Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What the Lion Ate

Actually, the lion didn't eat anything. The lion is the gold statue, which, along with the silver unicorn, were removed from the Old State House in Boston for cleaning and repair. When the two statues came down in September, it was rumored that there was a time capsule inside the lion.

Last week the capsule was opened, and its contents, placed inside in 1901, were revealed. Read about what was found, here.

If you're interested in the period during which the time capsule was filled, early 1900s Boston, let me suggest a few of the "Images of America" series books of old photographs:

Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Boston: A Century of Progress. [3M ebook]

Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Boston: A Historic Walking Tour. [on order, but a copy is available through GMILCS]

Photo by Mikkashar.

Monday, October 20, 2014


There has always been a need for dolls in children's lives--something for comfort, something to substitute for an absent parent, etc.

Over the past 50 years there has been an effort to move away from gender stereotypes regarding dolls. Books were written for children with the subtle, or not so subtle, message that it is okay for a boy to want a doll. One example is William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow [JP ZOL], published back in 1972.

The Barbie doll made a big splash when it came out in 1959--dolls became more than baby dolls. The Barbie appealed to a slightly older audience, and strictly a female one. Barbie's manufacturer even made an effort, by example, to show girls that women can compete in a man's world.

Fifty-five years later, Barbie is still going strong, and her continued popularity is reflected in our collection of nearly 100 Barbie books and DVDs! (Do a search of our catalog using the term "Barbie.")

Barbie and others of her ilk, have moved into a whole new realm as you can see if you spend a little time on Pinterest, or a site such as My Froggy Princess.

Despite last week's article from the Business Insider, "Barbie Dolls Are Quickly Becoming Obsolete," I don't think Barbie is going to disappear from American culture! Nor, do I think that dolls will fall out of favor as items of comfort for kids.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Poetry Friday--Richard Eberhart

New Hampshire poet, Richard Eberhart, had lived over 100 years when he died in 2005. In that time I'm sure he had many days when he wished for the time "when everything is as it was in my childhood." Don't we all wish that on occasion?

If I could only live at the pitch that is near madness
When everything is as it was in my childhood
Violent, vivid, and of infinite possibility:
That the sun and the moon broke over my head.

Then I cast time out of the trees and fields,
Then I stood immaculate in the Ego;
Then I eyed the world with all delight,
Reality was the perfection of my sight.

And time has big handles on the hands,
Fields and trees a way of being themselves.
I saw battalions of the race of mankind
Standing stolid, demanding a moral answer.

I gave the moral answer and I died
And into a realm of complexity came
Where nothing is possible but necessity
And the truth waiting there like a red babe.

Published in Poetry magazine, January 1938.

Eberhart was United States Poet Laureate 1959-1961. You can read a sampling of his work in The Poets Laureate Anthology [811.5 POE].

Michelle at Today's Little Ditty is hosting this week's Poetry Round-Up. Stop by!

Cover courtesy Poetry Foundation.

Happy Dictionary Day!

Today is Dictionary Day, and also the anniversary of the birth (1758) of Noah Webster, the man for whom Webster's Dictionary is named.

Believe it or not, we have a children's picture book biography of Noah Webster! It's titled Noah Webster and His Words, and was written by Jeri Chase Ferris [J B WEB].

Writer Jeri Ferris has developed lesson plans for teachers to use with the book, and she also has a short trailer on her website.

It's great that writers are bringing history alive for kids! When I was growing up, there were few picture books, let alone nonfiction picture books for children!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Mushrooms and other fungi seem to pop up after a period of rain, but this film clip makes it look instantaneous:

I found the film on the website, Fantastic Fungi: The Official Site for Everything Fungi. I guess in the 21st century you can expect fungi to have their own website, and blog, and Facebook page!

If you look at nothing else on the Fantastic Fungi website, make sure you look at the gallery of fungi photos. They are amazing!

I know that most people are hesitant about picking wild mushrooms, but there some in our area that are okay to eat. One is the Giant Puffball. I've seen a puffball the size of a basketball that was found in the woods in Windham. It smelled heavenly!

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat by Ellen Zachos [641.303 ZAC] has a chapter titled, "Friendly fungi: five easy mushrooms."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bill Murray

Later this month a new film, St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray will be opening in theaters (see trailer here).

Those of us who have been around for a while, will never forget Murray's stint as a comic on Saturday Night Live. But, Murray's versatility as an actor came to the forefront when he want on to make movies.

If you haven't seen all of these, then what are you waiting for?

There are still others that aren't listed here. So you have plenty of time to catch up on Murray before St. Vincent opens on the 24th.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Library is Closed Today

The Library is closed today for the federally designated holiday, Columbus Day. Do something typically "American" today to celebrate, like visit the Topsfield Fair, travel north to view the foliage, or pick some apples and bake a pie!

Enjoy the day and we'll see you back at the Library tomorrow!

Photo by Scott Law.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Poetry Friday--Billy Collins

Last Friday The Washington Post published an interview, "Billy Collins on Life, Death, and Poetry." I particularly like this,
Poetry can do a lot of things to people. I mean it can improve your imagination. It can take you to new places. It can give you this incredible form of verbal pleasure. But leadership to me suggests that there’s a place to lead the person to, that there’s a mission or a goal involved. I don’t think poets are that purpose driven. A poem actually can have either no point or a very nuanced point.

Sometimes the point of a poem is just to make someone smile!

Here's a poem from Collins that makes me smile:

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

From Sailing Alone around the Room: New and Selected Poems [811.54 COL].

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is stepping into the Round-Up host slot for today. Be sure to stop by!

Happy! Part 2

So, Monday's post on movies that make me happy engendered a lot of discussion among the staff. They asked to have their happy movies included, too. I'm always HAPPY to oblige (this list does not include everyone--it's mighty hard to poll a group):

Carl: Cars [J DVD CAR] and Mud [DVD MUD].

Carolyn: Chariots of Fire [DVD CHA] and The Birdcage [DVD BIR].

Cathy: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [DVD BES].

Elaine: The Money Pit [DVD MON].

Maureen: It's Complicated [DVD ITS].

Terrie: Bridget Jones's Diary [DVD BRI] and Midnight in Paris [DVD MID].

There were several films mentioned by multiple staff people:

Big [DVD BIG].

Elf [DVD ELF].

Love, Actually [DVD LOV].

Moonstruck [DVD MOO].

Young Frankenstein [DVD YOU].

And the happiest song from a movie: