Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Simple Thing That Makes a Difference

Planting a tree is a simple thing--it beautifies its surroundings, cleans the air, provides a home for wildlife, etc. Multiply that act by a million, or 50 million, and it can make a big difference! Smithsonian magazine [MAG SMI, also eBook] has an online site that last week posted this: "India Plants a Record 50 Million Trees in 24 Hours." Wow, just WOW!

I'm reminded of the Joni Mitchell song, "Big Yellow Taxi," which is on her Hits album [CD ROCK MIT]. The song is one of regrets, including the pavement of Paradise.

Think about planting a tree, and look for one of these at the Library: Trees and Shrubs of New England by Marilyn J. Dwelley [582.74 DWE] or Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Attracting Birds by Richard M. DeGraaf [639.978 DEG].

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's National Moth Week!

Yes, indeed, there's a whole week devoted to a celebration of moths! It began on Saturday, July 23, and runs through the 31st. This is the fifth year it is being celebrated. Who knew, right?

Read more about National Moth Week here.

We've had many a variety of moth visit our butterfly garden, or our building. Here's a photo of an impressive lunar moth that clung to one of our windows a few years back:

To identify the moths in your neighborhood look for Butterflies and Moths by David J. Carter [595.78 CAR], or visit Butterflies and Moths of North America. And, if your child is having problems understanding that moths are not butterflies, Moth or Butterfly? by Susan Kralovansky [J 595.78 KRA] will help to explain the differences.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Poetry Friday--Ratcatcher's Day!

It's Ratcatcher's Day! Or, a remembrance of the day, in 1376 (or 1284?), on which the Pied Piper of Hamelin reportedly lured more than 100 children from their homes in response to the townspeople not wanting to pay for ratcatching services rendered.

Poet Robert Browning wrote a poem titled "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," a lengthy detailing of the incident. Here are the first three stanzas (out of 15 total):

Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.


They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks’ own ladle’s,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.


At last the people in a body
To the town hall came flocking:
"‘Tis clear," cried they, our Mayor’s a noddy;
And as for our Corporation--shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can’t or won’t determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you’re old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease?
Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we’re lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we’ll send you packing!”
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

Here's the first part of a two-part video rendition of the poem (illustrations are by Kate Greenaway):

Head over to Books4Learning where the Poetry Friday
Round-Up is happening!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Calvin and Hobbes

Bill Watterson drew a daily comic strip that ran from November, 1985 to December, 1995--Calvin and Hobbes. It was one of the most-loved comics of the 20th century. I probably don't need to tell you, but Calvin was a spirited young boy with a powerful imagination, and Hobbes, was his stuffed tiger.

Twenty years after the strip ceased publication, Calvin and Hobbes still enjoy fame. You can read a daily reprint of the strips online at GoComics.com or sign up there to get Calvin and Hobbes delivered to you inbox daily.

Here at the Library we have a dozen Calvin and Hobbes compilations in our adult and young adult sections including, The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury [YA 741.5 WAT] and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (in three volumes) [741.5 WAT].

Recently I learned of a effort by an artist, Gabriel de Laubier, who is taking the Calvin and Hobbes strips and turning them into 3-D renditions. The story behind this effort is fascinating--read about it here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I'm sure you've heard of the term "crowdfunding," which is soliciting monetary assistance, via the internet, to complete a project. Projects range from helping individuals to pay for funeral expenses for a loved one, to providing funding for the completion of a motion picture--and everything in between. Two year's ago, actor, LeVar Burton, solicited funds for a resurrection of the children's literacy program, Reading Rainbow. His stated goal was to raise a million dollars! He made the goal in a short amount of time. Many people who remembered loving Reading Rainbow in their youth were more than willing to support reading endeavors.

Crowdsourcing follows a similiar pattern. Assistance is solicited to complete a project. However, the assistance does not come in the form of money, but in the donation of time, knowledge, or skills. Probably the best known crowdsourced project is Wikipedia. A crowdsourcing project closer to home is the transcription of New Hampshire historical documents so that they may be made accessible to the general public online. You can read a short article about this project here.

Zooniverse.org is a website that "is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research." One project from Zooniverse is an ongoing "Decoding the Civil War" project that is looking for volunteers, click here.

A few of the projects you'll find on Zooniverse.

To access another huge listing of crowdsourced projects, click here.

I have received email solicitations for information to be used in putting together a public radio report. WMUR in Manchester is always looking for weather event-related, and eyewitness photos. What projects do you know about or have you participated in?

If you're looking for something to do with your free time, crowdsourcing may be for you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Look For These!

If you're looking for something to read this summer, and, you're an avid movie-watcher, look for one of these books, the movie versions of which are scheduled to be released between now and late October:

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry [J SAI or YA SAI]. Release date: August 5.

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace [F WAL]. Release date: August 19.

Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen [F JEN]. Release date: September 2.

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman [F STE or AB/CD STE]. Release date: September 2.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs [YA RIG or eBook]. Release date: September 30.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness [YA NES]. Release date: October 21.

Inferno by Dan Brown [F BRO, AB/CD BRO, and eBook formats]. Release date: October 28.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Childe Hassam

On Saturday I heard a segment on WBUR about research at the Isles of Shoals which involves studying the impressionist paintings of Childe Hassam (1859-1935).

Hassam was born in Boston and spent a significant amount of time in New Hampshire in the Portsmouth area. He was a frequent guest of poet Celia Thaxter on the Isles of Shoals and his paintings of her garden are gorgeous!

Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum, "American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals," On view July 16, 2016 to November 6, 2016.

You can read of Celia's impressions of gardening on the Isle of Shoals in An Island Garden, which is illustrated by Childe Hassam. We also have a weighty volume of Hassam's works in Childe Hassam, American Impressionist by H. Barbara Weinberg [635.9 THA]. To view a collection of his work online, click here.