Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I just can't get over how cute my story time kids are. Seriously. Best.Job.Ever. I mean, is this really work?! They PAY me to read stories, sing songs, do crafts and make kids smile. How did I get so lucky?!?!?!

Anyway, today I decided to do stories about Kangaroos, because a new book about kangaroos, perfect for story time, came in recently. I was super excited about it, so I gathered up some other great kangaroo books and went for it!

I had planned some good kangaroo songs and fingerplays, but after gathering the mood of the group, I had to change things up a bit. So, in honor of the little 3 year old who was showing me all kinds of cool break-dancing moves, we did one of my favorite dance numbers...the Tooty-Ta!!!

Opening Song: Shake My Sillies Out - Raffi

Teach: I showed the kids how to sign "kangaroo" in sign language. Like the picture (notice the pouch with the other hand!), and then make the 'kangaroo' bounce.

Book: McGillycuddy Could! by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Song/Dance: Tooty-Ta by Dr. Jean and Friends

Chorus: A tooty ta, a tooty ta, a tooty ta ta!

Thumbs up...
Elbows back...
Feet apart...
Knees together...
Bottoms up...
Tongue out...
Eyes shut...
Turn around...

Boing! by Nick Bruel

Pretend: Pretend to be Kangaroos!

Book: Pouch! by David Ezra Stein (the new book that inspired this story time!)

Craft: Kangaroos with pouch for Joey!

And, as always, it's FMRNS!!! Last week, we had a Documentary Double Feature, where we watched Born Into Brothels and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. I told you that A had never seen the documentary about Joan Rivers, so it was an "in consideration" feature. Which means we view it, and then decide if it is "list-worthy." If it is, it gets added to the list, and if not...well, we point to the screen and say in our most judgy-est voices "NOT LIST-WORTHY!!!" Well, I am sorry to say that Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work was NOT LIST-WORTHY!!! Sad. I had thought it was going to be more about her life and how she got to where she is now. Sadly, it was more about "I'm an old comedienne who can't find work, feel sorry for me." But, after seeing the insanely lavish apartment she lives in...well, I don't feel sorry for her. I didn't even want to finish the movie.

This week, we have another "in consideration" feature. We've both heard LOTS of good things about it from numerous sources, so we're positive this movie will not have the same fate as poor Joan Rivers. This weeks feature is Burlesque, the musical drama from 2010 with Cher and Christina Aguilera. Oh, and Eric Dane. Mmmmmmmm, Eric Dane... I can't WAIT!!!

Of course, we'll also be watching American Idol. Who else's heart stopped during the elimination show last week!??!?!!?!!?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Formula for Murder: A Maternal Instincts Mystery

Hoooooooray!!!!! I've been (im)patiently waiting for Diana Orgain's next installment of her Maternal Instincts Mystery series, and it's finally here!!! If you recall, I've already read and reviewed the first two books in the series: Bundle of Trouble and Motherhood is Murder, and loved them both. When I got the email from Ms. Orgain letting me know that the third novel was out, I (of course!!) asked quite politely if I might have the opportunity to read it and review it for my blog.

Actually, it was more like "OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!! I can't WAIT TO READ IT!!!! GIMME GIMME GIMME!!! WHOOOOOOOOT WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!" And I'm not even really exaggerating.

Yeah, I'm what we like to call a 'professional.'

Anyway, back to the important issue at hand. Formula for Murder: A Maternal Instincts Mystery was just as good - if not better!! - than the previous two!!

Kate has been known to get herself (and her now 3 month old baby, Laurie) into some...interesting situations. At the beginning of this novel, she is involved in a hit and run with Laurie in the car!!! This causes the Lioness mother that she is to track down the driver of the SUV and brings her and her husband to the French Consulate. There she is met with some stiff resistance to their questions about the accident. While at the French Consulate, Kate sees a couple local news reporters. Later, when one of the reporters ends up dead, Kate wonders if there is a connection between the French Consulate, the death of the reporter, and her accident.

All the regular players are back, including Paula, Kate's (very pregnant!) best friend and Kate's mom, both witty and interesting characters that add lots of entertainment. Inspector McNearny is also back, though his annoyance with Kate butting into his crime fighting seems to be lessening!! They all pitch in to help Kate find the murderer. As she gets closer to finding the truth, the more dangerous the situations she finds herself in.

As with the other novels, this one is peppered with To-Do lists and poor Kate worrying about what kind of mother she is. Kate is stubborn and is always managing to stir things up - but one thing you never wonder about is her love for her child and her family.

Way to go, Diana!! Thanks for giving us another fun installment to the Maternal Instincts Mystery series!! It was a fast, fun, page-turning read, and I can't wait for the next one!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Little Chick Monday

Happy Monday!! In keeping with the spring idea (even though the temps have dropped well below the 80 degrees we were having early last week!), I decided to read some fabulous books about chicks!!

Opening Song: If You're Happy and You Know It from Favorite Children's Songs CD.

Five Little Chicks by Nancy Tafuri

Song: Wave your Hands (to the tune of London Bridge)
First we wave our hands up high!
Hands up high!
Hands up high!
First we wave our hands up high, then we clap them!
Then we wave our hands down low!
Hands down low!
Hands down low!
Then we wave our hands down low, then we hide them!

Book: Here a Chick, Where a Chick? by Suse MacDonald

Song: Old McDonald Had a Farm (with a chick, of course!!)

Book: The Chick and The Duckling by Mirra Ginsburg

Interactive Playtime

Thursday, March 24, 2011

And the winner is...

And the winner of The Shepherd by Ethan Cross is...


I've sent you an email requesting your address!! I hope you like it - it was a great thriller!!

Thanks to everyone who entered!! Be sure to enter my new giveaway for a copy of Jessica Anya Blau's Drinking Closer to Home!!!

**winner chosen using Sequence Generator.**

Librarian wisdom

Sometimes, I just get so proud of myself I can't even help it! I love it when someone comes up to me with a random question, and gives me almost no details about what they are looking for, but yet, I still manage to come up with the answer...or rather, the RIGHT answer. Take this story, for example!!

Today, I can tell a similar story...

A young dad came in with his 7 year old son, looking for Junie B. Jones and other appropriate books for 2nd graders. I helped him find a bunch of stuff, and he's very appreciative. Then he comes to me with this:

Young Dad: There was this book that I read when I was about his age. It was about a frog and some other animals and I remember it was green.

Real Librarian: Um, okay... Well, can you tell me anything else about it?

YD: No, not really. There were more than one of them, though.

RL: It wasn't Frog and Toad, was it? **pulls out a copy of Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel**

YD: Holy crap, that's it!!

Thank you, thank you!! I'm here all week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Spring!!

***Don't forget, today is the last day to enter The Shepherd Giveaway***
***Don't forget to enter the Drinking Closer to Home Giveaway*** (Until April 7!!)

Happy Wednesday, y'all!!! It's looking like Spring!! It's been sunny and warm, and I am SO happy I no longer live in the frozen north land. I heard something about a major snow storm happening, and I gotta be honest - I don't miss it AT ALL!!

Anyway, since it's been 80 degrees here, and all warm and spring like, I decided to read books about Spring!! YAY!!

Opening Song: Shake My Sillies Out - Raffi

Book: Wake up, It's Spring! by Lisa Campbell Ernst

Pretend: We pretended to plant some flowers! (dig the hole, I handed out "seeds," plant the seed, cover the hole, water the seed, etc...)

Book: Mouse's First Spring by Lauren Thompson

Rhyme: This Little Piggy

Book: Splish, Splash, Spring by Jan Carr

Craft: Kite Craft from All Kids Network.

And, of course, it's FMRNS!!! WHOOOOT!!!!! A couple of weeks ago, A and I celebrated the viewing of our 350th movie!!!! How exciting is that?!?! This week, we're planning a Documentary Double Feature!!

First, we've decided to record tonight's American Idol (since it's 2 hours), and actually watch tonight's ANTM (Who will be eliminated tonight?!). After that, we'll watch the first of our two selections. Born into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids is a documentary made in 2004 about the children of the prostitutes who work in Calcutta's Red Light district.

The second movie isn't actually on "The List" yet. (The List has not yet been updated online - we've watched an additional 52 movies since I posted The List. Better get on updating that!!) We will watch it and decide if it is "list-worthy." If it is, then we'll add it, and if not, we will say in our judgey-est voices "NOT LIST-WORTHY!!!" all while shaking our fingers at the screen. (Though I love it when the movies ARE list-worthy, it is kinda fun to deem a movie NOT list-worthy!)

Anyway, our second feature TBD List-worthy is Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, a documentary made in 2010. Should be fun - that woman is crazy!!! I'll let you know the verdict!!

Oh, and we will also be having a moment of silence for the late, great Elizabeth Taylor. There have been a couple of her movies on the list, including Lassie Come Home from 1943, National Velvet from 1944, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from 1958, and Suddenly, Last Summer from 1959. Rest in Peace, Ms. Taylor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update on Drinking Closer to Home Giveaway

I have some super exciting news to share with those who are planning on entering my latest giveaway!!!

Jessica Anya Blau emailed me (AAAHHHH!!!), and offered a SIGNED copy of her novel, Drinking Closer to Home for the winner of my giveaway!!! How exciting!!!!!!!

So now, the winner will receive a super special signed copy of this amazing novel, and a runner-up will receive my gently read (and loved!!) copy!!

Just follow THIS LINK to the original Review and Giveaway post, and fill out the form!! The deadline is April 7, with the winner chosen using on April 8!! Good luck everyone!!!

Review and Giveaway!! Drinking Closer to Home by Jessica Anya Blau

Summary: They say you can never really go home again. Adult siblings Anna, Portia, and Emery are about to discover just how true that is.-- Harper Perennial

The summary of the book, Drinking Closer to Home by Jessica Anya Blau, barely gives you even a mini peek into this novel. I was excited about this one, because I like reading about interesting and maybe a little dysfunctional families. I think that while this family had some pretty over the top dynamics, everyone will be able to relate in some way to this special family.

I found myself enjoying all of the main characters, Buzzy, Louise, Anna, Portia and Emery, but also the supporting cast as well. Even though some of the decisions they made were questionable (at BEST), I found them to be very likable. When I say questionable, I mean Louise, the ‘mom,’ decides one day that she is done being a mother. She leaves Anna and Portia to cook, clean and take care of Emery, their little brother.

But instead of being shocked by their behavior, I found myself shaking my head and saying “oh, Louise, that’s so like you.” I am sure that’s because of the Ms. Blau’s writing style. The dialogue between characters was never forced and always flowed naturally. The characters were all very well developed, and she managed to bring humor into some high drama situations. I found myself laughing at several points in the story. And I KNOW I shouldn’t have been laughing, but the family was so crazy that you just had to sometimes.

I highly recommend Drinking Closer to Home to anyone who wants a good story. This is also good for book clubs and discussion groups, because it comes with a reading guide, too!!

I’d like to give away my copy of Drinking Closer to Home to the highest bidder. No, no, I'm just kidding!! But I do want to give away my gently read copy to one of my readers!! Simply fill out the form below by Friday, April 7, and I’ll choose a winner using on Saturday, April 8! This give is open to anybody!! Good luck!!


I just have to let you know that Jessica Anya Blau herself just emailed me (WOW!!) and offered a SIGNED copy to the winner of my giveaway!! How exciting and super generous of her!!! So, now I'll be choosing TWO winners - the top winner will receive a special signed copy, and the runner up will receive a gently read (and loved!) copy of Drinking Closer to Home!! HOOOORAY!!!!!

Thank you to the publisher, who sent me a copy of this novel!!!

**There is still time to enter my last giveaway, too!!**

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kitten for a Monday

YAY for Monday!! I love having the toddlers first thing on Monday mornings! They always make me smile! This week, we read some stories about Kittens!

Opening Song: If You're Happy and You Know It from Favorite Children's Songs CD.

Book: Where to Sleep by Kandy Radzinski

Rhyme: Hey, Diddle Diddle

Book: Kitten for a Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Rhyme: Humpty Dumpty (by request!)

Book: Cat the Cat, Who is That? by Mo Willems

Interactive Playtime

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Did he just say...?

I was sitting at the little table with a mom and her son while he was putting together a puzzle. The little guy is 3, and totally adorable.

Little Guy: *says something I can't quite make out*

Real Librarian: *looking at LG's mom* Did he just say Chaka Khan?

LG's Mom: Huh, I think he did!

RL: Niiiiiiice!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Imagine it's Wednesday

**don't forget to enter my Latest Giveaway!!!!**

Hoooray for Wednesday!!! I'm especially excited about this story time, because it was all about using your imagination! And we had quite the group of kids today, so it was a blast!!

Opening Song: Shake My Sillies Out - Raffi

Book: If I Were a Lion by Sarah Weeks

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Book: What Shall We Play? by Sue Heap

Rhyme: Hickory Dickory Dock

Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Pretend: What do you like to pretend to be? Lion? Bear? We pretended to be a bunch of different things!

Book: Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis

Craft: Paper Bag Lions from DLTK-Kids

And, of course, it's FMRNS!! WHOOOOT!!!! This week, after we watch American Idol and last nights episode of Glee, we're in for another drama. We're watching The Magdalene Sisters from 2002 with Geraldine McEwan and Anne-Marie Duff. I'm excited - it should be a great - I mean FABULOUS! - movie!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dear Library Patron

Dear Library Patron,

Thank you for thinking about my staff and I today at lunch time. How did you know we LURVE Domino's Pizza?? The two pizzas you brought us didn't stand a chance, and we appreciate you very much!!! THANK YOU!!!

Your friendly neighborhood Librarian.

Yup, one of our regulars came in today with 2 pizzas and a card thanking us for everything we do. It's FABULOUS to be appreciated!!! =)

Yet another reason why I love my job!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brightening up the day

So, it's a rainy day here and I'm feeling a little cloudy myself. But nothing brightens up a low day like... A NEW ELEPHANT & PIGGIE BOOK!!!!

Thanks, Mo!!! You sure know how to make a girl smile!!!

Don't forget to enter my latest giveaway!!

Review and Giveaway!! The Shepherd by Ethan Cross

From the Book Jacket:

Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others, while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering. When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante’s beautiful daughter -a woman with whom he’s quickly falling in love- Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the most cunning and ruthless killers in the world.

First of all, I have to thank author Ethan Cross for contacting me about reviewing his novel, The Shepherd. I am always up for a good thriller, and that's exactly what I got.

I was hooked from page 1, the action started immediately. And it didn't let up! There were twists and turns that I totally wasn't expecting - a great asset for a thriller!

The book stars Marcus Williams, a former NYC detective who is trying to leave a troubled past behind him. His journey takes him to a small Texas town after he inherits a ranch from his aunt who recently passed away.

Francis Ackerman, Jr is a demented serial killer on the loose in Texas. He lies in wait in his victims homes until he can subdue them. Once his victims are in his hands, he invites them to "play a game" with him. Though, the killer knows how each game will end.

Combine these two men with a surprising conspiracy, and non stop action and suspense ensue.

Once I really got going on this novel, I didn't want to put it down. Both of the main characters had story lines that were very captivating. Cross comes up with intriguing and disturbing pasts for both men, and one might wonder about the blurred lines between doing good and causing harm. The novel comes to a surprising conclusion, but still leaves us hanging, as this is the first book in a new series. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment!!

Be sure to check out the Book Trailer for The Shepherd!!

Now, I think you should read this thriller, too!! So, it's time for another giveaway!! All you have to do is fill out the form below!!! Last day to enter is Wednesday, March 23, and I'll announce a winner using on Thursday, March 24! Good luck to you all!! This giveaway is open to anyone!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Love the Library Wednesday!!

Happy fabulous Wednesday, y'all!!! It's been a great day - though it started out a little rainy. We had a great story time today, all about the Library, books and loving to read! As always, we started story time by shaking our sillies out!!

Opening Song: Shake My Sillies Out - Raffi

I showed the kids how to say "library" in sign language. You make an L with your hand, and move it in a circle. The kids LOVED this!

Book: Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn

Song: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Book: Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Book: I Took My Frog to the Library by Eric Kimmel

Craft: Bookworms from DLTK-Kids.

And HOOOOORAY for FMRNS!!!! WHOOOOOOOT!!!!! So, I promised to catch you up on what we've been watching. Last week we missed Wednesday, but we made up for it this weekend by having a Triple Feature Weekend Extravaganza!!! We kicked off our weekend on Friday with a viewing of Salt, an action suspense movie from 2010 with Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber (*drool*).

Saturday followed with a fabulous double feature (after a recap of Wednesday night's American Idol!). The first movie was If These Walls Could Talk, a deep TV drama from 1996 starring Demi Moore, Sissy Spacek and Cher. The second movie of our double feature went in an entirely different direction - Easy Rider, a drama from 1969, starring Peter Fonda, and Dennis Hopper.

All in all it was a pretty intense weekend of movies!! This week, we're watching LadyHawke, a drama from 1985 starring Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review and Interview: Eminent Gangsters by James Fentress

A special thank you to Carol Fass Publicity & Public Relations for sending me Eminent Gangsters: Immigrants and the Birth of Organized Crime in America by James Fentress to review!

From the Book Jacket:

“This American system of ours,” observed Al Capone, “call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we can only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.” Capone spoke as a member of a generation who, seizing the opportunities offered by the Eighteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibited the manufacture, transport, or sale of alcoholic beverages, enriched himself and laid the basis for modern organized crime in America. Yet if the story of the eminent gangsters is not the orthodox, rags-to-riches story, a morality play where evil doers are brought to justice by the forces of law and order. Their story, rather, is a central and significant chapter in the social and economic history of modern America.

Check out this recent interview with James Fentress!!

A Q&A with James Fentress (provided by Carol Fass Publicity and Public Relations):

Q: You use gangsters as sources extensively in Eminent Gangsters. Do you think the information they provided is reliable?

A: I’ve never imagined that, as testimony, the word of the gangsters is particularly reliable. They are, after all, criminals and therefore almost by definition men with something to hide. But this is hardly a problem limited to writing about gangsters. Historians are used to dealing with people’s memories, and they are aware, or at least they ought to be aware, that human memory is at best selective and sometimes a total confabulation. In all cases, memory is liable to rationalization, self-justification, and often enough, downright prevarication. Thus, lack of reliability is no reason for a historian not to use the gangsters as sources.

Q: Is there a danger that you end up justifying these gangsters’ behaviors by taking on the criminals’ perspective?

A: Making sense of a series of events is one thing; morally justifying them is quite another. I do not think for a moment that any of the killings were morally justified in the least. But I do not think they were random acts of violence either. I think it’s my job as a historian to put these objectives, the illegal businesses and underworld wars into a perspective in which they make sense.

Q: How did you get involved in this line of research?

A: I was studying to get a doctorate in anthropology and thinking of moving to Rome because of my wife’s career in archaeology. I asked my department if I could do my research on an Italian subject. They were somewhat nonplussed, but eventually came up with the Mafia.

Q: After you were assigned the Mafia as your research topic, how did you go about collecting data? Wander on down to Sicily and walk into a Mafia club house or whatever and say, ‘Hi guys, I’m your anthropologist’?

A: It was almost like that, at least at first. I barely spoke Italian and couldn’t make much sense out of the Sicilian dialect. But eventually, I began to make some progress. Sicily is a big island, and it took me a long while to understand what Sicilians were talking about, to get tuned in so to speak. But that’s what anthropology is supposed to be about, getting tuned in, understanding the way that other peoples speak.

Q: I understand that you wrote another book on the Mafia. Was that book based on these conversations?

A: The book was called Rebels and Mafiosi, and Cornell University Press published it a few years ago. It was really a historical study of the origins of the Mafia in Sicily. There’s a lot of rubbish written in this subject and I thought that there needed to be a book that set it all out in a well-documented way.

Q: Wandering around Sicily looking for Mafiosi to talk to must have been unsettling for the Mafia. Did they ever threaten you in any way?

A: The remark I kept hearing was ‘Your eyes are too blue; you’ll never understand anything.’ In fact, one of the reasons I wrote a history was that I found that Sicilians were much more willing to open up to me if I kept away from current events. As long as I asked questions about the period before World War II, or, at most, the years just after the war, they were happy to talk to me. With events closer to the present, people who could have told me things tended to shut up.

Q: After your first book was published, you found out that Sicilians generally liked the book while northern Italians didn’t. Why was that?

A: I took a very Sicilian perspective. I made sense of the Mafia in terms of Sicily’s political history, as a reaction to some of the misconceived policies that the new Italian state tried to impose on Sicily. I got the same reaction in the US. Some critics made analogies between the rise of the Mafia in Sicily and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the South or the rise of the IRA in Ireland. I thought there was some validity in these analogies. In all these cases, the criminal conspiracies/political terrorist groups are not just rising up out of nothing; there is a historical context that goes a longs way to explaining why they emerged.

Q: Eminent Gangsters focuses mainly on the Italians and the Jews. Why?

A: The answer is that they, like the Mexicans today, happen to have been standing at the right place at the right time (or perhaps the wrong place at the wrong time). The Italians and the Jews arrived in American and settled in the poorest urban districts precisely when the previous inhabitants, the Irish, well on their way to assimilation, were leaving these same districts. They became the loyal clientele of the corrupt, big-city political machines; they ran the big-city honkytonks, which, as much as they were criticized by the mugwumps and by various church groups, were always extremely popular with both the middle and the working classes. Thus when Prohibition rolled around, the Italians and the Jews were in a good position to capitalize on the opportunities it presented.