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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Mr. Longfellow!

On this day in 1807, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine. He lived a good portion of his life in a big yellow house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The site, now a national park, is known as Longfellow House--Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site.
Longfellow House--Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site preserves the home of Henry W. Longfellow, one of the world’s foremost 19th century poets. The house also served as headquarters for General George Washington during the Siege of Boston, July 1775 - April 1776. In addition to its rich history, the site offers unique opportunities to explore 19th century literature and arts.

Longfellow is known primarily for his poems, "Tales of a Wayside Inn, The Landlord's Tale: Paul Revere's Ride" (better known as "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"), "The Song of Hiawatha," and "The Village Blacksmith," among others (all found in The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [811.3 LON]).

His poems told stories that held their readers and listeners enthralled. "Paul Revere's Ride" begins with these lines:
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

We have in our collection, a small volume titled, Dear Mr. Longfellow: Letters to and from the Children's Poet, by Sydelle Pearl [811.3 PEA].
During his lifetime, Henry received over six thousand letters from relatives, friends, and strangers who enjoyed reading his poetry. His poems were read, recited, and sung in schools and homes across the United States of America. They were translated into different languages and known thoughout the world. Between the years 1880 and 1882, when he was seventy-three to seventy-five years old, he received 786 birthday greetings, many of them from children.

So, on this, his 208th birthday, here's one of the birthday letters (admittedly a belated birthday letter):
Bangor March 5 1882

Dear Mr Longfellow

I thought I would write you a letter why I did not write to you on your birthday was because I heard you were sick first I must tell you my name it is Charlotte Roberts daughter of General Charles W Roberts Our teacher put on the blackboard that it was your 75th birthday I am very fond of your poems especially the wreck of the Hesperus The rainy day is another one which I am very fond of. It was my cat's birthday yesterday he was five years old I wish you could see him his name is Buff he is yellow and white O he is so dear to me I have seen your house though I have not seen you You know that piece of poetry you wrote about the ropewalk is it that one at Castine if it is that one I know all about it. My little sister Jenny want me to say something about her she has a dog named Gyp. I think I must close now please answer this letter

Your New friend Charlotte
Charlotte also added her "Adress" at the bottom.

Dear Mr. Longfellow is a book to take your time with. The author places facts and concepts in context for a 21st century reader.

Some of the letters found in the book are housed at Harvard's Houghton Library. In browsing through the Houghton's online offerings, I came upon this:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Longfellow!

There's plenty more to celebrate this week, not the least of which is we're one day closer to SPRING!. The Poetry Friday posts are being rounded up by Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe!

Yes, There Is Something New Under the Sun!

You would think that everything there is to know about the earth and its creatures has been discovered. Not so! Only recently, the fossil remains of two small mammals were discovered in China. The creatures were named Docofossor, seen on the left in the photo below, and Agilodocodon, on the right. One lived underground, the other in trees. And the time in which they lived? Agilodocodon, 165 million years ago and Docofossor, a mere 160 million years!

The discovery was featured in a Science Daily report. You can read the Science Daily report, or this version from the University of Chicago to learn more.

New fossils are being discovered all the time it seems! In the fall we read about a new dinosaur that was even larger than T. Rex! Its name is Spinosaurus. The new discoveries will undoubtedly be the subject of forthcoming books, which means, it will be a while before we have more information on our shelf. However, online sources like Science Daily, should keep you informed and up-to-date with its "Fossil News."

Since discoveries still remain to be made, your kids could grow up to become paleontologists! Here's a book to get them started: Bones Rock!: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Paleontologist by Peter L. Larson [J 560 LAR].

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pet Play

I'm sure your dog is happy to see the kids this vacation week. Dogs generally love attention and play. Cats, maybe not so much. Of course, you'll want to reward your pet for desired behavior, so you can also explore creating your own doggie treats.

Here are some items to use with your pets, and hopefully, all involved will enjoy the experience!

Borgenicht, Joe. Doggy Days: Dozens and Dozens of Indoor and Outdoor Activities for You and Your Best Friend: Tricks and Games, Arts and Crafts, Stories and Songs, and Much More! [636.7 BOR]

Christensen, Wendy. Outsmarting Cats: How to Persuade the Felines in Your Life to Do What You Want. [636.8 CHR]

Dogs, Man's Best Friend. [DVD 636.7 DOG]

Geller, Tamar. The Loved Dog: The Playful, Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior. [636.7 GEL]

Hodgson, Sarah. Dog Tricks for Dummies. [636.7 HOD]

Moore, Arden. Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome. [636.7 MOO]

Price, Pamela S. Cool Pet Treats: Easy Recipes for Kids to Bake. [636.7 PRI]

Rosen, Michael J. My Dog!: A Kids' Guide to Keeping a Happy and Healthy Pet. [636.7 ROS]

Whitehead, Sarah. How to Speak Dog! [J 636.7 WHI]

Here's a great treat dispenser that you can make (use smaller bottles for a cat or small dog). It exercises the brain of a dog or cat!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The organization, Audubon: National Audubon Society, has decided to piggyback on the interest in the book, and movie, Fifty Shades of Gray by E. L. James [F JAM and DVD FIF]. They've created a page titled "Fifty Shades of Grey (Bird Edition)" that is devoted to beautifully photographed pictures of gray feathered birds.

This might be a good week to explore the world of birds while your kids are home on vacation. You can borrow a general guide like Sibley's Birding Basics by David Sibley [598 SIB] or look for one of these:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yay! It's School Vacation!

Yikes! So what do you do with the kids since it's too yucky to go outside and play?

One thing you can do is arts and crafts. We have hundreds of art and crafts titles for all ages:

Stop by and visit us for these and other titles for keeping your kids busy!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Poetry Friday--Remembering Philip Levine

Several years ago, I was fortunate to have heard poet Philip Levine read from his work. I was taken by his down-to-earth character and the accessibility of his poetry. Levine passed away last Saturday. For today, I've selected a seasonal poem, which I find absolutely stunning.

Today the snow is drifting
on Belle Isle, and the ducks
are searching for some opening
to the filthy waters of the their river.
On Grand River Avenue, which is not
in Venice but in Detroit, Michigan,
the traffic has slowed to a standstill
and yet a sober man has hit a parked car
and swears to the police he was
not guilty. The bright squads of children
on their way to school howl
at the foolishness of the world
they will try not to inherit.
Seen from inside a window,
even a filthy one like those
at Automotive Supply Company, the snow,
which has been falling for hours,
is more beautiful than even the spring
grass which once unfurled here
before the invention of steel and fire,
for spring grass is what the earth sang
in answer to the new sun, to
melting snow, and the dark rain
of spring nights.

But snow is nothing.
It has no melody of form, it
is as though the tears of all
the lost souls rose to heaven
and were finally heard and blessed
with substance and the power of flight
and, given their choice, chose then
to return to earth, to lay their
great pale cheek against the burning
cheek of earth and say, "There, there, child."

I found the above online. We have two collections of Levine's work in 811.54 LEV, and his poems have been widely anthologized.

Head westward to the Poetry Friday Round-Up being hosted at Teacher Dance.

Next week is Winter Break Week!

To keep the kids happy and occupied while on their break, please visit us. We have thousands of books, DVDs, and musical CDs to provide hours of entertainment and instruction.

We also are hosting Wildlife Encounters on Tuesday the 24th at 1:00 pm. Wildlife Encounters will be presenting a live animal show featuring a diverse selection of Ambassador animals that will take the audience on an imaginary safari around the world in 60 minutes. This program is for children ages 4 and up (no exceptions) and sign-ups are required as space is limited. Call 432-7154 to reserve a spot for your child.

Some of the animals that may be visiting us are an alligator, a Fennec fox, a skunk, or a woodchuck (also known as a groundhog).

Study up ahead of time by looking for one of these:

Kallen, Stuart A. Alligators. [J 597.98 KAL]

Petrie, Kristin. Fennec Foxes. [J 599.776 PET]

Phillips, Dee. Groundhog's Burrow. [J 599.366 PHI]

Souza, D. M. Skunks Do More Than Stink. [J 599.768 SOU]

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy Birthday George Peabody!

Born in Danvers, MA, on February 18, 1795, George Peabody was a successful merchant and a philanthropist. I can hear you asking, "So what?" Well, the fabulous Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA, gets part of its name from George Peabody. This from the PEM website's "Museum History" page:
In the late 1860s...the Peabody, renamed for its great benefactor, the philanthropist George Peabody, transferred its historical collections to the Essex.

In the early 20th century, the Peabody Academy of Science changed its name to the Peabody Museum of Salem and continued to focus on collecting international art and culture.

Today, the combined Peabody Essex Museum hosts a variety of exhibits and its collection, dating from the time of merchant sailing ships, is outstanding.

Source: PEM website.

Right now you can see "Branching Out: Trees As Art", or, if you really like wood, wait until Saturday when "Audacious: The Fine Art of Wood from the Montalto Bohlen Collection" opens. You'll see "nearly 100 complex sculptural forms with alluring surfaces and textures...Experience the beauty, sensuality and sculptural qualities of wood."

If you'd like to travel close to home during next week's school vacation, the PEM is only an hour away! Book our PEM pass, or any of our other passes, here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Madama Butterfly

On this day in 1904, Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly premiered in Milan, Italy. The premier performance was a disaster! Puccini revised the opera and when it was performed on May 24, 1904 it received great acclaim! Here's an animated version of the aria from the opera.

We have the complete opera on CD [AB/CD 782.1 PUC] and there's also an introduction to it for children on Luciano Pavarotti's My Favorite Opera For Children [CD CHILDREN PAV].

Monday, February 16, 2015

Washington's Birthday

Today the Library is closed for the President's Day holiday. The federal holiday, however, is called "Washington's Birthday." And so, in honor of our first president, here is a sampling of George Washington-related items for you to borrow when we reopen:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Poetry Friday--Love Poems

The following beauty of a poem is by Nikki Giovanni, from a slim volume titled, Love Poems [811.54 GIO]. I think it's a perfect poem for tomorrow!
You Are There

i shall save my poems
for the winter of my dreams
i look forward to huddling
in my rocker with my life
i wonder what i'll contemplate
lovers--certainly those
i can remember
and knowing my life
you'll be there

you'll be there in the cold
like a Siamese on my knee
proud purring when you let me stroke you

you'll be there in the rain
like an umbrella over my head
sheltering me from the damp mist

you'll be there in the dark
like a lighthouse in the fog
seeing me through troubled waters

you'll be there in the sun
like coconut oil on my back
to keep me from burning

i shall save a special poem
for you to say
you always made me smile
and even though i cried sometimes
you said i will not let you

my rocker and i on winter's porch
will never be sad if you're gone
the winter's cold has been stored
you will always be

Happy Valentine's Day to all! Make time to visit Merely Day by Day where Cathy will be rounding up this week's collection of poetry posts.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Visual Dictionaries

A visual dictionary is basically a way to search words or ideas and find pictures rather than word descriptions. For a visual learner, this can a big help. To see what I mean, visit Visual Dictionary Online. Did you check it out? Pretty cool, right?

We have several general visual dictionaries in our reference section [R 423]. We also have, mostly in our children's section, books that are subject specific visual dictionaries. Here are a few of these topical dictionaries:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Continuing with our month of celebrations! On this day in 1878, fourteen cyclists joined together to form the first bicycle club in the U. S.--the Boston Bicycle Club.

As you might expect, we have plenty of materials on bicycles--from repair manuals to popular movies. Here are a few:

Breaking Away. [DVD BRE]

Byrne, David. Bicycle Diaries. [796.64 BYR]

Duling, Sandy. Road Biking Northern New England: A Guide to the Greatest Bike Rides in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. [796.64 DUL]

The Enlightened Cyclist: Commuter Angst, Dangerous Drivers, and Other Obstacles on the Path to Two-Wheeled Trancendence. [3M ebook]

Klein, Abby. Yikes! Bikes! [J KLE]

Raschka, Christopher. Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle. [JP RAS, also 3M ebook]

Tracy, Sam. Bicycle!: A Repair & Maintenance Manifesto. [629.28772 TRA]

Wilson, David Gordon. Bicycling Science. [629.2272 WIL]

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Up to Here in Snow!

The library was closed yesterday, and KK didn't get to prepare a proper post for today. To make up for it, enjoy this timelapse film from 2 weeks ago:

Monday, February 09, 2015

February is National Cherry Month!

You may think February is an odd month to be devoted to cherries, but if I had to guess, I would say it's because February is also the month we celebrate Presidents' Day, and it is the month of George Washington's birthday. It's not too far a leap to remember the story of Washington supposedly saying "I can't tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree." Of course, that story has been shown to be part of Washington mythology, but, I suppose it's good enough reason to explain February being National Cherry Month.

Here are two cherry-related titles to look for:

Colón, Suzan. Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times. [394.12 COL]

Williams, Vera. Cherries and Cherry Pits. [JP WIL]

And since February is also National Pie Month, you'll find some great cherry pie recipes in The Perfect Pie: More Than 125 All-Time Favorite Pies and Tarts by Susan G. Purdy [641.8652 PUR].

Friday, February 06, 2015

Poetry Friday--It's Bubble Gum Day!

Yes, it's Bubble Gum Day at schools across the country. For a donation of 50 cents kids get to chew gum at school! The money goes to a local charity.

Maybe next year we'll try Bubble Gum Day here at the Library. We can still celebrate this year with a lively rhyming picture book by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, titled Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum [JP WHE].

Here's a little taste of what it's like to get stuck in some melting gum on the road:
Along comes a crow...
An old, weathered crow,
An old weathered


loudmouthed crow!


Oh, wow!
The crow's stuck now!

Talking crow, talking crow,
Loud and loony, squawking crow,
Crying, cawing, shocking crow,
Every feather's stuck!

That should be enough for you to chew on! I fear any more will blow your mind!

I'll let Ella Fitzgerald sing us out of this sticky post:

If we're lucky, we may find some other bubble gum celebrations going on today at the Poetry Friday Round-Up being hosted by Elizabeth Steinglass.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Happy Birthday Hank Aaron!

On this day, 81 years ago (1934), Henry Louis Aaron was born. Most know him by his nickname "Hank." During his long (1950-1976) career in professional baseball, he was also known as "Hammerin' Hank. His stats as a hitter are outstanding--he had 755 career home runs. For 18 years, between 1955-1973, he hit 24, or more home, runs a year.

Here's a short video biography summarizing his accomplishments:

Learn more:

Bryant, Howard. The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron. [B AAR]

Golenbock, Peter. Hank Aaron: Brave in Every Way. [J B AAR]

Kramer, Sydelle. Baseball's Greatest Hitters. [J 796.357 KRA]

Vascellaro, Charlie. Hank Aaron: A Biography. [YA B AAR]

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

TV Lovers Will Love This!

Fans of Breaking Bad will get to watch a new series, Better Call Saul. Part 1 of the series premieres this coming Sunday on AMC, and part 2 will air on Monday. A Wikipedia article describes it as:
a spin-off of Gilligan's Breaking Bad. Set in 2002, it focuses on the life of small-time lawyer Saul Goodman six years before his appearance on Breaking Bad, though events during and after the original series will also be explored.
We have the complete Breaking Bad series [DVD BRE].

Also on Sunday, on HBO, there will be half-hour Game of Thrones Seasons 5, documentary special "A Day in the Life." We have the first three seasons on DVD [DVD GAM] and season 4 is scheduled to be released on February 17. I'm sure you're aware that we have the books by George R. R. Martin in our speculative fiction section [SF MAR], audiobook [AB/CD SF MAR], and 3M ebook. Martin has also written a Game of Thrones story that is included in the collection Rogues. Rogues [SC ROG] contains 21 stories by authors such as Gillian Flynn and Neil Gaiman; it is also available as a 3M ebook.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

African Americans in World War II

February is African American History Month and 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the year World War II ended. Increasingly, as World War II continued, America needed the service of its African-Americans citizens, despite its considering them as separate, and, unequal. African Americans distinguished themselves as loyal, hard-fighting Americans, and yet, they continued to receive discriminatory treatment. Their stories can be found in many works of fiction, nonfiction, and film. Here are a few:

Monday, February 02, 2015


Yes, it's February already, and yes, I am trying to hurry the winter season out of here. C'mon spring!

One way to speed things along is by celebrating. For such a short month, February sure has a lot of things worth celebrating--like love, presidents, African-American history, pet dental health (I kid you not), bubblegum, and more! We'll be covering some fun celebrations this month here at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet, starting with today's Groundhog Day!

And, I'm going to celebrate today by announcing that I have a poem being published in a forthcoming anthology for teachers, librarians, and kids. It is titled, appropriately enough, Celebrations. Actually the full title is The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, and published by Pomelo Books. The book is special in that it contains the poems in both English and Spanish. It will be out in time for National Poetry Month, April, and we'll get a copy for the Library as soon as we can!