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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

An Eye for Fashion

Cover of Potato Pants
A review of Potato Pants by Laurie Keller

All you spuds looking for duds, “Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants Store” is having a big sale on potato pants.  Hurry, hurry, hurry because “Once they’re gone, they’re gone!”

 

February 28, 2019

Attention honor roll students of comedy

Cover of Caddyshack: The Making of
A review of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story by Chris Nashawaty

This is the story behind the genius and tragedy of the 1980 comedy film Caddyshack. Full disclosure: I love National Lampoon and have most of the Vacation movies completely memorized. I was excited that there was a new book about Caddyshack, one of my all-time favorites. It can be tough to watch movies from the 70s and 80s with regards to racism and sexism and recreational drug use, but parts of Caddyshack hold up fairly well.

February 27, 2019

Clucky Birthday!

Cover of I Got a Chicken for my Bir
A review of I Got a Chicken for my Birthday by Laura Gehl

Ana asked her Abuela Lola (3 times!) for tickets to the amusement park for her birthday, but all she got was a chicken. Lucky for Ana… it isn’t any ordinary chicken. Her chicken isn’t interested in normal chicken things like laying eggs or pecking at chicken feed. Oh no! This chicken has PLANS. It has a list. It has blueprints. It has a bulldozer. This hysterical story told in simple sentences, brilliant illustrations, and funny little side notes “Sorry, no time for cake!” will keep you and your little one giggling over and over.

February 22, 2019

Welcome back, Carmen Sandiego

Cover of Who in the World is Carmen
A review of Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego? by Rebecca Tinker

I loved playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? a computer game created in 1985 by the American software company Broderbund. The game was originally classified as a "mystery exploration" series but became one of the first edutainment programs used in schools. I was introduced to the game as a 5.25-inch floppy disc for the Apple II. It was used in the computer lab when I was a student, to teach kids how to install computer programs and to build typing and mouse skills. I credit most of my knowledge of geography and capital cities of the world to this excellent game. 

February 21, 2019

Sweet Anticipation for March 2019

Sweet Anticipation graphic
New Titles

Like our recent deluge of snow, library collections see their own kind of deluge with the new year: the onslaught of 2019 titles. Our librarians have been so caught up in wading through the heaping piles of new titles we missed our previous two months of Sweet Anticipation, a fault we hope readers will forgive us. Just in time for the spring melt (fingers crossed), here are some of the top titles we’re looking forward to in March:

February 18, 2019

Shipwreck!

Cover of Salt to the Sea
A review of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

The most tragic shipwreck in history may be one very few people remember.  It’s not the Titanic.  It is the World War II sinking of the German military transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff in January 1945.  On a ship designed to carry 1,465 passengers and crew, 10,582 desperate refugees from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, fleeing the advancing Russian troops, crammed on-board.  Two torpedoes fired from a Russian submarine sank the ship and 9,343 passengers drowned, including 5,000 children. 

February 14, 2019

Mawage

Cover of Marriage: A History
A review of Marriage: A History by Stephanie Coontz

This fascinating social history tracks the institution, or what is now known as an "institution", of marriage through all its practical, political, religious, and romantic iterations and uses. There are surprising arrangements and partnerships between families, clans, or individual people at just about every point in history from pre-history to today. Like most social histories, a major takeaway that the "good old days" never existed, and that the soaring divorce rates are directly tied to the very new idea that marriage is based on romantic love, intimacy, and personal fulfillment.

February 12, 2019

Old Sins Cast Long Shadows

Cover of Ghost Boys
A review of Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I liked Jewell Parker Rhodes' book Towers Falling. So it was with great anticipation that I picked up her newest, Ghost Boys. Ghost Boys confronts another difficult, and all too real issue in today's society.  Twelve-year old Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer while playing with a toy gun in a park near his house.  Now, as a ghost, Jerome sees the devastating aftermath of his killing on his family, his friend, and his community.  Jerome meets the ghost of Emmett Till and hundreds of other ghost boys roaming the earth as their tragic history keeps replaying.

February 6, 2019

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