August 29, 2007

Difficult and Exciting

If you're following the A path in our Summer Quest adventure, you might be asked to read a difficult book. If you're following the B path, you might be reading an exciting book. But what IS an exciting book or a difficult book?

That really depends on the reader. If you're just learning to read, a Magic Tree House book is a difficult book. (And it's always an exciting book!) If you're a veteran reader and love long books, however, even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows isn't a difficult book (although, again, it is an exciting book). Another example: if you really only love to read fiction, a non-fiction book could be a difficult book; on the other hand, if you only like to read non-fiction, a novel could be a difficult book.

Overall, we just leave it up to you to choose what is a difficult or exciting book. Of course, we're always happy to help and give you recommendations. So feel free to ask us. And remember, our Summer Quest program is all about having fun with reading!

Posted by library at 01:42 PM

August 28, 2007


animalsWild animals live in the Dewey 590s, domestic animals in 636. But animals are everywhere else too - in fiction, in legends, in history, in music (can you think of some songs?), in mythology.
If you are interested in a pet dog, not a wolf, go to 630s, agriculture. The domesticated animals are:
636.1 Horses and their cousins
636.2 Cows, bison, camels
636.3 Sheep and goats
636.4 Pigs
636.5 Chickens and turkeys
636.6 Birds that you don't usually eat, for example parakeets
636.7 Dogs
636.8 Cats
636.9 Other animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters

The wild animals? The 590s, the place for wolves.

590 Studying animals
591 Animal ecology, diseases, development, or animals grouped by where they live.

From here on they are sorted more or less according to who is related to whom.
592 Invertebrates of all sorts mixed up in a book.
593 Specific invertibrates: Protozoa, corals, jellyfish, sea stars & urchins etc.
594 Mollusks (snails, slugs and all those wonderful sea shelled creatures)
----- must see: J PIC PEARSON Slugs in love
595 Still more invertebrates - worms, crawdads, spiders and insects

Now come the back bones.
596 Vertebrates of all kinds
597 Cold-blooded vertebrates - amphibians and reptiles Remember snake dancer?
598 Birds
599 Mammals

And each of those groups of animals is then subdivided. For example the 599 mammals:
599.1 Monotremes which means platypuses and echidnas
599.2 Marsupials: kangaroos, opossoms, koalas
599.3 Anteaters, rabbits, squirrels, mice, beavers
599.4 Bats
599.5 Whales and dolphins
599.6 Hooved animals such as deer and elephants
599.7 Carnivores such as the wild cats, wolves, bears, even mongooses and skunks
599.8 Primates except for people: lemurs and other prosimians, new world monkeys, old world monkeys and apes
599.9 Humans and their forebears

Animals in other places? Find them through the catalog. Put in the name of the type of animal you want to find followed by - fiction (you don't need to capitalize).
For example:
dogs - fiction (464 books as of today)
cats - fiction (396 books)

And you can try other catalog searches such as
cats - folklore (7)
cats - juvenile poetry (3)
cats - poetry (10)
cats - mythology (2)
and so on, even cats - wit and humor (Riddles to tell your cat)

Guinea pigs? Please read Michael Bond's The tales of Olga da Polga. There are 10 other guinea pig - fiction books, but Olga is special.

A great hamster book? Over on the adult side find The Hamster Opera Company by Janis Mitchell (782 H232)

Posted by library at 06:25 PM

August 27, 2007


folktales398 Folklore includes

398.2 Folk literature
398.6 Riddles
398.8 Rhyming games
398.9 Proverbs
Did you get the folktale quest? Go directly to 398.2 and browse. We have three to four hundred folklore books in the J room, many of them beautifully illustrated.

But did you ever spend an hour or so looking through the 398 reference books?

Folklore on the American land edited by Emrich, Duncan (R 398 E55) includes urban legends, riddles, songs
The Oxford dictionary of nursery rhymes edited by Iona and Peter Opie (Both R 398 O61 and J-R 398.8 OPIE Different Deweys in the same library? Yes. Different catalogers at different times. 398.8 is the correct one.)
Dictionary of folklore, mythology and legend (R 398.03 F982) 2 volumes
The Greenwood encyclopedia of world folklore and folklife edited by William M. Clements (R 398.03 GREENWO) 4 volumes, new
The Greenwood encyclopedia of African American folklore edited by Anand Prahlad (R 398.089 GREENWO) 3 volumes, new
Encyclopedia of urban legends, Jan Harold Brunvand (R 398.2 BRUNVAN)
The Greenwood Library of American folktales edited by Thomas A. Green (R 398.2 GREENWO)
American folklore : an encyclopedia edited by Jan Harold Brunvand (R 398.209 AMERICA)
Atlas of the mysterious in North America, Rosemary Ellen Guiley (R 398.2097 GUILEY)
Spirits, fairies, gnomes, and goblins : an encyclopedia of the little people, Carol Rose (R 398.2103 ROSE)
Encyclopedia of traditional epics, Guida M. Jackson (R 398.22 JACKSON)
Encyclopedia of fable, Mary Ellen Snodgrass (J-R 398.203 SNODGRA)
Random House dictionary of popular proverbs and sayings, Gregory Titelman (J-R 398.9 TITELMA)
Maryland folklore and folklife, George Carey Gibson (two copies - MD-R 398.2 and J-R 398.2)

Posted by library at 03:36 PM

August 26, 2007

Monkeys II

monkey tree
For anyone who loves monkeys, here are some book suggestions.
Curious George books. We have several in the picture book section (J PIC REY)
Five little monkeys wash the car by Eileen Christelow (J PIC CHRISTE)
How Mr. Monkey saw the whole world by Walter Dean Myers (J PIC MYERS)
Ten naughty little monkeys by Suzanne Williams, illustrated by Suzanne Watts (J PIC WILLIAM)
I want my banana!= Je veux ma banane! by Mary Risk, pictures by Alex de Wolf, French story by Jacqueline Jansen (J PIC RISK)

Caps for sale : a tale of a peddler, some monkeys, and their monkey business told and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina and also Se venden gorras : la historia de un vendedor ambulante, unos monos y sus travesuras (both J PIC SLOBODK). For another version find The hatseller and the monkeys : a West African folktale retold and illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite (J 398.2 DIAKITE)

More monkey folktales:
So say the little monkeys by Nancy Van Laan, pictures by Yumi Heo (J 398.2 VANLAAN)
Monkey business stories from around the world by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Erik Brooks (J 398.24 CLIMO)

For older children:
The empress of Elsewhere : a novel by Theresa Nelson (J FIC NELSON)
and look for Muggle-Wump in some of Roald Dahl's books, Bandar-Log in the Jungle Book, Chee-Chee in the Dr. Doolittle books.

For adults:
Red earth and pouring rain : a novel by Vikram Chandra (FIC CHANDRA)

For everyone - from the Ming dynasty, 16th century, epic Journey to the west by Wu Cheng'en:
Adventures of Monkey King retold by R. L. Gao, illustrated by Marlys Johnson-Barton (J FIC WU)
and also The making of Monkey King retold by Robert Kraus and Debby Chen, illustrated by Wenhai Ma (J 895.1 KRAUS)

The Dewey number for nonfiction books about primates is 599.8. Unfortunately we haven't many books about monkeys, most of our books in that section are about apes.

At the zoo:
howler monkeys
golden lion tamarins

web cams:
snow monkeys clicking on various lines in the left column will change the image - experiment
marmosets click on open the callicam to start it up

Posted by library at 12:48 PM

August 23, 2007

Monkeys I

colobine monkeyIn the rain forest, you are much more likely to hear monkeys than to see them.

So we have a special end of summer challenge for you.
Can you spot the monkey? Ask for an entry blank at the desk. Each has the name of a specific type of monkey and asks 3 questions - do I have a tail? where do I live? and do I have any special characteristics? The twelve winners, yes 12!, will each receive a bizarre, small, squishy monkey head. Deadline is the September 10th party.

Posted by library at 05:03 PM

August 22, 2007


We have over 200 cookbooks and books about food. Most are in Dewey 641, and most have the subject tracing cookery or some variation of that, for example Cookery (Vegetables) - History. Yes, not "cooking" but "cookery". Don't even try to search for cooking, or cookbook or cook book. Just remember, look around 641 or ask at the desk for directions.
Janet's short list:

  1. The foods of Israel today, Joan Nathan (641.5956 NATHAN)
  2. Julia and Jacques cooking at home, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, with David Nussbaum (641.5944 CHILD)
  3. The pumpkin cookbook (641.6562 PUMPKIN)
  4. Pasta e verdura : 140 vegetable sauces for spaghetti, fusilli, rigatoni, and all other noodles, Jack Bishop (641.814 BISHOP)
  5. The great big burger book : 100 new and classic recipes for mouthwatering burgers every day every way, Jane Murphy and Liz Yeh Singh (641.66 MURPHY)
  6. The bean bible : a legumaniac's guide to lentils, peas, and every edible bean on the planet!, Aliza Green (641.656 GREEN)
  7. Mexican everyday, Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless (641.5972 BAYLESS)
  8. Cheap, fast, good! : a cookbook, Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross (641.5 MILLS)
  9. How to cook without a book : recipes and techniques every cook should know by heart, Pam Anderson (641.555 ANDERSO)
  10. Everyday food : great food fast (641.5 EVERYDA) - the subject is Quick and easy cookery

And in the J room
Salad people and more real recipes : a new cookbook for preschoolers and up, Mollie Katzen (J 641.5 KATZEN)
Honest pretzels : and 64 other amazing recipes for cooks ages 8 and up, also by Mollie Katzen (J 641.5 KATZEN)
The science chef : 100 fun food experiments and recipes for kids, Joan D'Amico and Karen Eich Drummond (J 641.3 D'AMICO)
American Heart Association kids' cookbook (J 641.5 AMERICA)
Cooking up world history : multicultural recipes and resources, Patricia C. Marden and Suzanne I. Barchers (J 641.59 MARDEN)
Chock full of chocolate, written by Elizabeth MacLeod (J 641.6374 MACLEOD)
and many more.

Don't forget reference:
Edible plants and animals : unusual foods from aardvark to zamia, A.D. Livingston and Helen Livingston (R 641.03 LIVINGS)
Oxford encyclopedia of food and drink in America, 2 vol. (R 641.3 OXFORD)
Food, an authoritative and visual history and dictionary of the foods of the world, Waverley Root (R 641.3 ROOT)
Encyclopedia of food and culture, 3 vol. (R 641.5 ENCYCLO)
The Oxford book of health foods, J.G. Vaughan and P.A. Judd (R 641.302 VAUGHAN)
Unmentionable cuisine, Calvin W. Schwabe (R 641.66 SCHWABE)

Recommended by a cookbook loving library patron:
Mark Bittman's How to cook everything (We don't own it, but we do get his columns in the NYT, and have two other Bittman cookbooks)
Julia Child's classic The way to cook. We do have this.

Posted by library at 04:45 PM

August 21, 2007


AfricaNote on the picture: We know there are no tigers in Africa, not naturally anyhow. But a boot camp for Chinese tigers has been established there.

Although the Congo basin has the second largest rain forest in the world (the largest is Amazonia) much of the African continent is not forested. The north is largely desert, the east has a great savannah where zebras, lions and elephants roam. Other regions feature lakes, swamps, mountains, beaches, tropical islands, mediterranean olive groves, plateau - cold, hot, wet, dry, or changeable. The languages of Africa are just as complex as the landscapes and there may be as many as 1,500 to 2,000 different ones. The people? Look through volume one of the Worldmark encyclopedia of cultures and daily life (R 305.8003 WORLDMA)

Some book suggestions for those on the Africa quest:
Umm El Madayan : an Islamic city through the ages (J 961 UMM)
Ancient African town, written by Fiona Macdonald (J 966.9 MACDONA)
Ashanti to Zulu : African traditions by Margaret Musgrove (J 960 MUSGROV)
Wonders of the African world by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (960 GATES)
African beginnings by James Haskins and Kathleen Benson ; paintings by Floyd Cooper (J 960 HASKINS)
Encyclopedia of African history, 3 volumes (R 960.03 ENCYCLO)
Encyclopedia of African history and culture, 3 volumes (R 960.03 PAGE)
Cultural atlas of Africa (960 MURRAY)

We also have two library staff members from Africa, one from the west (Cameroon)and one from the east (Kenya). Come talk to them.

Explore the regions of Africa (PBS)
The story of Africa (BBC)
African music and dance (Columbia University)
African images and sound files (University of Wisconsin, please read the copyright notice)

Web Cams:
Mashatu Game Reserve cam (you have to wait through a commercial first)

Posted by library at 04:54 PM

August 20, 2007

Contest Update

Our third contest this summer will be Can you spot the monkeys? The deadline is September 10th, the date of summer quest final party. We will post the instructions soon and you will be able to find quiz forms at the desk.

Contest #2, What happens in the Seventh Harry Potter Book?, was won by two people who each guessed every single question correctly (before publication). The prize was a CD copy of the book.

Contest #1, Find the Tamandua, was won by Jordan D., and the prize was a big, beautiful, new book about rain forests. There were two important lessons for you to learn in that contest.

1. When you are searching for information think broadly. Don't let yourself get boxed in. Yes there are tamanduas to be spotted in the 590s, the animal books. But tamanduas can also be found in the 400s, in dictionaries. And certainly in 031 or thereabouts, encyclopedias. Most of the secret tamandua coupons we hid about were not found were not found by anyone, not even Jordan.

2. Use synonyms ! In The Encyclopedia Americana (R 031 ENCYCLO) look under tamandua. But in The World Book Encyclopedia (J-R-DESK 031 WORLD) and The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (R 031 NEW) you have to look at the anteater articles to find the tamanduas.

Note 08/23/2007: Instructions for contest #3 have been posted.

Posted by library at 02:51 PM

August 17, 2007


Not only are several people who drew the drama quest reading Shakespeare's stories, but others are choosing them too. The Tempest or Twelfth Night for calamities, specifically shipwrecks? Anthony and Cleopatra for ancient times? The Two Gentlemen of Verona for comedy or costume? Henry V for knighthood? We seem to be experiencing a small Shakespearean storm surge here.

822.33 is the number. The plays themselves can be found in the adult aisles, various interesting adaptations, often illustrated, in the J room.

Adaptations for young readers:
Enter three witches : a story of Macbeth by Caroline B. Cooney (J FIC COONEY)
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, adapted by Richard Appignanesi and illustrated by Sonia Leong (J 822.33 SHAKESP)
Shakespeare stories by Leon Garfield, illustrated by Michael Foreman (J 822.33 GARFIEL)
Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet "presented" by Michael Rosen and Jane Ray (J 822.33 ROSEN)
William Shakespeare's A midsummer night's dream retold by Bruce Coville, pictures by Dennis Nolan (J 822.33 COVILLE)
William Shakespeare's Macbeth retold by Bruce Coville, pictures by Gary Kelley (J 822.33 COVILLE)
and a little, a lot, looser - Dating Hamlet : Ophelia's story by Lisa Fiedler (J FIC FIEDLER)

Look for these on the adult side:
Clues to acting Shakespeare by Wesley Van Tassel (822.33 VAN TAS) Breath only at the punctuation marks ... and Will power : how to act Shakespeare in 21 days by John Basil and Stephanie Gunning (792.95 BASIL) Why different Deweys? No idea.
Shadowplay : the hidden beliefs and coded politics of William Shakespeare by Clare Asquith (822.33 ASQUITH)
A year in the life of William Shakespeare : 1599 by James Shapiro (822.33 SHAPIRO)
and scores more.

A Magic Treehouse book? Of course. Stage fright on a summer night by Mary Pope Osborne (J FIC OSBORNE)
A picture book? The boy, the bear, the baron, the bard by Gregory Rogers (J PIC ROGERS)

Remember - we have the Folger Shakespeare Library right downtown - exhibits, theater, garden, and a nice little shop with lots of books. Easily accessible by Metro.

Shakespeare Search via Yippy
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
Internet Shakespeare Editions
Encyclopaedia Brittanica's Guide to Shakespeare
In Search of Shakespeare (PBS)
Shakespeare: Links to Every Single Play, Resources Offering Notes and Interpretations, Cool Facts, Festivals and More
Quick links to full text of the plays (scroll down, html)

UPDATE June 29th 2012:
One of readers recommends the following links:


Posted by library at 05:46 PM

August 16, 2007

Red Book, Green Book

red green short tall
At two or three points along the trail, a summer quester may be asked to choose a book of a certain color, a certain size or a certain shape. What is our purpose? To encourage you to look about and open books you might otherwise never notice. Wander the shelves looking for a interesting red or green book - it's good fun whether you are a quester or not.

And by the way, if you draw the "short" book quest, you can look for one that isn't very tall or for one that hasn't many pages. "Long" book? One that is shaped something like Daniel Pinkwater's picture books Author's Day and Aunt Lulu, or one with a lot of pages. Your choice.

Posted by library at 04:07 PM

August 14, 2007

The Clear Cut

make something of paper
Quest #8 refers to the conflict between "progress" and nature. This is your assignment: either read a book about how to make or do something (operate a frontloader?) or use a piece of paper wisely. By writing a poem on it? Turning it into origami? The origami bird in the photo was made by one of our questers.

  • Origami books can be found in 736.982 and 743.54
  • Hints on how to write are in 428 (grammar, spelling, punctuation) and 808 (form, style, becoming a writer) Specifically interested in writing poetry? Look at Poetry from A to Z : a guide for young writers selected by Paul B. Janeczko (J 808.1 POETRY) or any of the 23 other books that will help you, some in the adult section, some in the J room. The subject listing in the catalog is Poetry - Authorship
  • Love both poetry and origami? Find Fold me a poem by Kristine O'Connell George and illustrated by Lauren Stringer (J 811.54 GEORGE).

Other sorts of industrious activites:
Grow some vegetables 635
Learn to crochet 746
Juggle 793.87
Catch fish 799.1
Just look through the 600s (technology) and 700s (arts) for ideas.

To dip candles, make stilts, or finger paint with chocolate pudding see:
Making things : the handbook of creative discovery by Ann Sayre Wiseman (J 745.5 WISEMAN).

Posted by library at 07:29 PM

August 11, 2007


Accounts of big disasters often fascinate people. Did you draw this quest?

Icebergs 551.342
In the children's room we have two biographies of Molly Brown The heroine of the Titanic : a tale both true and otherwise of the life of Molly Brown by Joan Blos and Heroine of the Titanic : the real unsinkable Molly Brown by Elaine Landau. as well other versions of the story, including even a Magic Tree House book - Tonight on the Titanic

In the adult stacks we have Walter Lord's classic A night to remember (910.45 LORD) and about a dozen others. Even Danielle Steel wrote a Titanic book, No greater love.

Storms - Hurricanes (551.552), Tornadoes (551.553), and Blizzards (551.555)
In the J room you can find Eye of the storm : chasing storms with Warren Faidley (J 778.9 KRAMER) and other non-fiction books about tornadoes and hurricanes. Fiction? Remember Oz.

Particularly big, disastrous storms will also make it into the history books, for example Blizzard! : the storm that changed America - Jim Murphy (CD-BOOK 023 or J 974.7 MURPHY) which is about the great snow storm of 1888.
In the adult room? Lots of captivating, readable books.
The big storm (J 551.55 HISCOCK) written and illustrated by Bruce Hiscock.
Isaac's storm : a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history - Erik Larson. (976.413 LARSON)
The perfect storm : a true story of men against the sea - Sebastian Junger. (974.45 JUNGER)
Storm warning : the story of a killer tornado - Nancy Mathis. (363.349 MATHIS)
Storm of the century : the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 - Willie Drye (975.941 DRYE)
We have several books about Katrina, including The storm : what went wrong and why during hurricane Katrina-- the inside story from one Louisiana scientist - Ivor van Heerden (976.044 VAN HEE)
In 551.55 you will find Faidley's adult memoir - Storm chaser : in pursuit of untamed skies

Earthquakes (551.22) and Tsunamis (551.47024)
Check both the J room and the adult stacks, and don't forget the reference collection where you will find The encyclopedia of earthquakes and volcanoes. (San Francisco? See Fire, below)

Some of the earthquake or tsunami accounts can be found outside the 500s, in other areas.
A small sample:
Mama : a true story in which a baby hippo loses his mama during the tsunami, but finds a new home, and a new mama - Jeanette Winter. (J PIC WINTER)
Wave of destruction : the stories of four families and history's deadliest tsunami - Erich Krauss. (959.304 KRAUSS)
When the Mississippi ran backwards : empire, intrigue, murder, and the New Madrid earthquakes - Jay Feldman. (551.22 FELDMAN)

Volcanoes (551.21)
Right there on the shelves just to the left of the earthquakes...
The eruption of Krakatoa - Rupert Matthews (J 551.21 MATTHEW)
Krakatoa : the day the world exploded, August 27, 1883 - Simon Winchester (CD-BOOK 043, also in paperback and hardback)
Kathy Furgang's Mount Pelee : the deadliest volcano eruption of the twentieth century and Mount St. Helens : the smoking mountain (both are J 551.21 FURGANG)
Don't forget Vesuvius. Look for: Bodies from the ash (J 937.7 DEEM); Charles Pelegrino's Ghosts of Vesuvius : a new look at the last days of Pompeii, how towers fall, and other strange connections (937.7 PELLEGR); Magic Tree House #13 - Vacation under the volcano. For a first hand account, you need to look at Pliny's text online, and skip down to letter LXV. "On the 24th of August, about one in the afternoon, my mother..."

Fires (363.37)
Firefighting books are divided between two Deweys - 628.925 for the heavy equipment and 363.37 for the firefighters and their work. Both are popular sections with children and contain fine quest books. Of course, as in the following examples, you can also find accounts of particular fires in literature and history.
One of the most famous fire disasters in US history was the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. We have a book of poems - Fragments from the fire : the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire of March 25, 1911 : poems - Chris Llewellyn. (811.54 LLEWELL)
San Francisco is famous for its big earthquake and subsequent fire. Take a look at Disaster! : the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 - Dan Kurzman (979.461 KURZMAN) and other books at the same Dewey. And yes indeed, there is even a Magic Treehouse book about this, Earthquake in the early morning (J FIC OSBORNE),

Plane crashes (363.124) and Shipwrecks (363.123, or 910.452 if particularly adventurous)
Except for the Titanic (see the top of this post) not much can be found in the children's room, but the adult section has many engaging accounts including:
Deep survival : who lives, who dies, and why : true stories of miraculous endurance and sudden death - Laurence Gonzales. (613.69 GONZALE)
Alive; the story of the Andes survivors - Piers Paul Read. (982.6 R325)
A furnace afloat : the wreck of the Hornet and harrowing 4,300-mile voyage of its survivors - Joe Jackson. (910.916 JACKSON)
In the wake of madness : the murderous voyage of the whaleship Sharon - Joan Druett. (909.096 DRUETT)
And for a lulu of a title (and good writing) The story of a shipwrecked sailor : who drifted on a life raft for ten days without food or water, was proclaimed a national hero, kissed by beauty queens, made rich through publicity, and then spurned by the government and forgotten for all time written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and translated from the Spanish by Randolph Hogan. (910.4 Garcia) This is a short book, only 106 pages.

Posted by library at 12:32 PM

August 10, 2007

Funny Books

jokesOne of our summer quests challenges the reader to find (and read!) a humorous book. Do you like jokes or do you prefer a long, funny story?

  1. Joke books
    In the kids room: most are in 818 (miscellaneous), though you will find an occasional joke book in 793.7 (the puzzle/riddle area)
    The subject tracing is: Jokes
    web sites: yahooligan jokes / scatty
    On the adult side of the library: go to 817 (humor)
    The subject tracing is American wit and humor
    You can find plenty of adult joke sites on your own and you may already get thousands of jokes via e-mail.
    Why would both the Dewey numbers and the subject tracings be different in the two collections? No idea.
  2. Funny essays, short pieces. anecdotes
    In the J room. ??? Perhaps this form of literature doesn't exist for kids. On the adult side it is very popular. Look for books, CDs and tapes by Sedaris, Barry, Keillor and their many cousins.
    Deweys: 814 (essays), 817 (humor), 818 (miscellaneous writings) and elsewhere - funny books are scattered throughout history, geography and sociology.
    Subject tracing: once again, American wit and humor
  3. Funny novels (chapter books)
    Easy to find in the J room. Not only are many of the books in all the fiction categories funny, you can find the names of a some of the best authors by looking for the subject tracing Humorous stories.
    Website: 3 silly chicks
    In the adult area you are on your own. Funny novels are relatively uncommon, but try looking for books by Westlake, Devries, Wodehouse, Pratchett, Twain, Caudwell, Hiassen. For a good list please read this post and the comments. Need more? Check here for additional suggestions.
Update: Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook

What do you do if a dragon bites your library book?
   Take the words right out of his mouth.

Knock knock.
   Who's there?
   Cardigan who?
   Oh, no! I went to the library and forgot my card-igan!

library comics

Posted by library at 11:03 AM

August 08, 2007


Summer Questers of all ages: did you choose to travel through the forest by water rather than through the trees? You can choose from all sorts of water books.

Like science? Find books about water itself (surprise!). Go to 546.22 and look for books such as A Drop of Water. Look for bubble shapes and molecules in amazing, beautiful motion. Try some some of the experiments. It is hot, 100F, today - a good time for doing wet, very wet, science. How to make a paper water bomb.

Books about rivers, lakes, oceans are close by - walk a few steps to the right, to 551.4 in either the J room or the adult aisles.

Interested in life on the rivers? Young (and old) adults - find Hodding Carter's Lower Mississippi or Twain's great Life on the Mississippi, or even Beitzell's Life on the Potomac River. Fiction? Make friends with Horatio Hornblower, Huckleberry Finn, Pi, Red Fox, Captain Hook and Amy.

Perhaps creatures that live in the water interest you. Jellyfish? 593.53 Whales? 599.5

Don't forget pirate books. We have some interesting ones such as the Piratepedia. Most are sailing about in 910.45, the magic number for seafaring adventures.

Do you have other ideas? Rain? Snow? Fishing? You can spend the entire summer reading just water books if you wish.

Some curious web sites:
Why is the ocean salty?
Water spirit legends
The mermaid ballad Child #289
How to make your own water cycle jar
Know how to center a cork?

Posted by library at 06:29 PM

August 06, 2007


Are you working on the drama quest? You can look about in the 800s - but we have another idea you might try. Have you seen the magazine Plays? It contains plays for a variety of ages - for early grades right up through high school. Recently our copies have been used for teaching English to adults because some of the dramas are adaptations of famous plays, operas or stories, just shortened and with simplified language.

So for your quest you can:

  1. Go to the P section of the magazines to look for Plays (We'll help if you're lost).
  2. Browse through several issues by lifting the edge of the magazine shelf to find the pile behind. If you don't find anything you like in those six months of issues, ask us to bring out a stack of earlier ones
  3. After you find a short play you like, read it with your family or friends, everyone reading out their roles while eating pizza. Or read all the parts, and keep all the pizza, yourself. Or put on a puppet show. Many of the plays are quite short, just a few pages.

drama bus in library parking lot
If you would rather find a book, you have at least two places to go questing. As noted in an earlier post, how to put on a play and stories about actors are in 792 because acting and stagecraft are performance arts. The actual words of plays are considered  L i t e r a t u r e  and are in the 800s, arranged by language just like poetry.

American poetry in English is in 811, plays 812
English-English poetry 821, plays 822 (Shakespeare !)
German poetry 831, plays 832 (Brecht; Goethe)
French poetry 841, plays 842 (Moliere; Camus; Ionesco; etc.)
Italian poetry 851, plays 852 (Pirandello)
Spanish poetry 861, plays 862 (ever read La Celestina? or seen the movie?)
Latin poetry 871, plays 872 (Plautus; Terence; Seneca)
Greek poetry 881, plays 882 (Aristophanes; Aeschylus; Sophocles; Euripides)

Literature in other Languages, 89-, is divided up by language group, not form. So all of Russian literature - plays, poems, essays, stories - is in 891.7

What is in 813, 823, 833 etc.? stories, novels, chapter books
814, 824, 834 ... essays
815, 825, 835 ... speeches
816, 826, 836 ... letters
817, 827, 837 ... humor
818, 828, 838 ... miscellaneous

Please note "American Literature in English" includes writings from all the Americas - North, South, Central and the West Indies. English Literature from the Western Hemisphere.

And a reminder - we pull out most fiction onto separate shelves. Otherwise we would have thousands and thousands of books in just one dewey: 813.

Posted by library at 04:13 PM

August 02, 2007

Old Favorites

Quest task #10 : Reread an old favorite. We can't help you choose as we don't know what you've read and liked, but we want to share a list of our, the library staff's, old favorites - books we thought worthy of rereads.

old favorites

Children's books

There's a Nightmare in my Closet (Mercer Mayer)
In the Night Kitchen (and other Maurice Sendak books)
Little Nemo in Slumberland (Winsor McCay)
Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
Julie of the Wolves and On the Far Side of the Mountain (Jean Craighead George)
Half Magic (Edward Eager)
Roller Skates (Ruth Sawyer)
Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh)
Meet the Austins (Madeleine L'Engle)
Jar of Dreams (Yoshiko Uchida)
Cricket in Times Square, and the sequels (George Selden)
Stuart Little (E. B. White)
The Nicholas books (René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé)
Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster)
The Sneetches (and others by Dr. Seuss)
Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams)
Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Ballet Shoes and Circus Shoes (Noel Streatfeild)
Betsy-Tacy and Tibb (Maud Hart Lovelace)
The poetry volumes of Childcraft
The Dr. Dolittle books (Hugh Lofting)
Abel's Island (William Steig)
The Bears of Blue River (Charles Major)
A Traveller in Time (Alison Uttley)
The Valentine Cat (Clyde Robert Bulla)
Harold and the Purple Crayon (Crockett Johnson)
Put Me in the Zoo (Robert Lopshire)
Where's Spot? (and all the rest of the Spot books - Eric Hill)
Frog and Toad series (Arnold Lobel)
James Marshall's books
The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and the rest of the trilogy (Beverly Cleary)
Are You my Mother? (P. D. Eastman)
Madeline (Ludwig Bemelmans)
Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls)
Bill Peet's books

Books we read and reread as adolescents

Forever Amber (Kathleen Winsor)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
Easter Day 1941 (G.F. Borden)
The Many-Colored Land (and sequels, series by Julian May)
Sabriel (Garth Nix)
The Lyonesse series, especially book 2 The Green Pearl (Jack Vance)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
Robert Ludlum's books
Kurt Vonnegut's books
Early Truman Capote stories
Roughing it (Twain)
The Twelve Ceasars (Suetonius)
Life on the Color Line (Gregory Howard Williams)
The plays of G.B. Shaw
Burma Surgeon (Gordon Stifler Seagrave)
Arrowsmith (Sinclair Lewis)
Voltaire's Candide (and a few years later Terry Southern's Candy)
Orlando (Virginia Woolf)
Death Be Not Proud (Gunther)
The Last Unicorn (Peter S. Beagle)
The Chronicles of Prydain series, Taran Wanderer and others (Lloyd Alexander)
Perelandra and The Chronicles of Narnia series (C.S. Lewis)
Blood and Chocolate (Annette Curtis Klause)
Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton)

And books we read and reread as adults

Suttre (Cormac McCarthy)
Winterdance (Gary Paulson)
P.G. Wodehouse's books
Two Years Before the Mast (Richard Henry Dana)
Same River Twice (Chris Offut)
Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom (Marcus and Sendak)
Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin Novels
Ben Green's autobiographies
Tono Bungay (and other H.G. Wells)
Time and Again (Jack Finney)
Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K Jerome)
Dead Souls (Gogol)
The Histories of Herodotus
And No Birds Sang (Farley Mowat, also his The Dog Who Wouldn't Be)
Peter Mayle's A Year In Provence and Toujours Provence
Michener's Chesapeake and Poland
Gore Vidal's historical novels
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series
A City of Bells and Green Dolphin Street (Elizabeth Gouge)
The Known World (Edward P. Jones)
The Color of Water (James McBride)
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
Sherlock Holmes - the canon (Doyle)
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (Allan Gurganus)
Moby-Dick (Melville)
My Year of Meats (Ruth L. Ozeki)
Girl with a Pearl Earring (Tracy Chevalier)
The mysteries of Reginald Hill, Janwillem van de Wetering and Sarah Caudwell

Posted by library at 04:54 PM
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