What It’s About: Did you ever wonder why the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is such an unpleasant person? Well, Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles, imagines her as a young woman named Catherine with a dream of opening a bakery and becoming famous for her original, mouthwatering treats. Her parents, however, dream of her marrying the King of Hearts and becoming queen. Complicating things even more is the Court Jester who steals Catherine’s heart.
What I Liked About It: Meyer does a wonderful job of weaving into her tale well-known characters from Lewis Carroll’s stories such as the Jabberwock, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the maid, Mary Ann. Even though you know it doesn’t end well, you can’t help rooting for our protagonist. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the movie “Maleficent” or the book “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire which inspired the Broadway musical.
Similar Titles: “Dorothy Must Die” by Danielle Paige, “Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas and “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard.
Way back in 2008, my teenage niece introduced me to memory boards. I was in need of suggestions for things teens might be interested in making. She had recently made a circular ribbon board out of cardboard, quilt batting, fabric, ribbons, buttons and glue. I got the supplies and she demonstrated. I loved it. I made them with teens at the library, and they seemed to enjoy them as well! Continue reading “Create a Memory Board”
The Oxford Dictionary defines “craft” as “an activity involving skill in making things by hand.” In this day and age when everything is machine made, why should we make anything by hand?
Carrie Barron, MD and Alton Barron, MD, authors of “The Creativity Cure: A Do-It-Yourself Prescription for Happiness” have found that working with our hands and engaging in creative activities can improve our mood, give us a brain boost and help us focus on the present, instead of dwelling on problems in the past. “Making is crucial for happiness, health and mind expansion,” they explain. Continue reading “March Is National Craft Month”
I love to sew; I do it for fun and for relaxation. And I like to make things for my two grandchildren, so I was excited to discover “Sew and Play” by Farah Wolfe. It contains instructions for sewing 11 games for children.
First I made fabric pancakes decorated with brown felt syrup and yellow felt butter for the “Pancake Game.” I added a store-bought play skillet, plates and a pancake turner.
Continue reading “Books We Love: Sew and Play”
Rex knocks down all the wonderful creations each of his friends builds out of blocks in “Rex Wrecks It!” by Ben Clanton. It makes everyone sad, including Rex. So his friends decide to work together, including Rex, and build something “awesomerific.” Hooray! Now everyone can knock it down together!
I read this story to my young grandsons. One told me we shouldn’t call people names. (Sprinkles calls Rex a blockhead.) We agreed that it was not a nice thing to do. Later when we were playing outside in the sand making castles, my other grandson grinned at me and quoted the last line of the story, “[Let’s] wreck it all together!” So we did. I love it when kids make connections between a story and their own lives. Continue reading “2016 Missouri Building Block Nominee: Rex Wrecks It!”
I like reading about real people — what happens to them and how they feel about their experiences. But I don’t want to read harrowing tales of survival. I want something lighter. I’ve read a number of these types of books recently that I recommend.
Some people write about making changes in their lives:
- In “Hammer Head: the Making of a Carpenter,” journalist Nina MacLaughlen decides she needs a change and answers an advertisement for a carpenter’s apprentice. She discovers she enjoys working with tools like a hammer, a saw and a level.
- “Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” by Maya Van Wagenen was written for teens, but I think adults could learn from it. A middle school girl makes changes to the way she approaches people and how she presents herself to the world.
- “My Kitchen Year” by Ruth Reichl describes how the writer coped during the year following the loss of her job due to the closing of Gourmet magazine. Reichl includes recipes of the foods she cooked during this time.
Continue reading “Memoirs Without the Noir: A Reading List”
The Columbia Public Library will be hosting a 2016 Quilt Exhibit featuring art quilts April 2-16. So I wondered, “How is an art quilt different from the quilts I’ve been making for the last five years?” I checked out a number of books to find out.
The quilts I’ve made are for babies to lie on or to keep someone warm. An art quilt is not made to serve these purposes. It is made primarily as a creative expression of an artist and meant to be displayed. These works are called quilts because they are layered, usually made of fabric, and they are held together by stitches, knots or other means. Artists sometimes transform the cloth through dyeing, printing or painting. The library owns a number of books with wonderful photos of art quilts. Continue reading “Art Quilts”
In “This Book Just Ate My Dog” by Richard Byrne, a girl named Bella takes a walk with her dog. During their walk, her dog disappears into the gutter of the book (the center seam where the pages come together). Friends and various vehicles come to the rescue only to be eaten by the book. Bella goes in after them but then sends out a note to the reader asking for some help. Continue reading “2015 Missouri Building Block: This Book Just Ate My Dog”
Have you ever taken a song and added your own words? Jane Cabrera does this with “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” As her characters row down the stream, they spot a variety of animals, each making a noise. Have your child make the noise, too. Animal noises are a fun way to practice sounds. This is an early literacy skill—something that lays a foundation for reading readiness.
Children love to move. You and your child could sit on the floor, bottoms of your feet touching the bottoms of his feet. Hold hands and gently pull back and forth as you “row” and sing the song.
Your child could act out the story by pretending that a box or a laundry basket is a boat. Does she have some stuffed animals she could set beside the “boat” and tell her own story? This activity helps with narrative skills and reading comprehension.
Continue reading “2015 Missouri Building Blocks: Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera”
The Missouri Building Block Award is presented annually to the author and illustrator of the picture book voted the best by preschool and kindergarten children. Over the next 10 weeks we will be featuring ways to enjoy this year’s nominees. Once you read at least five Building Block nominees, then vote for your favorite! The first book we will feature is “Naked” by Michael Ian Black.
The main character in “Naked,” a little boy bursting with enthusiasm, loves the time between bath time and bedtime. Our hero comes out of the bath full of energy, imagining what it would be like to go naked all the time (the illustrator is very discreet with her pictures). He then adds a cape, which is even better! He takes several breaks to eat his bedtime snack of cookies and then realizes he is cold. On go the dragon pajamas and he is finally “exhausted” and ready for bed.
Reading “Naked” could lead to all kinds of great discussions and activities.
Continue reading “2015 Missouri Building Blocks: Naked”