Looking for a book, DVD, CD, or other item? Search our catalog!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Make Way for Ducklings

Many children in the greater Boston area receive a gift of Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings, because their parents read the book in their childhoods, and maybe their grandparents did, too. The reading of Make Way for Ducklings is a tradition for Boston area families, as is visiting the Swan Boats. Over the past decade, the brass duckling sculpture in the Boston Garden, has become a tourist destination for young and old, too.

The Swan Boats are in dry dock for the winter months (will reopen in April), and it may be too cold to walk through the Public Garden, but you can still enjoy reading about the ducklings in the original picture book [JP MCC], as part of a collection of McCloskey stories in The World of Robert McCloskey or Make Way for McCloskey: A Robert McCloskey Treasury [JP MCC]. You can even read it in a Spanish language edition, Abran Paso a los Patitos [J 468.2 MCC].

Last week, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, an exhibition opened, "Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey."
With art from Make Way for Ducklings at its center, the retrospective presents more than 50 works, including studies for other books written and illustrated by McCloskey: Lentil (1940), Homer Price (1943) and Centerburg Tales (1951), which recall his youth in rural Ohio, and popular Maine tales including Blueberries for Sal (1948) and Time of Wonder (1957). Works are drawn primarily from the rich, but rarely exhibited holdings of the May Massee Collection at Emporia State University in Kansas.

An exhibition highlight is the miniature bronze model for Nancy Schön’s Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, commissioned for the Boston Public Garden in 1985. As well as celebrating McCloskey’s achievements as author-illustrator, the retrospective also includes a selection of his independent work connecting him to prominent American painters such as Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper.
Borrow our museum pass and head down to Boston. The exhibit runs through June 18, 2017, so you have plenty of time! To learn more about the artist, Robert McCloskey, look for Robert McCloskey: A Private Life in Words and Pictures written by his daughter, Jane McCloskey [B MCC].

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Time for the 2016 "Best of" Lists

Each year as we reach November, various groups and organizations start issuing their best-of-the-year lists--the best movies, or the best new electronic gadgets, and always, the best books. You'll find best book lists published by newspapers, magazines, and literary organizations. Here is "SLJ's Best of 2016," for kids and young adults, as was determined by School Library Journal, a review magazine used by school and public librarians across the country. This year their best list includes 66 titles.

If you don't want to watch the whole video, here's the list of the middle grade (ages 8-12) fiction titles. Often, books from the middle grade lists go on to win the Newbury Award in January.

Anderson, John David. Ms. Bixby's Last Day.

Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon. [J BAR]

Brown, Peter. The Wild Robot. [J BRO]

DiCamillo, Kate. Raymie Nightingale. [J DIC]

Erdrich, Louise. Makoons.

Gidwitz, Adam. The Inquisitor's Tale. [J GID]

Grimes, Nikki. Garvey's Choice. [J GRI]

Kelly, Erin Entrada. The Land of Forgotten Girls.

Lin, Grace. When the Sea Turned to Silver. [J LIN]

Peck, Richard. The Best Man. [J PEC]

Pennypacker, Sara. Pax. [J PEN]

Reynolds, Jason. As Brave As You. [J REY]

Reynolds, Jason. Ghost. [J REY]

Wolf, Lauren. Wolf Hollow. [J WOL]

If you have children or teens on your holiday list, use the SLJ's recommendations as a buying guide.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tuskegee Airmen

The sole remaining original member of the World War II all black flight squadron, the Tuskegee Airmen, Willie Rogers, passed away ten days ago at the age of 101.

The Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the Red Tails, were brave in the face of the enemy overseas, and in the face of racial discrimination at home. The story of the squadron has been retold in books and movies including these:

Holway, John. Red Tails: An Oral History of the Tuskegee Airmen. [940.5449 HOL]

Red Tails. [DVD RED]

Weatherford, Carole Boston. You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. [J 811 WEA]

If you're ever down in Alabama, you should take a trip to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. The National Park Service turned 100 this year, a year younger than Mr. Willie Rogers.

Rest in peace, brave airman.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Library closes at noon today and will be closed Thursday and Friday. It will reopen for regular weekend hours at 9:00 AM on Saturday.

Rather than get into heated political arguments over the Thanksgiving meal, take a page from National Public Radio's StoryCorps Project. Begin a discussion with the older members of your family about Thanksgivings in their youth, or what people ate in the 1950s, or the games children played before the advent of smart phones. You need not restrict yourself to using the StoryCorps app (free app for iPhones and Android devices) and recording the interview--just sit and listen.

If you're interested in more on the StoryCorps Project, look for this inspiring book on your next visit:
Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project [973.92 LIS].

Have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mix It Up!

Admit it, how many families have peas, or green bean casserole as their side dish at Thanksgiving? Some people have creamed onions, that no one eats, just because that's what great-grandma served through the years. Maybe it's time for some new side dish traditions!

Look through these for inspirations:

An American Bounty. [641.5973 AME]

Bittman, Mark. Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times. [eBook]

The French Chef 2 with Julia Child. [DVD 641.5944 FRE]

Joel, Katie Lee. The Comfort Table. [641.563 JOE]

101 Classic Cookbooks: 501 Classic Recipes. [641.5 ONE]

Perelman, Deb. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. [641.5 PER, also eBook]

It's no exaggeration to say we have hundreds more! Mix it up this Thanksgiving. Maybe you'll find yourself with no side dish leftovers at all!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Oh, Yes, It Won't Be Long!

The past few days have brought a significant dip in the temperature and a dusting of snow. Can the first major snowstorm of the season be far behind? The following celebrates snow through an animator's fantastic imagination. Much better than dealing with the reality of snow and snow removal.

Other snow themed animated films in our collection include:

The Backyardigans: The Snow Fort. [J DVD BAC]

Frosty the Snowman. [J DVD FRO]

Frozen. [F DVD FRO]

Happiness Is...Peanuts: Snow Day. [J DVD HAP]

The Snowman

Thomas & Friends: Thomas' Snowy Surprise & Other Adventures. [J DVD THO]

If you like animated shorts, not necessarily snow related, please look for Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 1 and Volume 2 [J DVD PIX]. Pixar is the studio that has brought us full length animated features since 1995 when they released Toy Story [J DVD TOY].

Friday, November 18, 2016

Poetry Friday--"Gobbledy-Gobble"

Next Thursday, as we all know, is Thanksgiving Day, one of the truly all-American holidays. Who doesn't love a juicy roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a few favorite side-dishes? I'll tell you who--the turkey!

For today I have a poem by Felice Holman, from Thanksgiving Poems, selected by Myra Cohn Livingston [J 808.81 THA]:

How they laughed!

"He's so scrawny.
Scrawny! Scrawny!"
they taunt me.
"Not handsome and brawny.
He's ugly as sin."

So gobbledy-gob-
ble, I'm not with the mob
because of the shape that I'm in.
"The worst on the block.
A disgrace to the flock."
They're ashamed to admit
they're my kin.

Well, sometimes they hurt
""Twould be nice to be purt-
y.), but common sense says
"You're a winner."
For on Thanksgiving Day
they have all gone away
to be somebody's good-looking dinner.
If you'll excuse a little self-promotion, I'd like to remind you that the off-off-off-off-etc. Broadway musical adaption of Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr (me) [JP MAY] is taking place this Saturday and Sunday at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, NH (their website was down earlier, here's the phone #603-433-4472). I guarantee kids will enjoy the music and the mayhem!

Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

They're Back! (Well, Almost)

The long-running (seven seasons) television series, The Gilmore Girls, concluded in the spring of 2007. Yes, it was that long ago... We were left suspended, uncertain as to what the future had in store for Lorelai, Rory, and the citizens of Stars Hollow.

Now, Netflix has revived the beloved Gilmore Girls characters and has filmed a 4-part mini-series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which will be available starting November 25--the day after Thanksgiving a.k.a. Gluttony Remorse Day! As soon as it is available to purchase as a DVD, we will order it. Here's something to whet your GG appetite:

If you need a GG refresher, we have all seven seasons [DVD GIL], and Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest [791.45 COF].

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to catch up!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Robotic Dinosaurs

Have you seen this video of robotic dinosaurs that were created in Japan. It is amazing! Watch and see if you don't agree.

It might be fun to compare the new robots to the dinosaurs that were created for the Jurassic Park films [DVD JUR]. It also might be fun to compare the latest Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World, which came out in 2015, to the original film released in 1993. Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


A lot of questions about our system of government have come up as a result of 2016 being a presidential election year. Half a century ago, most people would have learned the basics of our government in a high school course called "civics." With contemporary education focusing on STEM subjects [science, technology, engineering, math] and reading, civics has been incorporated into "social studies," and is often neglected in favor of history and geography.

Of course, the public library is a great place to catch up on, or refresh, your civics knowledge. A good place to start is with the Constitution. Books about the Constitution, its amendments, and the Bill of Rights are found in the adult and children's sections under the number 342.73. Teens and adults should also look for this video: Our Constitution: A Conversation [DVD 342.73 OUR].
United States Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer talk about the Constitution with high school students and discuss why we have and need a constitution, what federalism is, how implicit and explicit rights are defined and how separation of powers ensures that no one branch of government obtains too much power.

With one presidential candidate winning the popular vote, and the other the Electoral College vote (scheduled to take place in December), a lot of questions have arisen about the Electoral College. A brief summary of what the Electoral College is may be found at the House of Representatives website. Kids can be directed to The Electoral College by Suzanne LeVert [J 324.63 LEV].

Monday, November 14, 2016

Happy Birthday, Aaron Copland!

On this day, in 1900, Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn. He was the son of immigrants who grew up to become one of America's quintessential musical composers. He not only created great orchestral music such as "Symphonies, no. 3." (Find "Symphonies, no. 3." on Leonard Bernstein's six disk set The Americans: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon [CD CLASSICAL BER].) He also composed music for lively ballets like "Billy the Kid," choreographed by Martha Graham, and wrote music for major motion pictures such as the 1939 film, Of Mice and Men [DVD OF], based on the John Steinbeck novella of the same name.

Copland wrote to educate the general public about music, and we have his guide, What To Listen For in Music [780 COP] on our shelves.

Of all his works, the one that is perhaps best known is his "Fanfare for the Common Man." Here is Leonard Bernstein presenting Copland:

Learn more about Copland in Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man by Howard Pollack [B COP].

Friday, November 11, 2016

Library Closed for Veterans Day

The Library is closed today in honor of the men and women of our armed services. We thank you for your service to our country!

For a brief history of the federal holiday, click here.

If you're looking for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, it is being held at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Stop by to see what's on the poetry menu!

The Library will open again tomorrow at 9:00 AM. See you then!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

On This Day...

in 1925, Welch actor, Richard Burton was born. A famed actor on stage and screen, he later became better known as the husband of actress Elizabeth Taylor!

You can see him perform in any one of these films in our collection:

Cleopatra. [DVD CLE]

The Comedians

Equus. [DVD EQU]

The Sandpiper. [DVD SAN]

The V. I. P.s. [DVD VIP]

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Except for Equus, all the films star both Burton and Taylor.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


The 2016 election may be history, but the next four years will still be a roller coaster ride for sure. If you haven't tried meditation before, then maybe now is the time to look into it. And, if you're like me, you've never quite gotten the hang of the whole meditation thing. Breathing. Letting all other thoughts go? Right, that lasts for about five seconds!

Recently, I found this:

The key for me is learning that you can retrain your brain! Now to try again with this in mind!

For more on meditation and its benefits look for Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant [616.8914 MAR] and The Mindfulness Habit: Six Weeks to Creating the Habit of Being Present by Kate Sciandra [eBook].

Look for more Happify videos on YouTube, if you found the above video helpful.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Day 2016!

This presidential election season has been in the news for more than 18 months, but today is finally the day to get out and vote! Please do so!

Here is a poem from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. We have it in a children's edition [J 808.81 POE] and a teacher's edition with educational connections [372.64 POE].

Image courtesy Poetry for Children.

Monday, November 07, 2016

It's Kurious Kitty's Tenth Birthday!

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet post! In the ten years I've been blogging, I've written 2,522 posts--that's Monday through Friday with nary a break! It's been fun, and sometimes a bit challenging to come up with topics to post about. I hope my readers have found something of interest and have visited the Library to borrow the items we have that relate to the topic being covered.

For today, I'm going to keep it short and share a little video that can be said to be "literature-based." It's from my old favorite, Bugs Bunny, and was inspired by the books of C. S. Forester about a Napoleonic Wars era officer of the Royal Navy, Horatio Hornblower. We have at least nine of the books in the series, including the first one, Beat to Quarters [F FOR].

Don't forget that tomorrow is election day! (As if you could forget!) Do your civic duty and VOTE!

Friday, November 04, 2016

Poetry Friday--Russian Poetry

I am listening to an audiobook that I am absolutely adoring. The funny thing is, though, the book doesn't have much of a plot! So, what is it that I find so wonderful? The main character, Alexander Rostov, a man of infinite charm and social skill. The book is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles [F TOW, AB/CD TOW, eBook, eAudio] and here is how the publisher summarizes it:
A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
What this summary leaves out is that although he had no 9 to 5 employment, Rostov had gained some renown as a poet in his early life. Since I'm immersed in this story of a Russian poet, I decided to look for a Russian poem for today. I found one in Contemporary Russian Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (selected and translated by Gerald S. Smith) [RUSSIAN 891.71 CON].

The Raven
by Elena Shvarts

An old Raven asked for my heart
To take away to its baby ravens,
"Or else they'll bury you in the ground,
And I won't be able to scratch you up."
"Evil bird," I replied to him,
"You fed Elijah and the saints,
But me you yourself are ready to eat up,
Although, of course, I'm no match for them."
The bird replied, "Everything around is frozen.
It's cold, and I have to get warm.
I'll take your heart away to my icy home,
Let my freezing offspring peck it,
No joke--three sons and a daughter..."
I threw a stick at him, "Away!"
That night I woke up from a pain in the chest,
Oh, what pain, a pain in the heart!
The Raven hopped off the bed, onto the table, toward the door--
From its beak blood drips onto the floor.

It's not a poem such as I imagine Count Rostov writing, but it has a nice Halloween-season vibe to it.

Laura at Writing the World for Kids is this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up host. Be sure to stop by!

Photo by Doug Brown.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

November Is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

This is a topic that most people wish to avoid since it is unpleasant to think about a loved-one or even ourselves having to deal with Alzheimer's Disease.

The first step to dealing with a disease is get a basic understanding of it. The Alzheimer's Association has a page titled "What Is Alzheimer's?" Besides the basic information, there are plenty of links to other sources of information.

Of course, you can always visit the Library to borrow one of our books on the topic in the 616.831 section. There are, also, many first-hand accounts of sufferers with the disease and their caretakers.

We also have DVDs for those who prefer to view rather than read. Look for Caring for a Loved One With Alzheimer's: An Emotional Journey [DVD 616.831 CAR], The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's [DVD 616.831 FOR], and Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me [DVD 782.42 GLE].

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Bestsellers You May Have Missed

Often times a book receives so much pre-pub hype it becomes a bestseller even before it is released. Those books may stay on the bestseller list for weeks, and holds lists build, because everyone thinks they must read from the bestseller list. But, for those of you who are not tied to a current bestseller list, the world is your oyster. If a book is good, it'll still be good six months from now or even six years from now!

Here are some novels you may have missed six years ago when they were "hot" in November 2010:

Baldacci, David. Hell's Corner.

Child, Lee. Worth Dying For.

Connelly, Michael. Reversal.

Follett, Ken. Fall of Giants.

Flagg, Fannie. I Still Dream about You.

Flynn, Vince. American Assassin.

Franzen, Jonathan. Freedom.

Grisham, John. Confession.

Karon, Jan. In the Company of Others.

Larsson, Stieg. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Lehane, Dennis. Moonlight Mile.

Morton, Kate. Distant Hours.

Robb, J. D. Indulgence in Death.

Sparks, Nicholas. Safe Haven.

Stockett, Kathryn. The Help.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


At this time of year, some of us start to lose steam. Once winter fully sets in it may get even worse. The problem affects everyone from students to retirees. There is a solution, though! Borrow one of these titles from our collection:

Donovan, Jim. Happy at Work 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful. [eBook]

Duhigg, Charles. Smarter Faster Better: Tthe Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. [158 DUH, also eBook and eAudio]

Lavoie, Richard D. The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning on the Tuned-Out Child. [370.154 LAV]

Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. [153.1534 PIN]

A site recommended to me by a friend provides us with a lesson in "How to Get Massively Motivated in Less Than 60 Seconds."

If you prefer videos, going to YouTube and using "motivation" as a search term will bring up hundreds of videos. Here's a TEDx Talk by Scott Geller, "The Psychology of Self-Motivation."

If your motivation problem is simply a matter of Seasonal Affective Disorder, look for Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder by Norman E. Rosenthal [616.8527 ROS]. Then, to quote my late mother, "Go outside and blow the stink off you!"