Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ms. Suzy Reads | One for Big Kids, One for Little Kids

Greetings, gentle readers! With the cooler weather upon us, I'm finding quite a bit more time for reading, which is always a great thing, right? So today I share two books -- one that gripped me from the first page, and one that is a very old favorite.

So imagine a large, foreboding tree -- planted so close to a big house that its limbs have grown into the walls -- a tree with axe handles embedded in it from past futile attempts to destroy it. Now imagine the family living within the house -- all powerless to resist the tree's temptation -- and slowly withering under the tree's spell.

What's the tree's spell? Well, of course I'm not going to tell you. But I will tell you that you 9-14 year olds will be simply spellbound by Jonathan Auxier's The Night Gardener: A Scary Story. And I will tell you this: this ghost story-fantasy-adventure all rolled into one is a page-turner from the very beginning. You'll meet orphan siblings Molly and Kip and hold your breath as Molly starts to figure out the secret of the old tree. That's all I'm going to say. Just read it...if you dare!

I stumbled upon one of my favorite storytime books a few days ago: Don Freeman's beloved classic Corduroy. This is the story of a stuffed bear who has lived far too long on the shelves of a department store, waiting to be chosen by a little boy or girl. When Corduroy realizes he's missing a button, he goes on quite the adventure to find it. Why, just think of all the adventures a little stuffed bear could have in a big department store!

Corduroy was first published in 1968, but it's in no way outdated. The illustrations perfectly capture Corduroy's wonderment and awe as he discovers many new things. 

My favorite illustration is this one. Again, I'm not going to tell you what happens, but I promise you'll love this as much as I do. 

So there you have it, friends. Just a couple of recommendations perfect for this stay-in-the-house weather.

Happy reading!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just Life | Macarons

A few weeks ago, a wonderful patron gave me a present. It was a basket. Inside there was a mysterious box. 

I opened the box and I came face to face with these lovely macaroons. It was one of the most rewarding presents I have ever received.

That box was a treasure chest full of edible jewels. I ate one. It was caramel with sea salt and it was unbelievably delicious.

I saved the rest to share with my daughter. After work, I picked up my daughter and showed her the box.

" Macaroooooooons." she screamed. 

So, while driving home, we ooohed and aahed and we ate one macaroon after the other.

We ate the entire box in just a few minutes with the exception of one macaroon with red topping. 

We thought it was red velvet and my daughter wanted to save it for last.

Then my daughter bit into it. " Oh, mom, it is hot."

The last macaroon was covered with chili powder. We laughed and giggled about it all the way home.

By the way, those macaroons were from a local shop called Bon Mange in Stockton at 2819 W. March Lane, Suite A8. Tel 209-910-0505. 

Since the Holiday season is right around the corner, how about checking out some French cookbooks to spice up your holiday table.

You can find these books at your local Library at no cost:

Simple French cookery : step by step to everyone's favourite French recipes

The little Paris kitchen : 120 simple but classic French recipes

My French kitchen : a book of 120 treasured recipes

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Learning | Fun with Musical Directions

"Smorzando," I read, on an old photo of some sheet music. I was exploring The Commons, a part of the Flickr.com website that is dedicated to sharing the world's public photo archives. Smorzando is the musical direction for dying away; it comes directly from the Italian word for extinguish. 

I know many of you out there have studied music at some point in your lives. You have probably noticed that the musical directions all seem to come from Italian words like piano and allegro. Why is that?

I know a family that is blessed with an abundance of musical talent: the Batchelders. They're the ones to ask.  So I started with my best friend, who is the violinist/mother of this amazing family. She said that musical directions can come from any language. But since modern musical notation was invented in Tuscany during the Renaissance, Italian words became the conventional language for musical terms.

Image from page 44 of "Die weisse Dame = La dame blanche : komische Oper" (1900) Boieldieu, A. (Adrien), 1775-1834 Scribe, Eugène, 1791-1861 Kogel, Gustav F.   Leipzig : C.F. Peters

No known copyright restrictions.


What was my other question to her?  Can you think of any musical directions that sound funny?  As it turns out, she could, and so could Don, her husband/trumpet player/professor. He was kind enough to snap a photo of sheet music displaying the word squillante for me, and allow me to share it here in this post. Squillante means ringing, tickling, or piercing.

Click on the image, to view the words more clearly.

"Squillante" photo courtesy of Don Batchelder.

"This photo is taken 'in the box,' a plywood construction that holds a 10-piece offstage brass 'Banda,' or stage band. 
We provide musical reinforcement for the onstage chorus and soloists during the Triumphal Scene in Act II of Aida. 
There are also 6 costumed trumpets onstage, who play the famous Triumphal March."
--Don Batchelder

Here's a list of books on music terminology in the Stockton/San Joaquin County Public Library System.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ms. Suzy Reads | I'm My Own Dog

Looking for a great picture book that will make you laugh out loud? Look no further! I've found it!

David Ezra Stein has done it again. I loved his Interrupting Chicken, the tale of a young chicken who begs for bedtime stories, but has quite a bit of difficulty not interrupting Papa Chicken with his own versions of some classic fairy tales. It's a beautiful and funny tribute to the joy of bedtime stories between parent and child. 

And now -- I'm My Own Dog. It's the story of a very independent dog who handles everything just fine on his own. He fetches his own slippers. He tells himself to roll over. He looks in the mirror and licks his own face. But then there was that itch in the middle of his back that he just couldn't reach. So he let a human scratch it for him. And the human followed him home. Lo and behold, the dog decided to keep the human. 

With bold, colorful illustrations, Stein explores the age-old question of who really owns whom -- dog or human? This story shows the love and loyalty between dog and human -- with a healthy dose of humor. You'll laugh out loud, I promise!

This reminds me of my dear Fitzgerald, a little Yorkshire Terrier with whom I shared 16 years of fun, laughter, and lots of trips! While I always told myself I was the one in charge, I know now that simply wasn't true. But it was okay. The love and loyalty were such great gifts; I didn't mind being owned by Fitz...not one tiny bit!

Enjoy this book! Though the libraries are closed today in honor of Veteran's Day, visit one soon and check out this and other great picture books!

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Just Life| Veteran's Day

Tuesday, November 11th is Veteran's Day. It is a day to honor all the military service men and women of this wonderful country.

My husband Adam is a veteran. He served in the United States Air Force for eight years. He even served in Saudi Arabia during the end of the Gulf War. 

My husband is second from the left on the top row

So, this Veteran's Day, while most of us are sitting in our homes relaxing, let's not forget all of the sacrifices that our military and their families undertake.

To all of the veterans, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Happy Veteran's Day.

Here are some library materials on this topic. Click on these titles to place them on hold.

The military 100 : a ranking of the most influential military leaders of all time

Rise : a soldier, a dream, and a promise kept

Enduring battle : American soldiers in three wars, 1776-1945

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Learning | Happenstance and Q

Happenstance is only about 120 years old or so, which is not terribly old, as English words go.  I don't hear it used very often, but I've always liked the word. 

Happenstance is a portmanteau of the words happen and circumstance.

Recently, I was searching for pictures on Flickr.com, using the search term words. Happenstance brought me to this photograph of a page from a Finnish dictionary, showing all of the words beginning with the letter Q.

All the words beginning with Q in the Finnish dictionary, from hugovk's photostream on Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

I love this picture, because I learned a few things from it:  

  • I'm not familiar with the Finnish language at all, so I was intrigued to see that so few words begin with the letter Q. Q is not a very common letter in English, but we have many more Q words than the Finnish.
  • I nearly knew what all five of those Finnish Q words meant! Three of them were place names, that are spelled the same way as they are in English.  
  • I knew Quisling meant traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their own country, from studying history during the World War II era. 
  • I had an idea what QWERTY-näppäimistö meant, because the letters QWERTY are the first five letters on most computer keyboards.  In fact, we usually call that type of keyboard a QWERTY keyboard.  So I went to Google Translate, and pasted in the word QWERTY-näppäimistö. Just as I suspected, it means qwerty keyboard. If you would like to hear how to pronounce the word, just copy and paste it into the Google Translate window.
  • Looking at this picture made me think about the Finnish language. I'm quite unfamiliar with the language. I never see people asking for, or checking out books about, the Finnish Language.  So I went to our shiny new library catalog and found a few. There are two different Finnish-English,English-Finnish dictionaries at Cesar Chavez Central Library. Chavez also has a Finnish Reader, in the government documents section of the Storage Area downstairs. It's from 1968!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

She's Crafty | Bookmarks

Coming soon to the Chavez Central library slat wall is a book display featuring recommendations by city staff. I'm designing a bookmark that will go into the books on display for two reasons: One, to let people know that, yes! you can check this book out; and two, to give some extra information regarding who recommended the book.

While I was online looking for inspiration to design a basic template, I came across a blog devoted to the art of bookmarks called Mirage Bookmark. If you collect bookmarks or appreciate a well-designed bookmark, you have to check out this blog!

On the Mirage blog I found an especially fun post featuring an ALA bookmark of Barabra Gordon, a superhero librarian in the city of Gotham during the day and the crime-fighting superhero known as Batgirl by night.

Too bad they don't sell these anymore, I would probably buy a stack...or two.

All this bookmark talk got me thinking about all the bookmarks I've collected, made, or received as gifts in the past. I have a pile that goes back a few years tucked away in a basket in my bedside reading table. Bookmarks come in all shapes and sizes and I'm a sucker for anything that keeps my place in a good book with style and innovation, so I have markers that range from small magnetic tabs with cartoon zombies on them and arrow shaped clips that will point to any place on the page for those of us who are always stopping mid-page (me, I am one of those people), to large pieces of photography paper trimmings from a college class and a few of the store-bought and tasseled variety. 

However, nothing beats a good ol' handmade bookmark. Every once in awhile I like to buy a package of pre-cut, ready to decorate bookmarks from the craft store and go to town. They make great, quick gifts too--especially for the bookmark lover. Print out a favorite quote and fill it up with doodles or fill the surface of a bookmark with pictures of ridiculously cute kitten faces that will make you smile every time you pick up your book.

We have the following books about bookmarks. You'll see I padded my list with fictional books since we only have one book specifically about bookmarks. Also, I thought it was cute we had fiction books with references to bookmarks.

Collecting Bookmarkers by A.W. Coysh
Bookmarks Are People Too! by Henry Winkler
Bookmarked to Die by Jo Dereske
Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett

Great advice from
Collecting Bookmarkers
Another tip if you want to find books on crafting your very own bookmarks is to look at the table of contents of most papercrafting books--you'll most likely find at least one project involving a bookmark there.

Link+ Books
The Art of Illumination by Patricia Carter

Of course the bookmark I end up using most often is my due-date receipt from the library.

The best free bookmark EVER!

Malia & Kaye