26 March 2005

Peep! Peep!

It's that time of year again. Gram sent me to the store to get peeps for her the other day, Ellen discussed the sugary lumps of marshmallow-y goodness with Bernie Mac, one of my friends has gotten some stuffed peeps for her home...

So, on an unrelentingly s-l-o-w day at the library, I thought I would revisit the Peep Research Project, one of my favorite silly web sites. The St. Paul Pioneer Press had a "Marshmallow Peeps Diorama Contest" and posted photos. If you're more of a science-y type, you may prefer to study Peep Surgery. And, if you prefer a hands-on experiment, one of my friends like to stick toothpicks in two peeps, put them in the microwave, and watch them fencing...

Happy Easter to all!

24 March 2005

new Stevie!

The new Stevie Wonder album, A Time to Love, will be released May 3rd. The new single, "What the Fuss" can be heard here. Yay!

20 March 2005

Ted Rand Dies

From The Seattle Times:

"Ted Rand's artistry has graced everything from the Washington governor's office to the jets of Saudi royalty.

But the artworks he will be remembered for most are the ones that found their way onto the bookshelves of thousands of children.

In a prolific career as a children's-book illustrator, begun at a time when most people eye retirement, Mr. Rand brought to life the stories of nearly 80 books from the studio at his Mercer Island home.

He died at home on Saturday (March 12) of cancer, leaving a vacancy on the top rungs of Northwest children's-book illustrators. He was 89."

Read the rest of this obituary.

17 March 2005

Young offenders find reading opens way to bigger dreams

A book club in a youth detention center in Georgia is proving that Books do Change Lives.

woo-hoo for Philip Pullman!

Philip Pullman has been awarded the Astrid Lingdren Memorial Award:

"Philip Pullman (United Kingdom) is a master storyteller in a number of genres – from historical novels and fantasy to social realism and highly amusing parodies. With inventiveness, linguistic brilliance and psychological insight he creates and explores his own worlds without losing focus on here and now. Through his strong characters he stands firmly on the side of young people, ruthlessly questioning authority and proclaiming humanism and the power of love whilst maintaining an optimistic belief in the child even in the darkest of situations".

From the official website:

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is the world’s largest children’s and youth literature prize....

...Authors, illustrators, story-tellers and promoters of reading are eligible. The award is for life-long work or artistry rather than for individual pieces. The prize can only be awarded to living people.

The body of work must uphold the highest artistic quality and evoke the deeply humanistic spirit that Astrid Lindgren treasured.

In Memoriam

Science fiction and fantasy author Andre Norton, who wrote the popular "Witch World" series, died Thursday. She was 93.

There is a short obituary here; I suppose more will appear in the next hours.

15 March 2005

The High Anxiety Alphabet

from McSweeney's:

"A is for Attica. I could wind up there, abused by guards and prisoners, convicted of a crime I didn't commit."

Check out the rest of the alphabet. Then, when you're done with that, check out some of the other lists.

14 March 2005

Save the Plaza!

Every morning, when Science Boy and I are eating our oatmeal, I think of Eloise and her wisdom:
"You have to eat oatmeal or you'll dry up
Anybody knows that."

Now her home, the Plaza is getting ready to undergo a transformation that would turn much of this landmark into condominiums.

Despite the protests, it seems that the Plaza will cease to be come April.


Runny Babbit

Woo-hoo! We just got our copy of Runny Babbit, a new Shel Silverstein book, in and I can't wait to see how the kids respond to it. I suspect it's gonna be a big hit 'round these parts.

Way down in the green woods
Where all the animals play,
They do things and they say things
In a different sort of way....

...So if you say, "Let's bead a rook
That's billy as can se,"
You're talkin' Runny Babbit talk,
Just like mim and he.

I *knew* it!

There's scientific proof now for something that (as the eldest child) I have long suspected:

Older Siblings Are Smarter


The findings of this study will be published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in May. In the meantime, I am off to e-mail the story to my brothers...

Hmm... Maybe I should rethink my whole stance on video games...

I haven't been much of a Video Game Girl since my Atari 2600 died a number of years ago. (Sigh. How I ling to play Berzerk again. Maybe it's time to search eBay...) Recently, Science Boy has had me somewhat hooked on Powerstone, but that's about the only game I have played in ages.

Until now? NPR reports on a plan to make a video game about/featuring Emly Dickinson! Woo-hoo! Hear the story here.

Racy Fluff or Reading Aid?

I love this headline. Like many libraries around the country, school libraries in Maine are meeting mixed reactions to their graphic novel collections: "The purpose is to lure young readers to libraries by giving them what they want. But some people dispute the value of books that feature female characters dressed in sexy outfits and sometimes behaving in ways that conform to sexist stereotypes."

Happily, so far the discussion seems to be pretty reasonable (unlike some other recent objections to books by Chris Crutcher and Lois Lowry):

Rawding, the parent of a boy at King, says she has questioned McDaniel about the appropriateness of having the graphic novels in the library.

Nevertheless, her son loves the books, and she believes they are the reason he's becoming interested in reading conventional novels.

She checks each graphic novel before he reads it, she says, and they discuss it together. At least he's not hiding the books, she says. "At this age, I'd rather keep everything out on the table."

Read the rest.

I Love You, CTA

Most of what I read on Craigslist is vitriolic or pathetic or just generally un-noteworthy. However, recently, someone posted this lovely paean to Chicago's own CTA. Check it out.

Digital Database

The New York Public Library is putting hundreds of thousands of its images online, allowing free personal downloads of material including maps, Civil War photos and illuminated medieval manuscripts. At present the Digital Gallery has 275,000 images available and anticipates the collection will grow to 500,000 over the next several months. Check out the Gallery.

A Librarian Superhero

From the Washington Post:

Like a Scout leader assembling a cookie display, librarian Michael Andrews carefully arranged books on a small table at Todos Supermarket, a multipurpose Hispanic store in Woodbridge.

As patrons did their grocery shopping, cashed checks or sought help with income tax forms, Andrews tried to get their attention one recent afternoon.

"¡Señor! ¡Señora!" he said quietly, hoping to guide a reader to a Harry Potter novel translated into Spanish or to "Con Mi Hermano" ("With My Brother"), Eileen Roe's children's book written in Spanish and English.

For nearly a year, Andrews, 56, has been using his elementary Spanish and a van full of library books to get the county's burgeoning Hispanic community interested in the public library and thereby build the beginnings of trust between new immigrants and local government.

Read the rest.

Coming soon to a library near you: Captain Pan

Children's author Geraldine McCaughrean has been chosen to write the official sequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Read the rest.

In Memoriam: William Murray

From The New York Times: "William Murray, a versatile and prolific writer who divided his talents between Italy, principally as a contributor to the "Letter from Italy" column for The New Yorker magazine, and a series of mysteries set at a California racetrack, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 78 and lived in San Diego."

Read the rest. There's another nice obituary in The Los Angeles Times.

Libraries are an essential service, too

From the Christian Science Monitor:

"The public library - an American institution older than the flag, envy of other nations, cradle of literacy, bootstrap for generations of immigrants, storehouse of fuel for the imagination, hotbed of adventure and romance, and one of the greatest democratic institutions ever created - is struggling to survive. This is nothing less than a national calamity."

Read the rest.

04 March 2005

The 50s were a simpler time...

... when superheroes only had to worry about fighting boners, apparently. And, of course, Batman know there is no better place to find information than the library!

Redshirt has more hilarious panels.

03 March 2005

If it's all the same to you, I'd rather have pimples, thanks

300-year-old cookery, medical and household recipe books found at a British home advise you to:

"take 2 Puppies before they can see, chopp of their heads & hang them up by the heels to bleed," then mix with white wine to rid the patient of unsightly pimples.


The books are up for auction if you want some more cures...

02 March 2005

Do something nice

I came across Donors Choose today, a site that allows teachers to put together mini-grant proposals which are then funded by the average woman (or man) on the street. Lots of worthy ideas here. Some of them are quite pricey, however, it is possible to partially fund a project. If you send that grant idea around to your pals, maybe a group of you can fund it together!

In fact, would any of my readers be interested in working to gether to fund a project? Perhaps this one? A few buck each, and we can make it happen... E-mail me if you're interested and let's do this! Working together, we can all make the world a little bit better.