Today we celebrate author and illustrator Gail Gibbons' birthday!
Divergent: Divergent Trilogy, Book 1, written by Veronica Roth, narrated by Emma Galvin In sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, people were categorized into five factions, each based on a personality trait; Abnegation upheld selflessness, Candor followed honesty, Dauntless practiced bravery, Eurodite exalted intelligence and Amnity practiced peace. Beatrice was tested to see which faction she had a strong aptitude for, and had unusual test results; therefore, she was labeled Divergent, and warned to tell no one. Sixteen-year-olds had to select either their family’s faction or another faction; accordingly, Beatrice left Abnegation for Dauntless, renamed herself Tris, and met Four, her mysterious Dauntless trainer. Beatrice adapted to her new faction, navigated a romantic interest, but found out that her society was deeply flawed, so she acted to save her family and friends. I recommend this young adult, fast paced, entertaining, and lively narrated thriller, full of plot twists, to science fiction lovers of all ages. Overall Rating: A
Inspector Endeavour Morse, based on the character in Colin Dexter’s mystery book series, was played for many years by John Thaw in the popular British series, Inspector Morse. Now the character is reimagined as a brash young Constable Morse played by Shaun Evans in the new series, Endeavour. In the opening scene of the pilot, set in 1965, Constable Morse is writing his letter of resignation when he is called in with other officers to investigate a missing persons case in the city of Oxford, where he was once a student at the university. Many of Morse’s memorable character traits are already present in the young man- he is almost always the smartest man in the room, which does not endear him to his fellow officers, and his love of crossword puzzles and opera music also play a part in his investigations. This series is smartly plotted and well-acted and even those who were not fans of the original series will find themselves hooked, while fans of the original Inspector Morse will enjoy seeing the young man solve his first case, drink his first ale, and sit in his first Jaguar. Grade: A-
It's that time of year where we celebrate that summertime treat that everyone loves: ice cream!
Part action, part thriller, Non-Stop follows the story of a hijacked flight from New York to London and the US Air Marshall (Liam Neeson) who is believed to be the plane’s hijacker. Throughout the film, I kept trying to piece together the true story of the hijacking and who was really behind it, but the storyline kept me guessing until the very end. The only portion of the film that I did not like in general was the director’s use of on-screen text messages between the mysterious hijacker and Neeson. Though the texts allowed the viewer to see the words as they were typed and read, I had to pay very close attention to ensure that I didn’t miss one. Overall, it was an engaging film, and one that I would recommend to others. Overall Rating: B+
Happy Birthday, Laura Numeroff
Run & Jump stars Will Fort as Ted, an American doctor who travels to Ireland to study the Casey family after the husband, Conor (Edward MacLiam), suffers a stroke, which changes his personality and leaves his wife, Vanetia (Maxine Peake), to hold things together. While this plotline may sound bleak and depressing, the film is actually a beautiful and heartwarming story. At first, Vanetia find's Ted's presence and continual filming to be annoying and stifling but as time progresses, Ted and the family members find themselves influencing each other in positive and powerful ways. It is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit and the bond of love and support that can develop within us all. At once poignant, funny and thought-provoking, I highly recommend this film. Overall Rating: A-
Book Review: Birds of a Feather by Francesco Pittau & Bernadette Gervais, from Miss Melanie at Main Library
The play revolves around a foster parent and her three unruly foster children who move into Madea’s small blue collar Georgia neighborhood. The elderly, nosy Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and the irrepressible Madea (Tyler Perry) use their wits and wisdom to bring structure back to the neighborhood. Serious social issues occur with the characters, but the mood is lightened through inspirational singing and comic relief. The stage set is beautiful, and the singing outstanding. I enjoyed the film and recommend it, for viewing and discussion. Overall Rating: B+
The summer is just over 1/3 of the way over and we've been busy! Check the status of our Summer Library Program.
This year's Summer Library Program (SLP) is all about science — why not make this awesome mask to celebrate?!
Book Review: There's an Owl in the Shower from Miss Sarah at Bellville
June is National Great Outdoors Month. Find something fun to do outdoors!
Artist and Children’s Book Illustrator Dan Santat was chosen to create the art work for this year’s Summer Library Program, Fizz, Boom, Read!
Call the Midwife is an award winning BBC drama based on the best selling memoirs of former nurse, Jennifer Worth, that is set in 1950's poverty-ridden East London. Call the Midwife portrays the triumphs and struggles of the midwives and nuns at the nursing convent Nonnatus house as well as the working class people they serve. This season was disappointingly slow despite the writers best efforts - a polio outbreak, ex- nun wedding jitters, a royal visit, and an angry father who threatens to get rid of a baby that is very noticeably not his. As you can read, there was a lot of drama going on and yet it was incredibly boring; the only redeeming qualities being one medical mystery solved and seeing childbirth practice advancements. The first two seasons are excellent and addicting so despite this dud, I highly recommend you hop on another British bandwagon! Overall Rating: B-
The Vampire Academy series of novels by Richelle Mead concerns the adventures of two teenagers, Rose and Lissa, who share a psychic bond following their involvement in a near-fatal car crash. Lissa is a princess of the moroi (royal, magic-wielding vampires) and Rose is her dhampir protector (a half-human, half-moroi) who lives to protect her friend. This movie covers the first novel in the series and, frankly, it's a mess. There is too much world-building in the novels to be delivered in a two hour film, even when the snarky dialogue and lengthy exposition are delivered at breakneck speed. If you are longing for a mash-up of the Harry Potter series and Twilight that emphasizes lame special effects and the perils of a high school full of blood-sucking mean girls, this movie is for you. My advice is, stick to the books. Overall Rating: C-
Book Reveiw: The Boxcar Children From Miss Sarah at Bellville
Summer is officially here at the Library!
I was really excited to see Pompeii – mainly because I’ve had a mild obsession with Pompeii, Italy for most of my life – and I will say that I was a little disappointed in the film’s focus. Instead of focusing on a citizen of Pompeii, the movie focuses on Milo, a Celtic slave forced to fight in the gladiator arena, and his life as it pertains to the Pompeian woman he loves, Cassia. Despite his origins, Milo’s character is charming enough to make you want to root for him – and Cassia – for the entirety of the film, even as the city of Pompeii begins to crumble around them. The film’s special effects were spectacular, and the eruption of the volcano was all that it should have been. However, I did find the movie’s reference to the plaster casts of Pompeii’s citizens vague, at best, as their presence in the film was largely unexplained. All-in-all, I think that Pompeii would appeal to a range of viewers thanks to the presence of a love story intertwined with gladiator fights, the subplot of unlikely friendship, and, of course, an erupting volcano. Overall Rating: B-
Book Review -- Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
In the Academy Award Best Picture nominated movie, Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a lonely and sensitive writer who develops a deep relationship with an operating system named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). This movie explores the nature of love: what it means to love, how we love, who and what we love, and how we face the loss of love. Phoenix does a brilliant job portraying subtle emotions, vulnerability and human heartache. Scarlett Johansson delivers a strong voice performance, enabling us to accept her as an evolving consciousness rather than a mere software program. This movie was beautifully filmed, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I look forward to viewing it again. Overall Rating: A-
Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the most beloved and prolific of all children's authors -- Margaret Wise Brown.
With the warm weather finally here, it's time to start planting gardens!
Soul Food Junkies is a documentary film that discusses how the traditional (but delicious) Southern United States/African-American diet is unhealthy, and how to improve that diet through altered cooking methods and food choices. The difficulties and pressures people experience when they try to give up traditional, greasy, salty comfort food for a healthy diet is tactfully revealed. Traditional, heart-healthy, and vegetarian cooks share their methods of preparing soul food, which enhances the film. I liked Soul Food Junkies’ message that improving one’s diet is not easy, but is necessary to improve one’s health. I recommend this film to all, because the methods of healthy cooking are universal. Overall Rating: B
Every May, we celebrate a very special week-long event called Children's Book Week!
Crafting with Kids: Mother's Day Crafts