Archive for November, 2008


The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch (pictures by Michael Martchenko) is a short picture book containing a determined heroine. Elizabeth had it all: she was beautiful, had expensive clothes, and she was going to marry a handsome prince. That is, until the day the dragon came. The dragon had the temerity to burn up everything she had and carry off Prince Ronald. Elizabeth is annoyed. The only thing that she can find to wear is a paper bag. Undaunted, she goes after that darn Dragon. What happens next is both clever and funny. Yes, once again, my favorite part of this book is the end. I actually cheered a bit. Nope, I’m not going to tell you what happens. The art is simple, yet cute. I liked it, but it’s not the sort of thing that I would frame. Elizabeth is a heroine that will particularly appeal to young girls. If I were prone to giving out stars for ratings, I would give The Paper Bag Princess three out of five stars for a light, enjoyable story.

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Splat the Cat

splat_the_cat_jacketSplat is about to start cat school, and he isn’t exactly busting at the seams with joy. Hiding under the covers seems like a palpable alternative, but his mom won’t hear of it. It’s time to get up, time to get dressed. Poor Splat! But wait! Splat can’t go to school, he doesn’t have any socks. Oh well, he’ll just have to wait till tomorrow, right? Wrong. Silly Splat, cats don’t wear socks. Better get moving Splat, you don’t want to be late for school. And Splat isn’t, of course; his mom makes sure of that. Splat’s teacher, Mrs. Wimpydimple, welcomes him to class. So do all the other students. Maybe cat school won’t be so bad after all. Mrs. Wimpydimple teaches them all about cats: how clever they are and how quick; how they climb trees and drink milk and chase mice. Wait a minute! What was that last part? Climbing trees? No, no, no. That part about chasing mice. Why would cats do a thing like that? They just do. But… Nevermind that, it’s time for lunch. So Splat opens his bright yellow lunchbox and out pops Seymour, his pet mouse. A mouse! The other cats screech, and Seymour is on the run. This wasn’t at all what Splat had anticipated. But cats will be cats, right? Well, yes. Unless something unexpected happens to make them see that cats can be friends with just about anybody, even a mouse.

If you like Splat the Cat, don’t miss Rob Scotton’s other books.

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Last Minute Turkey Help

So, Uncle Joe, the amazing turkey carver, isn’t coming to Thanksgiving this year! You need to learn to carve the Turkey quick!  May I suggest YouTube?

Here is one video from Cooking .com — it ends with a very beautiful presentation:

For more Thanksgiving help The Food Network has lots of last minute ideas and so does Epicurious.

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Another Monday, another couple of Trailers for films that came from books. If you know about any other new trailers for films that are based on books, please let me know.

Angels & Demons Trailer:

Coraline Trailer:

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Five Fun Twitter Things

Twitter is a micro-blogging site that asks the question “What are you doing?” and allows you to post short (140 characters or less) answers to that question. Simple, yes? The more you look at Twitter, though, the more you learn you can do with it. Here’s a little that I have discovered so far –

Posts on Twitter are known as “Tweets.” Following the tweets of multiple folks provides you with an informational feed that can include everything from what your best friend had for lunch to news reports from major events. You can comment on what folks say by replying to them thusly “@fremontblog I totally agree.” (Yes, fremontblog is this blog’s account over on Twitter.) In this way your informational feed can become a conversation. You can use Twitter to alert folks to updates on your blog, ask questions of the world at large, report on events as they are happening, tell people about a cool site that you’ve found, and even indulge in a bit of haiku.

In addition, here are Five Fun Things You Can Do With Twitter:

1. There are people on Twitter who tweet as characters such as: Darth Vader and The Crew of Serenity (Mal, Kaylee, Simon, River, Jayne, Inara, Zoe, and Wash. ShepherdBook seems to have disappeared, sadly.)

2. There are all sorts of “official” informational feeds. Try: BBC (or BBCScotland, BBCWales), sfearthquakes, USGS, NASA (and CassiniSaturn, MarsRovers, MarsScienceLab, LRO_NASA, spaceweather, LunarOrbiter, APOD, the list goes on…), CNN, and CNN Breaking News.

3. There are also fun feeds, like TwitterLit that will post the first lines from random books. (KidderLit is available for Children’s books.)

4. Need a timer to remind you of something in half an hour? Send a direct message to timer. Need a weather forecast? Send a direct message to Forecast.

5. Search Twitter with Twitter Search. See what people are saying about a certain topic, or see what the current poplar topics are. In Advanced Search mode you can even look at tweets by area, ones from a certain person, and even ones with a “Positive Attitude” (a.k.a. 🙂 ).

So, there you are. A web 2.0 update for your Friday. If you encounter any more cool Twitter feeds or features, please let me know.

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Thursday Thirteen #46

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving (and I have the day off) so you folks get the Thanksgiving thirteen this week instead. Have you ever marveled at the sheer variety of books with Thanksgiving in the title? No? Well…now you can.

The Thanksgiving Thirteen:
1. Thanksgiving 101 : celebrate America’s favorite holiday with America’s Thanksgiving expert by Rick Rodgers

2. Thanksgiving : an American holiday, an American history by Diana Karter Appelbaum

3. Thanksgiving at Obaachan’s by Janet Mitsui Brown

4. The Thanksgiving beast feast by Karen Gray Ruelle

5. Thanksgiving Day at our house : Thanksgiving poems for the very young written by Nancy White Carlstrom ; illustrated by R.W. Alley

6. Thanksgiving crafts and cookbook by Nancy Hathaway ; with ill. by Hannah Berman

7. The Thanksgiving Day parade mystery by Marion M. Markham ; illustrated by Dianne Cassidy

8. Thanksgiving mice! by Bethany Roberts ; illustrated by Doug Cushman

9. Thanksgiving night : a novel by Richard Bausch

10. The Thanksgiving table : recipes and ideas to create your own holiday tradition by Diane Morgan ; photography by John A. Rizzo

11. The Thanksgiving visitor ; A Christmas memory by Truman Capote

12. Thanksgiving in the White House by Gary Hines ; illustrated by Alexandra Wallner

13. The Thanksgiving ceremony : new traditions for America’s family feast by Edward Bleier

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Why do some books become classics and others pass into oblivion? Even winning a prestigious award, like the Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award, does not guarantee that years from now, when you are long gone, people will still be reading your books. And yet some books just seem to stand the test of time; they become “classics”. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite classic books:mansfield_park_jacketthings_fall_apart_jacket
*Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
*To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
*Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
*Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
*Eugene Onegin by Aleksandr Pushkin
*Persuasion by Jane Austen
*The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
*Howard’s End by E. M. Forster
*The Old Arcadia by Philip Sidney
*Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
*A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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