Thursday, December 31, 2009

snowed in

How is this for a snowed in problem! Needless to say I had to have some help getting to work this day. This was taken BEFORE I went to Miami Beach. The snow in front of my shed was just removed yesterday, the 30th so that I can put away all my Christmas decorations tomorrow - my typical New Year's Day chore.

The story by Laura Ingalls Wilder "The Long Winter" which can be seen on my next blog may well be the story of us Iowans this year. This much snow falling only in December and even before the actual beginning of Winter may signify a very long winter in deed - especially with our temps staying below freezing even as a high!!
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snow bear

Just changed one of my displays from Christmas to winter books. As mentioned in a previous blog the book by Laura Ingalls Wilder "The Long Winter" may well apply to many in the Midwest this year. I have read several adult novels by the author Lauraine Snelling and her Red River of the North series. These books depict the lives of our pioneers from Norway who settled in the Red River area of North Dakota. Historical fiction is one of my favortie genres. Reading this particular series gives the reader a lot to be thankful for that we have indoor plumbing as well as well heated homes during winter months!!
The book above entitled "Teddy's Snowy Day" actually has a picture inside that looks just like my stuffed bear on the table.
The Snow Angel is by Debby Boone and is a heartwarming story of a village that had forgotten how to dream until------ooops! Read the story and find out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in Florida

Here are some pictures from my trip to Miami Beach, Florida. My two children and two of my grandkids live here. The alligators are in the entrance to a go-cart place in Orlando. My daughter and granddaughter spent one weekend in Orlando so I could attend the Arabian Nights dinner event (a Christmas gift to myself).
About the Arabian Nights ---I did enjoy seeing all the horses and especially the black one representing the black stallion of those Walter Farley books I loved as a child but----I wasn't expecting to attend a Christmas version of the Arabian Nights story!!! Instead of the Arabian ambiance I had anticipated for months (except for the main princess, Sherazade and her prince) I watched the story enacted by such holiday characters as elves, clowns, Santa Clause and even Jack Frost !! I must give credit though to the chef. The meal was delicious and I did come home with my usual souvenirs of a magnet and deck of cards, both of which had pictures of the black stallion. I will plan another visit someday when it isn't during the Thanksgiving-December holidays!!
The other 3 pictures were taken in the Coral Gables area of south Miami.
I lived in Miami Beach for two years and in all honesty the only thing I miss about the area are the beautiful foliage. Being so far away from my children is also the main disadvantage but even all the snow and cold of Iowa where I have returned to live doesn't keep me from moving back to Florida!! The traffic is atrocious not to mention the cost of living, parking problems and cost of gas!
Here's wishing you a blessed new year in 2010 and hope everyone who had to do any traveling in Iowa during Christmas while I was in warm Florida made it home safe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas star

This story by Mireile D'
Alllance is a simple story of a little bear who oh so wants to help decorate the Christmas tree but because he is too small ends up dropping ornaments and causing other problems in his attempt to help. As the cover picture shows the little bear's help is finally needed to reach the top of the tree in order to place the star on top and proving again as in similar story plots that size doesn't have to mean useless.
Another book (not pictured) that I recommend that has a special "star" in the story is Jingle, the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola. It is a heartwarming story of an Italian Circus group who traditionally perform a Christmas Eve show only to find the town now only has a few residents, and mostly the "senior citizen" variety who can not pay for the circus performance. The main group decides to move on to a different town but cannot take the baby circus animals because they have already traveled so far and the animals are tired. How a young clown who is left to care for the baby animals turns Christmas Eve into a very special night is what makes this story so very special.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lakeside snow

How is this for a change in snowfall! The first picture was from a much lighter snowy day and the next one is on the morning of the big Iowa blizzard of 2009 we just had this past Wednesday!
It was a good day for staying home and reading books. In fact, we did have several people come in the day before to "stock up" on books and video material in anticipation of the bad weather forecast!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Since we had our first significant snowfall of the season during the night I decided to showcase my penguin book section. (Remember to click on any picture/book to get a close up view when desired. ) The books shown here are Splash - A Penguin Counting Book by Jonathan Chester & Kirsty Melville; Penguin Pete by Marcus Pfister, 365 Penguins by Jean - Luc Fromental & Joelle Jolivet; North Pole South Pole by Nancy Smiler Levinson and then a few not shown are the ever humorous books about the penguin named Tacky by Helen Lester. We also have the large, full color book March of the Penguins as one of our memorial books. This has also been made into a movie. In fact, the Weather Channel was showing it a few weeks ago. Don't have any penguins here but there were some trumpeter swans near my shoreline this past weekend! This town is also becoming well-known at least regionally for its pelicans. We now have an ambitious councilwoman who started an annual Pelican Fest that is held the first week in April. Unfortunately the one last April had to be cancelled due to severe weather. Hopefully April of 2010 will be more cooperative.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This somehow didn't get attached to the previous post!!

Christmas tree/elf decor

Aren't these cute!? My elf book was checked out today and I couldn't find another book with an elf on the cover so my colorful "guy" is all alone right now on his shelf. And isn't this stuffed Christmas tree unique!! I was delighted to find it in my favorite store for such items.The books in the pictures are: What the Little Fir Tree Wore to the Christmas Party by Satomi Ichikawa and The After-Christmas Tree by Linda Wagner Tyler.
The book Night Tree by Eve Bunting is a wonderful book to read as it tells the story of a family who traditionally decorate a live tree in a forest with real food for the animals to enjoy. Another "tree book" we have is The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston.
Of course, one can also enjoy singing or playing the song "Oh, Christmas Tree" for an added touch.

Friday, December 4, 2009

wild things

Maurcie Sendak's book "Where the Wild Things Are" is now in movie format. Haven't had the opportunity to see it yet but remember reading this book to elementary students in the past. This book along with "Cloudy and a Chance of Meatballs" has given movie producers some fun material to work with. Can't wait to see them at the "movies".
Ranger Rick magazines were also a source of reading material I found very interesting as a parent and elementary teacher. How do you like my Rick, the Raccoon?
We had a special "wolf" presentation in October by a county conservation specialist. She has become a "favorite" with children in this area as she brings in lots of visual material and has a wealth of active games the children love. Oh to be young enough to run around as much as she does. Another reason for the wolf event was kind of a prelude to our "Twilight Dinner Party" and the now released movie "New Moon" which features werewolves!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


How is this for an aweseome sunset!! Just one of many I get to view from my lakeside home.
The book I want to "showcase" along with this real life tree in the sunset is a book I just recently discovered amidst the non-fiction section of our childrens' area. It is a book entitled Sky Tree by Thomas Locker with Candace Christiansen. It is a book about "seeing science through art" and has 28 full page paintings of a tree through different seasons with absolutely gorgeous colors!!
The pictures above don't do it justice. There is also a brief narrative with each painting and then at the end of the book the pictures are repeated in smaller format with narrative that also asks a particular question for consideration . The question asked about the winter tree pictured above is "How does this painting capture the stillness of a snowy day? The question for the fall tree above is "Why does this painting make you feel sad? Is the tree dying?" I feel like I discovered a real "treasure" with this book and can understand why someone chose it as one of our many memorial books.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stocking Display

Isn't this just gorgeous!! This is our newest display for the month of December. We have been very fortunate to have numerous local residents willing to share their special collections. This is just one excellent example. The lady who has made these stockings will be giving them to family members later this month. Obviously a lot of work has gone into the intricate designs and color
A new book just received today (and a little late for Thanksgiving) entitled Thanksgiving Rules by Laurie Friedman is really cute. It was actually one recommended from a state convention session I attended this fall in Des Moines. I plan to read it along with a few others to the ladies at our local nursing home tomorrow.
I have also finally finished the Sarah Palin book, Going Rogue and would recommend that book as well if for no other reason than to better understand why many "good people" don't choose to run for a political office!! I will share more about this book later.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Santa Books

With Thanksgiving over it is now time to bring out all those wonderful books about Christmas!! This miniature "Santa" I found at that bargain store I mentioned in another blog gave me the idea to see how many books we had with Santa's name in the title. I was very surprised to find the one called Santa Kid was authored by James Patterson, the adult mystery writer of often gross thrillers!!! This childrens' book is a humorous and heartwarming story totally different from his adult thrillers!! The story is about Chrissie, Mr. and Mrs. Claus' daughter. Chrissie gives the reader some very humorous information on life at the North Pole as the daughter of such famous parents. But one day a strang businessman arrives who wants to BUY Christmas!! In fact he claimed he had already bought it and when the news media got wind of this news here is what the headlines said "NORTH POLE BOUGHT BY EXMAS EXPRESS! CHRISTMAS TO BE CALLED EXMAS!SANTA HAS A NEW BOSS!" How Chrissie and "friends" solve this crisis is what makes this story so enchanting for all ages.

Here are a few of the other titles shown in the pictures and a few not so visible: How Santa Got His Job and How Santa Lost His Job by Stephen Krensky; Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor by Yin . Chris Soenpiet; Twelve Gifts for Santa Claus by Mauri Kunnas; A New Improved Santa by Patricia Rae Wolff; Santa Clause and the Woodcutter by Kathrin Siegenthaler and illustrated by Marcus Pfister; and What Santa Can't Do by Douglas Wood.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cafe de Poetry

"Cafe de Poetry"
We meet the last Friday of each month for lunch- a "brown bag event". We also share poetry orally- either someone's original poems or ones published by others. I often use poems by Helen Steiner Rice and funny ones from such books as Kid's Pick the Funniest Poems.
We had a smaller than usual group today even though the group "voted" last month to have our monthly meeting today despite it being the Thanksgiving weekend. No matter. Those of us who came still were blessed with meaningful poems. The poem "Over the River" was also shared orally as no one volunteered to sing it. Since I will be visiting family in Miami Beach, Florida, next month we won't be able to meet again until January.
The collection of poetry books on the shelf in the picture came in handy today as a couple of the participants hadn't had time to bring something from their home to share. We are a very informal and friendly group. I encourage other librarys or groups to try such an event. It really is uplifting and as one of our members has said it is like "an oasis" in her monthly schedule of events.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

World War II

In honor of Veteran's Day I had a display of recently donated books on World War II aircraft. This library has been very fortunate in receiving many wonderful donations and we have a very significant collection of other World War II books as well as books about other wars Americans have served. These books were donated by one of the World War II pilots still alive today who was a resident of this town for many years before his retirement.

The books shown here are Bomber Command : American Bombers in Original World War II Color by Jeffrey L. Ethell; The Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft by Robert Jackson; Pictoral History of Aircraft by David Mondey; Conquer the Sky:Great Moments in Aviation by Harold Rabinowitz; and Fortress Fighters by William S. Somers.

If you like historical fiction books of the World War II era I strongly recommend the Zion Covenant series by Bodie & Brock Thoene. It does have 9 books that do follow chronological events so one should read them in order. There is even a Zion Chronicles series and a Zion Legacy series by these authors that are not as long. The books provide the reader with an indepth understanding of the plight of Jews in Europe during this historical era. Another Christian fiction author, Elyse Larson has a 3 book series set during World War II that I also recommend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Most every Tuesday I go to our local nursing home to share a few stories with 8-10 of the residents. I have found that childrens' books go over best with them. This picture shows 3 of the books I shared today in honor of Thanksgiving. We, of course, sang the words in the first book shown. I was impressed with how well my "sleepers" stayed alert to the middle book, How Many Days to America by Eve Bunting as it was a more serious book with more words in it. I do use my years of being involved with young children as well as some drama experience to "tell" the stories with as much drama as possible to hold their attention. The 3rd book in this picture is a spin off from the book entitled The House That Jack Built with a much different ending. The ending allows the reader to really project his or her voice which definitely woke up any of my audience who might have been dosing off.

An added "treat" for the residents is when I stop reading and go to their well tuned piano to play music for them. The song I always end with is one entitled "In His Time" and then I usually read a brief inspirational poem by Helen Steiner Rice who is my absolutely favorite poet!!

A brief update on my reading of Going Rogue. There are only about 5 actual chapters in the book but with several subchapters (if that is a word). I am now into Chapter 3 and I can officially go on record as saying I would never, ever want to try and run for any political office at any level!!!!That being said, I again must applaud Sarah Palin for her stamina, integrity and willingness to go against seemingly insurmountable odds in this chaotic world we are now living in.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Childrens' section

Here are a couple shots from the newly renovated childrens' section of the library. Since I'll soon be changing the decor to the Christmas look I wanted to share these seasonal fall shots now. I also have numerous stuffed items along the shelves to add interest. Thought it quite unique to find this stuffed pumpkin at a neighboring thrift shop. That is where I find most of the items I use to decorate. One can find all kinds of inexpensive items in such a store. It literally pays to find one in your area.
The following books are some of the childrens' books I have used as my "Pick of the Week" section of my weekly newspaper column: Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell; Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane De Groat; Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller, and Unexpected Treasure by Victoria Osteen. I have a few Christmas ones I'll share later.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lots of laughs

Do you want a wholesome book with a lot of laughs? Then I heartily recommend the Miss Julia series (there are presently 10 books in the series) by Ann B. Ross. When I initially discovered books 1 and 2 in this library over a year ago I wrote a review about it in my weekly news column. The responses I have gotten from other readers has been most encouraging. I even got a positive reply from a former resident who happens to receive our small town newspaper where she now lives. Needless to say I have made sure we obtained all other books in this series and I personally can't wait for book 11 to come out whenever that happens!

For more wholesome laughs I recommend the recently published book of Bill Keane cartoons entitled The Family Circus - The complete comics from the beginining - 1960-61. It also includes a brief pictoral autobiography of his family in the early days of his career.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lake Front View

This is the actual view I see from my lakeside home. Since this is obviously a summer view I will need to add an autumn shot when available as there are no longer any leaves to see and all the boats, docks and lifts are now put away for winter. You can probably understand why this daily view provides an ideal atmosphere for a
"lakeside bookworm" to enjoy, especially on warm days when one can sit out on the deck and read. Watching the numerous birds on my birdfeeders as well as a few other critters that may wander by are added pleasures to living by this beautiful lake - Blackhawk Lake
the southern most glacial lake in this state.
I have now finished the first chapter of Going Rogue. So far so good despite the controversy from the media. I am actually reading 3 different books at different times during the day to add variety and to relieve my aging eyes. I save the large print books for evening reads. The one I am presently reading is Eve's Christmas by Janet Dailey. She is one of my favorite authors because I love historical fiction. This particular book by her is not historical, but is one of her romance stories. If you like historical fiction and in particular ones involving the plight of the Cherokee Indians during the Civil War era I recommend The Proud and the Free and the sequel, Legacies by Janet Dailey.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Twililght Dinner Party

"Twilight" series enthusiasts!! This is a picture of the table setting for my Youth Twilight Dinner Party held at the library earlier this month! It included a meal of pizza, chips, strawberry applesauce and real apples along with red jello-shaped "bats", a red drink, red and black M&M candies and a delicious bakery designed cookie (seen in the foreground) with a red "apple" in the center. The frosting was super thick!! The Twilight musical CD played during the meal.

A few girls helped decorate the wall with numerous posters and blew up red and black balloons.
The "Scene It "Dvd game was played following the meal although we dispensed with using the board portion of the game as there were too many people. We used the trivia questions instead. The group then chose to play their own version of Twilight charades to conclude the evening's fun. A few opted to stay later and watch the Twilight movie for probably their hundredth time!!

I have found it amazing how well liked this series has become to readers of all ages. I certainly never would have believed an early Baby Boomer like myself would be among the many who are" in love" with Edward Cullen; although I think the real life "Jacob" has the better physique, in my opinion. I will also be among the many who look forward to seeing the movie version of New Moon and especially the finale - Breaking Dawn whenever it comes out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

As the local librarian I have a weekly news column in which I have a section called "Kay's Pick of the Week". Sometimes I have a "guest pick of the week" book reviews and once a month I post a poem. The poems come from a successful monthly event I initiated called "Cafe de Poetry". The library's meeting room is set up to look like an outdoor cafe with thematically decorated tables. Participants come with brown bag lunches and 3-4 of their favorite poems which are shared orally. Some poems are written by the participants and most are shared favorites from other poets. I look forward to using this blog experience to share my opinion of some of the many good book I have read as well as some inspiring or humorous poems.

First Post

Just took a blogging class. This isn't my actual lakeside view but will do until I get the real view posted. I will use this blog to review some of the many books I read as parttime librarian in my small hometown I have moved to since retiring from teaching.

One of the books I am presently reading is Going Rogue!! I do admire the author of this book and wish her success in whatever she plans for her future.