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Litchfield MN 55355

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Some Stories are Poignant, Some are Funny, and Some are Just Plain Silly!


By Jan Pease

I’ve been told that in the early 1960s, I told a NASA representative who visited our school that I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up.  Of course, then the unwritten rule was that only men could be astronauts.  “Almost Astronauts,” by Tanya Lee Stone, tells the true story of the thirteen women who were part of Project Mercury.  Known as the Mercury 13, they helped make it possible for later women astronauts to fly, even though they never left Earth.


“Counting Thyme” is a long (300 pages) poignant story about a family who moves to New York City so their young son can participate in a drug cancer trial.   The author, Melanie Conklin, asks the question, “How do you find your voice when your family isn’t listening?”  Thyme, the protagonist of the story, loves her brother but misses her home, her friends and her normal life. 
 
Kristin Rofitke wrote and illustrated her book, “Animal Beauty.”  In this very funny book, Ms. Rofitke tells the story of animals in a zoo who discover a fashion magazine and immediately try to follow the beauty advice.  I wonder   if anti-wrinkle cream really would work on an elephant.   This is a book I ordered because participants in “Camp Read-A-Lot” will be reading it.

 I also ordered “Claude in the Spotlight” for the same reason.  Alex T.  Smith, another talented author/illustrator, has written the series of Claude books which are famous world-wide.   I had a difficult time summarizing this character, so I borrowed a description from Booklist: "Claude is a small, plump dog who wears a beret and a lovely red sweater.  He has a  best friend, Sir Bobblysock, a striped sock who is grubby and smells a bit like cheese."  I really thought Sir Bobblysock was some kind of cat, but he's not.  He's a sock. In Mr. Smith's book, Claude and Sir Bobblysock join a dance troupe but have to perform in a dark, scary theater.  Of course, there is also a legend of a scary ghost connected to the theater.  Amazon.com says of Mr. Smith: "After briefly considering careers in space travel, cookery and being a rabbit, Alex T. Smith finally decided to become an illustrator."

I ordered "Ada Twist, Scientist," by Andrea Beaty, because it is also on the Camp Read-A-Lot list, and it fits in so well with our summer reading theme, "Reading by Design."  A poster of "Ada Twist, Scientist," is even part of our summer decorating.  Ada is a little girl who began speaking late but is full of curiosity about the world around her. She is a little quirky and different, but so what!


If you're curious about "Camp Read-A-Lot," it is a fun, two-day workshop about children's literature, which is held all over the state of Minnesota.  Pioneerland librarians and area teachers are invited to Granite Falls July 26-27 and registration is only $40.00.  Register by July 21st to participate.  Information is available at area libraries.