Scary books? No way.

August 25, 2016 by

A study from the United Kingdom says that about one third of parents avoid reading scary books to their children. Referring to Cruella de Vil, the Oz wicked witch, and the Big Bad Wolf, parents are afraid of exposing kids to these characters. Psychologists say it “forges resilience” however. With The BFG and other evil-doers prevalent in most children’s novels, it is difficult for parents to know if they are stepping over a line which would cause nightmares. Fear not! The psychologists say it helps children learn the difference between good and evil and helps children learn to conquer fears.


Brendan Wenzel

August 24, 2016 by

Author/illustrator Brendan Wenzel’s newest book is “They All Saw a Cat.”  In a recent interview in “The Horn Book,” Wenzel discussed his writing/illustrating process.

“They All Saw a Cat” is about perceptions.  The child in the story sees the cat in a very different way than the dog or the mouse or the bee.  Wenzel says he decided to tell this story of differing perceptions by using a cat because people tend to react strongly to cats, one way or another.

He did a fair amount of research studying as much as he could about how animals see things.9781452150130_p0_v2_s192x300.jpgAfter that part of the process, he let him imagination soar.

The text is a bit like a folktale. The author admits that he loves folktales, and he hopes his readers get the sense of folklore traditions from the story.


“The Riviera, Food, and Picasso”

August 24, 2016 by

When an author combines a great location, the South of France, fantastic food, Provencal cooking, and the legendary Pablo Picasso, she has the ingredients for a interesting plot.  “Cooking for Picasso” written by Camille Aubray, whose background is in writing for daytime dramas,  has created a fanciful, yet entertaining novel.

Aubray has created three interesting female characters.  Beginning in 1936, we meet the seventeen-year-old Ondine, who works in her parents’ cafe in the seaside village of Juan-les-Pins. Ondine has learned to cook from her mother.  When a reclusive visitor to the village asks that lunch be delivered each day to his villa, Ondine’s parents send her.  The mysterious strange is, of course, Picasso, who at the time was experiencing difficulties in his personal and artistic life.

9780399177651_p0_v1_s192x300.jpg  After a brief affair between Ondine and Picasso, he abruptly leaves the village but not before he has immortalized her in a painting.  A painting he promised to her, but did not leave for her.  Ondine, of course, learns she is pregnant.  When her young boyfriend, Luc, returns from several years at sea, they run away to America.

Ondine’s daughter Julie does not know about her parentage, and Ondine promised Luc that she would never tell her.  When circumstances force Julie and Ondine to return to France after WWII, Ondine seizes the opportunity to confront the aging Picasso and demand her portrait.

The third important character is Celine, Ondine’s granddaughter and Julie’s only child.  When her mother falls ill, she carries out Julie’s dream to return to Ondine’s village.

The plot sound very much like episodes of a television soap and knowing  the author’s background in writing for daytime dramas, it is not difficult to figure out how it will all end.  But, in spite of being a very contrived plot, “Cooking for Picasso” is a fun read.  It combines intrigue, some good, some bad characters and a definite touch of glamour.



Adult Summer Reading Book Review: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

August 24, 2016 by

617lsz642xl-_sx258_bo1204203200_5 stars (loved it!). This book spoke to me in many ways. My parents are getting old and much of the trials she has gone through with hers folks aging smacks of my current reality. She puts a funny, but honest spin on a very hard subject, arguably the hardest, with her fantastically expressive drawings and her uncannily familiar-sounding observations. [I have always LOVED Roz Chast’s work in the New Yorker and have felt a kinship with her since I too am an illustrator and we attended the same school, both lived and worked in the city, etc. but I don’t know if I would have read this book if it hadn’t been on the Bingo list as a graphic novel-so thanks!] – 2016 Adult Summer Reading Participant

Pokemon GO

August 23, 2016 by

index.aspxThis game is a big hit this summer, and it has certainly attracted the attention of users of all ages, especially the college-age crowd that is tough to attract. The Libraries Transform Newsletter Back-to-School issue features an article that explains how to use the game to attract users of all ages to your library. Here are 10 ideas that you can use to promote your library as a home for Pokemon GO players.


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