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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

After the Storm!

Due to the power outage following Sunday/Monday's storm, we were closed all day yesterday. We are open once again with lights, public computers, and WiFi. And, of course, all of our other offerings like books, magazines, musical CDs, etc.

As you can imagine, most of our phone calls this morning run like this, "Are you open?" "Yes." "Do you have power?" "Yes." "Do you have internet???" "YES!"

Many are coming in to use the internet and to charge their devices. We have a dedicated charging station that is free for anyone to use.

If you can't visit us, where else might you find WiFi? Here's an article that may help with your search.

Please stop by!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Celebrating Cats!

Yesterday, September 29, was National Cat Day. Since I don't post on Sundays, we'll celebrate today with these recently published cat picture books for kids:

Bauer, Marion Dane. Little Cat's Luck. [JP BAU]

Bogart, Jo Ellen. The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem "Pangur Bán." [JP BOG]

Cole, Henry. Spot, the Cat. [JP COL]

Cooper, Elisha. Big Cat, Little Cat. [JP COO]

Donaldson, Julia. The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat. [JP DON]

Grant, Jacob. Cat Knit. [JP GRA]

Kang, A. N. The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon. [JP KAN]

McDonnell, Patrick. The Little Red Cat: Who Ran Away from Home and Learned His ABC's (The Hard Way). [JP MCD]

Vere, Ed. Max at Night. [JP VER]

Wenzel, Brendan. They All Saw a Cat. [JP WEN, eBook]

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Poetry Friday--Sing a Song of Bones

Next Tuesday is Halloween, and one of the big symbols of the holiday is the skeleton. The reason for that is simple: Halloween is the eve of All Hallows Day. All Hallows Day, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Day of the Dead, and Samhain, all occur on November 1 or 2, and, no matter what tradition they come from, all revolve around the veneration or remembrance of the dead. Once a body has died, the skeletal stage follows closely behind!

We have a number of books about skeletons in our Halloween collection, and quite a few of them are poetry. One skeleton book, which we have as an eBook, is Halloween Forest by Marion Dane Bauer. Rather than rhyming couplets or another metered form, this colorful book about bones is written in unmetered rhyme. It is still highly rhythmic through its use of repetition and playful language. Here's an example:
And hanging from
the branches
are bat bones,
Climbing the trunks
are cat bones.
Snarled in the roots
are rat bones.
The illustrations by John Shelley are visually striking and present a unique view of skeletons and bones. And, in case you haven't read a picture book on a device, let me assure you, you get the same "wow" effect, just in a smaller package:

Happy Halloween!

Join Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales for this week's Round-Up of poetry links.

The Erie Canal

On this day in 1825 the Erie Canal was officially completed and was opened to shipping. The canal was begun on July 4, 1817. It covered 363 miles from Lake Erie in Buffalo to the Hudson River in Albany. It is second to the Grand Canal in China for its length.

Photo circa 1900, courtesy Library of Congress.

The Erie Canal was an important shipping lane before the rise of the railroads and more than a century before automotive trucking, and the interstate highway system, were developed.

The story of the Erie Canal is found in these books for chldren:

Harness, Cheryl. The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal. [J 977.1 HAR]

Murray, Julie. Erie Canal. [J 974.796 MUR]

Thompson, Linda. The Erie Canal. [J 386.48 THO]

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


On the evening of November 16, the Museum of Science in Boston will be holding a forum titled, "Outbreak: Fighting Disease in a Changing World." This is how it is described:
Human health is connected to the health of the environment and the animals inhabiting it. Viruses that originate in wildlife, such as HIV, Zika, Ebola, and influenza, can infect humans and our livestock and spread rapidly around the globe. Influenza and HIV have killed tens of millions of people every year. What is our role in preventing the next pandemic? How can society work toward reducing our risk? As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Spanish influenza pandemic, what have we learned?

Join us behind the scenes as we develop a forum that will be used in museums and libraries across the country and beyond. Learn about infectious diseases that affect millions of people all over the world and consider how we can apply lessons from diseases we've managed to eradicate. Discuss your ideas with other participants and help the Museum of Science improve this forum.

This program is presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Yesterday we looked at World Polio Day. There are many such days each year to make us aware of the wide-spread problem of diseases and their control.

Here are some books you may be interested in reading on the subject of diseases and epidemics:

Barnard, Bryn. Outbreak: Plagues that Changed History. [eBook]

Biddle, Wayne. A Field Guide to Germs. [616.01 BID]

Hays, J. N. Epidemics and Pandemics: Their Impacts on Human History. [614.49 HAY]

Jarrow, Gail. Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America. [YA 614.5732 JAR]

Koontz, Robin Michal. The Science of a Pandemic. [J 614.4 KOO]

McNeil, Donald G., Jr. Zika: The Emerging Epidemic. [eAudio]

Shah, Sonia. Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond. [eAudio]

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Today is World Polio Day

People who were born after the 1950s probably have no idea of how scary a disease poliomyelitis was in the first half of the 20th century. In the 1950s it reached epidemic proportions. Back then parents kept their children at home, afraid of contracting the illness at a pool or other public gathering spot. And, contracting the disease might have meant a shortened life lived out in a gigantic iron lung, or bound up in steel braces.

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, courtesy Library of Congress.

There was much rejoicing in 1955 when Jonas Salk introduced the first polio (injected) vaccine, and again in 1961, when Albert Sabin introduced the first oral (taken by mouth) polio vaccine.

So, October 24, World Polio Day, is an annual day to raise awareness that the disease still exists, but it can be eliminated.

To learn more, look for the DVD, A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America [DVD 614.549 PAR]. Or Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky [614.549 OSH].

Monday, October 23, 2017

Change of Plans

I expected to begin posting again today, but a number of staff members are at a regional conference, and we are a little short-staffed. Plus, I have hundreds of emails in my inbox, which, at the very least must be gone through to see if they will require a response. At this point I can't say when things will be back to normal! Check back in a few days!

For now, I will leave you with this: today is National Boston Cream Pie Day!

Photo (with recipe) from King Arthur Flour.

Monday, October 16, 2017

See You in a Week!

Kurious Kitty is taking a week off from posting in order to attend a multi-day workshop. Look for posts to begin again on Monday, October 23.

In the meantime, here's a little public service video from 1953 on "Getting the Facts." In today's atmosphere of "alternative facts," "fake news," and other hot topics, it's fun to see how things were done 60 years ago. Enjoy!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Poetry Friday--Mites to Mastodons

Mites to Mastodons is a book of poems by the late Maxine Kumin [J 811.54 KUM]. Kumin, a long time resident of New Hampshire, passed away in 2014 at the age of 88.

Kumin served a term (1982-1984) as United States Poet Laureate (when the position was still called "Consultant in Poetry"). She wrote many books of adult poetry, as well as fiction and poetry for children.

Mites to Mastodons is illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski and her wildly colorful and playful art is a fine companion to Kumin's poetry.

This is one of my favorites from the collection:

This fellow's feelings will not be hurt
    if dinner is served without dessert.

Nobody has to tell him to finish
    his beans, asparagus, peas, or spinach.

Nobody needs to wait while he eats
    his Brussels sprouts or cabbage or beets.

And when they ask him he always says yes
    to seconds of turnips or watercress.

Today the Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Live Your Poem. Stop by!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pet Cemeteries

Have you ever driven on route 213 heading toward 495 and noticed a cemetery on the right with tiny headstones? This is the Hillside Acre Animal Cemetery. It is part of the MSPCA--Nevins Farm facility and has been in operation for more than a century! It sounds like a long time. Who would have thought that people of the period prior to World War I would have considered opening a graveyard exclusively for animals? It sounds like a 21st century indulgence for obsessive pet people.

It seems that people have been honoring their pets for even more than 100 years. A recent discovery in Egypt unearthed a pet cemetery dating back to 75-150 AD!

Human nature being what it is, the memory of our pets will probably be honored for hundreds of years to come!

And, Stephen King being who he is, wrote a rather horrific book about a pet cemetery titled, Pet Sematary [F KIN].

When a little boy's pet dies, and he persuades his parents to bury it in an old Indian cemetary, reputed by legend to house restless spirits, a nightmare of death and destruction begins as deceased animals come back to life...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Today Is National Fossil Day!

Today, October 11, is designated by the National Park Service as National Fossil Day! You might ask, "why celebrate fossils?" Simply put, to learn where we came from and how we, as one of many creatures on Earth, have evolved. The National Park Service states the day is
...held to highlight the scientific and educational value of paleontology and the importance of preserving fossils for future generations.

Children are often fascinated by fossils and may envision a life as a paleontologist. The NPS has a Junior Paleontologist Program that you can learn about here.

Your children may want to learn even more about paleontology and fossils. These will help them get started:

Goodhue, Thomas W. Curious Bones: Mary Anning and the Birth of Paleontology. [J B ANN]

Holtz, Thomas R. Digging for Brachiosaurus. (And other titles in "Smithsonian: Dinosaur Discovery Timelines" series.) [J 567.913 HOL]

Lacovara, Kenneth. Why Dinosaurs Matter. [eBook]

Larson, Peter L. Bones Rock!: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Paleontologist. [J 560 LAR]

Morgan, Ben. Rock & Fossil Hunter. [J 552 MOR]

Romaine, Garret. Geology Lab for Kids: 52 Projects to Explore Rocks, Gems, Geodes, Crystals, Fossils, and Other Wonders of the Earth's Surface. [on order]

VanVoorst, Jenny Fretland. Fossils. [J 560 VAN]

We have plenty more!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Back in Business

Our recarpeting project has been completed and we've installed some new display shelving. Things are back in order for the most part and we hope you'll visit us soon to see the changes.

As we try out new shelving arrangements you may find items are not where they used to be. Please ask if you can't find what you are looking for.

The new shelves allow us to display more of the recent additions to the DVD collection, including these ten movies added in September and October:

Band Aid. [DVD BAN]

Beatriz at Dinner. [DVD BEA]

The Book of Henry. [DVD BOO]

Chronically Metropolitan. [DVD CHR]

Fun Mom Dinner. [DVD FUN]

A Ghost Story. [DVD GHO]

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. [DVD IMM]

Paris Can Wait. [DVD PAR]

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies. [DVD PIR]

The Wizard of Lies. [DVD WIZ]

Friday, October 06, 2017

Poetry Friday--Teacher Resource

I have been using the clipart resource of Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida for many years. I also recently discovered they have a literature component titled, Lit2Go.
Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages. Many of the passages also have a related reading strategy identified. Each reading passage can also be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or as supplemental reading material for your classroom.
This resource uses literature in the public domain, that is, writing that was published prior to 1923 and is no longer covered by copyright. However, use of Lit2Go is subject to certain restrictions that are found here.

What I think would be particularly useful for teachers is that one can browse the collection of materials by "Readablility," thus allowing the teacher to quickly determine if a piece might be appropriate for the readers at a particular grade level. Teachers may also find that browsing by "Collection" can lead to some interesting finds. For example, the seasons have just changed and Lit2Go has a collection Autumn in Verse to help find the perfect fall poem!

Head over to Violet Nesdoly | Poems for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, where I'm sure you'll find many more poems about fall.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Antarctica and More

Writer and cartoonist, Karen Romano Young, has been keeping an illustrated log of interesting features of Antarctica, a place she has been lucky enough to visit.

Here is a sample of one of her log entries:

Here first entry was logged on June 8, 2017, so, if you wish to learn more, or to follow along, click here. There is also a science comics contest for kids in grades 5-12.

Here is a sampling of Karen's books that we have in our collection:

Across the Wide Ocean: The Why, How, and Where of Navigation for Humans and Animals at Sea. [J 623.89 YOU]

Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles
. [J YOU]

Hundred Percent
. [J YOU]

Science Fair Winners: Crime Scene Science: 20 Projects and Experiments about Clues, Crimes, Criminals, and Other Mysterious Things. [J 507.8 YOU]

Wednesday, October 04, 2017


Monday, by all measures, was a horrific day of nonstop reporting of the massacre in Las Vegas. Later in the day came reports of the death of rock star, Tom Petty. Both of those events had a common thread--music. I hope music will be able to help heal our troubled nation.

Tom Petty's music will live on. Look for his work in his solo albums, and his albums with Mudcrutch [CD ROCK MUD], the Heartbreakers [CD ROCK] , and the Traveling Wilburys [CD ROCK TRA].

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

October is Squirrel Awareness and Appreciation Month

One of the most exasperating creatures on earth is the squirrel (if you have a birdfeeder). I also think, it is one of the cutest and most fascinating.

I'm not sure how anyone who lives in New England could be unaware of squirrels, but if you've not come across the creatures, there is a month especially devoted to them, “Squirrel Awareness and Appreciation Month,” which is held annually in October. The month is sponsored by The Squirrel Lover's Club.

We have a good number of nonfiction books on squirrels (and outwitting them), but did you know squirrels also are a favorite character in children's fiction and picture books? Here are a few:

DiCamillo, Kate. Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. [J DIC, J AB/CD DIC, eBook]

Hall, Pamela. Miss You Like Crazy. [JP HAL]

Hill, Chris. Lucky. [J HIL]

Kasza, Keiko. Finders Keepers. [JP KAS]

Meisel, Paul. Good Night, Bat! Good Morning, Squirrel! [JP MEI]

Ohi, Debbie Ridpath. Where Are My Books? [JP OHI]

Ray, J. Hamilton. Squirrels on Skis. [E RAY]

Rose, Nancy. The Secret Life of Squirrels. [JP ROS]

Vande Velde, Vivian. Squirrel in the House. [J VAN]

Watt, Mélanie. Scaredy Squirrel. [JP WAT]

Monday, October 02, 2017

Sorry--The Library is Closed Today!

The Library is closed today to complete the carpeting project begun on September 22. 12,000 square feet is a lot of area to redo. With luck, everything will be finished today, and, furniture and equipment will be returned to their spaces, with some new display areas installed by the end of the week. We thank you for your patience and cooperation!

Here are some photos of the project:

Photos courtesy Maria Schroeter.