the ending was super-disappointing. I won’t spoil it, but everyone does come to an agreement about just what is really delicious. And boy, is it boring. A really, really good read until the last couple of chapters.

2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (vol 1)

As Miss Daisy (and Mr. Holmes) would say , “The game is afoot!”. Seriously, Conan Doyle’s game is totally “afoot” in this first volume of the complete Sherlock Holmes collection. Being a huge mystery fan, I shamefully admit that I had never really read the origin of modern detective fiction until I started this a few weeks ago. After seeing this gigantic paperback on the shelf, I prepared myself for drudgery. NO! Conan Doyle’s writing is fast-paced, exciting, and often hilarious.  I have actually laughed out loud at parts of ” A Study in Scarlet”, first short story that introduces us to Watson and Holmes.  Good stuff.  Also this particular edition on the right has a great introduction about Watson’s role as Holmes’s faithful sidekick.  Good stuff!!

So, that’s it!  Have a great weekend and keep on reading!


Another successful story/craft hour has come and gone. This week, we read stories about dinosaurs!! And it was a hit. As one little boy put it, “ROOOOOAAAR!”.

Paper Plate DinoParents were amazed by the our paper plate dinosaur craft which, in turn, amazed me! Paper plate crafts are as old as the day is long! I guess many parents don’t think to do crafts with their kids at home (which is, I suppose, why they turn up at the library) or are too wrapped up in the bells and whistles of hi-tech crafts to remember the old stand-bys. But who doesn’t love a paper plate craft? They’re easy, fun, cheap and can be reinvented at any time. The perfect craft IMHO.

After doing many sessions of Story/Craft, I’ve sort of developed a little philosophy behind the crafts the I choose. My main operating principle is that story/craft needs to be bonding time for parents and children (parents accompany children for all story times at the TPL). Some parents seem to expect US to entertain their kids while they rest. However, I see myself as a facilitator during story time. Yes, I read the stories and do the movement activities with the kids, but when it comes to crafts, that’s where parent/child interaction can take center stage. I don’t go around and do craft with the kids. That what parents are for! I tend to instruct everyone from the front of the room and then go set up our snack while the parents and kids craft away happily. As a result, I tend to choose crafts that require both parents and children to complete certain elements. Enter the paper plate dinosaur. I had parents cut out the tail, neck and legs from one paper plate while children colored the “body” on another paper plate. Children had to color the cut-out parts as well and then glue a googly-eye on the head. As soon as parents staple the colored neck, tail and legs to the body, the whole thing is done! Easy, cheap, and fun!

Oh yeah, we also read stories and watch a movie BEFORE we even get to the craft. Here’s what we read today:

Dinopets Dino Pets by Lynn Ploude

A little boy tries very hard to find the right dinosaur to be his perfect pet. Naturally, none of the dinos he chooses work out, but it’s hilarious to watch what goes wrong with each one. All the escaped dinos become tired of being lonely and come back to the boy’s house for a happy ending. Sweet and funny for the preschool crowd.

Dad’s Dinosaur Day by Diane Dawson Hearn Dad’s Dinosaur Day

Mikey’s dad takes a break from fatherhood and becomes a silly dinosaur for a day. The usual school day routine is turned topsy-turvy as Mikey rides his dad (in disguise at T Rex) to school, feeds him the scraps from all the kids’ lunches and stops at a tree for a snack on the way home. Mikey likes all the fun he’s having with his new dino-dad, but soon tires of all the responsibility of having one. Kids will recognize Mikey wants his old dad back and he wants to be a normal kid again. Everything ends well as his regular Dad shows up at the breakfast table but the fun may start again as Mom is suspiciously missing!