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:
http://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/Frogs/origami_instr.html
Make a frog bank with directions from
www.bluebonnetvillage.com/frogbank.htm
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!