A confession.

Have you noticed I haven’t posting a lot this summer? I haven’t been reading a lot this summer. Shocking, I know. The sad truth is that I’m struggling to read because of my eyes.

I’ve been preparing for the two classes on Children’s Lit that I’ll be teaching in August, but in order to bring the newest books to the presentation, I need to read digital advance copies. Ever heard of digital eye strain? I imagine that the human eye is going to have to evolve soon to compensate for the digital world we are living in.

For me, eye strain causes headaches and I’ve been a migraine sufferer for almost 25 years. I can’t spend a whole summer reading when it makes my head want to explode. Even switching to print can be difficult. It’s too much.

I don’t want to disappoint the people taking my classes so I’ve pushed myself to get in a lot of picture books and nonfiction. They are shorter and faster to get through than a novel.

I’d say “it’s ironic,” but I read somewhere once that that’s an often misused word, and I’d probably be the one to do just that. It does remind me of a fabulous old Twilight Zone episode starring Burgess Meredith. It’s called Time Enough At Last. If you aren’t familiar with the plot, the sole survivor of an apocalypse is a lover of books and is overjoyed to finally have time to read in peace. Until he breaks his glasses, that is.

The link above will take you to the Wikipedia entry on the episode. I am sure you can watch the full episode on YouTube as well.

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Building the hoard

It’s almost here! Our town’s Friends of the Library has a big sale once a year where people can donate books, books, books and hoarders, er, collectors like myself can snag gems for incredible bargains.

The Book Wyrm image seemed fitting, since dragons hoard priceless treasures.

Yes, sometimes my old books smell funny, or are in extremely delicate condition, but they are special to me. I only buy books that I love, so most are ones I’ve read more than once already.

And the best part is that this year I have another hoarder going with me. I like kids books but she prefers young adult. We might have to duke it out over a book or two, but for the most part, we’re a good team. And don’t worry, I’ll do what I have to to get the books I want.

A new resource for bibliophiles like me!

I discovered a new resource online yesterday that I’m super excited about!! Internet Archive is an amazing site dedicated to the goal of having a copy of every book ever published. They have even more books than Project Gutenberg.

I looked up the Sid Fleischman McBroom Books last night and found them all. You can borrow 5 books at once and read them in your browser or download them to the Adobe Digital Editions app.I did find, though, that some of the downloads aren’t readable. When I opened up McBroom’s Zoo I could kind of see the pictures but none of the words. There were multiple copies so I’ll keep trying.

I highly recommend you check out the site and sign up for a free account. They have other media as well; a search for Muppets brought up multiple magazines. They have books that are out of print and some video files too. It’s worth browsing again and again.

Happy reading!

Not for kids.

I’ve been sick for a few days and I have the dreaded book fair looming over me this week, so I’m going to post some humor today. Now keep in mind, my sense of humor may not be the same as yours, but the fact that these parodies exist means I’m not the only one.

This is from a list of picture book parodies I found on Purple Clover, it’s not G-rated.

Or. How about these two from Huffington Post?

This one made me giggle too.

It’s from Gray Flannel Suit.

This was just on Pinterest.

This is from Creators.Vice.com.

So now I’ll just leave you with one last piece of advice:

My Library: fun stuff!

After a crazy-busy summer and start to the school year, I finally had a chance to get some fun new decorations put up in the school library.

I redid the truffula trees that I mark the table colors with. Those are sink plungers that I spray painted green, then striped with acrylic paint (yay, painters tape!) The tops are dollar store plastic leis. You get all six colors in a bundle for a dollar and I bought 15 bundles. Last year I clipped the loops but the kids picked at them constantly. These aren’t cut so they should last a lot longer.

I thought my clock was pretty blah, so I bought teal-striped paper straws and red Pom-poms. After gluing them on, I just taped them to the wall. Easy-least but with a big impact. I love that it looks both mid-century modern and Seuss-ish.

Last year I decided to pull some beautiful vintage books out of circulation. Today, I added my personal collection of old book covers. It makes an eclectic mix that I love.

The project I’m most excited about is finally getting to add the Emerald City to my Oz collection. I used green glass vases, bottles and miscellaneous containers to make the display. The ones that weren’t originally green were dyed using Elmer’s glue and food coloring.

So those are my fun additions for now. I have a few other ideas but I’m not quite done working them out yet. I’ll share them when I do!

Fuzzy Mud

One of my job perks this summer is getting to help with clubs – Lego Club, Cooking Club, Crochet Club, Coding Club and the Tween Book Club. One of the girls who comes to multiple clubs was adamant that I read this month’s book, Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar.

I’ve discussed other Sachar books before, Wayside School. I also love his book Holes, but Fuzzy Mud very different from them. It has a menacing feel to it, so this book is geared more towards 5-7 grade students.

The story is set in a private school in Pennsylvania. Tamaya is a 5th grader, Marshall is a 7th grader and Chad is his bully. Marshall leads Tamaya through the woods one day so that he can avoid a fight with Chad. Chad finds them, and to help Marshall, Tamaya grabs a handful of a strange tar-like mud that has a fuzz of moss on top, and shoves it into Chad’s face.

The story progresses quickly from there. Tamaya developes a strange rash on her hand that keeps spreading and Chad goes missing. There are transcripts from a environmental hearing where the safety of a new alternative fuel is being debated spread between the chapters. The fuel uses a genetically modified slime-mold for energy. Is it safe? What if it wasn’t contained? What if there was a leak into the surrounding countryside? 

Sachar has also put in clues as to how quickly the problem is progressing. The chapter headings show an illustration that might just be a Petri dish. For Chapter 1 there is a single dot in the dish. As the story progresses, it begins to look more and more like this:

The ergonym in the biofuel doubles every thirty-two minutes. As the story builds towards its climax, we also see simple math equations:

2 x 1 = 2

2 x 2 = 4

2 x 4 = 8

It doesn’t take long for the equations to create very high numbers.

2 x 67,108,864 = 134,217,728

2 x 134,217,728 = 268,435,456

Tamaya, Marshall and Chad are in grave danger and no one knows it. The kids have to overcome all of their fears to make it through.