Archive for September, 2008

Book Review: Scarlet Moon

Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguié is an entertaining retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story. Here the girl in the hood’s name is Ruth. Her Grandmother lives in the woods because she is believed to practice witchcraft. Ruth herself must learn the trade of blacksmith from her father, as her brother has been lost during the Crusades. The wolf? Well, that’s the question. You see, there’s a werewolf about and people have been attacked. Who is the wolf?

Scarlet Moon is part of the Simon Pulse teen targeted “Once Upon a Time” series. (Debbie’s other book in the series is Midnight Pearls – a retelling of the Little Mermaid.) As with most fairy tale re-tellings of late, this series has been quite popular. At 157 pages, this book is a quick and enjoyable read. I must admit that my fondness for this book may have something to do with my fondness for werewolves. It’s possible. (Yes, my favorite character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was Oz.) I also enjoy how much detail has been added to this traditional tale. The cover art is by K Y Craft, and if you look closely you will find a wolf not only in the moon, but also in a repeating pattern throughout the entire cover. K Y Craft is a fabulous artist. Perhaps I will be rich someday, and then I will be able to afford one of her originals.

Hopefully, Debbie Viguié will be writing for many years to come!

Debbie Viguié’s Website – http://www.debbieviguie.com
K Y Craft’s Website – http://www.kycraft.com/
(Place a hold)

Read Full Post »

“John C. Fremont Bust” unveiled at the Fremont Main Library

On Tuesday, September 8, the Fremont Main Library was pleased to accept the gift of a bust of John C. Fremont. This beautifully-executed work, sculpted by the late Rex E. Smith, was donated in his memory by his wife, Barbara Smith, and family.

Rex. E. Smith grew up in Manhattan, Kansas and graduated from high school in St. Joe. Missouri. He was a Marine on the aircraft carrier Enterprise when Pearl Harbor was attacked and during the first year of the war.

Rex met Barbara while attending the Naval pre-flight school at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, They spent their first few years of marriage living in the Cordonecis Housing Project in Albany. There Rex developed an interest in John C. Fremont when he met one of his neighbors – the great grandson of General Fremont also named John C. Fremont or “Jack”. Twenty years old at the time, Jack was continuing the family tradition of petitioning the federal government over a land claim. He said “Here I am living in the projects while I’m holding the deed to the Presidio of San Francisco.”

Rex was accomplished in painting, stained glass and wood carving, but had a special talent for clay sculpture. The Fremont bust was sculpted in the mid 60’s. To ensure its durability as a public art display the bust was recently bronzed – a process which surprisingly revealed several additional pieces of detail in the work including the artist’s signature.

John C. Fremont, the namesake of our city, was one of the most flamboyant and controversial figures of the mid-1800’s. He was called “The Pathfinder” for his role as trailblazer across the young continent. He first came to California in 1845 and was struck by the beauty and agricultural possibilities of the Mission San Jose area. He attempted to purchase property here, but his intermediary, Thomas Larkin, bought land in Mariposa instead.

Mayor Bob Wasserman accepted the bust on behalf of the city of Fremont and shared the story of the how the name “Fremont” was chosen. When plans for incorporation were under discussion there were a few suggestions for the new city’s name including “Fremont” and “Mission Valley”. Faced with the need to make a choice or miss the deadline for filing the incorporation paperwork, Wally Pond said “Fremont.”

Tuesday’s presentation coincided with the opening of Fremont Main Library’s new Local History display area which currently features an exhibit about John C. Fremont. Library Manager, Don Nunes also took this occasion to show plans for the new Maurice Marks Center for Local and California History which is currently under development.

The bust is situated on the second floor of the library by the Local History display area. You are invited to view the sculpture and enjoy the display on John C. Fremont.

– Janet

Read Full Post »

Thursday Thirteen #37

One of my favorite reference books is Chase’s Calendar of Events. You can use it to find birthdays, events, and special occasions for any day of the year. Some of those events are serious, some very silly. Did you know that Friday is Talk Like a Pirate Day? This week I bring you 13 things that are happening this Thursday.

On this day…
1. On 18 September 1964 “The Addams Family” television show premiered. Can you believe that this amazing show has been around for 44 years? (Watch the intro.)

2. Today is Greta Garbo’s birthday! She would have been 103 this year. (Learn more about Garbo here.)

3. Happy Independence Day, Chile! Today marks the anniversary of the day that Chile declared its independence from Spain in 1810. (Chile Tourism)

4. Frankie Avalon is 69 today. A big happy birthday to the male lead from all of those Beach Party movies. (The Beach Party trailer.)

5. The US Air Force was established as a separate military service on this date in 1947. Military aviation as part of the US Army dates back to 1907.

6. The New York Times, then called The New-York Daily Times, was first published on this date in 1851. (The name was changed in 1857 to The New York Times.)

7. The TV program Get Smart premiered on this date in 1965. It ran until 1970 and even changed networks at one point. (Get Smart intro)

8. The 59 Minute 37 Second Anvil Mountain Challenge takes place for the thirteenth time in Nome, Alaska today. If you feel like running 834 feet up the face of a mountain, and returning, in the allotted time you might what to look into this challenge. (more info)

9. Today Lance Armstrong turns 37 years old. Happy Birthday to you, Olympian and winner of the Tour de France seven times over!

10. On 18 September 1830 a horse beat an Iron Horse in a race. To be specific, the first locomotive built in America lost the race due to various mechanical difficulties. Good job to the horse, I say.

11. The United States took out its first loan on this date in 1789. The amount of $191,608.81 (which became known as the Temporary Loan of 1789) was loaned by the Bank of New York and the Bank of North America. The loan was repaid by 8 June 1790.

12. John Diefenbaker was born on this day in 1895. This former Canadian Prime Minister (1957-1963) would have been 113 this year. (In the TV show “Due South,” there was a wolf named after him.)

13. Samuel Johnson, creator of the first great dictionary in English, was born on this day in 1709. If he were still around, he’d be 299, and probably still making quips. He once said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”


Chase’s Calendar of Events 2008

Read Full Post »

How super is your superhero?

Why do you need Superman or Batman or even Spiderman for that matter? You’ve got Traction Man, and when you’ve got him, you don’t need anyone else. Traction man is game for anything. With his jet-powered sneaker, he reaches Planet Quilt, where the Farm Animals are being held captive by the Evil Pillows. Can Traction Man free them? He can and he does. His latex space suit and crash helmet are unscathed. Probably the best thing about Traction Man, other than his immense bravery of course, is his seemingly bottomless wardrobe: Traction Man has an outfit extraordinaire for any rescue operation, secret mission or dangerous descent into the foamy waters of the dreaded Sink. But what happens when Traction Man visits Grandma for Christmas? Surprise, surprise, Traction Man has a present to open, a very special present: An all-in-one knitted green romper suit and matching bonnet! What? This is impossibly embarrassing. And yet it fits perfectly. Traction Man can hardly bear up under the humiliation. What was Grandma thinking?
But in a hilarious twist of fate, it seems that Traction Man must sacrifice his knitted green romper suit for the safety of the Spoons. Perhaps there is justice in the world after all. Mini Grey’s exciting, funny and very imaginative send-up of superheros and derring-dos shows you just how easy it is to save the world when
Traction Man is Here!

Read Full Post »

Haunted Ballad series

The Haunted Ballard series by  Deborah Grabien is a series of ghost/mystery stories for those that enjoy intellectual/historical puzzles.  Ms.Grabien takes old English folk ballads and looks for a story behind the story. I’ve read 4 out of 5  books in the series and so far, my favorite book in the series is Matty Groves .

In Matty Groves, Ringan Laine is invited to preform at  a prestigious folk festival. He is a little  cautious, because The Callowen house has a known ghost. Ringan, his band , and his lover  have encounter a number of ghosts before — ghosts that respond to music.  The band decides to stick with a straight forward song: Matty  Groves . This song is a tale of a woman  who cheats on her husband, and her husband that kills her lover.

And… I’m stopping right there.  This is a ghost story that actually scared me.  That  just doesn’t happen to me, at least not when I read a ghost  story .( movies are a whole different  matter)

Things to love about the Haunted Ballad series:

Deborah  Grabien is a consise,yet evocotive writer.With only a few words she gives you clear images and strong  emotions.

Music  that  tells  a story.  Mixes up two  of the best things in the world.

The characters actually go to libraries and historical societies to look up things in dusty, old books.

Here is a bonus, Fairport Convention singing Matty Groves:

Check out the Haunted Ballad Series and other books by Deborah Grabian at the Alameda County Library

Read Full Post »

Scaredy Squirrel is back with another harrowing adventure. Before I tell you about it, though, he would like you to wash your hands and brush your teeth. Our hero is not fond of germs…or things that bite, you see.

In Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Mélanie Watt, Scaredy decides to make a friend. This involves a great deal of planning and preparation. It’s not okay to just jump into these things, you know. There are things that can bite you out there, and you need to have a idea of what to do when you find that possible friend. As you might expect, things don’t really end up going according to the plan. Don’t worry. Scaredy doesn’t encounter any suspicious bunnies or *gasp* Godzilla.

The artwork in this sequel is just as cute as it was last time around. Truthfully, I’d love to frame the book and put it on my wall. I love every page. I particularly enjoyed the page called “How to make the Perfect First Impression.” Who knew that lemonade was involved? I would like to thank Dan for telling me that this book was available. I have already read it at two people…and they didn’t scream and run away, so that should tell you something. If you enjoyed Scaredy Squirrel, be sure to get yourself a copy of this one too.

(Place a hold here.)

Read Full Post »

Mucky is the largest, stinkiest moose in the forest. He enjoys a wallow in the most smelly mud. Skunks are impressed by his olfactory presence. But the biggest wolf in the forest is extra hungry. What will happen when these two encounter one another? Mucky Moose, written and illustrated by Jonathan Allen, chronicles the three encounters between moose and wolf, and the unexpected outcome of their final meeting.

Mucky Moose is one of the standard picture books that I recommend to people at work. I love Mucky’s high self esteem, and the message that disadvantages may depend upon your point of view. The storyline is very amusing, and appropriate for both kids and adults. How can you go wrong with a stinky moose? The illustrations in this book are cute, but not particularly noteworthy. Except, that is, for the rendering of the animals’ expressions. Just look at Mucky’s grin on the cover. Looks a bit nervous about getting his picture taken, doesn’t he? So, pick up Mucky Moose for a giggle and some silly fun. I always do.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »