Quick Picks from CMCL

December 19, 2014

Checking In: Rainy Day Movies (Part One)

Occasionally, a little rain must fall into everyone’s lives (metaphorically, I mean. Living in Oregon means seeing quite a bit of rain falling into everyone’s lives). We here at Checking In HQ have come up with a list of rainy day defenses in the form of movies we come back to again and again, as comfortable as a pair of well-worn shoes.

friedgreen1Based on her novel, Fannie Flagg’s sweet ensemble piece Fried Green Tomatoes mixes comedy and drama in this tale of twin friendships (one in the Depression, one in the ’80s). This Alabama-set Southern confection is dripping with juicy dialogue from a great cast, with Kathy Bates and Mary Stuart Masterson as particular standouts.  See Steel Magnolias for another great ensemble-heavy comedy/drama.

bringingupbabyRomantic comedies are always better with a leopard. This truism is borne out in Howard Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby, which combines an adorable leopard with an adorable Cary Grant and an equally adorable Katharine Hepburn to create an adorability singularity that never fails to cheer. Also see The Awful Truth and His Girl Friday for more screwball Grant-nanigans!

nottinghillSometimes you need a Julia Roberts love story doubleheader to perk up your day. Richard Gere is her Henry Higginsesque love interest in Pretty Woman while Hugh Grant charmingly mumbles his way into Roberts’ heart in Richard Curtis’ Notting Hill, a snappy British film that pairs two of the biggest stars of the 90s in love conquers all territory. If you’re not done, try My Best Friend’s Wedding and Four Weddings and a Funeral for more coincidentally-titled comedies from Roberts and Grant.

irongiantThe Iron Giant is the animated tale of the friendship between a boy and the eponymous robot who plummets into his life. An animated film that never panders to its audience, Iron Giant’s delicate mix of drama, action, humor and quiet character moments play against a backdrop of Cold War paranoia. Director Brad Bird would follow this critical and cult success with Pixar’s The Incredibles, which exhibits more of the same kind of accomplished genre blending.

loveactuallyWhy stop at just one Richard Curtis film when you can have two? Set during the holidays in London, Love, Actually deftly juggles at least ten separate but interconnected love stories with an insanely talented cast. Laura Linney (awesome as always), Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister and Bill Nighy in the role he was born to play are just a few of the delights in this romantic comedy.

ghostworldDVDThora Birch plays a young woman named Enid who drifts through life in Ghost World, the heartbreaking adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ celebrated graphic novel. Scarlett Johansson costars as her best friend Rebecca, whose life is diverging from Enid’s in ways neither can understand nor predict. Directed by Terry Zwigoff of Crumb and Bad Santa fame.

- Patrick

December 18, 2014

Kid’s Corner: Two Great Joke Books for Beginners

Filed under: Kid's Corner — Tags: , , , — jennytf @ 8:15 am

There’s a lot of joy in a simple joke. Lately my kids have a favorite book they both want to hear over and over. Its cute characters and silly punch lines make them laugh so much I don’t mind the repetition. Today at breakfast when my toddler asked to hear it again I suspected it would be the brightest moment in my long day ahead. I was right. -Rebecca


“Knock, knock. Who’s There? Luke. Luke Who? Luuuke out below!”

“Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Anita. Anita Who? Anita bath!”

Knock Knock Who’s There: My First Book of Knock Knock Jokes by Tad Hills (author of the Rocket and Duck and Goose books) has a lift-the-flap thick-paged format much like a board book. Adorable, colorful animals help illustrate simple word-play jokes based on names. It’s a perfect introduction to “knock-knock” jokes with familiar subject matter to little ones—birthday surprises, getting dirty, saying “I love you” and more. Great for ages 3 and up!

chirp Another funny book geared toward preschool and up is Joking Around with  Chirp: more than 130 feather-ruffling jokes, riddles, and tongue twisters! by the editors of Chirp Magazine, and published by Owlkids Books Inc. (2013).

Here’s a sample:

Q: “What’s a frog’s favorite food?” A: “French flies”

Q: “Why didn’t the lobster share its toys?” A: “Because it was shellfish”

Q: “What does a turtle do on its birthday?” A: “It shellebrates”

December 17, 2014

Inside Scoop: Best Audio Books of 2014 – Fiction

Filed under: Info — klsseong @ 1:08 pm

 Here is the list of Best Audio Books in fiction in 2014 created by the American Library Association.  You couldn’t ask for a more credible source for such a list, right? There are so many books to get through and never enough time.  I love that having a book going in the car gives me the chance to get through an extra book.  Stayed tuned for the non-fiction list!

Lucky us Bloom, Amy & Read by Alicyn Packard

The snow queen Cunningham, Michael & Read by Claire Daneslucky us

All the light we cannot see Doerr, Anthony & Read by Zach Appelman

The silkworm Galbraith, Robert & Read by Robert Glenister

Station Eleven Mandel, Emily St. John & Read by Kirsten Potter

The long way home Penny, Louise & Read by Ralph Cosham

The directive Quirk, Matthew & Read by Jay Snyder

The invention of wings Kidd, Sue Monk & Read by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye

The secret place French, Tana & Read by Stephen Hogan and Lara Hutchinson

December 16, 2014

Blurbs From the Branch: Girl Meets Polar Bear

Filed under: Blurbs from the Branch, Books, Kids, Teens — Tags: , , , , — Becca B @ 8:00 am

sunmoonIf you haven’t ever heard of or read the Norwegian fairy tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” then you have been missing out! A cross between “Beauty and the Beast” and the Greek myth of “Cupid and Psyche,” this story contains all the best elements of fairy tales, including people who have been turned into animals, men placed under spells that only true love can fix, wicked trolls, a quest, and magical items. Here are a few different books that are based on this wonderful fairy tale, each with its own spin.


East of the Sun, West of the Moon, by Jackie Morris – This retelling stays faithful to the original, with a few twists at the end. Morris maintains the feel of a fairy tale with her language and detail, as well as with her beautiful illustrations.

East, by Edith Pattou – In her version of this fairy tale, Edith Pattou has made the story her own by fleshing out characters, and giving readers a strong back story. The book is told in many voices with chapters narrated by Rose, her brother Neddy, her father, the bear, and the Troll Queen. This book contains more realism than the original, but still has strong elements of magic.

West of the Moon, by Margi Preus – This book isn’t exactly a retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” but has strong elements of the fairy tale within it. The main character, Astri, imagines how events in her life would play out differently if she were part of that fairy tale, and not just an ordinary girl who has been sold to a hunchbacked goat farmer.

Happy reading!


December 15, 2014

Off the Shelf: All the Whovians in Whoville

doc who 12thIt’s a good time to be a Doctor Who fan. (Honestly, when ISN’T it a good time?) But this week is especially excellent. The 12th Doctor’s 1st full season (the reboot’s 8th season) recently came out on DVD. Peter Capaldi’s earlier one-shot intro episode Deep Breath is also in the catalog. As is his split second “eyebrow” debut during the multi-doctor special The Time of the Doctor, available on Blu-ray as well. Click the links to place holds.

But the luckiest Who fans this month are teens! For our intrepid librarians have journeyed through all space and time to bring you a Doctor Who Party.

Friday Dec 19th
6:00-8:00 pm
Free event for grades 6-12
Dress as your favorite Doctor or character, craft a Who villain, test your Whovian trivia knowledge, or participate in our Doctor Who scavenger hunt. Let the wibbly wobbly fun begin!

(Sorry grownup and kiddie fans, this is a strictly teen event.)

December 13, 2014

Cedar Mill Reads: Boredom Busters – Books That Engage Kids

Filed under: Cedar Mill Reads, Kids — Tags: , , — LGP @ 8:00 am

Newsletter for December 11, 2014
Try these interactive books that will grab kids’ attention. Keep them engaged searching for hidden pictures, counting objects, sharing jokes and odd facts, following the line, unraveling mysteries, as well as, pressing, tapping, clapping and shaking books. Enjoy!


Snowmen at Night Snowmen at Night
By Buehner, Caralyn
Illustrator Buehner, Mark
2002-09 – Dial Books
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Bookseller’s Choice (2003), Monarch Award (2006), North Carolina Children’s Book Award (2005), South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award (2006)
Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you’ve wondered . . . what do snowmen do at night? This delightful wintertime tale reveals all! Caralyn Buehner’s witty, imaginative verse offers many amusing details about the secret life of snowmen and where they go at night, while Mark Buehner’s roly-poly …More
I Spy Extreme Challenger I Spy Extreme Challenger
By Marzollo, Jean
Author Wick, Walter
Illustrator Wick, Walter
2005-05 – Scholastic Inc.
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Filled with images from previously published, bestselling I Spy books, this volume is even harder and more fun, as readers search photographs for hidden objects and try to answer extra-credit riddles. Full color. …More
Where's Waldo? the Great Picture Hunt Where’s Waldo? the Great Picture Hunt
By Handford, Martin
Illustrator Handford, Martin
2010-03 – Candlewick Press (MA)
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Waldo’s back in the picture in a brand-new adventure. Fans can look for the bespectacled traveler in never-before-seen illustrations, along with more than 40 removable stickers and a slew of other novel features. Full color. Consumable. …More
Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
By Scarry, Richard
1998-06 – Golden Books
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This book is about objects with wheels that can roll. …More
The Odd One Out: A Spotting Book The Odd One Out: A Spotting Book
By Teckentrup, Britta
Illustrator Teckentrup, Britta
2014-03 – Big Picture Press
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Parents Choice Awards (Spring) (2008-Up) (2014)
Britta Teckentrup is a fine artist who has written and illustrated many well-loved books for children.” “Born in Hamburg, Germany, she studied at St. Martin’s College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.
Which bird has caught the worm? Where is the queasy monkey? And can you spot the scaredy-cat? Never has a search-and-find game been so pleasing to the eye. Each spread features fun
365 Penguins 365 Penguins
By Fromental, Jean-Luc
Illustrator Jolivet, Joelle
2006-10 – Abrams Books for Young Readers
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Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards (2007)
On the first day of the new year, the mailman brings a surprise — a penguin! One by one, day by day, penguins fill the house. At first they are cute, but with every passing day, the penguins pile up — along with the family’s problems. Feeding, cleaning, and housing the penguins becomes a monumental task! But who is sending these penguins, and why?
In a large format, and with lots of
Just Joking 2: 300 Hilarious Jokes about Everything, Including Tongue Twisters, Riddles, and More! Just Joking 2: 300 Hilarious Jokes about Everything, Including Tongue Twisters, Riddles, and More!
By National Geographic Kids
2012-12 – National Geographic Society
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‘Just Joking 2′ is packed with the silly jokes that kids love – including knock-knocks, tongue twisters, riddles and traditional question and answer jokes – paired with photos of laughing animals and funny people for extra visual humour. …More
This or That? 2: More Wacky Choices to Reveal the Hidden You This or That? 2: More Wacky Choices to Reveal the Hidden You
By Mortimer, J. R.
2014-09 – National Geographic Society
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This hysterically funny quiz book is filled with choices where every answer brings readers one step closer to discovering their hidden selves. Psychologist, comedian, and youth motivational speaker Dr. Matt Bellace dissects kids’ answers and reveals things that readers didn’t even know were being assessed. Full color. …More
Actual Size Trade Book Actual Size Trade Book
By Jenkins, Steve
2014-10 – Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company
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Just how big is a crocodile? What about a tiger, or the world’s largest spider? Can you imagine a tongue that is two feet long or an eye that is bigger than your head? Sometimes facts and figures don’t tell the whole story. In this visually stunning book, seeing is believing as Steve Jenkins illustrates animals both large and small at ACTUAL SIZE. …More
Almanac 2015 Almanac 2015
By National Geographic Kids
2014-05 – National Geographic Society
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This “New York Times” bestseller is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating articles. New features include a special section on cute animals; a “Fun and Games” chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; and much more. Full color. …More
Follow the Line Follow the Line
By Ljungklist, Laura
2006-05 – Viking Books
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Follow the line on a journey from the city to the country, from the sky to the ocean, from morning till night in this counting book that contains questions designed to get children looking, counting, and thinking. …More
Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten
By Murray, Alison
2013-12 – Nosy Crow
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Princess Penelope’s kitten got tangled up in her mother’s yarn and then scampered off! Join Princess Penelope as she follows the pink glittery trail through the castle to the courtyard maze and stables as she searches for her runaway kitten. Graphic artwork from a rising star in children’s books paired with a bouncy rhyme and fun visual search will make this a favorite for princesses of all ages. …More
The Secret Box The Secret Box
By Lehman, Barbara
2011-03 – Houghton Mifflin
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Times change.
Cities may grow large.
Friendships may grow apart.
And people “might” grow old,
But the one thing
that never changes
is the desire for
Barbara Lehman takes readers on a timeless trip
to a world of secret messages
left in secret boxes
hidden in secret places.
You never know what you’ll find when you look inside!
Animalia Animalia
By Base, Graeme
1987-09 – ABRAMS
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An alphabet book with fantastic and detailed pictures, bearing such labels as “Lazy lions lounging in the local library”. …More
Press Here Press Here
By Tullet, Herve
Author Tullet, Herv
2011-03 – Chronicle Books (CA)
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Beehive Awards (2013), California Young Reader Medal (2014), Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens (2012), Cybils (2011), E.B. White Read Aloud Award (2012), ForeWord Book of the Year Award (2011), Golden Archer Award (2014), IndieFab awards (2011), Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award (2012), NAPPA Gold Awards (2011)
Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size, in this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages. …More
Mix It Up! Mix It Up!
By Tullet, Herve
Author Tullet, Herv
2014-09 – Chronicle Books
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In this glorious companion to “Press Here, ” Tullet issues an invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision. Full color. …More
Tap the Magic Tree Tap the Magic Tree
By Matheson, Christie
Illustrator Matheson, Christie
2013-08 – Greenwillow Books
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Kentucky Bluegrass Award (2015), Texas 2×2 Reading List (2014)
An innovative, refreshing debut picture book about the changing seasons and the magicNand true interactivityNof turning a page. Matheson invites the reader to tap, rub, touch, and wiggle illustrations to make an apple tree bloom, produce fruit, and lose its leaves. Full color. …More
This Book Just Ate My Dog! This Book Just Ate My Dog!
By Byrne, Richard
Illustrator Byrne, Richard
2014-09 – Henry Holt & Company
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After her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right. Cleverly using the physicality of the book, this title is inventive, ingenious, and just pure kid-friendly fun. Full color. …More

December 12, 2014

Checking In: The Life We Bury

Filed under: Books, Checking In — Tags: , , , — Eric D @ 1:13 pm

Life We BuryReady for a thrilling tale to read when the next storm hits? Check out this twisty, turny novel by Allen Eskens and prepare to dive deep into one of the most riveting character histories in recent history.

Tasked with writing about a complete stranger for his college writing class, the last person Joe Talbert wants to interview  is a convicted child murderer. However, when the medically paroled Carl Iverson appears to be the only option Joe has, rather than failing the class and crawling back home to his alcoholic mother, Joe resigns himself to what he considers the lesser of two evils. It isn’t long before Joe begins to wonder what happened to turn Carl from well-liked war veteran to most hated criminal. If Joe thinks diving headfirst into Carl’s story will allow him to escape his own troubled past, or to overcome the guilt he feels about leaving his younger autistic brother at home with his mother, Joe is in for yet another surprise. Carl agrees to tell all that happened, but is Joe ready for what telling it all may unbury?


December 11, 2014

Kid’s Corner: Remembering Sandy Hook

snowflakes-fallFriday. December 14, 2012. Tragedy.

It was a day that started like any other at Sandy Hook Elementary. It ended in tragedy.

20 students and 6 teachers died at the hand of a 20 year old gunman.

The people of Sandy Hook, and our nation, mourned the loss.

Remembrance. Solace. Celebration of Life.

Illustrator Steven Kellogg lived in Sandy Hook for thirty-five years, raised his family in that community, knew and loved the people and the town. Kellogg shared his overwhelming sadness and loss of optimism with good friend and author Patricia MacLachlan.

Together, they turned to their creative outlets in the hopes of recovering a sense of well-being, a point of solace, for themselves and for this community. They collaborated on a picture book called Snowflakes Fall. In his illustrations, Kellogg depicts the beauty of changing seasons, the comforting presence of this town, and the joy of children. Through her words, MacLachlan shares a message of the cycle of life, renewal, remembrance, and appreciation for the uniqueness of each child.

Reading the words and pictures with children in our lives, young eyes see children enjoying nature, animals, snow, each other. We adults remember those lost, and hold close the ones that we have. -Jody

December 10, 2014

What I’m Reading Now: French Kids Eat Everything

JacketI just finished reading French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters, by Karen Le Billon. This book is an easy, interesting and fun read. It teaches about a different culture, and a different approach to food, cooking, and dining. I think if you followed her advice it would definitely help you raise children with better eating habits. It was very interesting to read about her family and the challenges they all faced switching from a diet of chicken nuggets and carrot sticks to the more refined palate of the average French child. After a year of 4-course school lunches, and the absence of snacking, their return to Vancouver, B.C. and North American eating habits came as a shock.

I wish I had read this book when my kids were little – but then again maybe not – because the change has to start with the parents. I am such a picky eater myself, I’m not sure if I would have been able to set a good example for my children. — Renata

This title is also available as a book-on-CD

December 9, 2014

Blurbs From the Branch: Game of Thrones, Jr.!

icedragonOn a recent long drive I read aloud the juvenile novel The Ice Dragon, written by George R. R. Martin.  Originally published in 1980, it has just been rereleased with new artwork from the Spanish fantasy artist Luis Royo.  The story is instantly captivating – a young girl, who is most at home in the winter’s chill, encounters the very rare Ice Dragon.  The two make an instant connection, but drama in the village soon brings about drastic changes.  It’s definitely not for the very young as, per Martin’s style, there’s some tragedy and violence, but it’s a delightful read that will entrance you with its imagery and storytelling.  So check it out. Why not let the kids get a taste of the kid version of the “Mother of Dragons!”


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