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Happy Birthday Eric Litwin!

August 16, 2017

Help us wish one of the creators of Pete the Cat a very Groovy and Happy Birthday!!!

Story Time Starter: Dirt, Sand, and Mud

August 12, 2017

Enjoy some messy ideas for a great story time at home!

Going in Style

By Barb - AV   |  August 11, 2017

Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine star in this funny and timely remake of “Going in Style.” Retirement is going well for these three gentlemen until the bank starts sending out foreclosure notices. After doing some investigating, they discover the company they had all worked for has been sold and their pension funds frozen. What develops from there is a plan to get their money back by robbing the local bank. They practice by robbing the local grocery store, and that does not go according to plan. When the store manager decides not to press charges, the plan continues to evolve with the help of a professional con artist. While the plot becomes a bit predictable, the acting is well-done and there are many laugh-out-loud moments in this film. Additional cast members Christopher Lloyd and Ann Margaret add talent in their supporting roles. Even though this movie appeals to retirees, younger generations would enjoy this film as well. Overall Rating: A

Beginning Reader Books

August 11, 2017

The Mansfield Richland County Public Library has leveled books for beginning readers.

Featured Article: National Friendship Day

August 6, 2017

It's National Friendship Day today!

Boss Baby

By Allison - AV   |  August 4, 2017

Before watching Boss Baby, I wasn’t exactly certain that it would be my type of film. After watching it, I can certainly say that it wasn’t. Boss Baby (featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin and Steve Buscemi, among others) is your standard children’s movie where the exceptional kids are required to save the bumbling parents. (The storyline was a bit more developed than just that aspect, but not by much.) While I did like the fact that the movie highlighted the importance of having an imagination and featured scenes from other works, such as Mary Poppins, Indiana Jones, and Moby Dick, I was less than impressed with some of the movie’s other qualities. For example, I was surprised (and appalled) at the amount and graphicness of the body-function humor included in the film. I was also disappointed with some of the movie’s messages involving the stereotyping of various groups of individuals, including types of company employees and those individuals that went to community colleges. In general, families with children might enjoy the film, but, personally, I was happy that my daughter is too young to have understood some of the film’s content. Overall Rating: C-

Book Review: We Are Growing!

August 2, 2017

We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller From Miss Susie at Lexington Branch

Happy Birthday, Jon J. Muth!

July 28, 2017

Today we celebrate author and illustrator Jon J. Muth's birthday!

T2 Trainspotting

By Steven - AV   |  July 28, 2017

T2 Trainspotting was probably never going to live up to its predecessor. The first Trainspotting is an undisputed classic gifted with a perfect soundtrack/sense of humor/style blend that would be just about impossible to replicate 21 years later. The fact that director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge, both returning, seem to know this is not a point in their favor. Their film uses self-awareness as a shield, with overt references to the original’s iconic scenes and speeches to disguise a thin concept where Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Edinburgh, Scotland two decades after running off with the cash his dysfunctional friends made from a drug deal. They haven’t changed much – Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is in jail, Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) runs both a bar and a blackmail scheme, Spud (Ewen Bremner) is still addicted to heroin. Outside some vague gestures toward what they’ve all done in the intervening years, T2 mostly relies on our memories of these characters as they were. As a commentary on aging and nostalgia, it has little to say, and as a character piece, it’s more concerned with the group’s legally dubious antics (some of which are, admittedly, great fun) than with who they’ve grown to be. It’s more footnote than sequel. The original Trainspotting worked because it was about learning who these people were, about how their actions affected their own lives and the lives of others. In the absence of that, T2 Trainspotting isn’t about much of anything. Overall Rating: C

Book Review: Issac the Alchemist: Secrets of Issac Newton Revealed

July 25, 2017

Read a book review about the fascinating life of Isaac Newton

Crafting with Kids: Penguin Crafts

July 22, 2017

Here are some penguin crafts to make at home!

Simple Forms by T/N/A/F

By Fate - AV   |  July 21, 2017

I saw T/N/A/F on the cover of a music CD and was puzzled. T/N/A/F. No further information was available inside the case, as no booklet was included, and the rear cover only listed the songs on the disc. It’s this kind of a mystery that leads me to do a media review. Turns out the letters mean The Naked And Famous. While it might have been interesting to learn how this group became Naked And Famous, I'm told that this is not the purpose of a media review. I am supposed to review what I thought of the music on the CD. Well, OK. These two words actually apply both to my acceptance of the duty I have to fulfill in doing a media review, and to my thoughts about this particular CD. It's better than just OK. On the first play I was not all that interested in the first song or two, but by the end of the album I liked it and feel it will be enjoyed more with a few more playings. In other words, it will grow on you. Not like a fungus, but the music was good, and the vocals were, as well. I could ramble on and talk about each song and how it may or may not affect global warming or the economy, but such evaluations should rest with the people who listen to the album. It is worth the effort. Overal rating: B+

World Emoji Day

July 17, 2017

Celebrate emojis with us!

Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years

By Terri - AV   |  July 14, 2017

After watching Eight Days a Week : The Touring Years, this non-fan of the Beatles has been transformed into a Beatles fan. Seeing original videos of their performances and interviews, learning about their history, and understanding their interest from the point of view of expert commentators developed my appreciation for these entertainers. The movie was a delight to watch. Director and producer Ron Howard has included photos of the young men and video of some of their appearances before they were famous; abundant concert footage of the group performing during the touring years (1964 through early 1967) and before, with many of the songs featured performed in their entirety; and footage of them composing in the recording studio. Seeing them perform and respond to interview questions, it is easy to understand their appeal. Often recent commentary from one or more of the surviving Beatles accompanies the pictures, and their observations and recollections (Paul: “We were actually appealing to girls!” or Ringo: “For some reason, whatever we put out – they loved!”) add to the enjoyment. The movie also revealed interesting facts about the Beatles’ impact on segregation in the American South during the Civil Rights Movement. As a non-fan, I was interested in the movie because I wanted to understand the fascination with the Beatles. This movie answered my question well: their energy and fun are contagious. Other than some limited obscene language, it is suitable for all ages. Overall rating: A+.

Book Review: Deep in the Woods

July 11, 2017

Miss Melanie reviews a great retelling of a Russian folk tale

Story Time Starter: Going on a Picnic

July 9, 2017

This month's story time starter is all about picnics! We've got some great books, activities, songs, and crafts to share, so read on!

After Laughter by Paramore

By Ellie - AV   |  July 7, 2017

With Paramore’s newest album, the pop punk band that embodied all of our middle school angst changes up their sound. After Laughter pulls heavily from the 80s and early 90s, evoking all the neon and windbreakers your heart could desire by pairing the synth and electronica of those bygone eras with lyrics of classic emo Paramore. “Rose-Colored Boy” is a great example of the contrasting tempos and themes, and it also happens to be one of my favorite songs on the whole album; Haley Williams sings about her loss of idealism in the face of recent events while backed by a springy snare drum and keyboard to cancel out the morose tone. Similarly, “Hard Times” strikes the listener as a feisty anthem about the difficulties in life juxtaposed with a tropical track of marimba and maracas. This change is a welcome one which, in my opinion, breathes new life into a tired genre. With two hit songs already released from this record, it seems Paramore has just hit their stride; After Laughter is sure to become a fan favorite in no time. Overall Rating: A-

Featured Article: National Blueberry Month

July 5, 2017

It's National Blueberry Month!

Get Out

By Melinda - AV   |  July 1, 2017

I have to admit I was skeptical before watching Get Out. I had heard many mixed reviews, but I decided to watch it for myself. Get Out is definitely a mystery/thriller movie that will you keep you on the edge of your seat and wondering what is going to happen for the entire movie (minus a few unbelievable parts here and there)! The movie follows an interracial couple, Chris (DanieL Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams), who go to meet Rose’s white family for the weekend at a secluded estate in the woods. Chris feels uneasy about this visit from the very beginning because he worries that Rose’s family will not welcome or accept him since he is black. Rose assures him that her family is not prejudiced and everything will be perfect. Not too long after they arrive, Chris begins to notice some strange, disturbing situations that make him feel very uncomfortable. As the movie progresses, the welcoming, friendly ambience that he felt at first begins to disappear. Chris becomes on-edge and he begins to question if this is an environment that he wants to stay in or “Get Out” of as quickly as possible! I will leave it at that and I recommend you watch this movie to see how it unfolds – believe me, it is quite unimaginable. If you love thrillers, I think you will enjoy this. Get ready to be very surprised!  Overall Rating: B

Story Time Starter: Jungle

June 29, 2017

This month's story time starter is all about the jungle!

Book Review: Brave Girl

June 25, 2017

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel From Miss Sarah at Bellville Branch

Tanna

By Darla - AV   |  June 24, 2017

Tanna is based on a true story from a Yakel village, where chiefs arrange marriages but two lovers choose a different path. Dain, the chief’s grandson, and Wawa want to marry each other, but the Yakel and Imedin chiefs tell Wawa that she must marry a man from the Imedin village. Only the young couple can bring peace to the Imedin and Yakel people in the lush, beautiful, and dangerous surroundings of their Australasian island home.  I enjoyed the supporting actors and the beautiful scenes in the island of Tanna.  I found the story compelling and saw universal themes of man’s treatment towards each other. This foreign language film deservedly won Best Foreign Film by the African-American Film Critics Association. Overall Rating: B+

Children's Festival and Jim Gill

June 21, 2017

Stop down at the Mansfield Children's Festival this Saturday!

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

By Barb - AV   |  June 17, 2017

I have watched the animated version of this film many times over the years. I was excited to see the previews for a new version of Beauty and the Beast, and after watching the movie, I was not disappointed. Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (the Beast), and a cast of many other talented actors brings the sleepy village in France to life. The elaborate scenes, big musical productions, and the Beast’s visually stunning effects made me feel like I was watching a Broadway Play on the big screen. While the original animated version was made for a younger audience, this updated film is for an older audience.  Gaston is more sinister and Le Fou is still comical yet with misgivings about Gaston’s actions to win Belle over. The fight scenes between the Beast and Gaston are fairly intense, especially the one at the end of the movie, and the wolves in the forest are more menacing. Some new scenes were added, such as a new song and Belle’s discovery of how her mother died. This movie was a joy to watch and I recommend it for everyone who loved the original version. Overall Rating: A+

Crafting with Kids: Garden Masks

June 17, 2017

Garden Masks are cute and simple to make!

Happy Birthday David Macaulay!

June 13, 2017

Happy Birthday to our SLP illustrator and all around interesting guy, David Macaulay!

Book Review: Book of the Dead

June 9, 2017

TombQuest Book One: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop From Miss Sarah at Bellville Branch

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

By Allison - AV   |  June 9, 2017

To start this review in a completely honest fashion, I must say that I have not seen the first two films in the xXx franchise (xXx from 2002, or xXx: State of the Union from 2005). To continue the theme, I must also say that I’m not sorry I haven’t seen them. xXx: Return of Xander Cage is everything you would expect an action film to be: violent, full of bad guys, and filled to the brim with stunts. Insane stunts. Stunts that would not (and cannot) be believed. And therein lies my issue with the film: nothing in the film was within the realm of believability. For example, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) traipsed across four separate continents and was, of course, able to speak the local language in every single one. He also skied through a rainforest, skateboarded down a mountain road, performed dirt bike kung-fu, and held a footrace in (and ON) traffic. (My husband commented that he thought my head was going to fall off from all the shaking it was doing). As far as the plot goes, the premise was a promising one: Cage was supposed to acquire a device that can control any satellite orbiting the Earth called Pandora's Box, but even that ended up being sort of lackluster. Entertaining for a while, annoying for longer, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is not something I ever need to experience again. Overall Rating: A+ for action, D- for believability

Featured Article: Build A Better World

June 5, 2017

Summer is here! The theme for this year's Summer Library Program (SLP) is "Build a Better World."

Hot Thoughts by Spoon

By Steven - AV   |  June 2, 2017

The word that best characterizes Spoon’s music is “solid,” both in their ever-present backing layer of thick, punchy drums + keyboard and their general sense of reliability. Hot Thoughts is their ninth album in just over 20 years, and that workmanlike quality can sometimes overshadow what is otherwise pretty good songwriting. Though it’d be a disservice to the quality of their work to label them another Adequate Indie Rock Band, they can provoke about the same level of investment – often, their music is to be admired rather than engrossed by. Barring a handful of electronic touches and semi-experimental tangents (“Pink Up,” “Us”), Hot Thoughts finds Spoon in their comfort zone: brief, catchy, vague, and artsy without being inaccessible. It’s not a bad place to be when it produces songs like “Shotgun” or “Can I Sit Next to You,” even if it isn’t particularly exciting. It’s not much of a jumping-in point, either – for that, see Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga or Kill the Moonlight. Overall Rating: B-

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