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Reader’s Advisory: The In-Between by Barbara Stewart

The In-Between

by Barbara Stewart

St. Martin’s Griffin, ISBN-10 1250030161, $9.99 trade paper, November 2013

Fourteen-year-old Elanor Moss has always been an outcast who fails at everything she tries—she’s even got the fine, white scars to prove it. Moving was supposed to be a chance at a fresh start, a way to leave behind all the pain and ugliness of her old life. But, when a terrible car accident changes her life forever, her near-death experience opens a door to a world inhabited by Madeline Torus . . . Madeline is everything Elanor isn’t: beautiful, bold, brave. She is exactly what Elanor has always wanted in a best friend and more—their connection runs deeper than friendship. But Madeline is not like other girls, and Elanor has to keep her new friend a secret or risk being labeled “crazy.” Soon, though, even Elanor starts to doubt her own sanity. Madeline is her entire life, and that life is drastically spinning out of control. Elanor knows what happens when your best friend becomes your worst enemy. But what happens when your worst enemy is yourself?

Nothing new under the sun in this mental-illness issue drama that asks the reader to decide whether Elanor has a serious mental illness or really spent time in a dimension between life and death with her dying father and vanished twin sister (vanished as in got absorbed before birth, not as in got kidnapped). Teens who enjoy guessing games and unreliable narrators might go for this one, and the depiction of a teen with mental illness being shunned by her peers is sadly accurate. All in all, though, the writing is passable but the action is rather slow. I Am the Cheese by Cormier is a better head trip, and mental illness in teen fiction has been used to much better effect recently, such as in Cameron and the Girls by Edward Averett.

Recommend to: Fans of Justine Larbaliester’s Liar

To buy or not to buy: Supplemental purchase all the way.

Reader’s Advisory: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals

by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Miramax, $17.99 hardcover, ISBN-10 1423168232, November 2013

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie. What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

I expected this book to be really hokey, but I didn’t expect it to be so fun. True, the premise of the FBI hiring superteens to solve cases trained adult agents can’t is pretty flimsy, and true, readers can probably go through the book saying “This wouldn’t happen, and this wouldn’t happen, and this wouldn’t happen,” but it’s all in pure escapist fun. It’s your usual teen boarding school drama with a heavy CSI bent. The teens in the story happen to be at a boarding school where they learn to use their gifts to track down criminals. Cassie’s a profiler, but she’s also in a program with kids who can spot lies a mile away, read emotions, and instantly intuit probabilities. Of course, with great power comes great psychological trauma, so angst ensues in the form of your standard catty girlfights and love triangles.

Still, teens who love TV crime dramas like Criminal Minds will find plenty of crime scenes and serial killer action to satisfy their interests, and Cassie’s funny and likeable enough with plenty of room to grow. Teens who aren’t so crazy about gore, forensics, and the psychology of insane killers might still want to tag along and watch Cassie vacillate between sexy yet hot-and-cold Dean and cute n’ chatty but somewhat catty Michael. The resolution of the mystery felt somewhat left-field to me, but this isn’t meant to be a great cerebral experience. Check your disbelief at the door and you’ll probably enjoy the ride.

Recommend to: Teens who are into CSI, Criminal Minds, Bones, etc

To Buy or Not to Buy: Most public library collections will want to grab a copy.


Hats Storytime

I only wear hats if it’s cold out or if I’m in costume, and since it’s getting to be the season for both of those things, breaking out the hat storytime kit seemed appropriate.

We read:

The Hat by Jan Brett

A hedgehog gets a sock stuck on his head with hilarious consequences as shown in Brett’s typically wonderful illustrations.

Interactivity factor: Who cares? Everyone loves The Hat.



Jennie’s Hat by Ezra Jack Keats

Jennie wants a beautiful, flowery, fancy hat, but her aunt sends her a very plain hat for her birthday. However, her wish comes true when the birds she feeds in the park every Saturday thank her by decorating her hat.

Interactivity factor: Low. Also, it’s a little long for preschoolers, but I just cut a few sentences, and they loved the pictures.


A Hat for Minerva Louise

Yes, I Minerva Louise-d twice in two weeks. And I’m not sorry.





This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

A little fish steals a big fish’s hat, but he’ll probably get away with it…probably. Or he’ll be eaten alive.

Interactivity factor: Low



Action Rhyme

Silly Hat Dance

On my head, I have a hat. It is such a silly hat
That my head will wobble to and fro.
Where else can my silly hat go?

(Elbow, knee, hands, feet, etc)

Source: Sur la Lune


Little Cat

Little cat, little cat,
Are you behind the (color name) hat?

little cat


Die cut hats (like in the flannel set but paper). Sequins. Feathers. Glue. Yes, I’m on a lazy craft streak. I realize this.

How It Went

Fun times! The books made everyone laugh, grownups included. I was a little nervous about doing This is Not My Hat, but the moms liked it and the kids seemed to accept my “crime doesn’t pay” explanation for the hero of the story getting eaten. Of course the kids LOVED the flannelboard since it was a guessing game. The Silly Hat song was about half meh, half “no more books play game forever” for my Wednesday session, and was a solid hit for the Thursday session. I’d already asked myself, “If some kid suggests butt as a hat location, should I do it?” and decided, “What the heck, sure.” And so, when an eager little guy yelled “Bottom!” when I asked where the hat could go, I put a hat on my butt and we all shook our booties.

Next week, Pizza! Maybe! Depending! Because I really hate the Pizza kit and am thinking about just giving it the shoe which is shaped like Italy!

Chickens Storytime

Chickens don’t hold the same mystique as owls, at least not in my opinion. They’re also not plastered all over this season’s fashions. However, they do make great subjects for picture books, and we do have a chicken kit, so Chickens got to star in last week’s storytime.

We read:

Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke

I abjectly adore Minerva Louise. She’s happy, doofy, and hilarious. In her original outing, she makes herself at home in the farmhouse, where she mistakes the cat for a cow and a pie for a warm nest.

Interactivity factor: High. Everytime Minerva Louise makes a mistake, ask the kids what she’s really seeing or interacting with, then all say together, “Silly chicken!”



Across the Stream by Mirra Ginsburg

In this short rhyming story, a hen and her three chicks escape from a fox by riding a duck and her three ducklings across a stream too deep and wide for the fox to ford. The fox is described as a “bad dream,” so it’s sort of unclear whether the entire story is the chickens’ dream or is really happening but is framed as a bad dream to make the story gentler. Either way, it’s a cute book.

Interactivity factor: Low, but it’s a short book with catchy rhyming text and funny pictures of chickens riding ducks.



Cock-a-Doodle-Moo by Bernard Most

When the rooster loses his voice, a friendly cow tries to learn to crow so she can wake the farmer and the other animals. The best she manages is Cock-a-doodle-moo, but it turns out to be a hit with the humor-loving farm.

Interactivity factor: High if you get the kids to make the animal noises with you, low if you do your own sound effects, but hilarious either way.


Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker

A big fat hen and her adorable chicks act out the classic “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” rhyme.

Interactivity factor: Medium. Ask the kids to fill in the next part of the rhyme and to help with counting.




Action Rhyme:

You can find quite a few fingerplays involving chickens, but my group is a little young for complicated fingerplays, so I try to stick with action rhymes. With chickens, you don’t get as many of those, so the two we wound up doing were very similar.

The Chickens in the Coop (“Wheels on the Bus”)

The chickens in the coop go bock bock bock,
Bock bock bock, bock bock bock
The chickens in the coop go bock bock bock,
All day long.

The roosters in the coop go Cock-a-doodle-doo….The chicks in the coop go peep peep peep…

The other one wasn’t really a rhyme. We just practiced being chickens, roosters, chicks, and finally eggs. I thought about teaching everyone the Chicken Dance, but I was afraid the moms would have me drawn and quartered for getting the song stuck in their heads.

Flannel Board

Five Eggs 1 FiveEggs2

Five Eggs

Five eggs and five eggs, that makes ten.Sitting on top is the mother hen.
Cackle, cackle, cackle, what do we see?
Ten fluffy chicks, yellow as can be!

The nest is from an Accucut die, but I free-handed the chicken, eggs, and chicks.

Craft: Simple Shape Chicks

Yellow construction paper oval. Wiggle eyes. Orange paper beaks. Feathers. Glue. BAM, instant chick.

How It Went:

They may not have the enigmatic grace or the whirly-around head of the owl, and they may not get the excited initial response of themes like dinosaurs or trucks, but chickens are stars in the book arena. Everyone loved the books for this storytime and laughed at all of them, especially Cock-a-Doodle-Moo. I did have some confusion from the littlest ones at the end of Other Side of the Stream, though, because they didn’t quite grasp that the chickens were trying to escape the fox. On the last page, which shows the fox looking wistfully after the chickens, they wanted to know how the “doggie” was going to get across now that the ducks were gone. Oh, and I had one little girl who seemed to be stuck in the past, specifically last week’s Owl theme, because she kept insisting on hooting instead of making chicken sounds and calling all of the chickens owls. Hey, kid, I prefer the owls, too, but we have to learn to let go.

Next up: Hats, including more Minerva Louise!


Owls Storytime

I love owls! They only come out at night, they can turn their heads way around, they make cool noises, they have enormous eyes, and they’re quite fashionable at the mo. Not only did I have owl shirts to wear for this storytime, two storytimers showed up wearing owls and THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT WAS THE THEME. We’re so hip!

We read:

Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood

Owl is curious and takes a nap in order to wake up in time to watch the day. Every time Owl sees a new, beautiful daytime color, she says, “Wow!” This is a great book to use for a color storytime, as well.

Interactivity factor: High. Hello, color recognition! Plus the kids will probably start saying “Wow!” when it’s time even without encouragement to do so.

Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Little Hoot is a very happy young owl on the whole, but he sure doesn’t like staying up late. He wants to go to bed early like everyone else, but his mom keeps insisting he stay up and play like a good owl! This story works best with older preschoolers and early elementary, although parents are likely to giggle at the role reversal of the little one begging to go to sleep and the parents saying, “Go play!”

Interactivity factor: Low. If your group skews to the younger end of the scale, they will not get the joke and will get bored.


Good-night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins

Oh, Pat Hutchins, you so retro! Okay, not really. The book came out in 1972, so the illustrations were very now at the time. Now, though, they look delightfully retro. In this classic, owl is trying to sleep but all of the other birds and critters are making too much noise. Finally night comes and everyone goes to sleep…except Owl, who takes revenge by shrieking and waking them all up. Ha!

Interactivity factor: High. Ask the kids to help make the animal sounds.




Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan

Um, how cute is this little owl? SUPER cute. I had first grade boys in my second session go, “Awww!” when I pulled this one out. Little Owl does what many owls in picture books do, which is fly around at night and see the sights. In this case, the sights are primarily other nocturnal animals plus one sleepy bear. While the story’s not exactly stunningly original, no other owl does it quite so squee-inducingly.

Interactivity factor: High if you ask the kids to name the animals Little Owl encounters.




I’m lazy. I didn’t take a picture of this one. It’s just five die cut owls with mondo-sized wiggle eyes glued on.

Five Little Hoot Owls

Five little hoot owls sitting in a tree.
One flew away. How many do you see?

And etc.

Source: Storytime Katie

Action Rhymes

We only did one action rhyme this week due to a little bit of weirdness with the age groups. We did the Owl Hokey Pokey! It’s the regular one but with wings for arms, talons for feet, and owl self for whole self.


Cardboard tube owls! Take a cardboard tube and squish one end down at opposite points using both thumbs to make your owl’s “ears.” Add wiggle eyes, a paper beak, and feathers or pre-cut wings, breast, and tail, and presto! Super cute owl. You can find a lot of ideas for these on the Internet, too, like doing them in pretty colors. We used plain, natural brown.

How It Went:

Hoo, boy. Well, at my first session, I walked in and seriously thought I had gotten my days confused and was supposed to be doing lapsit. I had about 10 storytimers and only two of them were above the age of 2. Nobody understood Little Hoot, nobody was really able to focus because they weren’t ready for preschool storytime yet, and everybody wanted to wander around. I wound up cutting most of the program and saying, “Okay, it’s craft time! Let’s go play with glue!” The next day, I got everything ready for my usual small crowd, since my numbers have been down this year. Unbeknownst to me, school was out that day! I only had the next day marked on my calendar. Suddenly I had a room full of kindergarteners and first graders. Oy. I had cut Little Hoot and not added a different book because it took so long to talk about the other books with the little ones. Well, since these kids were older and knew all their colors and animals, we breezed through pretty quickly. However, it went much better than the previous day. I’m always nervous when a bunch of elementary schoolers show up to preschool storytime because I’m afraid they will be bored. These kids all stayed invested in it and even thanked me afterward with no parental prompting. Phew!

Next up: Chicken Storytime!

Reader’s Advisory: The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Enchanter Heir

by Cinda Williams Chima

Disney-Hyperion, ISBN-10 1423144341, $18.99 hardcover, October 2013

They called it the Thorn Hill Massacre—the brutal attack on a once-thriving Weir community. Though Jonah Kinlock lived through it, he did not emerge unscathed: like the other survivors, Jonah possesses unique magical gifts that set him apart from members of the mainline guilds. At seventeen, Jonah has become the deadliest assassin in Nightshade, a global network that hunts the undead. He is being groomed to succeed Gabriel Mandrake, the sorcerer, philanthropist, and ruthless music promoter who established the Thorn Hill Foundation, the public face of Nightshade. More and more, Jonah’s at odds with Gabriel’s tactics and choice of targets. Desperate to help his dying brother Kenzie, Jonah opens doors that Gabriel prefers to keep closed.

Emma Claire Greenwood grew up worlds away, raised by a grandfather who taught her music rather than magic. An unschooled wild child, she runs the streets until the night she finds her grandfather dying, gripping a note warning Emma that she might be in danger. The clue he leaves behind leads Emma into Jonah’s life—and a shared legacy of secrets and lingering questions.

Remember The Heir Chronicles? Remember the huge crush you had on Jack Swift? Well, guess what? The series we love has returned!

I went into this story with extreme reservations. I loved the first three books, but then Chima wrapped the series up and went off to write other books. Suddenly, years later, she returns to the Heirs? What if she’d lost touch with the feel of the series? You know how you can read a wonderful book but then the sequels aren’t good and it casts a pall over the first book forever? I could never bear for that to happen with this series. What Jack Swift and I had was too special. *sniff*

I worried for nothing. If anything, book 4 may be better than the first three, and we all know that’s saying something. The plot is more complex, Chima creates a new scenario but stays true to her world, and she doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to freshen up the series with current fads. No dystopia here, folks.

What I’ve always appreciated about Chima is her character building. Emma and Jonah are no exceptions. They’re complex, flawed, developed people. Of course, former lead characters show up here, since they’re all in very powerful positions in the magical world. Chima hasn’t lost touch with those characters, either, and I’m sure we’ll all be relieved to learn that Jack and Ellen are still madly in love and still beating the crap out of each other.

The one thing that may irritate readers of the first three books? Say hello, cliffhanger! While the other three books were companions rather than sequels, this new segment falls into the recent vogue of leaving the reader in the lurch. I think we’re all used to that by now, though.

Recommend to: Fantasy fans, fans of the first three books, action fans

To buy or not to buy: Buy! Buy, buy, buy.

Fall Storytime

This week, I gave our revamped Fall storytime kit a whirl.

We read:

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Another great Lois Ehlert book that every child should own, this little beauty features illustrations made entirely of fall leaves and fun-to-turn pages with die-cut edges. It’s honestly better for sharing one-on-one than for storytime, but the page with the leaf cows always gets giggles.

Interactivity level: Low


Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley

This silly little story is popular with the flannel board makers in library land, and I may just follow suit some day. For now, I just shared the book. The tree in the story has an easy time with three of the four seasons, but it has problems with fall because it can’t get its leaves to turn the right colors. It winds up with all sorts of crazy alternatives like a rainbow, polka dots, a hamburger, a soccer ball, and even an Eat at Joe’s sign in its leaves.

Interactivity factor: Low, but the illustrations are giggle-getters and will keep kids’ attention.


How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? by Wendell Minor

This new pumpkin pondering from the author of Pumpkin Heads isn’t actually in the storytime kit, but I thought I would do better to test it than tried-and-true offerings like Leaf Jumpers or Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf. The verdict? Everyone loved the sillier illustrations, like the pumpkin on the freeway blocking traffic or the pumpkin on Mount Rushmore, but I’d advise skipping some pages as it really does go on a bit too long.

Interactivity factor: Low

Barn Dance! by Bill Martin, Jr.

This rhyming, countrified story about the farm animals and scarecrow having a midnight barn dance requires a little practice before reading in front of an audience.

Interactivity factor: Low


Action Rhymes

The Leaves on the Trees (tune: Leaves on the Bus)

The leaves on the trees turn yellow and brown,
Yellow and brown, yellow and brown,
The leaves on the trees turn yellow and brown,
All through the town.

The leaves on the trees come tumbling down,
Tumbling down, tumbling down,
The leaves on the trees come tumbling down,
All through the town.

The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish,
swish, swish, swish,
The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish,
All through the town.

We’ll rake them in a pile and jump right in,
Jump right in, jump right in,
We’ll rake them in a pile and jump right in,
All through the town.

Source: There are many near versions of this on the Internet, but I cannot find the source for this exact version. If you know where I got it, please tell me in the comments.

Scarecrow, Scarecrow

Scarecrow, Scarecrow
Turn around.
Scarecrow, Scarecrow
Touch the ground.
Scarecrow, Scarecrow
Reach up high.
Scarecrow, Scarecrow
Touch the sky.
Scarecrow, Scarecrow
Bend your knees.
Scarecrow, Scarecrow
Sit down, please.


Five Little Leaves

Five little leaves on the tree next door
One fell off and then there were four
Four little leaves all over the tree
One fell off and then there were three
Three little leaves where the wind blew
One fell off and then there were two
Two little leaves sitting in the sun
One fell off and then there was one
One little leaf in the tree all alone
The wind blew and blew now there are none!

Source: Storytime Katie


I printed out coloring sheets of bare trees and let the kids glue shredded tissue paper in fall leaf colors to their trees and color the background.

How It Went

Although the books in this kit are not the most interactive, both sessions went well. Fall is a fun, classic theme and I’m sure this kit will get plenty of use.

Reader’s Advisory: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb


by Victoria Lamb

Harlequin Teen, $9.99 trade paper, ISBN-10 0373210973, September 2013

Meg Lytton has always known she is different—that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practice witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne.

With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg’s hand in marriage, and Meg’s own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn’t a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice.

From the outside, this book appears to have it all: a beautiful cover, a catchy title, appearances from famous and popular historical persons, intrigue with an eye to rebellion, an illicit romance. A medieval witch falling for a priest? Forbidden love doesn’t get much more forbidden. Did you hear that, Thornbirds? This author sees you your priestly affair and raises you one witch.

Unfortunately, the story reaches none of its potential. Characters, setting, and system of magic remain undeveloped. The romance may be forbidden, but it’s also flat and unconvincing. Will teens check it out? Probably, based on how good it looks on paper, and I imagine it will have crossover appeal for adult fans of historical romance. Whether readers will find it satisfactory, however, is another matter entirely.

To buy or not to buy: Strictly an additional purchase.

Recommend to: Readers who devour all historical romance without prejudice.

Butterfly Storytime

Well, it’s back to testing our updated storytime kits! This week I used Butterflies. You’d think there would be a plethora of wonderful picture books about beautiful butterflies. You’d be totally wrong. Most butterfly books aren’t great for storytime, either because they’re too long or they’re just boring, and almost every single one focuses on the butterfly life cycle. Okay, we get it: egg, caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly. It’s awesome! However, explaining it six times to a group of fidgety preschoolers is less awesome. I worked hard to get some variety into this storytime and I’m not completely sure I succeeded.

We read:

Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek

We storytime presenter folks can’t get enough of this book. You can use it with a Colors theme (although some of the colors are in shades or combos that may confuse your kids), a Garden theme, or a Butterfly theme. Dye-cut holes give hints about the colors you’ll see on the next page, and there’s a gorgeous pop-up butterfly at the end that looks just like the one on the cover.

Interactivity factor: Medium


Don’t Worry, Bear by Greg E. Foley

Bear’s worried about his friend Caterpillar, whose cocoon is out in the wind and weather. Eventually Caterpillar becomes Silk Moth.

Interactivity factor: Low



Where’s My Mom? by Julia Donaldson

Butterfly tries to help Little Monkey find his mom, but takes him to an elephant, a snake, and many other animals instead. Finally it comes out that Butterfly’s babies don’t look like Butterfly, so Butterfly just didn’t realize Monkey’s mom would look like Monkey.

Interactivity factor: Medium. You can ask the children, “Is that Monkey’s mom? No? What is that?” for each animal.



Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

A beautifully illustrated discussion of the butterfly life cycle. Every child should have this book. However, it’s pretty lengthy and the kids were not into it at all because it isn’t naturally interactive and we’d discussed the life cycle so much already. For my second session, I skipped this and used…




The Crunching Munching Caterpillar by Sheridan Cain

This book also depicts the butterfly life cycle, but while Ehlert’s book (which, once again, every child should have) takes a fairly strict nonfiction approach, this book has a cute main character who dreams of flying and funny illustrations. It’s not necessarily more interactive, but the kids were more interested. Honestly, I think I would skip a picture book and use a nonfiction book with photos if I did this storytime again.


Action Songs

There’s a Tiny Caterpillar on a Leaf (tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)

There’s a tiny caterpillar on a leaf, wiggle, wiggle,
There’s a tiny caterpillar on a leaf, wiggle, wiggle,
There’s a tiny caterpillar, a tiny caterpillar, a tiny caterpillar on a leaf, wiggle, wiggle. (children do wiggling action for this verse)

There’s a big fat caterpillar on a leaf, munch, munch, etc (munching action)
There’s a pretty butterfly on a leaf, flutter, flutter, etc (fluttering action)

Source: Perpetual Preschool

Flutter, Flutter Butterfly (tune: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)

Flutter flutter butterfly
Floating in the springtime sky
Floating by for all to see
Floating by so merrily
Flutter flutter butterfly
Floating in the springtime sky

Source: Spring Mixer Family Storytime


The Butterfly Song (to the tune of “Up on the Housetop”)

First comes a butterfly and lays an egg,
Out comes a caterpillar with many legs,
Oh see the caterpillar spin and spin,
A little chrysalis to sleep in.

Oh, oh, oh, wait and see
Oh, oh, oh, wait and see
Out of the chrysalis, my oh my
out comes a pretty butterfly.

Source: CanTeach

Butterfly1 Butterfly2

As you can see, the chrysalis has a pocket. The butterfly folds up and fits inside, and with the correct choreography, you can make this flannelboard seem like a magic trick.

Craft: Cardboard Tube Butterflies

You need a coffee filter, a t.p. tube, glue, crayons, and a piece of pipe cleaner about an inch or two long. Oh, and probably Scotch tape. Fold the coffee filter in half and cut into butterfly wing shape. The kids color the wings, then glue the coffee filter (sorry, wings) to the cardboard tube. Then bend the pipe cleaner bit into a V-shape and glue or tape it to the inside of the head end so that the ends of it stick out like antennae. The kids had a GREAT time designing their own butterflies.

How It Went:

I think this kit is MUCH stronger than it was, but I might want to find a nonfiction paperback with some pretty butterfly photos to add in as well. The kit also includes The Very Hungry Caterpillar in board book format, and we also have it in big book format now, but it’s so time-honored that I didn’t feel like it really needed testing. Anyway, the kids really seemed to like the book with the monkey and anything that involved fluttering, and they worked happily on their butterfly crafts at great length because they wanted to get them just right. I’d call the week a success if not the high point of all storytimes ever. Next week, Fall!

Reader’s Advisory: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Did you read Raven Boys?

If yes, all you need to know is that The Dream Thieves is every bit as creative, funny, insightful, and inspired as Raven Boys, and even more magical and action-filled.

If no, WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?! Why are you on the Internet when you could be reading Raven Boys? If you don’t read Raven Boys, you will be totally lost when you read The Dream Thieves, which you have to do or I will hunt you down and maim you. I won’t kill you because that would keep you from reading the book, but maiming is definitely in your future.

The Dream Thieves

by Maggie Stiefvater

Scholastic Press, $18.99 hardcover, ISBN-10 0545424941, September 2013

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

I don’t know how to review this one without fangirling to the point that no one wants to read it or spoiling the plot, which is filled with twists, turns, and secrets, so here are some vague statements:

That thing Ronan said at the end of the first book is more fully explored.

Noah is still having problems being corporeal.

Adam either has PTSD from life with his father or his sacrifice is coming back to haunt him. Or both? Maybe both.

Bad guys are two for the price of one! Do you like super-controlled bad guys with many skills and a quick wit? Do you like off-the-rails bad guys who just want to watch the world burn? Either way, you’ll be happy.

Blue’s feelings for Adam and Gansey become clear to her.

Stuff blows up! Monsters attack! Mysteries unravel! Someone turns out to be homosexual and I won’t say who it is! But wait, there’s more! But I said I wouldn’t spoil the plot!

Everything is awesome. The only thing about this series that I don’t like is that as long as Stiefvater is writing it, we’re not going to get more of her awesome Faerie books.

To buy or not to buy: Are you KIDDING me? If you’re a librarian, you already have this on pre-order. Right? RIGHT?

Recommend to: People who read book one. If they didn’t, recommend book one to fantasy lovers and then they’ll want to read book 2.