105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: "I Will Wait"

Another song as poetry, probably one you've heard on the radio. I love the harmonies of Mumford & Son, but especially in "I Will Wait." Enjoy.
Well, I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun
But I'll kneel down,
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down,
Know my ground
And I will wait,
I will wait for you.

Poetry Friday is hosted today at Semicolon..

Summer Blues

Everyone warned me about how hard it is having teenagers, but I haven't found that to be true. Except for now. Because summer isn't fun anymore.

Teen has a job, summer assignments, and a volunteer project. The Kid has theatre/music classes from 8:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. and then has rehearsals for Fame every weeknight. I'm working part time on an irregular schedule and trying to clear out the playroom which has long since stopped being a room for playing.

For years summer was all about playing. With long free days, the girls would create elaborate games with stuffed animals, dress-up clothes, or Barbies. They rarely stopped, only agreeing to "pause the game" while we did necessary chores. To keep things fresh, I also interrupted their play with the variety of free or cheap offerings around us including library programs, park activities, and morning movies at the discount theater. Even a trip to the grocery store often included a stop at Petco to look at the fish or an ice cream cone at McDonald's. There was always the pools and playgrounds for daily fun, and beach trips to anticipate. Putting on the sprinkler in the morning meant the swimsuits went on too, as did a drenching rainstorm.

Now that I have teenagers, the only thing that makes it Summer is not being locked into the pace of the school year. The girls are finally released from early wake-ups, long days, and hours of homework. And that's about it. They have no need to go to the pool, and if they do it's with friends. Movies are nighttime events - again with friends - and parks pretty places we drive by on the way to the mall. Going to beach is hard to coordinate with everyone's separate schedules. The girls get along great, but video games and TV shows have replaced their hours of playing together, naturally.

Looking back, my life with young kids sounds exhausting. But even if I had little time for myself, keeping the kids entertained allowed me to live through summer as a kid again and again because I also got to swim in the pool, watch the movies, and play on the beach. Summer was special then, and I miss that.

But to give a bright side, let me give a shout-out to air conditioning. Glorious cool air that you don't have to leave to play in a hot park while your child has a tantrum. So there's that. Happy summer, people.

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Nonfiction Monday: Zooborns: The Next Generation

That's right, another animal book. This has been a somewhat intense summer, so I'd like to surround myself with adorable pictures of baby animals for a while.

Zooborns: The Next Generation
by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland

Simon & Schuster 2012, review from library copy
Zooborns: The Next GenerationCertainly, this book delivers on its promise of cute baby animals from zoos across the world. But along the way, it draws in the reader with stories about the particular baby animal - if it was rescued, abandoned or endangered - and information about the species and conservation. While the pictures dominate the spreads, the text goes beyond dry facts with an engaging tone. For instance in talking about an eagle chick, "While Caspian may be fluffy and awkward as a chick, as an adult he could have a wingspan six feet long, making him fully capable of hunting small deer." Some words may be difficult for the elementary school crowd, but the book itself is perfect for their interests and even a great size for smaller hands. This new title would make a great addition to any public, classroom, or home library.

For more Nonfiction Monday selections, visit the host of the round-up at Wrapped in Foil.

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Poetry Friday: "No Children"

Teen's contribution to the song-as-poetry series is a number for wallowing in despair, because there are songs for that too. The Mountain Goats have captured the dysfunctional relationship too perfectly in "No Children."

I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us.
I hope we come out with a fail-safe plot
To piss off the dumb few that forgave us.
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight,
And I hope we hang on past the last exit.
I hope it's already too late.
And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down... and I hope
The rising black smoke carries me far away
And I never come back to this town.

Visit today's Poetry Friday host, Check It Out.

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Thursday Three: Chicks and Ducks

Chicks and ducks better scurry, when I review books in a hurry...

Lucky Ducklings
by Eva Moore, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Orchard Books, 2013
Lucky Ducklings“The Duck family lived in a pretty pond in a green, green park, in a sunlit little town at the end of a long, long island.” When Mama duck takes her ducklings on a walk through town, the ducklings fall through a grate and into a storm drain. With help from the townspeople and firemen, the ducklings are rescued and sent on to swim with Mama Duck again. Simple, true story speaks for itself, but is helped by a conversational tone and lovely, soft illustrations. It's a Make Way for Ducklings for a new generation.

Busy-Busy Little Chick
by Janice Harrington, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2013
Busy-Busy Little Chick“Mama Nsoso’s chicks shivered in their cold, damp nest. Peo-peo, Mama. Peo-peo. We’re chilly-cold. Our tummies are chilly-cold. Our feet are chilly-cold. We’re chilly-cold all over.” The mother hen makes plans to build a new house for the family, but each day gets distracted by something new. Each day one little chick does the work that needs to be done. So at the end of the week, they all have a new house thanks to the work of one busy-busy chick. It is based on a fable told by the Nkundo people of Central Africa and uses words and storytelling traditions of the people. The illustrations are bold and abstract, with swirls and strokes of bright colors shaped with black lines. Personally I don’t get the moral of the story here. “Don’t worry about it because some schmuck will get it done?” But it would make a good contrast story to Little Red Hen.

Nora’s Chicks
by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Kathryn Brown

Candlewick 2013
Nora’s ChicksThe dedication reads: “To my grandmother Elenora, whose chicks gave her great comfort on the North Dakota prairie.” When Nora and her family move from their home in Russia to the American prairie, Nora is lonely. She thinks of her homeland, but mostly she misses friends. After a few tries, she finds company in her own flock of chicks and geese. They follow her everywhere and even help her make a new human friend. Based on a true story, it reads simply without drama. Soft watercolor in muted tones of browns and yellows show the prairie, while Nora tends to stand out more in her reds and purples. Even the sky is muted, until the last happy picture with a soft blue sky. Charming story.

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Nonfiction Monday: Just Joking

I'm falling a little bit in love with National Geographic for their books for kids. I've waxed poetic about the Book of Animal Poetry, and now I'm gigging over their Just Jokes series. The books were an easy hit in booktalking with a couple of knock-knock jokes for the school kids. I took them for a test drive at home, and my second grader niece could comfortably read many of the jokes without help. While she didn't always get the jokes without explanation, she enjoyed telling them.

National Geographic Kids Just JokingNational Geographic Kids Just Joking books are full of tongue twisters and funny photos along with knock-knocks and question jokes. ("Why do hens lay eggs? Because they break if they drop them.") But they've also brought something very new to the joke book genre: quality. Most of the joke books in our library are cheap paperbacks stuffed with jokes and one-liners only broken up with the occasional dumb illustration. The Just Joking series (the fourth book will be out in October) are hardback books with heavy paper, full-color photos, and attractive design elements. Variety in the page layout keeps visual interest while packing in as many as five jokes/twisters on a page. But interspersed with the joke-heavy pages, are two page spreads featuring one fabulous photo of animal with one highlighted joke and a fact about that animal. So with quality construction, engaging design, great photography, AND jokes, these books would make a fantastic addition to any library - public, classroom, or personal.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Abby the Librarian.

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