This month's story time starter is all about the jungle!
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel From Miss Sarah at Bellville Branch
Tanna is based on a true story from a Yakel village, where chiefs arrange marriages but two lovers choose a different path. Dain, the chiefâ€™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.Â I enjoyed the supporting actors and the beautiful scenes in the island of Tanna.Â I found the story compelling and saw universal themes of manâ€™s treatment towards each other. This foreign language film deservedly won Best Foreign Film by the African-American Film Critics Association. Overall Rating: B+
Stop down at the Mansfield Children's Festival this Saturday!
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 Beastâ€™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.Â Gaston is more sinister and Le Fou is still comical yet with misgivings about Gastonâ€™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 Belleâ€™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+
Garden Masks are cute and simple to make!
Happy Birthday to our SLP illustrator and all around interesting guy, David Macaulay!
TombQuest Book One: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop From Miss Sarah at Bellville Branch
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 Iâ€™m not sorry I havenâ€™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:Â A+ for action, D- for believability
Summer is here! The theme for this year's Summer Library Program (SLP) is "Build a Better World."
The word that best characterizes Spoonâ€™s music is â€śsolid,â€ť 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 itâ€™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 â€“ often, their music is to be admired rather than engrossed by. Barring a handful of electronic touches and semi-experimental tangents (â€śPink Up,â€ť â€śUsâ€ť), Hot Thoughts finds Spoon in their comfort zone: brief, catchy, vague, and artsy without being inaccessible. Itâ€™s not a bad place to be when it produces songs like â€śShotgunâ€ť or â€śCan I Sit Next to You,â€ť even if it isnâ€™t particularly exciting. Itâ€™s not much of a jumping-in point, either â€“ for that, see Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga or Kill the Moonlight. Overall Rating: B-
Make a simple but beautiful butterfly!
I'm a music man. Â I generally do not pay much attention to lyrics. Â But when I began a listen to "Going Backwards," the first cut on Spirit, some of the lyrics hooked my attention. I viewed the lyrics as the music progressed song to song. Â Another interesting cut for me was "Poorman." All in all, the album was good. I enjoyed the music and the singer had a decent voice and he did not scream the lyrics. Â If you have headphones and some time, this album should be an enjoyable experience. Overall Rating: B+
Here at the library, we love scavenger hunts!
Help us wish a very Happy Birthday to the creator of the Magic Treehouse book series!
There are many mysteries in life and finding our reason for being is one of them. The new movie, A Dogâ€™s Purpose, explores this quest from a dogâ€™s point of view. The comedy-drama stars Dennis Quaid as Ethan, (with eight-year-old Ethan played by Bryce Gheisar), who saves a puppy from a hot car and names him Bailey. The two go through serious life challenges together and form a deep bond that ends when young adult Ethan (KJ Apa) has to say goodbye to the aged Bailey. But thatâ€™s not the end â€“ Baily reincarnates and has a wide range of life experiences with new owners, all the while holding on to his memories of Ethan and wondering what life is all about. Some perilous and touching moments take place as the movie heads toward its emotional conclusion. I thought the movie was definitely worth watching; the canine performers did an excellent job! I have to say this filmÂ did make me look at my cats a little differently. Overall Rating: A
Frog on a Log? by Kes Gray from Miss Caroline at Main Library
Help us celebrate black and white!
The Icelandic indie/rock band Kaleo is back with their second album titled A/B. This quartet has been slowly garnering attention in the music scene since their debut in 2013 at South by Southwest, and the tracks on this record blend the very different genres of indie, rock, and country together into a soulful, passionate album. â€śNo Goodâ€ť is the perfect song for a little confidence pick-me-up â€“ just add black leather boots and some attitude. Slow down with the mournful rock hymn â€śWay Down We Go,â€ť which laments the singersâ€™ journey through the fiery underworld for all their misdeeds. After the lament, rebound with the clear, sweet voice of lead vocalist JJ Julius Son in â€śAll the Pretty Girls,â€ť where he sings about greed and all things love. Finally, listen to the lyrical lilt of the bandâ€™s native Icelandic in their cover of â€śVor Ă VaglaskĂłgi," a song about the gorgeous, green, springtime forests of VaglaskĂłgur, one of the largest forested areas in Iceland. This band has a song for just about every listener, and there is something on this CD for everyone to enjoy. Overall Rating: B+
One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman From Miss Caroline at Main Library
Collateral Beauty is about a well-liked New York advertising executive named Howard (played by Will Smith) who turns into a clinically-depressed loner after the tragic loss of his six-year-old daughter. Â While his friends and co-workers begin to worry about his well-being and try to re-connect with him, he further retreats from his life. As Howard continues to mourn his daughter, he writes letters to Love, Time, and Death seeking answers to what has happened in his life. To Howardâ€™s surprise, these abstract concepts that he writes to for answers somehow find him and respond in-person. Even though Howard is displeased to meet Love, Time, and Death, he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully-lived and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty. The storyline was a bit melancholy and not very uplifting, but it did teach good life lessons and made you appreciate the good things life can bring you along with the not-so-good things. I liked the movie and recommend it, but make sure you are ready to shed a few tears here and there. In addition, it has an all-star cast of well-known actors that keeps you intrigued. Overall Rating: B
It's Star Wars Day; may the "fourth" be with you!
Fish Girl by Donna Jo Napoli and David Weisner From Miss Jennie at Ontario Branch
The romantic comedy musical La La Land takes place in late 90s Los Angeles and stars Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, a struggling Los Angeles jazz pianist, and Emma Stone as Mia, an aspiring actress. The two California dreamers find each other, fall in love, and experience many ups and downs while pursuing their respective careers. The period music and dance scenes have a wonderful old-school Hollywood vibe, but this award-winning production also has wide audience appeal due to the charisma of the two lead actors. The story, the classic wardrobe, the beautiful California sets, and the skilled acting were superb. The timeless themes in La La Land will make this film a classic. I recommend this film for all ages. Overall Rating: B
We want to share our favorite chicken things with you!
Buster Moon has one last chance to save his beloved theater. His idea is to hold a singing contest with a $1,000 prize. Buster's assistant, however, mistypes the prize amount and offers $100,000 instead, so everyone wants to participate in the show. It sounds like an ordinary plot thatâ€™s been done before, except in Sing the characters are all animals voiced by some of Hollywoodâ€™s most talented performers. Matthew McConaughey is Buster; Reese Witherspoon is Rosita, a proud mother of 25 piglets; Seth MacFarlane is Mike, a Rat Pack era mouse; Scarlett Johansson is Ash, a punk rock porcupine; Taron Egerton is Johnny, a teenage gorilla; Tori Kelly is Meena, a shy elephant. The movie has multiple story lines that follow the characters as they all prepare for the competition, with many twists and turns and laughs throughout. The soundtrack has well-chosen songs from a variety of genres. I enjoyed this movie. Overall Rating: A
April 21st is when we celebrate the birthday of Barbara Park!
April is Math Awareness Month!
Educators can now borrow big books from the library. There are over 100 different books that can be checked out.
Hidden Figures focuses on the true story of three African-American womenâ€“ Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson â€“ who struggle to become leaders in their scientific fields while America attempts to beat the Soviet Union into space. Katherine, a mathematical genius, works as a â€ścomputerâ€ť for the Space Task Group at Langley Research Center, but her male coworkersâ€™ views of her gender and skin color force her to repeatedly fight to receive acknowledgement of her work. Dorothy becomes fearful of keeping her job due to the recent acquisition of an IBM electronic computer, so she teaches herself the programming language FORTRAN so that she might be one of the individuals who can run the new machine. Mary is forced to plead her case in front of a judge in the hopes of attending night classes at an all-white school to help her become NASAâ€™s first black female engineer. At a little over two hours in length, Hidden Figures was a phenomenal film. The costuming and set design helped to paint a vivid picture of the Space Race era, and the all-star cast â€“ including Taraji P. Henson, Janelle MonĂˇe, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, and Kirsten Dunst â€“played their parts exceptionally well. In addition, humor was woven throughout the storyline, which helped offset some of the filmâ€™s heavier themes. Appropriate for the whole family, Hidden Figures in a film to be enjoyed time and time again. Overall Rating: A+