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APRIL 29, 2009
Sounds of Spring

For me, there is something about Spring in the air that makes me turn to music. I must confess:  LOUD music. I’ve been blaring the stereo in the car and in the house and when those that I live with can’t stand it, in goes the headphones. In the Library, we are re-labeling our CDs and adding new CDs to the collection.

 The process of cataloging music is an arduous process for most libraries. In addition to the technical aspects of this process, which we won’t even go into, is the classification of any given album into a category. I do not consider myself particularly music knowledgeable. (What is it that people say about art? I know what I like.)  But even the unsophisticated listener knows musical categories are not mutually exclusive and choosing where to place something can be difficult.
Should that Britney Spears album be placed under female vocalist or pop? Is REM alternative or rock or contemporary… or in this case, (gulp,) oldies? And what does one do with that pesky album where Grammy winners are playing acoustic versions of punk rock favorites? It’s a challenge.
Still, our library has over 1000 CDs and more to come. So, if you’re craving some new tunes, be sure to check some out!
Su’s Spring Play List I


Shrek 2 Soundtrack

The Who  -  any album will do nicely

The Rolling Stones - the "old" stuff


Green Day - American Idiot (explicit language warning)


Gensis - ABACAB (though almost any will do)

Eurythmics  Greatest Hits

(though Annie Lenox Medusa is also a great album)

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Su


APRIL 27, 2009
Kiddie Records

For a bit of nostalgia and a walk down memory lane, visit Kiddie Records . To give credit where credit is due I found this great site on Smartcomptuing's Daily Fun Site. For anyone growing up listening to music on a portable record player, this site brings back fond memories. As a child my favorite records were Never Smile at a Crocodile from Peter Pan, I'm a Little Teapot, and Shrimp Boat Song (who sang that?) and I listened to them over and over again on my player, more than likely driving my mother nuts. Kiddie Records Weekly doesn't have any of these songs, but lots of others. Since 2005 they have been featuring children's records and story classics from the golden age, 1940's-1950's, one each week, with plans to end this year. They include the original artwork and label and several ways to listen to your old favorites or hear some you've never heard before. You can sit back and enjoy them yourself or perhaps share one of the stories like Cinderella or The Carrot Seed, The Ugly Duckling, with your children. Many of the recordings are high quality Hollywood productions featuring big time celebrities and composers. Turn back the hands of time and relive your childhood days on this fun and informative website.


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


APRIL 24, 2009
¬°En espanol!

You asked, and we listened! Recently, many patrons have been requesting Spanish Language resources. Adults are generally looking for the Spanish Language lessons on CD, but lately, there have also been a lot of parents looking for children's books and DVD’s in Spanish.


Using money from an educational grant from The Savings Bank of Manchester (now New Alliance Bank); we have been able to purchase a number of children’s materials in Spanish. We just cataloged a decent sized collection of picture books in Spanish as well as a few children’s DVD’s.


Many are on display in our Children’s Section right now!




Many studies have shown the earlier a child is taught a second (or third) language, the easier it is for them to learn it, and the more likely the child will have native-like pronunciation. So, next time you’re in why not try one of these classic stories in Spanish:





Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan Q.


APRIL 22, 2009
From the Field

For our regular readers, if you’ve not noticed, Wednesday is my day to blog. This week, I’m not home. I am in Lancaster, PA. (It is very nice here.) Back home, Library staff are reading this and very surprised. Not because I am technically doing work on vacation or because I will justify this by saying they, back home, had enough to do without one more thing, but because I remembered what day of the week it is.  It is well known at the Library that while I do enjoy writing these blog entries, I am frequently lost in the days and need to be reminded.

 Being in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, posting this from afar on the motel’s wifi I am struck by the uses of technology and how attached I am to them.  It is strange to see a supermarket with parking for horse and buggy and self check out. I wonder what it is like for a culture that doesn’t use electricity to pass by coke machines, basically on the side of the road. Traveling here I annoyed my husband by announcing for the millionth time my adoration for the EZ-pass. 
As many  know, Librarianship is a second career for me. I can honestly say if it were not for technology, I would never have considered this path. The notion of typing out multiple cards for the catalog sends shivers down my spine. At the same time, as well all know, the technology is not without its complications. How many times have we heard the beep, but it didn’t seem to ‘take’? 
All technology has its pros and cons. In the next few weeks, the Saxton B. Little Free Library will start beta testing a new interface* for their catalog. We hope it will be an EZ pass, but at first it might be as strange as a horse and buggy at a coke machine. We’ll keep you posted.
*This refers to the way a program looks on the computer, such as where you can click etc.

Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by Su


APRIL 22, 2009
Flea Market Find

ooooo wah, oooooo wah, ooooo wah, oooooo wah,
ooooo wah, oooooo wah

Shoo-doo, shooby-do
Shoo-doo, shooby-do
Shoo-doo, shooby-do
Shoo-doo, shooby Whoa

Ok, so what is this, some new language? Not really. I'm certain a few babyboomers reading this will recognize the opening lyrics to two great dance songs of the 50's , Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers's Why Do Fools Fall In Love and The Five Satins's In the Still of the Night. Singing the lines makes all the difference. Got to get the beat.

These are just two of the songs on Dancin' & Romancin' in the '50s and '60s, a 3 disc Reader's Digest compilation I bought at the Eastern Connecticut Flea Market, Mansfield, this past Sunday. This steal of a deal cost me all of $1.00. What a buy! 65 romantic songs to dance and listen to with your sweetheart. Not just waltzes, there are a few cha cha's and others that will get you moving. Anyone who attended CYO dances, high schoool sock hops, or can remember your first girl-boy parties will find something in this set to bring back memories. I can't quite figure out why Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite by The Spaniels, often played as the last dance, the one that warned you this was your last chance to ask your steady to dance, should be the last song on disc 2, rather than the closing song of disc 3.

In the Still of the Night is one of my all-time favorites from that era. Another not covered in this set is The Blue Jays's Lover's Island. Check out Dancin' & Romancin' in the '50s and '60s and let us know what song brings back fond memories.

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by CarolK


APRIL 19, 2009

If you've been following our blog, you know I'm a nature lover. I adore watching all the wildlife that visits my yard. Sometimes, though, country living can be a bit too up close and personal.

Last week, arriving home late, I pulled up the driveway, reached up to my visor to push the garage door opener. Just as I did, I caught this movement out of the corner of my eye.

"Oh no! Quick, quick, shut the door." Making a beeline for the cozy inside was none other than a skunk.

Flashback with me to one night last year My husband paddled off for his nightly dip in our hot tub, located in our under construction, over the garage, apartment. Somehow, (perhaps through that same open garage door?), a skunk had beat him up there. I don't know who was more surprised, my husband or the skunk. A lengthy standoff ensued; he ended up chasing the skunk half the night and finally managed to shoo it out the door, but not before it left its' calling card.

All this was going through my mind as the door slowly descended and the skunk fastly approached.

"WHEW, close call!" As the skunk sauntered away, I breathed a great big sigh of relief.

I hate to admit it but my unwelcome visitor was kind of cute. Still, I 'd rather Pepe Le Pew remain outside.

Hold your breath, pinch your nose and check out these books...


Lizard's guest by George Shannon ; illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey

 I love you, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt ; illustrated by Cyd Moore

 Skunks! by David T. Greenberg ; illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

and my personal all time favorite...


The adventures of Jimmy Skunk by Thornton W. Burgess ; original illustrations by Harrison Cady


Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by CarolK


APRIL 17, 2009
I thought Mo Willems had black hair.

Real naked mole rat:





Showing the above two images is how Mo Willems introduced Wilbur, the star of his new book, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, at his book reading/signing at the Holyoke Barnes and Noble last Friday.

As he flashed cards with the two different images and the kids in the audience shouted their ewwww's and awww's. It was hilarious.

I love Mo Willems, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was probably the only adult not accompanied by a three year old at the reading.

Of course we own Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, so if you would like to read the tale of a naked mole rat who (gasp!) likes clothes, then stop by today to check it out!

Then Mo read his latest in the Elephant and Piggie series, called Watch me Throw the Ball! If you have not read Mo's Elephant and Piggie books, you are missing out. Piggie is completely upbeat and excited and her best friend Gerald, the elephant, is, well, a bit more serious. When they get together hilarity ensues. We own them all:



Afterwards he took questions from the audience, prefacing the Q&A by reminding the audience of mostly four-year-olds that “questions are things you don't already know the answers to...not 'hey,I have a pony!” Of course right after he said this the first “question” was:

“I thought Mo Willems had black hair.”

After which Mo pretended to color his salt and pepper hair in with a marker.

Next "question":

“I like Knuffle Bunny Too.

So you can see the Q&A session went smoothly.

I left before the stampede for the signing, but overall was SO happy I went. Mo Willems was hilarious, I love his books, and it was wonderful to see him read aloud.

You can check out his blog by copy and pasting this link:



Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Megan Q.


APRIL 15, 2009
Never Mind the Ides of March

The ides of April seem a little more nefarious for contemporary life. I’m sure everyone remembers today is the day that all income tax forms in the U.S. are to be post marked.  April 15 is the day President Lincoln declared a state of insurrection and called out Union troops.  But also in history today, the unsinkable ship, the Titanic, sunk. 

 At this point, I cannot think of the Titanic without thinking of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. This is rather annoying since I’ve never even seen the infamous movie. (I knew how it ended and it wasn’t pretty.)   When I was younger, thoughts of the Titanic brought visions of the film, The Poseidon Adventure. Ironically, the silent version of the film The Poseidon Adventure was being screened aboard ship when it sank.
But my real intrigue with the Titanic is actually surrounding a book.  In 1898, 14 years before the Titanic’s maiden journey, Morgan Roberston published a novel titled Futility. The novel told of a British ship named the Titan, that sailed in April and like the Titanic had a speed of 24 knots, passenger and crew capacity of 3,000 but sailed with a little over 2,000, was between 800 and 900 feet long and driven with triple propellers. Both the Titanic and the fictional Titan sank 95 miles south of Greenland  after being pierced by an iceberg on their starboard side.
There are other coincidences between fact and fiction, some more eerie then others. Not surprisingly, both ships carried wealthy and well known passengers. But conveniently the Titan hit the iceberg "close to midnight", while the Titanic collided with its iceberg at 11:40 p.m.  Both ships lacked enough lifeboats to save all aboard, causing great loss of life.   Yet both ships were claimed unsinkable.
While part of me finds it very hard to believe a book written 14 years before the event could be predictive, I find the notion intriguing.   Unfortunately, I have never been able to find a copy of Futility. Aparently in its day, it was not thought of as anything special. However, if you’d like to read other fictionalized accounts of the Titanic written after the event, check out one of these books!

Every man for himself  by  Beryl Bainbridge


No greater love  by  Danielle Steel.

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Su


APRIL 12, 2009
A Librarian's Day Off!

So what does a librarian do with a day off? Like many of you, Friday found me home from work. Initially I had very little planned, sleep late, read, run a few errands. All that changed when I was reading Thursday's Hartford Courant. Korky Vann's Savvy Shopper column caught my eye. By the way, Ms. Vann will be doing a program about Living On Less at our library on April 22nd but that's another story. Highlighted in her April 9th column was a tease about the opening of Bestseller Book Outlet in Plainville, a remainder store that promised 75% of on all books. This is enough to make a librarian's knees quake. I immediately knew I'd be there on Friday, but how to get my husband to agree.

Friday's list of places we needed to go included, Sam's Club, Ocean State Job Lot and Lowe's, with dinner planned for Boston Market where we'd use two, $3.00 off a $6.00 meal coupons for baked fish dinners which are only served during Lent. Anticipation and plotting kept me awake Thursday night and by Friday morning I had my plan! The book store just happens to be in the same plaza as Lowe's in Plainville. Sam's and OSJL both have stores on the Berlin Turnpike, not too far afield from Plainville. I figured after browsing at the book store (Paul could go to Lowe's), we'd hit the Pike and do our errands, ending the evening at Boston Market. Did I mention Boston Market's on the Pike too. Perfect! My husband would never realize the main objective of the day.

So Friday found me happy as a clam, browsing all that Bestseller Books many aisles had to offer. Nothing like a bookstore to make a librarian's day. And if you don't believe me, just ask my friend Linda (also a librarian) who just happened to be spending her day off there too. I bumped into her in the young adult section with a basket full of books and a big smile on her face.

What did I buy? A fairly new book about the Terra Cotta Warriors, a Healthy Cooking For IBS cookbook, a guide to wine grapes, a couple of Chicken Soup for the Soul books (yup, I'm a sucker for those), and a historical true crime story about Mary Surrat and the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln. Given a bit more time I'm certain I could have found a great deal more. Next time, the store will be my only destination so I can give it my undivided attention.

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by ckubala


APRIL 9, 2009
*Acknowledgments to Dickie Birkenbush


I mentioned a little while ago that I went up to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for the first time. While there I got a wander around the museum and see lots of original Eric Carle collages and storyboards, as well as Petra Mathers originals from Lottie's New Friend. The other special exhibition was the artwork of Virginia Lee Burton. They had everything, from Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and Little House artwork, to pen and inks from The Saga of Stewy Stinker, and even printed fabrics that she made.


I was also able to attend a wonderful presentation by Barbara Elleman, guest curator of the exhibition, entitled “Those Telling Lines: The Art of Virginia Lee Burton.” I learned a lot about Virginia Lee Burton, her life and family, her writing, and her art, but one bit of information was from her presentation was particularly interesting so I figured I would share it with you all, here on our blog.


EVERYONE knows the story of Mike Mulligan and his beautiful red steam shovel, Mary Anne right? Well, as you know, Mike and Mary Anne get the job of digging the cellar for Popperville's new town hall. And, Mike and Mary Anne dig that cellar better and faster then ever, and finish it in just one day. But, as they finish they realize that they have left themselves no way to get out of the cellar. In her presentation, Barbara Elleman told us that at this point in her writing, Virginia Lee Burton was stuck. She had literally and figuratively dug herself into a hole, and she didn't know how to end the story. She was mentioning this problem to a friend one day when her friends then 13 year year old son, Dickie, said “turn Mary Anne into the furnace for the new town hall.”

Which is exactly what Virginia Lee Burton did. So, open a copy of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, and look on the bottom of page 39, where the little boy from Popperville suggests that they turn Mary Ann into a furnace, and you'll see there *Acknowledgments to Dickie Birkenbush.

Never noticed that right? Me neither. But the story I just told you is how it came to be.

One other little note; Dickie Birkenbush's name is spelled wrong in every single copy, it should be spelled Berkenbush . He tells people the misspelling is his pseudonym – ha!

If you don't have your own copy of Mike Mulligan (shame on you!) stop by today to check ours out, and don't forget to look on the bottom of page 39!



Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by Megan Q.


APRIL 8, 2009
The End of the Season

A  long, long time ago (though not in a galaxy far, far, away) I loved basketball. I went to every high school game (home and away) and could name every Celtics player (and their numbers). However, due in part to my contrary nature, when I arrived at college where the Basketball team was as sacred as the Queen, I rebelled. I began as indifferent, progressed to annoyed and became fully opposed when I started teaching and learned that at that particular school, basketball stars didn’t need to attend a class to pass it.

 Of course, over time I have been surrounded by fans, especially fans of college ball. I’ve grown to recognize the names "Summitt", "Geno" and of course "Calhoun", though to be honest, I couldn’t recognize their faces. 
Last month, our Senior book group, The Bookworms, read C. Vivian Stringer’s autobiography, Standing Tall. Ms. Stringer is the coach of the Rutgers’ girl’s basketball team. While Ms. Stringer has led an interesting life, it was when the book talked about coaching and basketball that held my attention.  It was with this book in mind that I watched the Final Four game last night.
Congratulations to our home team and our neighbors. And for all others who, like me, now have basketball in mind though the season is over, check out these non-fiction titles related to women’s basketball available @ your library!

Standing tall : a memoir of tragedy and triumph / C. Vivian Stringer with Laura Tucker


Geno : in pursuit of perfection / Geno Auriemma with Jackie MacMullan ; foreword by Diana Taurasi.


Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by Su


APRIL 5, 2009
Why do they want to borrow that?

One advantage in being the person responsible for processing Interlibrary Loan requests for our library is that I get a heads up on what's hot. Recently I've had lots of requests from area libraries to borrow Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Word of mouth selling has done its job and its on everyone's must read list. If you want to know what it's about I wrote about it on our Saxton Reads! blog on February 15th (

Another recent phenomenon and one that had us a bit perplexed, is a slew of requests for a book, A Lion Called Christian, first published in 1971. One request didn't seem odd. After all, I had recently read another oldie The Goose from Scarsdale, 1974 and after talking about it, it realized a new life. Then the second, the third, the fourth requests came pouring in. The staff scratched their heads; none of us knew why the book was suddenly so popular. However, we are librarians so we immediately did some research and this is what we found. Seems there's a clip on Youtube showing a heart endearing reunion of Christian, the Lion and the two men, Ace Bourke and John Rendall, who raised him from a cub.

Christian's Story as told on the Born Free Foundation Webpage

"In 1969 a young Australian, John Rendall and his friend Ace Bourke, bought a small lion cub from Harrods pet department, which was then legal. ‘Christian’ was kept in the basement of a furniture shop on the Kings Road in Chelsea, the heart of the swinging sixties. Loved by all, the affectionate cub ate in a local restaurant, played in a nearby graveyard, but was growing fast…

A chance encounter with Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna led to a new life for Christian. He came to live in an enclosure and slept in a caravan at their Surrey home. Then in 1971 he was flown to Kenya, his ancestral home, and returned to the wild by lion-man George Adamson. Almost a year later in 1972, John and Ace returned to Kora in Kenya and it is their reunion with Christian at this time that is shown in the clip.  

It was an emotional reunion: “He ran towards us, threw himself onto us, knocked us over and hugged us, with his paws on our shoulders.” " 

The Youtube reunion clip has made Christian quite the celebrity. The book "A Lion Called Christian" has been fully revised and updated, telling Christian's remarkable story in words as well as stunning photographs. There have been stories in the New York Times, People Weekly Magazine, USA Today, and all the major news networks.

Our 1971 version has made its way back home and is currently in my TBR pile. The revised edition should be on our shelves soon. Reserve either copy by visiting our online catalog.

A lion called Christian [by] Anthony Bourke and John Rendall. c.1971

Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion - Anthony Burke and John Randall c.2009

If neither are available you can always read

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by ckubala


APRIL 3, 2009
The Candy Man can...


Bravo, bravo! Standing ovation and applause!

The Panther Players (the Horace Porter School Drama Club) put on a wonderful show last night. They preformed “Willy Wonka Jr.” complete with oompa loompas, a creepy boat ride, and Violet turning violet!

Now, if you're like me, and you know the book/movie, you're probably wondering a few did they make Augustus fall into the chocolate, how did they make Violet blow up, how did Charlie and Grandpa float, and HOW did they make Mike Teevee shrink onto a television screen????

Well the audience was in for a treat last night as they made all the above happen with some incredibly creative acting! Augustus fell into a steaming vat of chocolate and reappeared covered in brown. Violet ate an everlasting gobstopper and her purple dress somehow self inflated until she took on the shape of a giant blueberry (I've got to find out how they did this!). Charlie and Grandpa Joe were lifted by stools into the air once they took a sip of the fizzy lifting drinks, and then they merrily burped their way down. And a strobe light and a Toy Story 'Woody' cowboy doll were used in Mike Teevee's shrinking scene.

Su and I were both blown away by the performance, so once again congrats and bravo to all those in the play! If you live in the area and want to see a great show, they are putting on another dinner theater tonight at 6:00, you can contact the school for tickets.

If you don't make it to the play, stop by the library for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator both by Roald Dahl:


We also own the newer (Johnny Depp) version of the movie:


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan Q.


APRIL 1, 2009
A Blast From the Past



Last Friday night the Library was taken back in time with the outstanding performance of Kandie Carle in a program titled from Corset to Gloves. Ms. Carle, a charming lady, explained the dress of 1860 from ratting one’s hair to ‘buttoning’ one’s shoes. We learned how tortoises are coaxed to give up their shells for accessories and the REAL reason why so many carried smelling salts. We watched and learned as Ms. Carle went from petticoats to cape and muff. It was fascinating.



 We definitely thank Ms. Carle for her performance and recommend all who get the opportunity to be sure to see her!


For more information about Ms. Carle, the 1800's or fashion, be sure to stop by the Library!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su


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