Archive for July, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #30

Those of you who read this blog regularly may have noticed that I have a slight obsession with filmed books.

Okay, major obsession. So, once again I bring you a Thursday Thirteen list of filmed books. This time around it’s thirteen Children’s books. Has your favorite Children’s book been filmed? If so, did they do it justice? If not, would you like to see it filmed?

13 Children’s Books That Have Been Filmed:

1. Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key – (Ignore the second version of the film. Ew. Another version called “Race to Witch Mountain” is coming soon. I’m dubious about that one too.)

2. Return From Witch Mountain by Alexander Key – (One of the closest adaptations I’ve seen.)

3. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – (Different from the book, but fun all the same. It’s like encountering another story of the same type.)

4. Mio, My Son by Astrid Lindgren – (Filmed as “Mio in the Land of Faraway.” I own both the book and the film, which included Christian Bale as one of the secondary leads.)

5. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White – (One live action and one animated adaptation.)

6. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg – (Also filmed as “The Hideaways.” The one with the same title as the book had Lauren Bacall in it.)

7. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans – (The live action version is quite well done.)

8. Lisa and Lottie by Erich Kästner – (That would be “The Parent Trap.” Yes, it’s been done at least twice.)

9. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander – (It has the name of the 2nd book of the series, but contains some of the the first 2.)

10. The Borrowers by Mary Norton – (This seems to have been filmed 4 times.)

11. Chocky by John Wyndham – (I saw this one on Nickelodeon ages back. It was good…and a bit freaky.)

12. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – (Filmed several times. Now, if only they’d film her book “The Lost Prince.”)

13. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – (I still need to read that book…)

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A Sticky Situation

“Bubble gum, Bubble gum/Chewy-gooey bubble gum/Icky-sticky bubble gum/Melting in the road.
Along comes a toad . . . /A fine, fat toad, / A fine, fat, wild / -SPLAT!- / wart-backed toad.”

And just like that the toad is stuck in the bubble gum, but he won’t be the only one. A veritable
menagerie of animals get themselves caught in the sticky pink splat, and they’re all struggling mightily to get free, until they look up and what do they see– a truck, a big truck and it’s coming fast toward the bubble-gummed group. They’re in trouble now!

Lisa Wheeler’s text is a delightful mix of rhymes, onomatopoeia, and silly combinations of words. You pretty much have to read it out loud. The rhythm and hilarity command it. It’s a wonderful book, especially for sharing the creativity that is possible with language. The illustrations by Laura Huliska-Beith are bright and add plenty of comic flair to the rhyming text. All in all it’s a very fun book.

Place a hold.

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Many neighborhoods are celebrating National Night Out next Tuesday.  Recently there have been some suspecious activities going on in the community I live in.  Many concerned neighbors are sharing information about community safety.   I think I’ll share what I’ve learned with my library friends here.

Spend some time visiting the Fremont Police Department’s website.  From the website you can report a crime, find crime statistics, know the most-wanted persons, locate sexual offenders, and get the phone numbers and emails of key persons and officers, and find important information about community engagement.  There are two community engagement specialists who will help neighborhoods build collaboration with the Fremont Police Department for better business and neighborhood security. 

Another news is catalytic converter thefts.  The number of this crime is rising.  One of our neighbors had the misfortune of having his catalytic converter stolen from his car recently.  The Community Engagement Specialist responsible for our neighborhood sent us a letter regarding this rising crime.  I am also sharing it here.

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman is headed for the big screen, according to SciFi Wire. Henry Selick of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” fame is directing, and will be using the same techiques. Dakota Fanning, who will be voicing the main character, has seen a bit of the unfinished film and called it “fantastic.” I don’t doubt it. Coraline is due in theaters on Feb. 9, 2009.

Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom for Sale is another book currently in development for the transition to the big screen. Apparently they have a good script and the folks involved are very commited to the project. As it would be a very expensive film to make, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton is the second book in the Aunt Dimity mystery series. A word of warning for those who loved the first book, and are about to move on: this one doesn’t pick up where the last one left off. Instead, it covers the meeting of Emma and Derek, Lori Shepherd’s neighbors. Once you get over this minor shock, however, you will love this book. I actually liked it a wee bit more than the first book. I am particularly fond of Lady Nell and Peter (and Sir Bertram, of course), and they have a great deal to do with this book. They have a hand, along with the Pym sisters, in bringing Emma and Derek together. This mystery has its own touch of the supernatural, even though Aunt Dimity is still alive, and only appears for a bit at the very beginning and the very end. Like its predecessor, Aunt Dimity and the Duke falls firmly in the “cozy” category of mysteries. A couple of the events that occur within these pages are a bit fantastical in nature, but it doesn’t detract from the story. Frankly, I enjoyed it. I would recommend this book to the readers of Aunt Dimity’s Death, and anyone who loves a nice relaxing mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. I’ve read it several times now, and it manages to maintain its appeal under the stress of repeated readings. (Oh, and this one has a recipe for Nell’s Strawberry Tarts at the end.)

Read it for yourself.

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Thursday Thirteen #29

This week’s Thursday Thirteen is a bit of a follow-up to Monday’s post about books that I *gasp* have not read. This time I am attempting to redeem myself by pointing out some books that I have read.

If you have encountered a “classic” book or piece of popular literature that you have adored, please let me know about it.

Classics I Have Known:
1. The Odyssey by Homer (Read it to annoy my seventh grade English teacher, poor woman. Loved it.)

2. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (Read it in seventh grade for fun. Loved it)

3. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Had to read this for High School English. Hated it.)

4. The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (Part of my seventh grade adventure book kick. Loved it.)

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Had to write a poem about it for High School English. It was okay.)

6. The Purgatorio by Dante (I was originally a Medieval Studies Major and I read it for one of my classes. Liked it.)

7. Paradise Lost by John Milton (Still think it should have been called “Paradise Misplaced.” Not too bad.)

8. The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare (Saw the play and liked it so much that I went home and read it. Loved it.)

9. L’étranger by Albert Camus (I’ve never read this in English. It was okay.)

10. Candide by Voltaire (Yes, I went from a Medieval Studies Major to a French Major. Interesting book.)

11. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (Read it in High School. Found it intriguing.)

12. The Epic of Gilgamesh by someone in Mesopotamia (I wish that the Pre-Assyrian version still existed. Liked it.)

13. Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare (Acted in the play, so there is a special place for it in my heart. I was killed in Act 4, scene 2. A very bloody play.)

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The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall is the perfect summer book. It’s actually a great book any time of the year, but especially in summer. The four Penderwick sisters–Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty–and their father have rented a cottage for three weeks on the grounds of a large estate called Arundel. The family dog, Hound, is also along for the fun. And fun they have, with a bit of heartahce and several dashes of adventure thrown in for good measure. There’s a chase with a bull, plenty of soccer, target practice with bows and arrows, a fiasco at a garden competition, eavesdropped conversations, two very fluffy and hungry rabbits named Carla and Yaz, and a rope ladder that leads to Jeffrey’s room in the large house owned by his mother, Mrs. Tifton. Jeffrey and the Penderwicks get along famously, but Mrs. Tifton can’t stand the girls. It isn’t long before Mrs. Tifton decides it’s time to send Jeffrey packing to Pencey Military Academy where he’ll learn, she hopes, to be just like his military-minded grandfather. Trouble is, Jeffrey thinks being a soldier is just about the worst thing imaginable. He’d much rather be a musician. But Mrs. Tifton is in no mood to listen to what Jeffrey wants. Can the Penderwicks help Jeffrey escape his fate or are their schemes just disaster waiting to happen?

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Thursday at Centerville  ( July 24th , 2pm)   we are going to be showing a number of all ages videos off Youtube.  Now, I have to admit that my favorite thing to do on you tube is to watch fuzzy kittens, but there are science experiments, how to videos, and travelogues.  Today , since we are about half way through the summer, I thought I share this one with every one ( but it is for all the moms):


Note:  If it running a little slow for you , double-click on the Youtube logo.  This will take you directly to the page where the video is located, and sometimes speeds thing up.

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Somewhere I have never travelled…

With apologies to e e cummings for taking a bit of his poetry in vain, I’ve been thinking today about things I have not done. More specifically about famous books that I have not read. Let me begin by saying that I am infamous among my friends for not having seen certain films. Folks always give me a shocked look when I say things like, “No, I’ve never seen The Sound of Music.” (My closest friends have reached the point of being surprised when I *have* seen a film.) Anyway, I was tidying up the Audio Books section here, and it struck me again that there are all of these books out there that it seems everyone else has read. The kind of books that you try to steer conversations away from rather than admit you have no idea what the other person is talking about. Do you know what all of this pondering has lead me to? I have decided to post a list of five things (series, books, etc.) that I have never read. You may then try to convince me to read any of the items on the list (good luck with that) and comment with a title or five that you admit to never having read. Perhaps we will unmask some classics as being deadly dull, or maybe I will actually read something from my list. Either way, I think it will be fun. Lets get started!

I hereby swear that I have never read:

1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (It’s book 2…and I can’t talk myself into reading book 1.)
2. Anything by Jane Austen (Nope, I’ve never seen any of the films either.)
3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Although, I have a friend who tossed his copy into a swimming pool when he finished it.)
4. Anything by Louis L’Amour (And this makes my mother sad.)
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (…though have read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.)

So, there you are. My secret is out. I’ve got bunches of other books that I could add to this list, but now it’s your turn. Spill! What books are there that you feel like everyone out there has read except you?

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Today’s book review is in honor of Dan the Library Man at Vacaville Public Library – Cultural Center, as he is the first person who ever read the book to me. Or was that George (his puppet dog extraordinaire)? In either case, Bark George by Jules Feiffer is a fun little romp about a pup named George and his mother who would really like him to bark. He’ll moo, oink, or quack, but he just won’t bark. What exactly is going on?

This book is perfect for storytime. It’s short. Most of the images are very simple. Oh, and it’s darn cute. Well, apart from the tiniest bit of grossness (that the kids will love) that involves a vet. It’s set up in a “echo/response” format. George’s Mother asks him to bark on one page, and George make another sort of noise instead on the facing page. Give it a try. It won’t take very long, and you’ll really enjoy the end. Trust me on this.

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