Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

The Daring Book for Girls

I purchased a copy of The Daring Book for Girls for myself a couple years ago and was reminded of all the cool content it contains when I conducted a program this week featuring hopscotch games and jump rope rhymes. Perhaps I'm partial to this book since it was written by women who, like me, "were girls in the days before the Web, cell phones, or even voicemail. Telephones had cords and were dialed by, well, actually dialing."

Today, you may have your own cell phone, email account and iPod, but certainly a deck of cards and a good book should still be included on the list of "essential gear" you keep close at hand. In The Daring Book for Girls, you'll find the rules for playing card games like "Hearts" and "Gin" as well as the rules for outdoor games like Four Square, various games of tag and hopscotch - a game that was initially played by Roman soldiers and is now played in countries around the world.
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Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw



I have never been one to watch the stars and find constellations. I could pick out the Big and Little Dippers, find the North Star and a couple of planets but that was about it. One night my neighbor knocked on my door and invited me outside to see the International Space Station pass overhead on its earthly orbit. On another evening, he taught me how to see the moons around Jupiter with my binoculars. Then I turned them on the full moon and saw the mountains and craters in a clarity I had never dreamed of before. I didn't know how much I could see with ordinary binoculars. Now I am a fan of the sky and I am fascinated by what astronomers are
learning about the origin of the universe through telescopes.
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Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

Learning how to be patient can be a difficult skill to acquire -- as many parents of young children can attest! Recommended for ages 3-6, the new picturebook Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan with delightful watercolor illustrations by Stephane Jorisch, humorously portrays Betty Bunny's efforts to tame her desire for instant gratification and perfectly captures this battle of the will that so many of us (younger and older alike) struggle with!
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The Troll With No Heart In His Body

The Troll With No Heart In His Body and Other Tales of Trolls, from Norway consists of tales retold by "The Troll Lady," Lise Lunge-Larsen, with striking woodcut and colored ink illustrations by Betsy Bowen. Lunge-Larsen is a storyteller who emigrated to Minnesota from Norway, bringing with her mythic Norse stories of giant trolls with tiny brains. In her introduction, she says, "Nothing can truly show children, even adults, more about how to live, about who they are, and about their place in the world, and the struggles of life than a good folktale, and these troll stories I count among the best."

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What Happened on Fox Street

Well, what did happen on Fox Street? Lots of things, it turns out. 10-year- old Mo Wren is out of school for the year, but she is not exactly having a relaxing summer.  She has to deal with a best friend who visits for the summer, but who may have changed more than Mo realized.  She must constantly babysit her 5-year old sister Dottie, the "wild child," while their dad is working long hours at a job he doesn't like.  She still misses her mom, who died a few years before.  In the meantime, one older neighbor is keeping Mo busy with strange errands, and another may be having too many medical problems to stay in her house.

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Dancing Men - and Women!

I enjoy a good mystery - and when it involves a code to decipher - it just doubles the fun with two puzzles to solve in one story!

In the graphic novel mystery Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Dancing Men, master detective Sherlock Holmes receives a picture of stick figures with their arms and legs positioned in different ways so it looks like they are dancing. The stick figures are appearing around the home of Mr. Cubitt who asks Sherlock Holmes if he can determine what the pictures mean. Holmes examines different samples of the drawings and believes they are a code used to communicate messages in secret. When Holmes travels to Mr. Cubitt's home to inform him of what he has learned, Holmes encounters another mystery: Mr. Cubitt has been murdered! Immediately, Holmes begins questioning the servants and looking for other clues that will reveal the identity of the murderer.
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Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale

School is almost out and the summer reading program has begun. Our theme this year is One World Many Stories: Get Reading, Get Moving. Reading folktales is the perfect way to explore this exciting theme and one of the best folktale collectors is Margaret Read MacDonald.
Dr. MacDonald lived in Bloomington many years ago when she studied for her Ph.D. in folklore at Indiana University. She lives and works in Washington state today where she is a librarian, storyteller, and author of dozens of books. Some of her books are collections that are perfect for beginning storytellers. Teachers, parents, and kids who want to learn how to tell stories will love The Storyteller's Start-Up Book . These stories are easy to learn and Dr. MacDonald gives great advice on how to present them. When the Lights Go Out: Twenty Scary Tales to Tell is a fun collection of shivery stories that are great to share around a summer campfire.
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Best. Folktales. Ever.


What would you do if the leader of your country ordered you to kill your parents? What if you had a talking mask that looked just like your best friend? Imagine finding a village of tiny people who all rode on rabbits. What would you say if they told you that you could live forever?

I just came across Mirra Ginsburg's The Kaha Bird: Tales from the Steppes of Central Asia. If you like your fairy tales to surprise you, check this book out. Although Mirra Ginsburg is best known for her picture book adaptations of such tales as The Clay Boy and Two Greedy Bears, she collected stories from all over the world and retold them for children and adults.

Find her in our stacks, but fasten your seatbelt before reading these stories. They have teeth! The Kaha Bird is recommended for grades four and up.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

I thought I knew most of what there was to know about Amelia Earhart and her doomed final flight, but this well-researched account, Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming, is both surprising and fascinating!  Starting with a haunting account of the coast guard cutter Itasca's fruitless wait for Earhart to land on tiny Howland Island the morning of July 2, 1937, this book is hard to put down.  Earhart's early childhood was a happy one, but by the time she was in high school, her father had descended into alcoholism, sending the family into poverty and shame.  Fleming implies that Earhart's desperate wish to fly was at least partly a result of a need to free herself from the unpleasant realities of everyday life.

Celebrate Children's Book Week: May 2-8

This week is national Children's Book Week - a time to celebrate all the marvelous books for children you can find at your library! More than 500,000 people voted for their favorite children's book, author and illustrator.

The 2011 Children's Choice Book Award winners are:Author: Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero
Illustrator: David Wiesner for Art and Max
Kindergarten to 2nd Grade Book of the Year: Little Pink Pup
Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year: Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown
Fifth to Sixth Grade Book of the Year: The Red Pyramid
Teen Choice Book of the Year: Will Grayson, Will Grayson Read more »

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