Category Archives: Children’s Books

Countdown to Caldecott: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

I first encountered 1943 Caldecott Medal winner The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton via the Disney cartoon short adaptation that I loved when I was a child. This was in the days before VCRs, even, so I had to be grateful whenever I managed to catch the short on TV, and it was never often enough. The story’s essential distrust of human nature spoke to 5-year-old me, and I think this interest is what grew and flourished into a lifelong love of dystopias, post-apocalyptic scenarios, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

But I digress.

I had no idea that my … Read the rest

Revisiting Mother Goose

I recently reread this Horn Book article about Mother Goose rhymes, which has gotten me all into reading nursery rhymes again, because apparently I didn’t have enough reading to do. Every time I revisit Mother Goose, I am surprised. For instance, somehow I’d missed this one all my life:

Bat, bat,
Come under my hat,
And I’ll give you a slice of bacon,
And when I bake,
I’ll give you a cake
If I am not mistaken.

Bacon, cake, and bats all in one rhyme, and somehow I managed to go almost two decades without ever making it into a … Read the rest

Quotable Sunday

“When the Boxcar Children was first published, there were some upset adults who felt that children shouldn’t be enjoying themselves so much without adult supervision. To which I say, is being a kid hobo living in a boxcar really that fun?”
-John Green

I imagine most of my readers will have already seen this video, but, if not, it’s worth watching.

Read the rest

Quotable Saturday

“You might be afraid of the dark, but the dark is not afraid of you.”
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen… Read the rest

What I Did in Storytime Today and How It Worked Out

Anne went to a training thing today, so I got to do her storytimes. I felt a little nervous about it, to be honest, because I’m out of practice and wanted to do a good job (Anne does excellent storytimes), but I wound up having so much fun.

Storytime #1: The Babies

For this, I searched my own blog, found this post I did on my Stories for Wee Ones at WPL, and used the rhyme and song plan I posted there. It was like visiting old friends: “Wiggle Fingers,” “Here is a Beehive,” “Five Plump Peas.” Those guys are … Read the rest

I Can’t Imagine There Was Ever a Time in Which This Version of Little Red Riding Hood Wasn’t Creepy

Scary Red Riding Hood

This is one of the Little Golden Books I inherited from my late husband. He had quite a collection. It was originally published in 1948, and in 1973, it was in its thirty-fourth printing. For all those years, thousands of parents were buying this thing for their children, and the cover looks like a horror movie poster. I mean, Red has black holes for eyes. It’s almost as bad as the buttons in Coraline.

Of course, fairy tales are supposed to be scary, so this has a prominent place on my bookshelf. Right near All My Friends are DeadRead the rest

Learning the Alphabet and How to Count and Other Useful Things

Something I’m having to adjust to in my new job is not reading about picture books all the time. I still read about them some, but I’m not buying them anymore, and it’s different. Anne brings me picture books she thinks I’ll like sometimes (she’s always right), and lately I’ve been getting in the habit of checking out the new shelf once a week or so and grabbing a pile of books to read that look interesting. I discovered a couple books I really liked this week: Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout and One Two That’s My Shoe by … Read the rest

Tiny Beautiful Things

This week, I read Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, which included this letter I’d never read from her column. The letter made me weep, and Strayed’s response made me weep, and I feel compelled to share it with all of you.

In the twisty way life works, Liz is the one who convinced me to read Tiny Beautiful Things even though I felt like I’d probably read most of the columns online already (which turned out not to be true), and the day I started Tiny Beautiful Things was also the day I finally got to read Liz’s new … Read the rest

“Live in the Layers”

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   

but because it never forgot what it could do.
-from “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Jules introduced me to this poem some time ago, and I’ve had it in my mind over the last few weeks as people have been in various ways honoring the work I’ve done at WPL. I felt weird about the attention at first, but then I relaxed about it. I am grateful that so many people have in enjoyed the work I’ve … Read the rest

Quotable Wednesday

And with a little help he and Bird followed the wind.
“I hope this is a good idea,” said Vernon.
Bird said nothing.
“Bird is very brave,” thought Vernon.
A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead… Read the rest