216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


All Pioneerland

While all Pioneerland Library System buildings remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Curbside Pick-up of library items is available. You may place items on hold using the online catalog. Library staff will call you to schedule a pickup time once your hold is ready. Pickup days/times vary by location. Please contact your library if you have questions or need assistance in using this service.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Google Me This, Google Me That!

By Jan Pease

If you look something up on the Internet, which search engine do you use?  Over the years I’ve had several favorites.  Do you remember “fetching” things with “Dog Pile?”  It is still in use, as a metasearch engine.  It searches major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and other popular search engines, as well as results from audio and video content providers.  I used AltaVista, which was once the dominant search engine, because it gave excellent, specific answers to searches.  It was the Google of its day.  It was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003 and eventually closed July 8, 2013.  What does this have to do with anything?

Well, Google and Harry Potter are now 20 years old.  Think about how much our world has changed since we met an 11-year-old boy who eventually became one of the most powerful wizards of his day. The Harry Potter books shook up the publishing world by introducing us to long, long novels for children.

And Google. What can I say about Google?  For 20 years it has transformed itself into one of the most-often used search engines of our day.  Read Anna Crowley Redding’s new book, “Google It,” for a very entertaining and informative book about the history of Google.  Also, on Google’s home page, dig around until you find their excellent article, “Searching for Tuva, before the Internet and Now,” written by Ralph Leighton.  Or google the title, “Searching for Tuva.”

“A Festival of Ghosts,” by William Alexander, is the sequel to “An Utterly Unhaunted Place.”   These books feature the daughter of a “ghost appeaser” rather than a “ghost hunter.”   The town renaissance festival is in jeopardy,and interesting characters, human and ghostly, make this a slightly creepy but fun read.

25 years ago, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker chewed up the scenery in “Hocus Pocus,” Disney’s homage to Salem, Massachusetts.  They played the Sanderson Sisters, witches from 1693.  Rumors still circulate about a potential sequel to the original movie.   A.W. Jantha has written a book that follows the original story , set in 1993, and adds a sequel set in the present day.  Fans of the movie will love this book, but it will stand alone if you haven’t seen the Disney movie. 

Many writers have offered   alternate historical fiction, usually centered around some war or other.  For example, what if the Allied Forces lost WWII?  Sometimes zombies and werewolves are mixed in with the usual characters.  Daniel José Older, author of the “Shadowshaper Cypher” series, treats alternative history in an entirely new way in “Dactyl Hill Squad.”  This book is set during the American Civil War, but has an interesting twist. The Southern forces ride raptors!  Dinosaurs roam Manhattan!   Historical places and events are sprinkled into the plot, like the New York Draft Riots and the Colored Orphan Asylum, which burned down during the draft riots.  Dactyl Hill is based on “Crow Hill,” an area now known as “Crown Heights.” 

These new books, and more, are waiting for you at Litchfield Library.

Celebrate 20 years of Harry Potter!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Rhetorical Questions and Happy Dances

By Jan Pease

I looked around the children’s department this morning and saw so many bright new picture books that I almost did a happy dance.  Speaking of happy, a little boy came to his first story time today.  He said, in surprising clear 2-year-old speech that he would come next time and we would be happy!  Loved it! 

One silly new book is the sixth Chicken Squad book by Doreen Cronin, “Bear Country.”  The chickens quickly solve their first case of the day, a missing hamster named Ziggy.  But more dangers loom.  A headless bear has been seen running around the neighborhood!  They haven’t had breakfast because their caretaker is missing!  Doreen Cronin asks, “Will this case be too much to bear?”

Grace Lin has just published “A Big Mooncake for Little Star,” a lovely story that explains the phases of the moon.    Her story sounds like a fable, but it’s original, and the illustrations are stunning.  Will this be the best picture book of 2018?  It is the #1 new release at

“Can a Cat do That?” is a new book by Eric Carle, who is writing and illustrating books for children who are just beginning to read.   Mr. Carle uses repetition and rhyme, as well as a few sight words, to help children decipher the mysteries of reading.  Don’t let the one-star review at put you off this book.  The reviewer completely missed the point.  She asked, “Are you too old to write more words?” 

I may have to add my own comment to this negative review, since Eric Carle seems to me to be forever young.  


Elli Woollard is a British author who is new on the picture book scene.  Her funny book, “The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight,” tells a story of mistaken identity.  A kind young knight takes his armor off to help a large injured bird.  The bird, really a dragon, doesn’t recognize that his helper is his enemy, a knight.  All of this is told in rhyme.  Did I mention that this is a funny, funny book?

Kate DiCamillo is famous for her wonderful fiction.  Her new book, “Good Rosie,” is a dog story for   Rosie is a little dog who needs to learn how to make friends.  Dogs, like children, have to learn how to become friends. Can an anxious little dog become friends with a massive St. Bernard?
children who are just beginning to read, really a graphic novel for beginners.

“Look,” by Fiona Woodcock, is a nearly wordless book with an interesting twist.  Every word in the book has double o which can have different, confusing sounds.  A brother and sister visit the zoo, see animals like kangaroos and baboons and look at a book.

How do non-English speakers learn the sound of oo?


Finally, Adam Rex, who is both an illustrator and a writer, has published “Are You Scared, Darth Vader?”  This is an unusual picture book with a “Star Wars” connection.  What is Darth Vader afraid of?  Of course, he says, “I fear nothing.”  But is that true? 

These books, along with other rhetorical questions and answers, are waiting for you at Litchfield Library.  Get ready to do your own happy dance!