Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy New Year!

Are you making a New Year's Resolution? Do you resolve to peruse a bigger variety of magazines and newspapers? Go on a healthy diet? Get more exercise? Read more nonfiction? Learn to cook? Maybe you'd like to learn to knit or quilt or build a birdhouse. Looking to spend more time on family activities? Or maybe you just want to find a quiet place to read. We can help with all of these and more! So, as you pursue your New Year's Resolution, let the library guide you to success.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


The Children's Room received memorial donations in honor of Lucille Magwire, an educator and beloved friend of the library. I felt that the best way to use this money was to buy books for children and their families. The classics was the first thought that came to my mind, as our copies were old and worn (some damaged) and not targeted for budgetary funds. As the cold weather settles in, I'm thinking how comforting it would be for a family to read one together aloud on a wintry night with mugs of hot chocolate and handfuls of cookies. I think Lucille would like that. Below is just a partial listing of our new acquisitions, thanks to the people who were touched by Lucille's charm.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Goodies!

Thanksgiving is next week and all of those December holidays are just around the corner. Get your kids involved in the menu and cook up something delicious.

Maybe you'd like to try something traditional for Thanksgiving--something made by American Indians or a recipe from the colonial period. If so, take a look at Cooking up History by Suzanne I. Barchers. If a regional dish is preferred, The United States Cookbook by Joan D'Amico would be a good choice. Looking for a recipe that reflects your own family heritage? We have The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna F. Cook and The Kids Around the World Cookbook by Deri Robins. Kids Cook 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold is a collection of easy recipes that use only three ingredients each--perfect for kids. For vegetarians, we have The Jumbo Vegetarian Cookbook by Judi Gillies and Vegetarian Cooking for Beginners by Fiona Watt. Cookies are always a welcome treat, especially at holiday time. Check out Bake the Best-Ever Cookies! by Sarah A. Williamson and Amazing Cookies by Elizabeth MacLeod. There are lots more cookbooks available, both in the children's and adults' collection. Ask us, and we'll help you find them. (Give us a cookie, and we'll do just about anything you ask!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's the BIG Idea?

I will be attending the final "What's the BIG Idea?" conference next week. For the past three years, the Springfield Town Library has been a part of a pilot project conducted by the Vermont Center for the Book with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The goal is to bring math and science programming into the public library setting. In addition to programming ideas, we have been the recipient of books, materials, and kits worth several thousand dollars. You may have noticed the red wagon in the Children's Room that carries a learning center. I hope you and your child have investigated its contents. Some Story Times and Discovery Hours have featured BIG Idea concepts.

The Vermont Center for the Book (http://www.mothergooseprograms.org/ )
suggests asking questions like these to involve math and science in your child's at home story times and experiences:

Connecting questions
What does that remind you of?
What do you notice about this character that reminds you of someone you know?
What other story have we read that reminds you of this story?
What other things do your sort? How do arrange these things?
Predicting questions
What do you think will happen now/next if…?
Evaluating questions
What do you like about this? Why?
What don’t you like? Why?

Another way to frame questions can be found in an article by Ruth Wilson (adapted from Martens, 1999, p. 26):

Attention-focusing questions to call attention to significant details
What is it doing? How does it feel?
Measuring and counting questions to generate more precise information
How many?
How much?
How heavy?
Comparison questions to foster analysis and classification
How are they alike?
How are they different?
Action questions to encourage exploration of properties and events
What if…?
Problem solving questions to support planning and trying solutions to problems
How could we…?
Reasoning questions to encourage reflection and to construct new ideas
What do you think?
Can you explain that?

By asking these simple questions at home and by taking advantage of the learning centers and programs offered at the library, you can help your children become critical thinkers and problem solvers, necessary skills in today's (and tomorrow's) world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

November 4: A Very Important Day

After what seems like forever, there's only a few more days left until we choose our new leaders. Involve your child in the voting process by reading with her/him books on the subject. Talk about voting and explain how you have formed your decision about which candidates to support. Most importantly, set a good example by voting.
Books on the topic in our collection include:
Vote! by Eileen Christelow
Eyewitness Vote by Philip Steele
America Votes: How our President is Elected by Linda Granfield
And just for fun, there's Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
Help your child to develop the habits of a good citizen--get out and vote!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hooray for Squirrels!

October is Squirrel Awareness Month. Come to our celebration of these bushy tailed creatures on Wednesday, October 22 at 3:40 pm. Listen to a squirrel story, go on an acorn hunt, make a squirrel mask, and watch a squirrel cartoon while eating Squirrel Sundaes--our own creation of butternut (or vanilla) ice cream, caramel topping, and whipped cream. In the meantime, read one of our delightful squirrel tales:

Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman
Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
Shoo! Scat! By Lois G. Grambling
Scaredy Squirrel, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach and Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend all by Melanie Watt
The Tale of Nutkin and The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes both by Beatrix Potter
Forest by Janet Taylor Lisle
Henry by Nina Bawden

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Great Stevens Frenzy

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Red Clover Conference at the Basin Harbor Inn in Vergennes. The keynote and endnote speakers were Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel, lovingly known as the Stevens Sisters. Their book, The Great Fuzz Frenzy, was the 2007 Red Clover Winner, Vermont's Children's Choice Picture Book Award. They were fantastic speakers--entertaining and inspirational. They helped us recognize the child within ourselves and reminded us who, as children's librarians, are first and foremost in our professions.

We have several books by the Stevens Sisters (Susan writes and Janet illustrates). Check them out--you won't be sorry!

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (a 2002-2003 Red Clover Selection)
The Great Fuzz Frenzy (the 2006-2007 Red Clover winner)
Help Me, Mr. Mutt (brand new)

We also have books by each individual sister as well. You can find them listed in our online catalog by their names.

While you're at it, take a look at this year's Red Clover selections. As a committee member, I can honesty say that each title is carefully selected by ten pairs of critical and knowledgeable eyes. And the real winners? The kids--our Red Clover readers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

May Peace Be With You

The United Nations' International Day of Peace will be celebrated on Sunday, September 21. On this day, the global community--each one of us individually and as a group--is asked to make efforts to promote peace.

You can participate on a small scale by sharing with your family a book about peace that might spark a discussion. We have these selections to offer:

The Big Book for Peace edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs

Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz

Why War is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
Manneken Pis : a Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War by Vladimir Radunsky.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Vermont Reads

This Fall's Vermont Reads selection is A Restless Spirit: the Story of Robert Frost by Natalie Bober. Copies are available now at the library.

While this event is for adults and young adults, the books by and about Robert Frost that we have in our children's collection are worth a mention:
Birches illustrated by Ed Young
Cow in Apple Time illustrated by Dean Yeagle
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening illustrated by Susan Jeffers
Making Poems for America by Gorham Bert Munson
Robert Frost, America's Poet by Doris Faber

To celebrate Vermont Reads, we have the following programs scheduled that are suitable for adults and young adults:
September 17 @ 7:00 pm: "The Endurance of Robert Frost" presented by Jim Schley, Executive Director of the Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire
October 15 @6:30 pm: "Take a Bite Out of Poetry"- Enjoy pizza while listening to and reciting bad poetry (your own or someone else's).
October 23 @7:00 pm: Book discussion

Even if you're having difficulty finding time to read the book because of "promises to keep before you sleep", you are still welcome to attend the programs. See you there!

Monday, September 1, 2008

North to Alaska...

... and then home to Vermont. My husband and I were fortunate enough to spend the past two weeks in our 49th state. While there, I learned a lot about the native cultures and enjoyed spectacular scenery. The photo of the totem pole at the right was taken at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage (http://www.alaskanative.net/ ). Did you know that many totem poles tell stories and family histories? Early missionaries to the region discouraged the carving of totem poles and even burned existing ones because they thought they were a form of pagan worship. Instead, they are a medium for artistic expression with something to say. This particular one celebrates the act of handing down family stories and folktales from one generation to the next.

With your own stories in mind, you can help your child make his/her own totem pole by using a paper towel tube. Directions can be found at

Learn more about totem poles at any of these websites:

While in Anchorage, we visited the statue of Balto (pictured at left). Balto was the leader of the sled dog team that made the final leg of the diphtheria serum run from Anchorage to Nome that saved the lives of many children. This 1925 event is commemorated each year by the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. You can read all about it in the book Balto and the Great Race by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. There is another statue of this dog hero at Central Park in New York City.

Other books of interest that are in our collection include:
Akiak : a Tale from the Iditarod by Robert J. Blake
Iditarod Dream by Ted Wood
Woodsong by Gary Paulsen
Kiana's Iditarod by Shelley Gill
Carving a Totem Pole by Vickie Jensen
A Child's Alaska by Claire Rudolph Murphy
Alaska by Donna Walsh Shepherd
The Hungry Giant of the Tundra by Teri Sloat
Arctic Memories by Normee Ekoomiak
Song of the North by Frank Asch
Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to School

August 27 will be here before we know it! Kids can get in the mood by reading a good school story. There are 671 items listed under "Schools--Fiction" in our catalog! Yikes! You can browse through the titles or go with ones suggested here.

There are a lot of series books that feature kids and school. Favorites include characters like Clementine, Junie B. Jones, Horrible Harry, Marvin Redpost, Ramona, Amber Brown, and Judy Moody and her cute little brother Stink. (I especially like the scenario when Stink brings home the class hamster for the weekend and loses him--very funny.) Many of these characters can be heard on CD and tapes, too.

The following might be of interest for kids just beginning school:

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
My First Day of School by Nancy Skarmeas
I am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child
Kindergarten Countdown by Anna Jane Hays
My Kindergarten by Rosemary Wells
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

Ever wonder what would happen if you went to school every single day of the year? A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech tackles that one. Billy Tartle in Say Cheese by Michael Townshend makes a boring school picture day not-so-boring. Andrew Clements is very clever with his school stories. Imagine making up a new word (Frindle) or having a no talking contest between the fifth grade boys and girls (No Talking). Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard will help kids prepare for the substitute teacher. And who can resist that cute little puppy, Biscuit? (Biscuit Goes to School by Alyssa Satin Capucilli)

We have lots of titles (671 to be exact). Browse through the selections and pick one or more that are right for your scholar!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shooting Stars

If the weather cooperates and we get some clear nights, take your family outside to star gaze. The Perseid Meteor Shower is occurring now, with the peak display on the morning of August 12. To glimpse a shooting star, go outside, turn off outside (and some inside) lights, and just randomly scan the sky. Be patient, and pretty soon you'll see one. Don't forget to make a wish. Of course, your odds of seeing one increase as we get closer to August 12. You can find information about the Perseides at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids .

When you go outside, bring along a portable star chart to help you identify the constellations. Cover a flashlight with a piece of red cellophane, thin cloth, or tissue paper to help you see the chart and still keep your eyes adjusted to the limited light. Even though it looks old and dated, Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey, the creator of Curious George, is a fabulous book for learning about the stars. I also recommend One Small Square: the Night Sky by Donald. M. Silver.

A fun family activity is to particpate in the "Eye on the Sky Stargazing Party" Sunday night, August 10. Bring a radio outside with you, tune into VPR, and listen. Find out all about it at http://www.vpr.net/community/fun_stuff/stargazing_party/ . There's even a link to an interactive star chart at the site.

Want to know more about comets and meteors? Check out Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids by Seymour Simon. Collision Course: Cosmic Impacts and Life on Earth by Fred Bortz explains what happens when a shooting star hits the earth--a sometimes frightening scenario. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer takes the scenario even further with a story about the consequence of a meteor hitting the moon, knocking it closer to earth. Though fascinating, I think I will just stick with the notion that shooting stars are made to be wished upon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Tale of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was born on this day (July 28) in 1866. She was a woman of many talents--artist, naturalist, scientist, and author. She spent much time in the Lake District of Northwest England which, I believe, is the most beautiful part of the British Isles. Upon her death in 1943, she left the property she owned there to the National Trust, preserving it for all to enjoy.

We are all familiar with her darling little children's books, and I hope that you are introducing them to your youngsters. She wrote 23 books during her lifetime, and we have lots from Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes to The Tale of Two Bad Mice and those in between including The Tale of Peter Rabbit. We even have a little known chapter book entitled The Fairy Caravan.

If you enjoy listening to books on CD with your family, you might want to borrow Rabbit Ears: Stories by Beatrix Potter. It would be a fun choice for a long car ride. We even have a DVD suitable for a rainy afternoon that showcases ballet vignettes of Potter's stories.

To learn more about the remarkable woman, check out one of these biographies for children:
Beatrix Potter by Alexandra Wallner
Beatrix: Various Episodes from the Life of Beatrix Potter by Jeanette Winter
For adults and young adults, we have Beatrix Potter: a Life in Nature by Linda Lear

You can also get a glimpse into her life at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrix_Potter
The World of Peter Rabbit is a website worth exploring: http://www.peterrabbit.com/
It contains games for children, coloring pages, things to make, and more.

I, for one, am grateful to this woman for she has enriched my life and that of my family's with her stories, beautiful watercolors, and belief in conservation.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon...

...and let me play among the stars!

Yesterday (July 20) marked the 39th anniversary of the first moon landing. I remember listening to Neil Armstrong's famous words as he stepped onto the surface of the moon, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Buzz Aldrin was next, and Michael Collins remained in the mother ship Columbia. It was so exciting, and the feeling has been captured in the biographies of each of these men. You can find them in our children's collection:

One Giant Leap: the Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown
Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin
The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon by Bea Uusma (winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction in 2004)

And we can't forget about this book. After all, they didn't get to the moon by themselves!
Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catheine Thimmesh

We also have books about the moon:
The Moon by Seymour Simon
Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
Moon by Steve Tomecek

The next time you get a chance to gaze at the moon, think of the men who have traveled there and back. Maybe someday you will get a chance to play among the stars, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Get VERY Buggy with Eric Carle

Eric Carle has written and illustrated "very" many books that feature bugs:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Quiet Cricket
The Very Lonely Firefly
The Very Clumsy Click Beetle
The Very Busy Spider
(plus one not so "very" book: The Grouchy Lady Bug).

There are very many activities you and you child can do with these books. Make a very fine picture collage of one of the bugs using very colorful cut up magazine pages. Check how very clumsy you are (or aren't) by walking along a line taped to the floor or by balancing on one leg. On a very warm summer's evening, catch very many fireflies in a jar and release them very soon. Make a very large fruit salad using the very yummy fruits described in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Guess the temperature outside by counting chirps from very loud crickets. Count the number of cricket chirps heard within 15 seconds and add 40. Compare your cricket temperature to the actual one to see how very close they are.

Have a very good time reading!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Let's Go Camping!

With summertime comes camp time. I really enjoy sleeping under the stars. We have lots of books that will help you and your chlid make the most of your camping experience.
Nonfiction titles include:
First Camping Trip by C.B. Colby
Follow the Trail by Jessica Loy
Let's Go Camping! by Jan Mader
Camp Out! by Lynn Brunelle

Perhaps you're just not the outdoors type or maybe the weather isn't cooperating. You can pretend to camp. Drape a sheet over a table or chairs, grab a flashlight, and a few good books.
Our camping fiction titles include:
Camping Out by Heather Amery
Stella and Roy Go Camping by Ashley Wolff
Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams
Pig Pig Goes to Camp by David McPhail

Maybe you'd prefer to read American Indian tales. Here are a few written by Joseph Bruchac:
The First Strawberries
How Chipmunk Got His Stripes
Turtle's Race with Beaver

Scary stories are are always fun, too. There's Alvin Scwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. My favorite is Dark at the Top of the Stairs by Sam McBratney.

However you choose to camp, don't forget the s'mores. If you don't have a campfire at your site or if you're pretend camping, here's an easy way to make them. Spread marshmallow creme on a graham cracker square, place a piece of chocolate on the creme, and top it off with another graham square. You can also substitute a real marshmallow or two for the creme, put the sandwich together, and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Yum, yum!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy 4th!

The 4th of July is coming fast. I just love the way we celebrate our nation's independence--a fun-filled day spent with family and friends at picnics, barbecues, swimming holes, and concerts that culminates with a splendid display of illuminations.

If your family is looking for a good recipe for your celebration, maybe you'd like to try Virginia Pound Cake (topped with fresh Vermont strawberries, of course). You can find this recipe in Cooking Up History by Suzanne I. Barchers. Or maybe you'd like to start the morning off with Banana Berry Pancakes with real maple syrup. This is the Vermont entry in the United States Cookbook by Joan D'Amico. The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker includes instructions for an old-fashioned taffy pull. You can add some fun to the menu with items like Pretzel Butterflies, Potato Flip Flops, or Banana Dogs. Recipes for these and more can be found in The Secret Life of Food by Clare Crespo.

However you choose to celebrate the holiday, may it be happy and safe.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Springfield Library Infested ...

...with Reading Bugs!! You, too, can Catch the Reading Bug or experience a Metamorphosis.

All day, any day beginning today kids up to grade 5 can sign up for Catch the Reading Bug and those entering grades 6 and up can participate in Metamorphosis.

Catch the Reading Bug members will receive a reading journal, bookmark, stickers, Daily Buzz newsletter, and game sheet. Metamorphosis participants will receive a journal that doubles as a poster, bookmark, mood pencil or sticky notes, and a chance to win a n MP3 player.

So, sign up NOW!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Celebrate Juneteenth!

It's official--Juneteenth is now a state holiday to be celebrated annually on the third Saturday of June. It commemorates the emancipation of African Americans from slavery. Vermont became the 29th state to recognize this significant holiday last Tuesday.

The Emancipation proclamation became effective on January 1, 1863, though it had little effect on the lives of the slaves it was meant to free. In particular, Texas remained in control by Confederates, and its government refused to recognize the proclamation. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger, accompanied by federal troops, entered Texas, took over, and enforced emancipation. Juneteenth, a combination of June and nineteenth, was first celebrated in Texas to mark this event a year later. Eventually, people of the southern states joined in on the annual commemoration. Now, much of the U.S. celebrates Juneteenth.

You can find out more about this holiday by reading the book Juneteenth: a Day to Celebrate Freedom From Slavery by Angela Leeper or by checking out these websites:

Vermont's first official Juneteenth will be held this Saturday, June 21. Celebrate this event like they do in Texas--with a backyard barbecue and ice cream.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kindred Spirits: Celebrating 100 years of Anne

June 13 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. You can read about the book(s) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_of_Green_Gables, visit the official 100 Years of Anne site at http://www.100yearsofanne.com/, and learn about Anne and Prince Edward Island at

Anne Shirley is an endearing character loved by millions. You are invited to attend the library's celebration of our kindred spirit on Wednesday, June 18. Beginning at 3:00, you can make a mini scrapbook. (Montgomery was an avid scrapbooker and often drew upon her keepsakes for storylines.) Join us for dessert of liniment cake and raspberry cordial at 6:30 followed by a reading and film segment. Participants are encouraged to wear straw hats, red (or green) braids, and/or puffy sleeves. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Bernard Sendak was born this day in 1928. Dartmouth College Librarian Patti Houghton, a Weathersfield native, curated an exhibit at Dartmouth's Baker Library entitled "Facing the North Wind: The Morton E. Wise Collection of Maurice Sendak" (http://library.dartmouth.edu/news/?t=1&type=41). That exhibit is running now through the end of the month. Patti shared with me an interesting bit of information about Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, a book most of us are familiar with. One of Sendak's boyhood memories involved visiting relatives on holidays and family celebrations. In greeting, his aunts would pinch his cheeks and exclaim, "I love you so, I'll eat you up!" (Sound familiar?) If you look at his illustrations of the wild things, you might notice a resemblance to aunts and uncles. This information has made the book less scary and more fun for me!

Sendak's In the Night Kitchen has been a regular on the American Library Association's list of frequently challenged and banned books. I've heard all of the interpretations--sexual and non sexual--and I think people are reading too much into it. Enjoy the book for what it is.

In addition to those two Sendak books, we also have:
Alligators All Around
Chicken Soup with Rice
Higglety Pigglety Pop! : or, there must be more to life
Mommy? ( pop-up book)
Outside Over There
Pierre : a cautionary tale in five chapters and a prologue
The Sign on Rosie's Door
We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy
We also have books illustrated by Sendak as well, like, my favorite, the Little Bear Series by Else Holmelund Minarik.

Read a biography of Sendak on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Sendak and find out all of the awards and accomplishments of this best selling children's author.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"How softly runs the afternoon beneath the billowy clouds of June ." (Charles Towne)

So reads the cryptoquote in today's Rutland Herald--a perfect selection for this beautiful June day. Perhaps you have an appreciation of writings and speech that are so effective and eloquent that they are worth remembering. Or maybe you are just interested in knowing what prompted or inspired the words. If so, the children's collection has two books you might be interested in:

Who Said That?: Famous Americans Speak by Robert Burleigh
Quotations for Kids compiled by J.A. Senn

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." (Albert Einstein)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer Program Calendars ...

...are ready! We have lots of fun programs, activities, and, of course, books to help you while away the summer days.

Monday, May 19, 2008

In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow...

Memorial Day is fast approaching. It's a bittersweet holiday for me. I look forward to the unofficial start of summer the holiday provides, but I'm always so moved by the thoughts of the men and women who have served our country, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The holiday provides an opportunity to talk with children about war, peace, and courage, and the library has some books that might help you start a dialogue with your child.

Memorial Day by Trudi Strain Trueit
In Flanders Fields: the Story of the Poem by John McCrae by Linda Granfield
True Stories of the Second World War by Paul Dowswell
True Stories of the First World War by Paul Dowswell
Manneken Pis: the Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War by Vladimir Radunsky
Why War is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
The War by Anais Vangelade
Patrol: an American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigon
Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz
The Big Book for Peace edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dance, Dance, Dance

Congratulations to the Dance Factory dancers for a wonderful Mother's Day weekend performance! If you have an interest in dance, you might want to check out the following books in our children's collection:

Ballerina Dreams by Lauren Thompson
Why Sparks Fly: the legend of Dancing Point by Mary Quattlebaum
Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief
Dance by Elisah Cooper
Savion:My Life in Tap by Savion Glover
Rap a Tap Tap by Leo and Diane Dillon
Tap-Dance Fever by Pat Brison
Mama Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray
Hop Jump by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Put your dancing shoes on and get moving!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring Music

Early each morning as I walk my dog, we are serenaded by a chorus of birdsong. How lovely this music is! I've been trying to identify birds by their song, but it is a difficult skill to master. There are two very basic books about birdsong in the Children's Collection that make a good introduction to the subject. We also have many nonfiction as well as fiction books about birding. If you and your child(ren) are interested in learning more about birds, take a look at one or all of the books listed below. Help your kid(s) appreciate the beauty and wonder our feathered friends bring to this world.

Bird Songs by Betsy Franco
Bird Talk by Ann Jonas
Backyard Birds by Robert Bateman
Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Birds by Jim Arnosky
Crinkleroot's 25 Birds Every Child Shold Know by Jim Arnosky
About Birds by Cathryn Sill
Bird-watching by David Burnie
Birds of North America by Dr. Philip Burton
The Birdwatchers by Simon James
It's a Hummingbird's Life by Irene Kelly
Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell

Book Beginnings 3--The Answers

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieska
Sounder by William H. Armstrong
The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lots of Reasons to Get Your Hands Dirty!

The recent spell of gorgeous weather and today's much needed rain are making me think about gardening. As the title suggests, we have lots of gardening books for kids that will make them want to dig into the soil barehanded (as if they needed an excuse). From beginning gardening to container gardening to gardening crafts--we've got it all. And if you'd rather read about someone else getting dirty, we've got picture books as well. Here are just a few:

Garden by Robert Maass
Gardening Crafts for Kids by Diane Rhodes
Green Thumbs by Laurie Carlson
Starting Gardening by Sue Johnson and Cheryl Evans
My Backyard Garden by Carol Lerner
Container Gardening for Kids by Ellen Talmage
Kids Container Gardening by Cindy Krezel

Picture Books
Eddie's Garden and How to Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland
Cecil's Garden by Holly Keller
Flora's Surprise by Debi Gliori
Green Beans by Elizabeth Thomas
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Gardener's Alphabet by Mary Azarian

Happy Spring!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day! If you haven't already, this day presents the perfect opportunity to initiate a conversation with your child(ren) about the environment. Take advantage of the gorgeous weather we're having and go for a walk. Bring a bag with you and pick up the litter that you find along the way. Investigate vernal pools and rotting logs that may appear at the side of your path. Sit on a rock in a quiet spot, enjoy a snack, and just listen to the sounds of nature that surround you. Celebrate the day!

We have lots of books about nature and the environment for you to borrow. Here are some suggestions:
Kids Care! by Rebecca Olien
A Log's Life by Wendy Pfeffer
Woods and Backyard Pond by David M. Silver
Ecology for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
Frog Heaven: Ecology of a Vernal Pool by Doug Wechsler

Perhaps you would like to make an earth-friendly craft. Look to these books for guidance:
Nature's Art Box by Laura C. Martin
Organic Crafts by Kimberly Monaghan
Ecology Crafts by Bobbie Needham

However you celebrate, may you have a joyous and peaceful day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April is a great time of the year to talk about weather with your child. It is a month where anything from snow to a 70 degree sunny day can happen. Start by checking out the "What's the BIG Idea? Exploring Weather Kit." It contains the book Who Likes the Rain?, a rain gauge, 2 thermometers, and a mini manual chock full of activities. We have several nonfiction books and lots of picture books about all aspects of weather. Here are some suggestions:

What Will the Weather Be? by Lynda Dewitt
Weather by Rebecca Rupp
Let's Look at Weather by Nicola Tuxworth
Weather Words by Gail Gibbons
In the Rain with Baby Duck by Amy Hest
Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin, Jr.
Come on Rain by Karen Hesse
Puddles by Jonathan London
Peter Spier's Rain by Peter Spier
The Rain Came Down by David Shannon
Red Rubber Boot Day by Mary Lyn Ray

Take some time to enjoy the increasingly improving weather, but don't forget your umbrella!

Monday, April 7, 2008

April is Poetry Month

Jim Trelease, author of the New Read Aloud Handbook, has this to say in the introduction to Jack Prelutsky's Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young:

"...the first sound a child hears is actually a poem--the rhythmic, rhyming beat-beat-beat of a mother's heart. This early and fundamental relationship sets the stage for a natural and lifelong love of rhythm and rhyme."

Cultivate your child's innate love of poetry by sharing a book of poems with him/her. Our shelves are bursting with poetry books, stories in rhyme, anthologies, etc. Some favorites:

Touch the Poem by Arnold Adoff
Flamingoes on the Roof by Calef Brown
The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders by Jack Prelutsky
Timothy Tunny Swallowed a Bunny by Bill Grossman
Today and Today by Kobayashi Issa
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
Here's a Little Poem collected by Jane Yolen
Barn Dance by Bill Martin, Jr.
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

Maybe you'd like to have some fun writing your own poems. Make it a family project. Pick an object and write a poem, and then share your verses. Include an original poem in a hand made card as a gift for someone dear. Keep a journal of poetry--ones you've written and ones written by someone else that you fancy. And enjoy poetry all year round--not just in April.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Looking for the Answers?

If you're looking for the answers to the podcast entitled "Book Beginnings 2", you've come to the right place. If you're looking for the answers to life's big questions, you'll have to look elsewhere.
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Monday, March 31, 2008


We have something for everyone! Browse through the carousel of tapes and CDs or search for something specific in the catalog. Tapes and CDs are fun to listen to in the car, for a family sing along, or to calm during quiet times. We have lullabies, nursery rhymes, folk songs, old favorites, holiday music, opera, classical, rock and roll, songs from around the world--you name it! We have recordings of musicians from the other side of the world like The Wiggles as well as right from our own backyard like Paul Ippolito. You can learn some new dance steps with a folk dance recording or catch the beat with a rhythm stick activity. Here are a few favorites:
"Kidz Bop"
"Can a Cherry Pie Wave Goodbye?" by Hap Palmer
"Quiet Time" by Raffi
"Pet Sounds" by Gary Rosen
"Magical Flight" by Paul Ippolito
"Simplified Rhythm Stick Activities" by Laura Johnson (includes rhythm sticks)
"Musical Scarves and Activities" by Georgiana Stewart (includes scarves)
"Cold Spaghetti Western" by the Wiggles
"Folk Dance Fun" by Georiana Stewart
There are lots more!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Here are the answers ...

...to the riddles posed in April Fools, Frail Loops:
kayak, solos, level
Where can you find the questions? Just listen to the podcast entitled "April Fools, Frail Loops."

Monday, March 24, 2008

April Fools' Day

The first of April, better known as "April Fools' Day," is fast approaching. Learn the history behind this day at http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html .

One way to have some harmless fun is to read a riddle book. We have several to choose from that will take you beyond "your shoe's untied":
Creepy Riddles by Kathy Hall
My First Riddles by Judith Hoffman Corwin
Riddle Road and With One White Wing both by Elizabeth Spires
Unriddling: All Sorts of Riddles to Puzzle You compiled by Alvin Scwartz
Behind the King's Kitchen Door by William Jay Smith
Keep 'em Laughing by Louise Phillip

You can also entertain yourself with these books:
Mother Goose Unplucked and Funny Business both by Helaine Becker
Scranimals by Jack Prelutsky
Timothy Tunny Swallowed a Bunny by Bill Grossman
Merry Merry Fibruary (and I didn't spell it wrong) by Doris Orgel

However you choose to spend the day, have good natured fun and hope that Mother Nature doesn't play a weather joke on us all!

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Won't You Wear Your Sweater?" Day

Come to the library on Thursday, March 20 dressed in your favorite sweater to honor Mister Rogers and receive a sticker or bookmark. March 20th is the 80th anniversary of the birth of this popular and gentle educator. You can read all about his accomplishments and contributions to children's welfare in the Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Rogers . You might want to check out The World According to Mr. Rogers or listen to Songs From the Neighborhood: the Music of Mr. Rogers. We also have several of his books pertaining to children's issues like Going to the Doctor, Making Friends, and The New Baby for borrowing. So, wear your favorite sweater on Thursday to honor Mister Rogers and always heed his advice, "Let's make the most of this beautiful day."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Answers Are:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
The Hobbitt by J.R.R.Tolkien
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
How did you do? Or perhaps you're wondering, "The answers to what?" If so, check out the Childen's Room Podcasts!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saps a Runnin'!

It's maple sugarin' time in good old Vermont. The 7th Annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend is coming up. Maybe you'd like to go on a family outing to a sugar house. Check out the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association website at http://www.vermontmaple.org/ for places to visit. Or maybe you'd just rather fill up on pancakes, sit back with your child, and enjoy a good book. We have some great ones on the subject:
Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter
Sugaring by Jessie Haas
Sugaring Off Party by Jonathan London
Maple Syrup Book by Marilyn Linter
Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky
The Sugar Maple by Rosamond S. Metcalf (who taught at Park Street School)
Wow--I've just had a sudden craving for a dish of vanilla ice cream with the sweet stuff poured on top.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

If Dr. Seuss was alive today, he would have celebrated his 104th birthday yesterday (March 2). We have all grown up with his nonsense rhymes, and many of us have passed down our love of his books to our own children. Who amongst us has never heard the telling of The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham? My personal favorite is Horton Hatches the Egg. The Springfield Town Library's collection includes many books by Dr. Seuss for you to check out. We even have a cookbook by Georgeanne Brennan entitled Green Eggs and Ham: Recipes Inspired by Dr. Seuss.

You can learn more about Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, by reading one of these biographies:
The Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull
Dr. Seuss: Best-Loved Author by Carin T. Ford

The next time you pass through his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, visit the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museums. Find out more at http://www.catinthehat.org/.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's a Leap Year!

2008 is a Leap Year! Our calendar, the Gregorian Calendar, is based on a solar year which has always presented a problem, because a solar year is 365.24219 days long. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar tried hard to make a calendar that would fit neatly into the solar year. He devised a plan whereby an extra day would be added every four years. Do your math--that means he was "rounding" the number to 365.25 days. It's only a slight difference, but after awhile, it adds up. People found that what were once spring holidays became summer holidays. So, by 1582, Pope Gregory XIII realized something had to be done. He came up with a complicated system. His calendar still provides for leap years every four years, but with a twist. If the year ends in 00, it is only a leap year if the year's number can be divided by 400. That means that 1900 was not a leap year but 2000 was. His calendar was so accurate that it was eventually adopted worldwide and is the calendar in use today.

Celebrate Leap Year like a leap frog. Make an origami leaping frog with directions from a book (like Hector Rojas' Origami Animals) or from this website:
Make a frog bank with directions from
Come into the library and pick up a Frog Maze and a Leap Year Word Search.

Want to find out more about calendars and time? Check out one of these books:
The Story of Clocks and Calendars by Betty Maestro
The Man Who Made Time Travel by Kathryn lasky
Sea Clocks by Louise Borden
Exploring Time by Gillian Chapman
A Second is a Hiccup by Hazel Hutchins
On Time by Gloria Skurzynski

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On a clear night ...

...you can see forever. This seems especially true on a crisp, cold winter's eve. Wrap yourself in warm clothing and head outside on the next clear night to star gaze. We have lots of books to help identify and explain what you see. The classic book Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey (of Curious George fame) is a wonderful place to start. Night Science for Kids by Terry Krautwurst will help you and your children explore the world after dark. We also have an array of star and planet books by master nonfiction writer Seymour Simon. Other books on the subject are:
Stars by Steve Tomecke
Moon by Steve Tomecek
The Big Dipper and You by E.C. Krupp
The Sky is Full of Stars by Franklyn Mansfield Branley
Where's the Big Dipper? by Sidney Rosen
Have fun enjoying the evening and don't forget the hot chocolate!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Presidents Day

Monday, February 18 is Presidents Day. The library will be closed, so get books about Presidents now and enjoy some time learning about our great leaders. We have biographies of most presidents, and the following books will be of interest:

So You Want to be President? by Judith St. George
Commander in Chief Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War by Albert Marrin
Abe Lincoln: the Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters
When Washington Crossed the Deleware by Lynn Cheney
George Washington's Teeth by Deborah Chandra

My favorite is George Washington Spymaster by Thomas B. Allen--fascinating!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

We have lots of books appropriate for Valentine's day to choose from including:

Mouse's First Valentine by Lauren Thompson
Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson
I Lost My Kisses by Trudie Trewen
I'll Be Your Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
One Zillion Valentines by Frank Modell
Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
Babymouse: Heartbreaker by Jennifer L. Holm
Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine by Barbara Park

If you're looking for a simple craft to make, try a Valentine Mouse. You'll need a lollipop, paper, scissors, markers and tape. Cut a heart out of red or pink paper and fold it in half. Hold it sideways and it looks like a mouse--the pointy end is the nose and the round end its rear. Using the markers, draw eyes, ears, whiskers, etc. Now it needs a tail. Tape the candy end of the lollipop inside the fold so that the stick becomes the tail. Tape or glue the heart halves closed. This makes a sweet valentine gift for a friend.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chinese New Year

It's the Year of the Rat! Chinese New Year begins February 7 and ends with the Lantern Festival 15 days later. We have lots of books to help you learn about and celebrate this holiday including:

Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Chinese New Year by Fay Robinson
The Great Race: the Story of the Chinese Zodiak by Dawn Casey
Moonbeams, Dumplings, and Dragon Boats by Nina Simonds
The Next New Year by Janet Wong

If you look online, you can find sites that have lots of crafts for you and your child to make. One in particular is http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/chinese_new_year.html.

Making fortune cookies is a fun project to do with your children. Here's a recipe that I recieved in a birthday card from my grandmother many years ago. My mother and I made them, and I, in turn, made them with my children. Making up the fortunes to put inside is even more fun than making the cookies.

Fortune Cookies
3 eggs
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Beat eggs for 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating again 10 minutes. Add flour gradually; add lemon extract, beating 2 minutes. Drop by tablespoon onto a lightly oiled grill or skillet Toast 1/2 minute on each side, or until brown (like a pancake). When cookies are done and still hot, butter your hands and place a strip of paper containing a fortune in the center of each cookie. Fold in half, press the sides together to seal, and pinch sideways.

Have fun and Happy New Year!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Feed the Birds!

Winter's snow cover presents a challenge for birds to find food. Do you have a feeding station for the birds that visit your yard? If not, you can create one very easily. Just cut a hole in the side of a well washed empty milk carton and fill it with seeds. Bend a coat hanger into a hook and hang the carton to a tree limb by its handle. The birds that visit me like sunflower seeds especially, but there are lots of other things you can serve them. Try spreading peanut butter on a stale bagel or donut half and then covering the peanut butter with seeds. Tie a ribbon through the hole and hang it on a tree. For extra special recipes intended to nourish our feathered friends, check out My Recipes Are For the Birds by Irene Cosgrove and Invite a Bird to Dinner by Beverly Courtney Crook. We also have lots of bird guides to identify your diners. Bon appetit!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Ever wonder what animals visit your yard? Tracks in the snow provide the clues! Now is a good time to wander about your yard or take a walk in the woods with your child and look for the tracks and traces of wildlife. We have several books available to help you identify your finds. At the top of the list is the brand new revised and expanded edition of Mammal Tracks and Scat by Vermont authors Lynn Levine and Martha Mitchell. We also have their first book, Mammal Tracks. Both are life size tracking guides and are made of waterproof paper that allows them to withstand outdoor use. We also have Crinckleroot's Book of Animal Tracking by Jim Arnosky (another Vermonter), Tracks in the Wild by Betsy Bowen, and, an old standby, Animal Tracks by George F. Mason. This book begins with a quote by Ernest Thompson Seton. "To the young, oncoming naturalist, I would say: Never forget the trail, look even for the track in the snow. It is the priceless, unimpeachable record of the creature's life and thought, in the oldest writing known on earth. Never forget the trail." So, bundle up, hit the trail, and look for tracks and traces of the many creatures that share our space.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And the winners are...

Newbery Medal winner:

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices form a Medieval Village By Laura Amy Schlitz

Newbery Honor Books:

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

Caldecott Medal Winner:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret written and illustrated by Brian Selznick

Caldecott Honor Books:

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Undeground Railroad written by Ellen Levine; illustrated by Kadir Nelson
First the Egg written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain written and illustrated by Peter Sis
Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity written and illustrated by Mo Willems

For more information about these and other literary awards go to:

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Big Read

Are you too young to participate in the Big Read? How about joining the Springfield Town Library's Junior Version? The adults are reading the Maltese Falcon, and the kids (grades 3-6)are reading the Malted Falcon by Bruce Hale. On Wednesday, February 20 @2:00, readers will meet to talk about the book and make (and eat, of course) a malted falcon. Books are available now!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Winter Program Calendars Are Ready!

Pick up a calendar at the library or look for a copy distributed at your child's school. You can also view events by clicking the Calendar tab on our homepage at www.springfieldtownlibrary.org. All of our programs are free and open to everyone, thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Springfield Town Library.