Summer Reading

Posted June 12, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Middle-grade Books

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Summer vacation is here. It’s time to get down to serious reading business. The first book I’ve chosen is Keeper  written by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by August Hall. I can see those lovers of children’s books shaking their heads, wondering why I haven’t read this book before now.

In my pile of reading material, books get shuffled around. Some books that were on top end up at the bottom of the pile. Alas, that’s what happened to Keeper. Never fear. It has been rescued and is beside me this very minute, waiting patiently for me to open its magical pages.

Keeper will be a keeper as I begin my summer reading adventures.

A few other books I’ll be reading this summer are:

Dead End in Norvelt written by Jack Gantos (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011)

The True Meaning of Smekday written by Adam Rex (Hyperion, 2007)

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! written by Polly Hovarth and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Schwartz & Wade, 2012)

Do you have a favorite middle-grade book to recommend?

Over, Done!

Posted June 8, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Avatar Friday

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School is over. Library is closed.

We’re done!

Do something good for yourself. Go to your public library and …

Read, Read, Read!!!

Faded Memories

Posted June 5, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

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In the past three weeks I’ve been to three graduations – college, high school, and grade school. On Sunday, one of the young speakers at the grade school graduation I attended told his classmates that their graduation would be something they would always remember and they would maintain their friendships throughout the years.

I scoured my brain for graduation memories. This is what I came up with. In grade school, we wore royal blue caps and gowns and there were four-two graduates – all from one eighth grade class. My high school graduation was hot. The only picture I have of my graduation shows me in an orange, sleeveless dress with perspiration stains under my arms. Not cool! At my college graduation, we sweltered in the football stadium stands, and my family celebrated by taking me out to Roy Roger’s Roast Beef. Not too memorable!

And what about those friendships the young speaker spoke of maintaining throughout the years? In reality, true-blue friends are hard to find. People change. Times change. You lose contact. A friendship that weathers the test of time is a true friendship. Consider yourself successful if you have one of those priceless friends.

Memories of graduations fade, but friends don’t. I hope those grade school graduates work to keep their special friendships because, no matter what, a true friend will always be there with you.

What are your graduation memories?

Books for Graduation Gifts:

Yay, You! : Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On  written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton (Little Simon, 2001)

I Knew You Could!  written by Craig Dorfman and illustrated by Christina Ong (Grosset & Dunlap, 2003)

Reach for the Stars: and Other Advice for Life’s Journey  written and illustrated by Serge Bloch (Sterling, 2010)

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1990)

“Say It Ain’t So, Joe!”

Posted June 1, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

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If you had the opportunity to read the blog I posted about baseball last year, you know my feelings about the sport. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, you can see it here.

Since I last expressed my true feelings on the All-American game, nothing has changed. I still find baseball uninspiring. Not even peanuts and Cracker Jacks can pique my interest. Maybe a beer … or two … or three … or four would help, but I doubt it. I’d just end up with a headache and feeling bloated.

I must admit not all things about baseball are boring. I’ve learned to appreciate a few baseball terms – like cheese, donut, lollipop, meatball, and pancake. They conjure up some pretty delicious thoughts. On the other hand, the term spit ball grosses me out.

Even though I harbor negative feelings about the sport, I don’t want to taint the opinions of my library students – especially when there are some great baseball books for them to enjoy.

Cool Baseball Facts, written by Kathryn Clay, is a book that has some interesting information. The reading level is for younger students, but I’ve used the book with older groups, too. I pitch questions at them from the facts included in the book. Sometimes they get a hit. Other times they strike out. It’s a great way to get them actively involved.

Baseball isn’t for everyone, but I don’t want to drop the ball when it comes to giving others the opportunity to immerse themselves in the sport. Just because I’m the one out in left field doesn’t mean I’m a total screwball. I don’t want to be accused of having my foot in the bucket. I’m willing to step up to the plate and knock the cover off the ball to get kids interested in reading – even if it means reading books about baseball. Who knows, with the right attitude, this could be a whole new ball game for me!

Baseball picture books I recommend:

How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball written and illustrated by David Shannon (Blue Sky Press, 2012)

Bats at the Ballgame written and illustrated by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010)

Baseball Saved Us written by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee (Lee & Low Books, 1995)

From Sport Panties to Thongs

Posted May 29, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Fun, Life

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We’ve come a long way, baby! Can you imagine wearing the “fine white cotton pantie” under slacks and with play clothes?”

Definitely not sexy according to today’s standards.

Look at that Barbie doll waist on the sketch of the flannel slacks and white shirt! No way would those sport panties fit nicely under those slacks without revealing a bulky panty line.

Maybe the elastic sport girdle is the answer. According to the add, it’s for the “young figure.” I guess if you have an old figure you’re out of luck. Go figure!

Fashions come and go. Sometimes they even make a comeback. (These fashion disasters reappeared in a box of old love letters from my parents and grandparents. Hmmm … I wonder what that signifies.)

It looks like yesterday’s girdles have morphed into today’s body shapers. Thank goodness the “sport pantie” is a thing of the past and underwear has become smooth and sexy. Thank you, Victoria’s Secret.

It’s interesting to take a peek into the past and see how fashions have evolved. One thing is for sure. Over the years, lingerie has gotten smaller, but the prices have gotten bigger!

Cheers, Chairs, and ALL THE WORLD

Posted May 25, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Writers and Illustrators

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The world is smaller than you think. Look around. More often than not, there is someone or something that sparks a light of familiarity from another time or place.

Last weekend we attended UW-Madison graduation and spent time celebrating on the Memorial Union Terrace, overlooking Lake Mendota. We sat in the famous “sunburst” chairs as we raised our cups to give cheers to the graduate.

“Mendota Blue” Sunburst Chair

This week I began book inventory in our school library. I reshelved the book, All the World, written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Caldecott Honor medalist, Marla Frazee. There is one particular double-page spread I take special pride in pointing out to students. Marla Frazee created an illustration of a café with sunburst chairs and tables – chairs and tables exactly like those on the Wisconsin Union Terrace.

In this beautiful book, whether you know it or not, a familiar part of Wisconsin has been represented. It’s a small world after all!


Posted May 22, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Fun

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This past weekend we embarked on a journey of social engagements that will keep us busy until the end of July. This isn’t normal for us. Our social calendar is what some people would consider boring. Suddenly, after years of boring, we find our calendar jam-packed with graduations, showers, weddings, dinners, weekend guests, and a vacation.

We have a conundrum. With all this social activity, who’s going to cut the grass and weed the garden? Who’s going to chase the dust bunnies in the house and the ravenous rabbits in the yard? Who’s going to take out the garbage and recycle bins and bring them back inside? Who cares? I surely don’t.

It would have been nice if these events had been spaced more evenly throughout the year, but since they’re not I’m going to take advantage of all the invitations to enjoy time with friends and family. We’ll take care of the rest later after we rest later.

Sometimes boring is good, but not this summer. The party-hearty journey has begun!

The graduate enjoying a cool beverage at the UW-Madison Union Terrace.

Party-hearty with these picture books!

Bumble-Ardy by Maurice Sendak

If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff

I’m Invited to a Party! by Mo Willems

Miss Spider’s Tea Party  by David Kirk


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