"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

First time back inside a library since early March 2020

Yesterday my grandsons and I went to the library to pick up a few books I had on hold. To my surprise and delight, the library was open. Operations were not back up to usual. There were few people inside and no computers for personal use in operation. Ian, age three, was disappointed that all the toys and games were put away. But that caused us to search around for books and we came away with a big batch. Twenty-five books in all:

Five board books, plus one: 
1. Flora and the Ostrich: An Opposite Book by Molly Idle seems like one that would delight little readers. It is about opposites and has pages to lift to reveal secrets underneath. 2. Our Rainbow with contributions from nine artists is all about inclusion and what each color could represent in life. "Black and brown are for diversity and inclusivity." I don't know how young kids would react. The book is pretty busy. 3. All Fall Down by Helen Oxenbury includes some of the words from the nursery rhyme with her darling illustrations. But it is awfully short. I think this one needs to be acted out. 4. Wind by Carol Thompson includes a cute little poem about the noises of wind with darling illustrations. I liked it. Would a toddler? 5. Playdate by Maryann Macdonald is a cute, simplistic word book, often highlighting opposites and things in sets. Good place to start. 6. Jane Foster's Brown Bear Color Book by Jane Foster. I didn't recognize this as a board book until after I created the collage of the other five books. This is darling book of colors which is interactive. I think my grandson will like it. It has a hole for small fingers and a task which asks "Where is brown bear?"

Six Beatrix Potter books: When Ian and his aunt were talking earlier this summer it came to light that he didn't know the Peter Rabbit story. This almost caused a family crisis. How could that be? His aunt is a collector of all things Beatrix Potter and has the books memorized. We picked out six of the small books (The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Story of Miss Moppet, The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The Tale of Tom Kitten, and Apply Dapply Nursery Rhymes) and one larger book I'd never seen before written by this author but illustrated by Quentin Blake , The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots. There was a audio CD in the book so I just had to pop it into the player in the car and have a listen. It was narrated by Helen Mirren. Apparently Beatrix Potter wrote the story in 1914 but never illustrated it. In 2015 the manuscript came to light and Blake was asked to illustrate it. The story is about a very naughty kitty who goes out as a poacher and meets up with a well-known hedgehog, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and a rabbit with a blue coat. What a delight, though I confess to missing the "proper" illustrations Ms. Potter would have done.

Two Dr. Seuss books: If I Ran the Zoo and What Pet Should I Get? The library had an oddly small collection of Dr. Seuss books making me wonder if they had them in another section of the library with other 'I Can Read' books. But we didn't go looking for others. Ian loves the easy to read books by Seuss but was underwhelmed by these two. In fact, he snapped If I Ran the Zoo shut mid-book announcing he was done. It was fine with me. Is If I Ran the Zoo one of the books that the publisher has decided to retire? If not, it should be. The racist pictures of Asians/Africans really shocked me. It has been a long time since I've read one of Dr. Seuss's longer books and it reminded me of how much I used to love looking at his fantastical illustrations. I hope Ian and Jamie, my grandsons, enjoy that some day themselves.

Do you agree with me that these illustrations are not acceptable any longer?

One illustrated poetry book: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina and 13 artists. I found the title of this book on a list of books on diversity and inclusion. It starts with a long poem about all aspects of being a Black boy. *Hint, it could be the same list if it were titled and introduction to humans. After this introduction, the thirteen illustrated poems are short and varied, just like all kids. Very well done.

Two tiny beginning reader books published by Scholastic. I didn't inspect these at the library, was just interested in them due to size. I will return them on my next trip. They are too advanced and too unattractive for Ian. (Titles: The Visit by Bobby Maslen and What is That? by Lynn Kertell)

Two information books, plus one:
Emily Writes: Emily Dickinson and Her Poetic Beginnings by Jane Yolen and Build, Beaver, Build! Life at the Longest Beaver Dam by Sandra Markle. Ian picked out the Emily Dickinson book. I picked out the beaver book. Not sure either of them will work with a three-year-old. The 'plus one' is a book I requested and the reason we went to the library in the first place, to pick it up: It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear. It is an children's illustrated biography of the famous artist Gyo Fujikawa who broke many barriers in publishing insisting the children of other races could be drawn and printed on the same page, and in the same book. Many would be familiar with her book Babies (published in 1963) which was one of the earliest children's books to use multiracial characters. The same list that suggested Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy suggested this title about inclusivity in art and in culture. If I were a children's librarian, I'd make sure to purchase this book for my library and I'd highlight for young readers.

Four children's illustrated books:
The Book Hog by Greg Pizzoli; Dragons Love Tacos 2 by Adam Rubin; What Do Wheels Do All Day? by April Jones Prince; and Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White.  After quick look-throughs I think Ian will enjoy all of these. I will set them aside for his next visit. We didn't have enough time to read all twenty-five of the books yesterday.

And last of all...

One Spanish book: Las Plantas by Sagrario Pinto. Ian insisted that we check this book out. I told him I don't speak Spanish but I supposed that was gibberish to him. We brought it home and looked at the pictures and made up the words. It was fun and we laughed. We will do it again.

Now I am sorting the books into piles: those we need to read for the first time, those we'd like to reread, and those that can be returned to the library first.



  1. I remember many Saturdays taking my girls to the library to load up on books. Miss those days!

  2. I remember my first time in a bookstore in 1.5 years. I walked out 9 books heavier. It was just such a happy feeling!

  3. I think our public library is open for people to just check out books. No computers, no sitting, etc. Seeing the covers and descriptions of these children's books just makes me smile; they are such wonderful gateways to reading and I am sure you and Ian will have hours of fun with them.

  4. Happiness is an open library! :)

  5. Las Plantas looks about my level of Spanish! What a lovely range of books and useful comments about them. And hooray for open libraries!

    1. I don't know. The book had complicated plants (at least from the photos, like Venus Fly traps and Corpse Flowers. Ha!

  6. Such a lovely bunch of books, I hope they enjoyed them!


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