Tag Archives: humor

Happy birthday, dear Underpants…

Pilkey art

I first became aware of Captain Underpants during the presidential election of 2000, when a student at my college sent out an email reporting on the results of putting the presidential candidates’ names through Professor Poopypants’ Name Change-O Chart. But the series is actually a little older than that– it came out 20 years ago this month!

We have lots of Dav Pilkey books to help you mark the occasion, and you can also enjoy reading an interview with the author.

 

Eve Merriam at 100

Poet Eve Merriam would have been 100 years old today.  She is known for writing everything from children’s picture books to poems for adults.  Here are some of her books that you can find at the library; her poems are also included in several poetry collections.

Goodnight to Annie: An Alphabet Lullaby
In alphabetical order, creatures all over the world fall asleep, from alligators dozing in the mud to zebras asleep on their sides.

oms
On My Street
This book is a good example of how families can make rhymes out of the ordinary people, places, and activities they see around them, like “Mr. Sklar washing his car” or “Pat at the laundromat.”

Ms. Merriam’s poems for older children are often playful.  Here’s one from Blackberry Ink:

Cat cat cat on the bed,
Bed’s too soft, it jumps on my head.
Head head, head’s too hard,
Cat wriggles out into the yard.
Yard yard, cat slips away
Over to the playground where the children play.
Playground seesaw, who wants to ride?
Cat’s all ready on the other side

chortles
Chortles: New and Selected Wordplay Poems

The Singing Green: New and Selected Poems for All Seasons features some poems that are about poetry– I could see these coming in handy for an English teacher.

spooky
Spooky ABC features spooky illustrations by Lane Smith (you probably recognize his style from books like The Stinky Cheese Man).
A poem for each letter of the alphabet introduces a different, spooky aspect of Halloween.

 

John Ciardi at 100

rpelican

John Ciardi, author of funny poetry books like The Reason for the Pelican, Doodle Soup, Fast and Slow, and Mummy Took Cooking Lessons, was born 100 years ago.  Here’s a sample of his poetry that seems perfectly suited to an election year:

 

We all have thought a lot about you by John Ciardi

Two hundred twenty thousand, five hundred twenty-three
Registered local voters (well, yes, including me)
Were asked to vote in secret on what to do with you.
Two hundred twenty thousand five hundred twenty-two
Voted to put you in a cage and throw away the key.

That isn’t quite unanimous, but I think you will agree
That as a test of sentiment their vote will surely do
To indicate what seems to be a rather general view
Shared by the mayor, the aldermen, your teachers, the police,
The deputy dog-catcher, the man who makes the keys,
The man who makes the cages, and the keeper of the zoo.
You might say everyone in town–no, that’s not strictly true–
But almost everyone in town takes a dim view of you.

Who needs Poetry Month?

DSCN5975

Fans of Greg Heffley probably already know about wimpykid.com, but if you haven’t visited the site in a while you may not know that April is Wimpy Kid Month!   Kids and teachers can find fun things like posters, games, and trivia.  The website is also featuring daily giveaways during the month of April.  You can also sign up to see a live webcast with author Jeff Kinney on April 27, during which he will reveal the cover for book 10 (coming out November 3).  (Just keep in mind– due to legal requirements, a parent or guardian needs to enter for prizes for kids under 18 and register for the webcast for kids under 13).

Special Programs during Valley View Spring Break

Sign up now for special programs the second week of April!  Each of these programs is free.

Bedtime Math Pajama Party
Tuesday, April 8
7:00-8:00 p.m.
Ages 6-9
Put on your pajamas and come to a party!  We’ll enjoy snacks, wacky math problems, and puzzles and dominoes you can take home.

Fairy Gardens
Wednesday, April 9
2:00-3:00 p.m.
Grades 1-5
Floral designer Kathleen Obirek will guide you as you create a fantasy plant arrangement complete with a little winged figurine!

Spring Stuffed Animal Sleepover and Snack Time
Wednesday, April 9, 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 10, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Ages 4-7 with an adult
Children ages 4 – 7 years can bring a stuffed animal and a caregiver!  The stuffie will spend the night at the library.  When the lights go out, the toys will be having wild escapades in the dark.  The children will pick up their toy friends the next day at Snack Time and see what mischief they all got into in the night!

Diary Party
Friday, April 11
2:00-3:00 p.m.
Grades 4-6
Join us for a party celebrating some of our popular book series including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, and Dear Dumb Diary!

We will also offer drop-in programs that do not require registration; please see our calendar for more details.

Percy Jackson with a Viking twist

When someone asks me for something else like The Lightning Thief, my first thoughts are stories based on Norse mythology instead of Greek.  A new book arrived at the library yesterday, the third in the RuneWarriors trilogy, with blurbs on the cover recommending it to Percy Jackson fans.  But before I get to that, I must tell you about Odd and the Frost Giants.

Odd and the Frost Giants
We have it in the teen area as well as the children’s collection, since the author is so popular with teens, but I would say it is really for a slightly younger audience than The Graveyard Book.  A young Viking is sidelined from running away by a trio of animals, who first reveal themselves to be talking beasts and then to be something even stranger.

Runemarks
Runemarks
has been described (by Kirkus Reviews) as “The Lightning Thief meets The Sea of Trolls.”  Another reviewer was reminded of elements in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, and the summary (with gods struggling in a world that largely doesn’t believe in them) makes me think of the adult novel American Gods.  That may make it sound a bit dark, but Joanne Harris’s first book for younger readers is also supposed to be fast-moving and funny.

RuneWarriors book cover
RuneWarriors
by Jim Jennewein (or Shield of Odin if you read it in paperback) is the tale of teenage Dane  who goes on a quest with his rival, Jarl the Fair, to retrieve the Shield of Odin and Astrid, the girl they love, from the tyrant Thidrick.  This sounds like epic adventure, and it is, but that description doesn’t even mention the humor that adds so much to the story.

The Sea of Trolls
The Sea of Trolls
by Nancy Farmer features an apprentice bard set on a quest by a queen who is half-troll (or, if you prefer, half Frost Giant) facing (in the best fantasy tradition) giant spiders and other monstrous creatures.  Yet it still has, the School Library Journal reviewer claims, “plenty of lighthearted moments.”

Thor's Wedding Day
Thor’s Wedding Day
by Thialfi the Goat Boy as told to and translated by Bruce Coville
If you read Marvel comics, you already know that Thor’s hammer is magic, is named Mjollnir, and that it would be a very bad thing for him to lose it.  Exactly what would he be willing to do to get it back?  Would you believe wear a wedding dress?

Believe it or not, that story is based on an authentic Norse myth.  I recommend the originals to anyone who enjoys the books above.  As an added bonus, if you read some of the books below you’ll get more of the jokes in stories like Odd’s.

Favorite Norse Myths
Favorite Norse Myths
retold by Mary Pope Osborne

Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse
Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse
by Leonard Everett Fisher

Norse Gods and Giants by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

Odin's Family
Odin’s Family: Myths of the Vikings
retold by Neil Philip

Stolen Thunder: A Norse Myth
Stolen Thunder: A Norse Myth
retold by Shirley Climo

While the library does not own any of these myths in an audiobook format, you can enjoy all of the junior fiction books listed here the way Norse myths were originally meant to be heard: out loud.  If you have a favorite type of audiobook, it’s probably represented here.  Odd and the Frost Giants is read by the author in his lovely British accent.  Thor’s Wedding Day features a full cast reading the different parts.  RuneWarriors is available as a Playaway.  Each of the audiobooks received positive reviews, and Odd even earned an award!

Favorite Holiday Movies, part 1

Over the next few weeks, the library’s children’s services staff will be sharing their favorite holiday movies and seasonal stories.  Today’s feature is that rare thing, a Thanksgiving movie.  -Miss Sarah

My favorite holiday movie – possibly my favorite movie of all time – is Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and the wonderful John Candy.  Two businessmen, uptight Martin and warm and loquacious Candy, are thrown together constantly because of transportation delays on their way home to Chicago from New York for Thanksgiving.  This bittersweet comedy offers many hilarious situations and a great ending!

-Miss Nancy