Look at this book! The Library

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique recipe over on our Book Cook page…

The Library book review

Today’s great book: The Library by Sarah Stewart (1995, Farrar Straus Giroux) and illustrated by David Small.
Time to Read: short and sweet, just right after a long day at work; this book has a great rhythm to it.
Summary: From the back cover…Elizabeth Brown doesn’t like to play with dolls, and she doesn’t like to skate. What she does like to do is read books. Lots of them, all the time. Over the years her book collection grows to such enormous proportions that Elizabeth Brown cannot fit one more volume into her house. But this dilemma is nothing our heroine can’t overcome, and a splendid solution is promised.
Best Quote: “Books were piled on top of chairs and spread across the floor. Her shelves began to fall apart, as she read more and more. Big books made very solid stacks on which teacups could rest. Small books became the building blocks for busy little guests.”

Our View: This book has become a bit of a trademark at our house, a slogan if you will. We love books and we own many. You can find a single book, a shelf of books, a stack of books, a box of books, a row of books, a river of books, an ocean of books, a hallway of books in this house. The same can be said of Elizabeth Brown, the heroine of today’s book. It is a book like The Library that gives us permission to love every one of our books, a goodwill grant to own as many as possible and a double dare to read every single one of them before we die. Simply put – we need more shelves because of the inspiration that shines through this wonderful book!

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for an “Eat this Book” library recipe created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

Look at this Book! The Doll People

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique recipe over on our Book Cook page…

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Today’s great book: The Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin (2000, Hyperion) and illustrated by the great Brian Selznick who also authored and illustrated The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007) and Wonderstruck (2011) as well as Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride (1999, illustrator only) and The Houdini Box (2001) and others. The Doll People story also continues in the wonderful The Meanest Doll in the World (2003) and The Runaway Dolls (2008).
Time to Read: 256 pages, a page-turner, 19 chapters
Summary: From the back cover: Annabelle Doll is eight years old – she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened, to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll people, day after day, year after year…until one day the Funcrafts move in.
Best Quote: “Annabelle stood still and looked at everybody, her hands on her hips. After a moment she said, ‘I have an announcement to make. I am going to search for Auntie Sarah.’…’That isn’t safe,’ said Papa. Annabelle thought about brave Auntie Sarah. She thought about Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Drew. ‘I’m going anyway,’ she said.”

Our View: In all honesty, at first I wasn’t excited about a book with the word “doll” in it, but I knew my kids would love it, and the illustrations are really what pulled me in as a dad…from the cover to the end pages. It is now among our top ten favorite chapter books in the secret book room! The illustrations are so detailed and nearly tell a tale of their own. Beyond that, the story that flows from the pages of this book really tells itself. Our first child was 6 when we read it, and my other two children, who always preferred for me to read to them together at bedtime, were 8 and 4. Your kids will be mesmerized by the matter-of-fact way in which the authors bring us into the lives of what we only thought were inanimate objects that looked like people and lived in a wonderful old, historic dollhouse in a child’s room. I’ll never forget that this was only the second book – the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) book was the first – that my daughters could hardly tear themselves away from and begged me to “keep reading” long after bed time. “Permanent doll state” is among our family’s favorite sayings now; that mysterious phrase alone should compel you to read this book. When you read the last sentence of the last page, you will wish it could go on – and thankfully it does. Though we had to wait for each additional book in the trilogy to debut, you don’t have to because all are now happily available at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for a “Spider of the Doll People” recipe created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

Look at this Book! A Chocolate Moose for Dinner

Tuesday is our time to highlight a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique recipe over on our Book Cook page that you and your kids can make to celebrate your reading of the week’s particular book.
The books we’ll tell you about could be old or new and we’ll list the author, illustrator, publisher, and year of first publication so you can find them. They will also range in age from birth to teen and we’ll give you an idea of how long they take to read (short, medium, long) and why we love them.

Chocolate Moose Book Reading
Today’s great book: A Chocolate Moose for Dinner (Windmill Books, 1976). Written and illustrated by: Fred Gwynne (1926-1993); you might remember him as Herman Munster from the 1960s television series “The Munsters” or as the cranky judge in the 1992 movie “My Cousin Vinny.” Time to read: short. Summary: A child tries to picture the things her parents talk about. My kids like this book for the illustrations, while I like it for the clever wordplay. One compliments the other in a way that is rare in children’s literature, especially for younger kids. Toddlers love the large, colorful illustrations, while teens and adults love the absolute genius play on words. Here’s an example from the book:

Chocolate Moose Book Page It seamlessly brings words and illustrations to life, while at the same time giving us a short but sweet opportunity to laugh right along with our children and then make up some idioms of our own. We also like big books and this one is hardback with nice, large pages for the perfect read-aloud selection. It’s been a favorite of ours for many years and continues to be one of our top books to read out loud, especially during those times when the whole family needs a book-induced smile! Remember to visit our Book Cook page for a “MOOSE/MOUSSE” recipe created by the kids to accompany this particular book.