Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Well Read Review: Surf's Up

Surf's Up
Kwame Alexander (Author), Daniel Miyares (Illustrator) 
NorthSouth Books
BookPeople
IndieBound
Amazon


First impression: Surf's Up is a super-fast, super-fun read. This is GREAT because kids are going to be hooked from the first Bro-Dude-Whoa-Daddy-o!-Booyah!-Cowabunga! filled reading and ask for it again. And again. And again.

It doesn't get much cooler than the beach and surfing for kids (even flower garden obsessed kiddos like mine, who would actually probably choose a garden filled beach as one of her seven rings of heaven if Dante had been more of an optimist). While there isn't much to the story (it is only 138 words), readers will hear what may be their first Moby Dick references, see tension, drama and excitement unfold as Bro (and Dude) tackle reading something that is every bit as interesting as a day surfing, and see wonderfully illustrated examples of readers being so immersed in a story that they pretend to be the characters themselves. So, maybe there is a lot to this story after all...

Twenty-seventh, forty-seventh and fifty-third impressions: Seriously, y'all. We've had the book for like two weeks. It must be pretty good.

Have you read Surf's Up? What did you think?

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 3)

Each week I'll post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and a classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote, and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries. I'll review the Brand-Spankin'-New-Book on Tuesday!

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts! Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

(Monthly Giveaway: $25 BookPeople Gift Card)

Quote #1 (Brand-Spankin'-New-Book): SURF'S UP by Kwame Alexander
"Batten down the hatches!"..."Do what to the what?"

Quote #2 (Classic Book): CAPS FOR SALE by Esphyr Slobodkina
"At last he became so angry that he pulled off his own cap, threw it on the ground, and began to walk away."

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Well Read Review: Bloom and The Night Gardener


 Bloom
Doreen Cronin and David Small
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

The Night Gardener
Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


When you have an exuberant threenager who is obsessed with flowers, you read a LOT of books about flowers, gardens and nature. I am very excited about two of the newest books in our book collection, Bloom and The Night Gardener.

Bloom starts out as a fairytale-esque story about a fairy, Bloom, whose “magic” always managed to hold the kingdom together, but in messy, noisy ways. When Bloom leaves to find her own happiness, the kingdom falls into such disarray that the kingdom’s leaders are eventually prompted to search for Bloom.  Bloom offers her magic to both the king and the queen when they find her – presented as a bucket of mud – but is rebuffed each time. 

This is when the story shifts to the story of Genevieve, a slight, sweet girl who believes she is too ordinary to make a difference. Genevieve also finds Bloom, but when Bloom presents her with the same bucket of mud, she gives the fairy a chance to explain. While learning Bloom’s “magic,” Genevieve begins to bloom herself, coming to the realization that there is, in fact, “no such thing as an ordinary girl.”

Though I recommend the book, the story isn’t a perfect one. It switches from Bloom’s story to Genevieve’s with no real resolution for Bloom. It also gives the Queen too much power in sending Genevieve on her initial quest – even though the Queen believes Genevieve to be completely ordinary (a negative quality to the Queen), she admits that Genevieve is their “last hope.”

Doreen Cronin and David Small have delivered a story that provides just the right balance of royalty, fairies and nature to keep both princess-obsessed and “tomboy” audiences entertained. While I would love to say that even boys would be entertained by the story of a fairy using the magic of nature and science to hold together a kingdom, there is a very female-centric message to the book. I would have loved to see the book explore the message that there is no such thing as an ordinary person as opposed to an ordinary girl.

Despite that, Bloom is a beautiful reminder that even when we feel completely, or even less than, ordinary, we CAN do amazing, “magical” things.

And speaking of amazing, “magical” things, the Fan Brothers’ The Night Gardener is another reminder that even small acts of art and creation can bring community together in magical ways.

The story centers on William, an orphan living on Grimloch Lane, and his relationship with the creator of magnificent masterpieces popping up all over town. The Night Gardener and William bring magic to the town in ways that leave no evidence that anything had ever happened once the seasons changed – “but the people of the small town were never the same.”

The brevity of the text (less than 400 words) allows the art to shine – and brings even more power to each beautifully chosen word. The Fan Brothers have delivered a story that feels like it has been around for many years – in the best way possible. Community, wonder, art and magic – all rolled up in one captivating package.

I hope you enjoy both of these books as much as we have, but I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 2)

Each week I'll post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and a classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote, and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries.

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts! Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

(Monthly Giveaway: $25 BookPeople Gift Card)

Quote #1 (Brand-Spankin'-New-Book): BLOOM by Doreen Cronin and David Small
""Show me magic that will save my kingdom," ordered the king.
Bloom placed a bucket of mud at the king's feet."

 Quote #2 (Classic Book): WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak
"...and Max said "I'LL EAT YOU UP!"
so he was sent to bed without eating anything."

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 1)

Each week I'll post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and a classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote, and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries.

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts! Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

...And because I'm too excited to pick just two this week, today's post has an extra! 
(Monthly Giveaway: $25 BookPeople Gift Card)

Quote #1 (Brand-Spankin'-New-Book): THE NIGHT GARDENER by the Fan Brothers
"That night he went to sleep with a sense of excitement. The following morning, William was not disappointed."

Quote #2 (Middle-of-the-Road-Newish-Book): THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY by Oliver Jeffers
"Then after a while, and almost by accident, Henry picked up a half-eaten book from the floor. But instead of putting it in his mouth...Henry opened it up...and began to read. And it was SO good."

 Quote #3 (Classic Book): MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS by Robert McCloskey
""Yes," said Mrs. Mallard, remembering the peanuts. "That looks like just the right place to hatch ducklings.""

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes   

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Story Time Roundup (over 100 per WEEK!) *UPDATED AUGUST 2016!*

Did you know that Austin-area libraries, bookstores and children's entertainment/educational companies host over 100 story times PER WEEK? That's over 5000 STORY TIMES PER YEAR!

While this list is up-to-date (as of the posting date) based on what is available online, please make sure to check in with the location before attending! Dates, times and locations can change! Please also note that while most of the libraries also have FANTASTIC programs for elementary aged kids, tweens and teens, this list focuses primarily on programs for the 5 and younger set (with some mixed age programs that go slightly older).

Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments, and I'll add it to the list!



MONDAY
9:30
LEANDER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Terrific 2s and 3s
10:00
PFLUGERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Baby Time (3 to 12 months)
10:30
LEANDER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Stories for Bigs
10:30
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Baby Bookworms (0-18 months)
10:30
WESTBANK COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Infant Storytime
11:00
PFLUGERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Baby Time (12 to 18 months)
11:00
BRILLIANT SKY TOYS AND BOOKS
Story Time with Dr. Candra
11:15
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Baby Bookworms (12-24 months)
12:30
LAURA’S LIBRARY
All Ages Storytime
2:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(TWIN OAKS BRANCH)
Books and Babies
6:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(CARVER BRANCH)
Pajama Storytime
6:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime (Pajama Friendly Session)


TUESDAY
9:15
LEANDER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Baby & Me with Cindy
9:30
GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
Lapsit Storytime (0-12 months)
9:45
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Lapsit Storytime (0-15 months)
10:00
PFLUGERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Bilingual Storytime (English/Spanish)
10:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(NORTH VILLAGE BRANCH)
Books and Babies
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(CARVER BRANCH)
All Ages Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(PLEASANT HILL BRANCH)
All Ages Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(HAMPTON BRANCH AT OAK HILL)
Toddler Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(SPICEWOOD SPRINGS BRANCH)
Toddler Storytime
10:30
WESTBANK COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime
10:30
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler Storytime (15-36 months)
10:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Bilingual Preschool Storytime
10:30
BOOK PEOPLE
Storytime
10:30
ALL THINGS KID (DOMAIN)
Unicorn Princess Storytime
11:00
PFLUGERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Bilingual Storytime (English/Spanish)
11:00
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime (3-5 years)
11:00
BARNES & NOBLE (ROUND ROCK)
Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(HAMPTON BRANCH AT OAK HILL)
Preschool Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(SPICEWOOD SPRINGS BRANCH)
Preschool Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(NORTH VILLAGE BRANCH)
Spanish Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(CEPEDA BRANCH)
Spanish Dual Language Storytime
11:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(CARVER BRANCH)
Sensory Storytime
2:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(HOWSON BRANCH)
Books and Babies
6:00
WESTBANK COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Pajama Storytime (All Ages) 
**4th Tuesday of month 
ONLY
6:30
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
All Ages Storytime and Craft


WEDNESDAY
9:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Babytime (for ages 12-18 months)
9:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler time
9:30
GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler Storytime
9:45
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Lapsit Storytime (0-15 months)
10:00
LEANDER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Move N Groove Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(HOWSON BRANCH)
All Ages Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(MILWOOD BRANCH)
Toddler Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(NORTH VILLAGE BRANCH)
Toddler Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(OLD QUARRY BRANCH)
Toddler Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(TWIN OAKS BRANCH)
Toddler Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(SOUTHEAST BRANCH)
Spanish Dual Language Storytime
10:30
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Wiggle Worms (ages 1-4)
10:30
WESTBANK COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Tot Time Storytime
10:30
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler Storytime (15-36 months)
10:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler time
10:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime
10:30
GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
3+ Storytime
10:30
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(TERRAZAS BRANCH)
Spanish Dual Language Storytime
11:00
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime (3-5 years)
11:00
BARNES & NOBLE (SUNSET VALLEY)
Storytime
11:00
BARNES & NOBLE (ARBORETUM)
Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(UNIVERSITY HILLS BRANCH)
All Ages Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(MILWOOD BRANCH)
Preschool Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(NORTH VILLAGE BRANCH)
Preschool Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(OLD QUARRY BRANCH)
Preschool Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(TWIN OAKS BRANCH)
Preschool Storytime
2:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(WILLIE MAE KIRK BRANCH)
Books and Babies
2:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY (YARBOROUGH BRANCH)
Books and Babies
3:30
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(HAMPTON BRANCH AT OAK HILL)
French Dual Language Storytime

THURSDAY
9:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Babytime (for ages 0 -12 months)
9:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime
9:30
GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler Storytime
9:30
GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
3+ Storytime
9:45
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Lapsit Storytime (0-15 months)
10:00
PFLUGERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(WINDSOR PARK BRANCH)
All Ages Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(HAMPTON BRANCH AT OAK HILL)
Toddler Storytime
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY (YARBOROUGH BRANCH)
Toddler Storytime
10:30
WESTBANK COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Hola, Hola! Spanish Camp (All Ages)
10:30
LAURA’S LIBRARY
Tot Time Storytime
10:30
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler Storytime (15-36 months)
10:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler time
10:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime
10:30
BOOK PEOPLE
Storytime
10:30
ALL THINGS KID (DOMAIN)
Unicorn Princess Storytime
11:00
LEANDER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Terrific 2s and 3s
11:00
PFLUGERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Storytime
11:00
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Sign Language Storytime 
(all ages; **1st and 3rd weeks ONLY!)
11:00
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime (3-5 years)
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(MANCHACA ROAD BRANCH)
All Ages Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(HAMPTON BRANCH AT OAK HILL)
Toddler Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY (YARBOROUGH BRANCH)
Preschool Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(LITTLE WALNUT CREEK BRANCH)
Spanish Dual Language Storytime
11:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(RUIZ BRANCH)
Sensory Storytime
11:00
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Spanish Storytime (all ages; 
**2nd and 4th weeks ONLY!)
2:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(MILWOOD BRANCH)
Books and Babies
6:30
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(MANCHACA ROAD BRANCH)
Pajama Storytime

FRIDAY
9:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Babytime (for ages 12-18 months)
9:30
BABY EARTH
Interactive Storytime (0 to 18 months)
10:00
LEANDER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Baby & Me with Cindy
10:15
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(PLEASANT HILL BRANCH)
Spanish Dual Language Storytime
10:30
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Toddler Storytime (18-36 months)
10:30
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Toddler time
10:30
BABY EARTH
Interactive Storytime (18 months+)
10:30
GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
All Ages Storytime
10:30
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(FAULK CENTRAL BRANCH)
Preschool Storytime
10:45
ART GARAGE
Storytime Art
11:15
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Preschool Storytime (3-5 years)
12:30
LAURA’S LIBRARY
All Ages Storytime
2:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
(SOUTHEAST BRANCH)
Spanish Dual Language Storytime
7:00
BARNES & NOBLE (ROUND ROCK)
Storytime

SATURDAY
10:00
CEDAR PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Family Storytime
10:45
ART GARAGE
Storytime Art
11:00
WELLS BRANCH COMMUNITY LIBRARY
All Ages Storytime and Craft
11:00
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Family Storytime
11:00
BARNES & NOBLE (SUNSET VALLEY)
Storytime
11:00
BARNES & NOBLE (LAKELINE)
Storytime
11:00
BARNES & NOBLE (ROUND ROCK)
Storytime
11:00
BARNES & NOBLE (ARBORETUM)
Storytime
11:00
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY (RUIZ BRANCH)
Spanish Dual Language Storytime
11:30
BOOK PEOPLE
Storytime
12:30
WESTBANK COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Family Storytime

SUNDAY
TBD
ROUND ROCK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Sensory Storytime 
(**LAST SUNDAY OF 
MONTH ONLY!)


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