Thursday, July 28, 2016

Poetry Friday--Goodbye July!

The summer is just whizzing by and Monday it will be August. August means the summer is starting to wind down. And before we know it school will begin again. Still, August has its attractions. John Updike highlights just a few:

The sprinkler twirls.
The summer wanes.
The pavement wears
Popsicle stains.

The playground grass
Is worn to dust.
The weary swings
Creak, creak with rust.

The trees are bored
With being green.
Some people leave
The local scene

And go to seaside
And take off nearly
All their clothes.

from A Child's Calendar [J 811 UPD]

Enjoy the rest of your summer! Start off by heading down to Louisiana to Reflections on the Teche where Margaret is hosting the Round-Up this week.

Michael Keaton Gets a Star Today!

If you're going to be in Hollywood that day, you may be able to see the ceremony. If you're here in Windham, though, you may just want to watch one of his films!

Batman. [DVD BAT]

Beetlejuice. [DVD BEE]

Birdman: Or, (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). [DVD BIRD]

Mr. Mom. [DVD MR]

Robocop. [DVD ROB]

We have a baker's dozen in total!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Music and the Brain

Many studies have proven that music programs in schools aid children in other areas of learning. A recent report on NPR about children's brains adds to the list of positive outcomes to having music in a child's life.

The late Oliver Sacks published Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain [781.11 SAC, also eBook] back in 2007. The book is a fascinating look at music and all types of brains--young, old, healthy, unhealthy, etc. More on music and the brain can be found in the DVD, The Musical Brain: A Journey of Discovery into the Mystery of Music [DVD 781.11 MUS].

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 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. 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!