Tag Archives: classic children’s books

Read the book before you see the movie!

ferdinand
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls.

I have to wait how many months?

So if you’re like my family, you might be captivated by a certain trailer that came out over the weekend:

It looks like a beautiful adaptation of a much-loved book. A lot of people watching and commenting on the trailer are surprised and excited to see an African American girl in the role of Meg.

I started thinking about what I might recommend to patrons who were excited about the movie. Madeleine L’Engle had a notoriously hard time finding a publisher for the manuscript, saying “It didn’t categorize. … ‘They’ like books that fit into pigeonholes, and Wrinkle didn’t.”

Novelist is a tool available in the online resources on the library’s website. It can provide book suggestions for fans of a certain book (in this case it recommends What Came From the Stars, When You Reach Me, Coraline, and the Missing series). You can also do an advanced search to find a books with certain characteristics.

I recently listened to a piece on the radio in remembrance of Octavia Butler, described as “one of the world’s premier science fiction writers, the first black female science fiction writer to reach national prominence, and the only writer in her genre to receive a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.” I was curious what African American authors might currently be writing science fiction and fantasy for kids. Searching NoveList produced Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes, the Kulipari fantasy novels by Trevor Pryce, the futuristic Robyn Hoodlum adventures by Kekla Magoon, and the Christian fantasy series The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Evans Shirer (among others).

If you’re looking for kids’ science fiction movies with diverse characters, you might enjoy Earth to Echo or Home (based on the book The True Meaning of Smekday). Alternatively, if you’d like to find more movies that re-imagine a story with an African American woman or girl playing the main character– something like the most recent remake of Annie— you might like Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella or one of the versions of The Wiz. If you’d like a sneak preview of Storm Reid (who plays Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time) you might also want to check out the American Girl movie Lea to the Rescue, in which she plays Aki.

Little Golden Books

Little Golden Books are turning 75 this year!  Here are some memories of Little Golden Books from different library staff:

monster
The Little Golden Book I remember best from my childhood is The Monster at the End of this Book (featuring Grover from Sesame Street).  What I loved about this book:

  • I loved Sesame Street
  • It’s the first thing I remember that broke the fourth wall
  • Like Mo Willem’s pigeon books, it puts the child in control

-Ms. Sarah

plp
I remember getting The Poky Little Puppy for my birthday. We did not have many books or toys and I remember carrying this book everywhere. It is still my most treasured picture book from childhood.

-Ms. Rupa

I am not as old as the Little Golden Books, but when I was a girl I had a number of them on the bookshelf in my room, and I read them again and again.

tlg
We always had a garden in our backyard, so I treasured Two Little Gardeners by Margaret Wise Brown and Edith Thacher Hurd because it described the gardening year that I knew in loving detail. Gertrude Elliott’s illustrations provided even more detail, adding insects and birds, frogs, turtles, and little critters for the observant child to discover. One of my favorite pages was a cutaway view of the garden showing the baby beets, carrots, and potatoes growing underground surrounded by wormholes, rocks, and the roots of other plants.

The two gardening children watched the seedlings sprout. They watched the plants bloom and the bees pollinate. They hoed the weeds and watered “the rows…Till the dusty dirt was all dark and damp and wet.” When the plants were attacked by crows and animals, they added a scarecrow and a “raba-mole” to fend them off. And, oh, the results were splendid! “Day after day something was ripe and ready to pick.” Just like my family’s garden.

At the story’s end there was a great feast, a bountiful harvest of vegetables stored in bins and tubs of sand, and rows of jewel-like canned goods on the cellar shelves. A song on the last page summed it all up.

Hi Diddle diddle, We’re full as a fiddle

      Of things that come out of the ground.

      What we plant in the spring

      We eat in the fall

      And put up in jars

      And eat it all

      When the snow come falling down.

Time to buy some seed packets and go out to hoe!

-Ms. Wendy

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Between the years 1990 and 1999 I worked at Western Publishing Company during which time it was sold and renamed Golden Books Publishing in Racine, WI.  While I was there I worked in three different departments; Order Processing, the Wal-Mart Team and Special Markets.  After Western Publishing was sold the new owners built a new facility a few miles away in Sturtevant, WI.  It was beautiful, and printing and production was just a catwalk away from the business side of the company.  One could walk over and look down through large windows onto the floor where the printing, production and packaging was going on.  I have always loved reading and the opportunity to work for a company that published one of the most well-known children’s book brand, Little Golden Books, was a great privilege. Now as a cataloger I reminisce each time a Golden Book comes across my desk.  It’s exciting to be on the other side of the process, bringing the items into the library where Patrons can come in and enjoy these wonderfully created books.  Some of my favorite books are The Poky Little Puppy, Prayers for Children, The Sailor Dog, Where Do Kisses Come From, and all the ones that are illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.

-Ms. Penny S., who gets our new books ready for the shelves

For more on the history of Little Golden Books, check out this book in the adult collection:

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Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon along the Way by Leonard S. Marcus

Beauty and the Beast and the Books

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Beauty and the Beast was a special Disney movie for me.  How could a future librarian not enjoy a story about a book collection bringing two unlikely characters together?

I’ve talked to a number of patrons in the past few days who are very excited about the new live action version of the movie starring Emma Watson.  Hermione is definitely a factor.  For those fans, I would like to bring a little-known DVD to your attention:

b shoes
Ballet Shoes was a BBC TV movie based on a book by the same name by Noel Streatfeild.  Three adopted sisters pursue careers in ballet, acting, and aviation.  The book was originally published in the 1930s, but remains a favorite and is still in print today.

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Beauty and the Beast also came out about the time that I discovered Robin McKinley, who writes wonderful fantasy novels with strong female characters.  Her book Beauty is an older title but still a great choice for an older kid or young teen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Birthday on the Prairie

laura-ingalls-wilder

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born 150 years ago on February 7, 1867.  You can read a couple of reflections at the New York Times and Shelf Awareness.  Stay tuned for a special program about Laura Ingalls Wilder this summer!

Some writer!

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/496699113/496755024

James Herriot at 100

Author James Herriot would have been 100 years old this year.  He wrote beloved stories about his experiences as a country veterinarian.  Most of these were published as books for adults, but you can also find picture book versions and collections of stories for children.

Oscar, Cat-About-Town by James Herriot
Ruth Brown, illustrator
Nobody knows why a stray cat keeps sneaking away from his new home until he begins turning up at social events all over the village.

jhtreasury
James Herriot’s Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children
illustrated bu Ruth Brown and Peter Barrett
A collection of the author’s stories for children, including “Moses the Kitten,” “The Market Square Dog,” and “Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb.”  The collection is also available as an audiobook with a slightly different title.