Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Schedule for Celtic Festival Events (February 26)

Bienvenue! Croeso! Dynnargh! Failte! Welcome!

Parents must stay and CLOSELY supervise children, especially those ages 6 and under, at ALL events, in all rooms, throughout the day.

10:00-4:00 in the Tyler Hedges Room (downstairs)
Design your own Irish or Scottish tartan, make a Celtic knot, color the Welsh flag, build a Breton or Cornish lighthouse. Please choose no more than one of each craft so that we have enough supplies for everyone who wishes to participate.

3:00-3:45 in the Large Event Room (upstairs)
Students from the Cara School of Irish Dance will perform jigs, reels, hornpipes, and set dances.

Between performances/events in the Large Event Room (upstairs)

Select one of our pre-chosen designs for your face or hand. One per child while others are waiting, please.

11:30-12:30 in the Large Event Room (upstairs)
The staff of MacDougall's Irish Victory Cakes will relate the history of the Victory Cake, followed by a free cake tasting. Does not require a food ticket.
10:00-4:00 in the Connection Lounge Area (downstairs)
Each attendee will be given two food tickets which can be used for any two of the following bite-sized samples of traditional treats from the Celtic nations: Welsh cakes, Scottish shortbread, Breton galettes, or Cornish fudge. Irish red lemonade, which does not require a ticket, will be served as long as it lasts, one serving per person, please.

1:30-2:15 in the Large Event Room (upstairs)
The women and girls of WolfSong Music Studios will perform traditional folk tunes and patriotic songs of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (get ready to sing along!), and fiddler John Brophy will get our toes tapping with a jig and a reel.

With Ms. Michele or Ms. Angela in the Picture Book Area (downstairs)

Picture books, folk tales, and poems from the Celtic nations. Story times are most appropriate for ages 3-8, but all ages are welcome to attend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Road Trip Thursday - Somewhere in the Rockies...

It's not that I haven't wanted to tell you about all the wonderful things we've seen (manatees at the Dallas Aquarium), done (sidewalk chalk drawings in Green River, Wyoming) and eaten (tortilla s'mores). It's just that, well, there are times during a road trip when all you want to do is put your foot out the window and just listen to the radio.

(There are also times when you can't believe how in need of a bath you are. Those of you who played mud tag in Wyoming today know exactly what I mean.)

However, as our trip winds down and we inch ever closer to the Pacific Ocean, I should fill you in on our remaining plans, which include both the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and the very center of the film industry - Hollywood, California.

Will we see you there?

Photo by Chovee, via Creative Commons

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hidden Classic #6: The Little House

The Little House was my very favorite picture book as a child, and it remains so today (I still have my childhood copy, ragged though it is). It's the sweet and perfectly-illustrated story of a little house with a soul who, after years of neglect, is returned to a home in the country with a family to love and care for her. The little pink house has the most charming, life-like face, and as a child I always wanted to live in it. In some ways, I still do.

It was only as an adult, sharing the book with children, that I realized that this is a classic example of a carefully, meaningfully politicized picture book. The little house, sturdily built during a simpler age, loves her life in the country but harbors a strong curiosity of what it might be like to live in the city. Her curiosity is satisfied when the city encroaches on her countryside home.

Since this is a picture book, in many ways it oversimplifies the tension between the country and the city, and the country is set up as a universal good while the city is painted as a heartless villain. Yet at the same time it provides a clear context--as relevant today as it was in 1943--through which to question the "progress" of development and rampant urbanization. However, Burton denied it was a critique of urban sprawl, but instead wished to convey the passage of time to younger readers, which she does beautifully.

The Little House was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1943 (given annually by the American Library Association to the artist of the single most distinguished American picture book for children), and was selected as one of the "100 Best Books of the 20th Century" by the National Education Association. It received rave reviews from its first appearance in 1942 onward and has never gone out of print since.

If The Little House and her other picture books were her only legacy, it would be more than enough. But Virginia Lee Burton's talents extended beyond creating wonderful picture books. "[T]o speak only of Burton's achievements as a picture book creator would be to paint only a part of the canvas of her life. She was also a dancer, an illustrator for an early Boston newspaper, a musician, a designer, a sculptor, and a printmaker." (from "Virginia Lee Burton: A Centenary Tribute" at www.carlemuseum.org)

Other books by Virginia Lee Burton:
Calico the Wonder Horse
Choo Choo
The Emperor's New Clothes
Katy and the Big Snow
Life Story
Maybelle the Cable Car
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
The Song of Robin Hood

"If the page is well drawn and finely designed, the child reader will acquire a sense of good design which will lead to an appreciation of beauty and the development of good taste. Primitive man thought in pictures, not in words, and this visual conception is far more fundamental than its sophisticated translation into verbal modes of thought." ~ Virginia Lee Burton, "Making Picture Books", The Horn Book Magazine

Friday, February 4, 2011

Children's e-books available on Overdrive!

Did you know you could download electronic children's books from the library? Yup. You totally can.

In fact, as of today there are almost 700 titles that kids can download onto their e-readers, including The Lightning Thief, the Magic Tree House books, and of course - my personal favorite - A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Not sure how to download an e-book from Overdrive onto your e-reader? Check out these handy instructions!

Got an iPad? You'll need these instructions, then.