Discovering Ancient Egypt

Featured Article

November 4th marks the date in November of 1922 that King Tut’s tomb was first discovered.  According to Discovery Channel,

King Tutankhamen, a boy king who reigned from around 1361 B.C. until his death at the age of 18, was a pharaoh in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. His tomb, located in the Valley of Kings, was discovered in 1922, and aside from taking the archaeological community by storm, the find caused increased fascination with archaeology among the general public. With its 2,000 treasures, King Tut’s tomb was the richest Egyptian tomb that had ever been discovered; it allowed archaeologists and historians to see for the first time many artifacts that they had previously only read about. Archaeologist Howard Carter from Britain discovered the tomb with financing from the Earl of Carnarvon. Tutankhamen’s treasures had lain intact for more than 3,000 years.”
tut's deadly tomb

Perhaps the finding of the tomb in 1922 created a major interest in archaeology, but it doesn’t seem to have waned much since!  The section in our non-fiction area that houses books on Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome is very popular with school-age children, and not just for school-related assignments–kids love to browse the section just because the subject is interesting.  In addition to tombs, mummies, and pyramids; the mythology, art, and hieroglyphics are interesting to kids of most ages.

In this day of CCSS (Common Core State Standards) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), teachers may be looking for ways to tie in quality non-fiction texts into their everyday lessons.  Doing a social studies unit on Ancient Egypt and the discovery of King Tut’s tomb would be fun and educational.  Check out our extensive selection of books on Ancient Egypt!

Here are some interactive projects you could do with your children:

  • Try some hands-on building of pyramids
  • Research hieroglyphics and make some of your own
  • Talk about the mummification process and why it worked so well
  • Make artifacts out of salt dough and hold your own archaeological dig in clean play sand

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Pumpkin Carving Contest 2013

Jack O'Lanterns2

It’s time again for our annual Pumpkin Carving Contest!

Children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade have submitted their awesome carved and decorated pumpkins to Miss Sheri at Crestview and Plymouth Branches, and we want you to vote for the best! Just follow the link for the survey below and vote for your favorite in each age category. Voting will end Wednesday, October 30.

Vote now!

Follow the directions on each page (and be sure to press “Finish” at the end of the survey to report your choices) and you’re set to go.

Thanks for voting in our pumpkin contest!

Halloween - Pumpkins

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Happy Birthday, Steven Kellogg!

Author Birthday

Today is author and illustrator Steven Kellogg’s birthday!

The author and illustrator of more than 90 books for children, Mr. Kellogg is best known for his beloved characters Pinkerton, Clorinda, and Jimmy and his boa. The joy Mr. Kellogg felt while reading as a child is what inspired him to pursue a career in creating children’s books. He actually started dreaming up stories and illustrating them at a very early age!

Steven Kellogg Collage

Most of Mr. Kellogg’s stories come from his childhood thoughts and feelings. His favorite thing to write about and draw is animals. The Pinkerton books are based on a pet Great Dane of Mr. Kellogg’s, whose real name was Pinkerton! Even though Mr. Kellogg really enjoys creating books about animals, he also has published folk and fairy tales such as Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, and The Three Little Pigs, which is an especially enjoyable take on the classic version of the tale.

Mr. Kellogg likes to be able to provide readers with a great book full of eye-catching and recognizable illustrations. Illustrating is an intricate art that can convey feelings and ideas to the reader, and Mr. Kellogg takes his illustrations very seriously.

So help us celebrate this well-known author and illustrator’s birthday by reading one of his many books today! And be sure to watch for Mr. Kellogg’s newest illustrated story, The Green Bath, written by Margaret Mahy!

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Book Review: The Day the Crayons Quit

Monthly Book Reviews

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
From Miss Jacqui at Lexington

Have you ever wondered what your tired, old box of crayons thinks of how you color? Well Duncan is about to find out!

The Day the Crayons Quit edit

In The Day the Crayons Quit, Duncan opens his desk to look for his crayons but finds several letters written BY the crayons, detailing their complaints, requests, and a few compliments. Each crayon has its own opinion, and they are all presented in a very humorous way. However, each crayon’s protests are very relatable and understandable, when you know how children color. For example, Red is unhappy and overwhelmed because it is used so frequently. Purple is having a breakdown because he prefers things neat and orderly and Duncan sometimes colors outside of the lines. Grey is tired of coloring big objects such as whales and elephants and would like a break. White feels neglected because no one can tell it is there unless there is a black outline.  The book goes through all of the colors in Duncan’s crayon box, with Green seemingly the only content crayon. What can Duncan do to please the crayons and insure that the crayons won’t go on strike again?

This book is playful, imaginative, and tells a unique story. Parents will get a kick out of the crayons’ grievances, just as much as the kids! Just a warning – you and your kids will want to read this book again and again! So check out this book at your local library, you won’t be disappointed!

The Day the Crayons Quit

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Children’s Magazine Month

Featured Article

October brings us lots of things to celebrate (pumpkins, anyone?), but something we’re kind of excited about is that it’s Children’s Magazine Month!  Of course we have all the magazines you could ever want in the adult and teen areas, but many people may not know that we also have magazines for children as well as teacher resource magazines, including 5 different versions of the popular The Mailbox magazine, the go-to help for many teachers in the Services for Children department.

For the very youngest children, we offer Babybug, a smaller publication on heavier paper that has stories, poems, songs, and rhymes just right for sharing with a small child in a lap.  We’ve also got National Geographic Little Kids, which is full of cute baby animals, and Friends, which features many favorite television cartoon characters, that are great for the youngest children.  Moving up, we’ve got Highlights and Highlights High Five, full of fun stories and activities for younger school-age and preschool-age children, as well as Ladybug, Humpty Dumpty, Cricket, and Chickadee, that are perfect for younger children.

Finally, for the school-age crowd, we offer magazines about animals like National Geographic Kids, Zoobooks and Ranger Rick, and an assortment of magazines that focus on social studies and history like Appleseeds, Click, Faces, Cobblestone, and Kids Discover, all of which would be educational as well as entertaining.  We also have general publications like American Girl and Boys’ Life for kids, and we are happy to introduce a couple of new family cooking magazines, which include Chop Chop and Yum for Kids.  Another of our new publications includes WWE Kids, featuring pro wrestling, but we also have Sports Illustrated for Kids for those children who can’t get enough of any of the other sports out there.

Children's Magazine Collage updated

Do you think you can find something you’d like to bring home to your children?  We hope so!  All of our magazines check out for 2 weeks, with a limit of 10 per library card.  Come celebrate Children’s Magazine Month with us this October and see for yourself what great things we have to offer!

More From the Web

  • ALSC (the Association for Library Service to Children) promotes Children’s Magazine Month!
  • See all of the Cricket family of magazines
  • Check out this list of the Top 10 Kids Magazines
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Book Review: The Wishing Spell

Monthly Book Reviews

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
From Miss Jacqui at Lexington

What would happen if you could enter the world of the beloved stories you listened to or read as a child? In this story, Alex and Conner fall suddenly into the Land of Stories, a book of fairy tales, and encounter an adventure beyond their wildest imaginations.

Alex and Conner are two ordinary siblings, with a very sad past. When their father unexpectedly dies, they lose the one person in their lives who was able to cheer them up or help them with their problems by reading them a story. Therefore, they are very excited on their twelfth birthday when their grandmother gives them the book of fairy tales that their father used to read to them when they were young. However, they soon find out that this is no ordinary book! When Alex accidentally falls into the book, and Conner jumps in after her, the twins find themselves in a world that is both familiar and peculiar.

The characters that they have grown to love in the stories, are now dealing with what happens after Happily Ever After.” Goldilocks is a wanted fugitive, the big bad wolves are out for revenge, Cinderella is expecting her first child any day now, and the Evil Queen, who almost killed Snow White, has escaped her prison. Once they come face to face with some of the villains from their favorite stories, they become desperate to find a way back home. In order to return home, they must gather several ingredients (magical items) in order to perform The Wishing Spell. What is at first an adventurous scavenger hunt throughout the kingdoms in the book quickly becomes a race against time!

If you would like to read a story that has a different spin on your favorite fairy tale characters, yet also contains elements of suspense, adventure, and mystery, this is a great book to try. The author’s descriptive writing style helps the kingdoms and villages of the book come to life before the reader’s eyes. This book is easy to “fall into” because the author developed such a rich story and interesting characters which are easy to relate to. Although this book is geared towards children, I found it very enjoyable due to the imaginative and fantastical story filled with magic, humor, and adventure.

If you or your child enjoys fairy tales, check out The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell from your local library, and fall into the magic of this book. The next one in the series, The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns, is available now.  Both titles are written by Chris Colfer (yes, the one on Glee!), who also has written a teen book called Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal.

Thanks for a great review, Miss Jacqui!

More From the Web

  • Visit The Land of Stories website for more about the book
  • Connect with The Land of Stories on Facebook
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Story Time Starter — Fire Trucks & Firefighters

Story Time Starter

This week is National Fire Safety Week (October 6-12), so we’ve got the perfect story time for you to use.  Children of all ages love big trucks, and especially fire trucks with the flashing lights and firefighters dressed in their gear.  In addition to simply sharing stories about fire trucks you can use stories to teach fire safety to even the youngest children.  All sorts of fire safety rules exist from within the home to being in the outdoors.  Teaching children to be careful and safe is important, and great stories can help.

We’ve got lots of stories about fire engines, firefighters, fire prevention, and fire safety, including fiction picture books like Fire Engine Man by Andrea Zimmerman and Dot the Firedog by Lisa Desmini, and non-fiction books like Firefighters in Our Community by Michelle Ames, and Fire Safety in Action by Marie Schuh.

Here’s a look at the rest of our recommended reads:

fire safety collage

Fire Safety Booklist (Word Document/.doc file)

Songs and rhymes are a nice addition to round out your story time.  Not only are they fun to sing or recite, but children can learn valuable information in a playful and engaging manner.

I’m a Little Fireman (tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a little fireman dressed in red
With my fire hat on my head
I can drive a fire truck, fight fires, too!
And I help make things safe for me and you!

The Fireman Song (tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The firemen are brave,
The firemen are brave,
Heigh-ho what do you know,
The firemen are brave!

Down by the Station
Down by the station early in the morning
See the great big fire engines all in a row
Hear the noisy fire bell sound a loud alarm now
Chug, chug, glang, clang, off we go!

We’ve also got some music from our collection for you to use:

And last, but not least, there are so many great crafts out there to go along with your stories!  Here are some of our favorites:


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Celebrate Computer Learning Month

Featured Article

The month of October is set aside by the Computer Learning Foundation as Computer Learning Month! The Foundation uses this month to promote the importance of technology knowledge among children and to help educate teachers, parents, and community members on the effective use of technology.

In today’s world, computers and technology are a major part of every day life, from communications to classrooms, and everything in between! It is important that youth keep up with ever-evolving technology and stay familiar with different devices, programming, computer skills, and uses.

Computer Collage

Here at the library, we have many books to help promote computer learning, internet exploration, technology, and much more. Our Information Explorers series can help kids build a blog, make a podcast, find websites, and stay safe online. My First Computer Guides give kids the basic information for the internet, e-mail, and computers. And Cyberspace Survival Guides provides kids with tips and information about such things as cyberbullies and online privacy.

We also offer many databases through our website to help students with school projects, research, or just for fun! 

kayboard and mouse

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Book Review: The One and Only Ivan

Monthly Book Reviews

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
From Miss Mary at Main Library

“People call me the Freeway Gorilla.  The Ape at Exit 8, The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback.  The names are mine, but they’re not me.  I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan.”

Ivan is a gorilla who has lived almost his entire existence in a circus housed inside a mall.  For the last 27 years, he has performed 3 shows daily, 365 days a year.  His owner, Mack, is not unkind to Ivan but still Ivan is lonely.  He barely remembers his young life with his gorilla family before the circus.   Ivan only knows life in his personal domain at the mall surrounded by his TV and a few other animals.  His friends include Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, the stray dog who sneaks in and sleeps on Ivan’s stomach at night.  Later Ruby, a baby elephant, joins them at the mall.  The humans in the story include George, the caretaker, and his daughter, Julie, who understands Ivan better than anyone.  They both share an interest in art and drawing.  It is Julie who slips Ivan paper, paint and crayons so that he might create his own artwork.

The One and Only Ivan

The story is written in first person narrative by Ivan the Gorilla.  When Ruby the baby elephant arrives, Ivan realizes he must save her from a lifetime in captivity that he has experienced.  Using his artwork as his only tool, Ivan manages to bring a better life to Ruby and ultimately to himself too.

I thought this book was truly exceptional and was deserving of the John Newbery Award for 2013.  Readers of any age will enjoy this tale about Ivan and what he was able to accomplish. Katherine Applegate, the author, was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after hearing about a true story of a gorilla who had lived in captivity at a shopping mall for 27 years.  The gorilla was eventually moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry pertaining to his living conditions.  He lived there happily for many years and was a crowd favorite of the zoo.

Check out the official The One and Only Ivan book trailer!

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Crafting with Kids: Happy Birthday, Johnny Appleseed!

Crafting with Kids

Today is the anniversary of the birth of a great American — John Chapman (more commonly known as Johnny Appleseed!).  In order to celebrate, we’re going to dedicate our craft post to this humble man born on September 26, 1774.  Johnny Appleseed is said to have created numerous apple orchards in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio; and after more than 200 years, some of those trees still bear fruit.

Kids love crafting, and there are so many apple crafts out there; but how do you choose from the variety?  Well, we found a printable Johnny Appleseed that your children can cut and color all by themselves.  It comes with a basket full of apples, too.  Here’s one that Miss Terry made:


We previously posted a Story Time Starter about apples that will give you an idea of some fabulous books to read.  There are also links to more super crafts that are perfect for this time of year when the cooling temperatures are getting us ready for the fall harvest.


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