Library Trips and Picks #3

We enjoyed visiting this library which was 20 miles out in the country.
Library #1 took some driving to get to, but was worth the wait.

We visited two rural libraries in late summer. Endless green fields flanked the highway leading to this library. More fields lay behind the building and a well-kept cemetery stretched out across the street.  A handmade quilt was displayed inside.

Ladies in the community made this quilt to celebrate the library's opening in 1985.
Ladies in the community made this quilt to celebrate the library’s opening in 1985.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some books we found there.

holly hobbie horse

Holly Hobbie lunchboxes were all the rage in the 1970s.
Holly Hobbie lunchboxes were all the rage in the 1970s.

Everything but the Horse: A Childhood Memory by Holly Hobbie:  The sight of this author/illustrator made me do a double take.  I’m a child of the 1970s, a time when “Holly Hobbie” girls with their calico dresses and huge bonnets were on everything from greeting cards to t-shirts to lunch boxes.  Turns out, the artist who created these iconic images is named Holly Hobbie, and she is still churning out beautiful art.  This book includes watercolor pictures and simple text about her rural childhood.

science verseScience Verse by Jon Scieszka with illustrations by Lane Smith:  I picked up this book of science poems thinking it might be that rare book that both entertains and teaches. I didn’t learn much, but three cheers for Lane Smith’s original artwork.  The book comes with a CD.

Auntie-Yangs-Great-Soybean-PicnicAuntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Finnie Lo with illustrations by her sister Beth Lo:   Look closely at the illustrations in this picture book and you’ll see they are plates!  Ceramic artist Beth Lo created them especially for this story about the picnics her family hosted every year.  Her sister Finnie Lo provides the text for this fun story about growing up Chinese American in the Midwest.

Library #2 was another rural library that had some good finds.
Library #2 was another rural library that had some good finds.

The second library we visited has a beautiful riverfront park outside its doors as well as a popular boat launch.  In addition to great books and other media, the library has bound copies of the local newspaper dating back to the 1970s.

When you're done at this library, just walk across the street to enjoy the river.
When you’re done at this library, you can walk outside and enjoy the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rockford filesThe Garner Files: A Memoir by Jon Winokur and James Garner: This was one handsome man, I have to say.  I’m not the only female in my family of this opinion.  My teenage daughter developed a crush on this actor after watching old episodes of Rockford Files, Garner’s popular 1970s T.V. show.  She enjoyed this memoir and shared aloud some of the funnier anecdotes about this great leading man.living planet

The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth (DVD):  This BBC nature series was written and presented by David Attenborough.  There’s nothing stuffy about this famed British naturalist who has since been knighted.  The narration is simple and fascinating to even young viewers, and the animal footage still vibrant though the series is over 30 years old.Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (audio book): Audio books are good for long trips, though this one didn’t hit the mark. The narrator used different voices for each character which was more distracting than it was entertaining.

BONUS BIT:  These bound community newspapers were available for anyone to peruse.  I found a 1977 article about a couple who discovered a hornet nest outside their bedroom window.  Rather than remove it, they decided to enjoy a cutaway view of the insects at work.

 

 

 

 

 

The World at Your Fingertips

Australia to Zimbabwe: A Rhyming Romp Around the World to 24 Countries by Ruth Fitts, 2015
Australia to Zimbabwe: A Rhyming Romp Around the World to 24 Countries by Ruth Fitts, 2015

I visited 24 countries recently, all from the comfort of home thanks to Australia to Zimbabwe, A Rhyming Romp Around the World to 24 Countries by Ruth Fitts. This book became a nightly habit, one in which I fixed a cup of hot tea, settled into my comfy recliner and happily “traveled” to other lands.

Post Format:  Top Five Things I Love About This Book

  1. The simple maps:  The author chose 24 countries to highlight in this fun geography romp, one for each letter of the alphabet except W and X.  Each country is introduced with its own black and white map, seemingly hand drawn. Farther in to the chapter, the featured country stands out in color amidst a world map in gray. Sure, the author could have used atlas-like images.  But these simple ones help kids and even adults like me get their bearings much better.

2. The poetry:  A “rhyming romp” leads off each country.  In these clever, often funny poems, Fitts highlights the culture and history of each land.  In the chapter on ETHIOPIA, a country once occupied by Italy, the verse sings:

All that Italy left behind

was pasta and espresso.

Espresso still is much beloved,

the pasta somewhat less so.

BONUS BIT: We made our own samba shakers to celebrate the 2016 Olympics games in Rio using this activity-packed geography book. Head over to Facebook to see how we made them!
Bonus Bit: We made our own samba shakers to celebrate the 2016 Olympics games in Rio using this fun book! Click here to see how we made them.

 

3. The captions:  Let’s be honest.  Aren’t the captions all your really read in a National Geographic magazine? That’s the beauty of this book.  It’s all photos and captions, so I didn’t miss a thing.

4. The activities:  From cooking to singing to crafts, Australia to Zimbabwe has ideas galore.  Best of all–the activities are cheap and doable.  In addition to hands-on fun, the author gives ideas for further reading and on-line adventures.olympics

5. The passion behind the book:  Writing this book was no small feat.  The sheer number of photos and breadth of information given for each country is truly impressive.  Fitts worked with embassies, scholars and people from around the world to create Australia to Zimbabwe.   As a world traveler who has visited 35 countries and lived abroad, Fitts wants to “inspire kids to feel both fascinated by the world and at home in it.”  This marvelous book accomplishes just that.