Archive for March, 2009

Review: Tacky the Penguin


Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is the story of a penguin that is a rather odd bird. While Tacky’s friends march in straight lines, his marching tends to be a bit more acrobatic. While his friends are expert divers, Tacky prefers a good cannon ball. Tacky even dresses differently from his comrades. Just look at him there on the cover of the book in his flowery shirt! Tacky is as different from the other penguins as it is possible to be. When big scary hunters come around, this turns out to be a very good thing indeed.

I like this book. The illustrations are just plain cute. How can you resist a penguin in a flower-print shirt? My favorite image is of Tacky in his bathing suit doing a cannon ball into the ocean. He even has a bathing cap. I really enjoyed reading this book aloud. You can easily switch back and forth between a posh and a plebeian accent for the different penguins. I’m thinking that kids will love this one. Tacky the Penguin is the story of a penguin who is not afraid to be different. He even sings strange songs badly, and doesn’t care. If this story has a message, it is that being different is good. That is a point of view that I can support.

(Place a hold here)

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13 Things I Like About Doctor Who

Thursday Thirteen #60

As some of you may already know, I love Doctor Who. So, for this week’s Thursday Thirteen I present you with thirteen reasons why. They aren’t in order and they aren’t the only reasons (The Doctor has had way more than 13 companions), but they are certainly some of the big ones. And anyway, I’m home sick, so I wanted to share one of my comfort shows with you.

13 Things I Like About Doctor Who:
1. The TARDIS – It can go anywhere in Time and Space and it’s small enough to park anywhere, while being the size of a small city on the inside. How can you beat that type of craft?

2. The Sonic Screwdriver – It can open almost anything and do a lot besides. Plus, the one from the new show can be used as a flashlight.

3. Regeneration – Not only is this a clever device that allows different actors to play the lead role, it’s also an interesting storytelling vehicle. Imagine, a race of people that can survive most death blows simply by becoming someone else.

4. Gallifreyan Writing (as seen in the new show) – It’s really complex looking, and it resembles the inside workings of a clock. It’s also beautiful. I’d love to use some of it to decorate my room.

5. The Daleks – Just think about this: The most feared classic baddie looks like a pepperpot, and yet has incredible destructive power. You used to be able to escape them by running up some stairs, but they’ve been able to fly since the 7th Doctor’s day. The new series has only increased their battle prowess. Not bad for an adversary that has been around since the second story of the show.

6. The Seal of Rassilon – First of all, it’s pretty (Yes, this is the tattoo I want to get if I ever manage to get the money and the guts together.) Rassilon was one of the founders of Time Lord society, and he has an awful lot of items that carry his name. The Seal is the nicest looking one.

7. Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart – The Brigadier is one of the few of the Doctor’s friends who has seen several of his different incarnations. They’ve worked together for UNIT. And all he wants is to meet an alien menace that isn’t immune to bullets.

8. The Ninth Doctor – The First Doctor of the New Series was a dark and brooding man with a leather coat and an abrasive manner. He’d seen too much death and destruction, but he was still The Doctor. He was also amused by all sorts of things. Christopher Eccleston did an excellent job bringing The Doctor back to life. Fantastic.

9. The Tenth Doctor – David Tennant’s Doctor has in many ways refined the two main parts of The Doctor’s personality as seen in the 9th Doctor. He can be hyper, silly, and child-like, and he can be hard, angry, and vengeful. Don’t make him angry. Oh, and listen when he gives you that one warning. He means it.

10. Rose – I really enjoyed watching the transformation of Rose’s character. She went from a danger-prone shop girl to a woman who could do things for herself and managed to save The Doctor (and, you know, the world) a couple of times.

11. The Fourth Doctor – Tom Baker’s Doctor was my first Doctor. You always remember your first Doctor. He was the clever one, all teeth, curls, and long scarf. I’m still holding out hope that he might appear in the new series in some capacity or other.

12. Captain Jack Harkness – I just adore this character. He’s sexy, good-looking, good-hearted, and smart. I’m really happy that he got his own show.

13. The Weeping Angels – I can never get statues for my garden, now. These baddies seriously freaked me out. Which, of course, makes them an excellent baddie. A whole generation of children will grow up looking at statues suspiciously.

What is your favorite show?

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Now  I love to read , but sometimes you want someone else to do the work, especially if the book is supposed to be ‘good for  you’.  May I suggest have the author read to you?  Here is Neil Gaiman reading his Newbery Medal winning book, The Graveyard Book.

Want something more dramatic?  Why not listen to some dramatic readings from Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, The 2008 Newbery winner.

And there is always the old fashioned way, why not watch a movie? Here is the movie trailer from one of my favorite Newbery books, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Wait… You want to know more about the book before you see a movie?   Head on over to the Children’s blog for a review.

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A Vision of the Future from the 1930s

It’s always fun to look back at what folks in the past thought about the future and compare it to what actually happened. Here is a newsreel from the 1930s that looks into the far flung future of the year 2000 and what folks will be wearing then.

Clothing Of The Future – Clothing in The Year 2000:

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This version of Cinderella is yet another example of the incredible work of K Y Craft. Her art always seems to be full of light and minute detail. In this case, that attention to detail is not confined to the cover. This is the kind of book that makes you want to go buy prints of the artwork and hang it around your house. Actually, it is a dream of mine to own some of her original artwork. It looks like I may need to win the lottery first, though.

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Thursday Thirteen #59

Those of you who read this blog often may have notices that I’m just the tiniest bit obsessed with books being made into films. So, here is another list of upcoming film projects. Are there any books that you know of that have never been filmed?

Books headed for the big screen:
1. Angels & Demons
2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
3. Cirque du Freak
4. Dragonriders of Pern
5. The Eye of the World
6. The Giver
7. A Great and Terrible Beauty
8. The Hobbit
9. The Lovely Bones
10. Maximum Ride
11. Neuromancer
12. The Screwtape Letters
13. Uglies

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Have your little ones been to Centerville Library’s Read-To-Me Storytime?  Read-To-Me is a drop-in storytime conducted by trained teen volunteers.  It is offered on every Thursday afternoon from 3:30 to 4:30.  Children ages 2-6 and parents are welcome to stop by anytime when the storytime is in session.   Many children have been coming every week and the Read-To-Me area gets a little crowded at times.  But hey, I say that’s a kind of fun children enjoy–making friends and getting excited about the stories together!

Here is one of the stories we have enjoyed recently.

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

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