Monday, December 08, 2008

Season's Readings

Looking for gift ideas? Well, look no further than Voorheesville Public Library’s famous “Season’s Readings.” Each year our librarians come up with recommendations in and out of their specialties. I try not to make my list too long, but I believe that my recommendations need to be tailored to each reader: child, teen or parent. Take a look at the list online or stop by the library for a copy. While at the library you can purchase (at the price) a copy of what you want. If we are out-of-stock you can purchase these recommendations at your local bookstore, or from If you are wondering why we mention Amazon so often, it is because a portion of the sale comes back to us and our Friends of the Library group. How can you order through Amazon and help the Friends? Good question. Just click on the Amazon icon from the Season’s Readings page at our website. Then start shopping. If you are a regular Amazon shopper you can still be at “your” account, but Voorheesville Public Library will be credited. So, let’s go shopping at

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Underneath

I just finished The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. Beautiful, lyrical prose tells the story of an old hound dog, Ranger, chained to the house of his evil, evil master. Along comes a pregnant cat that gives birth to two kittens. It is a survival story interwoven with a Caddo legend (Caddo are the ancient people of the bayou and East Texas). The legend is similar to the selkie/seal/turtle/ etc. that is seen throughout the world: an animal takes the form of a human, but can not return to the animal form unless it is forever. Gar Face, the evil master reminded me of the hard-drinking pirates from Treasure Island, while the poetic language was reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows.

I highly recommend this book, but it is one for upper level elementary into middle school. I think it would work well as a read aloud so that difficult passages from the Caddo legend to the evil Gar Face can be discussed.

Kathi Appelt has written many picture books, poetry and nonfiction. I’m going to check out her other books. I know I’ve read some of her picture books, but they didn’t really stick with me. I loved her book, Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky. It is about the librarians who delivered books to patrons during the depression in Appalachia. Yes, I loved it because it is about librarians!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Music Weekend

Christmas countdown continues with music! This weekend will be a busy one throughout the Capital District. First and foremost is the FREE celebration at the plaza through New York State’s Office of General Services. There will be the lighting of the state tree, holiday sing, arts and crafts for kids, and fireworks. To view the complete schedule take a look at the OGS press release here:

The Albany Symphony has three performances this weekend. Take a look at the schedule here: I’ll be at the concert on Saturday night to see my friend Kerry Anne O’Neill with the Campbell Dancers. It should be a great holiday event.

Another big concert this weekend is the Trans Siberian Orchestra. I’ll also be at that with a big group of my family, all TSO fans. (This will be my first concert with TSO. I’m a little nervous. Everyone tells me they are very loud!)

Don’t forget the Victorian Stroll in Troy, a performance of Sleeping Beauty (kabuki style) at the New York State Theatre Institute ( and First Friday activities ( that are free! So, music, shopping, art, and friendship are all here for one busy splendid weekend. Gee, I wish there was a little snow!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Christmas Countdown

It is exactly 25 days until Christmas. I’m feeling overwhelmed by what I did not finish this year, as most years. I don’t get too upset by the shopping, wrapping, baking or planning. I tend to dwell on the pile of books I still haven’t read! One way that I deal with this yearly dilemma is to take out my special stack of Christmas books and place them around the house.

I’ve been collecting Christmas books for many years. I have pop-ups, many different illustrators for The Night Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol by Dickens, and some absolute classics that I delight in every year. I still remember the first time I read Chris Van Allsburg’s Polar Express. There I stood with my son next to me, tearing up in the store, as I read the book. We went home with it that very day.

Start your own memories of the holiday with a special book collection. Come to the library and look over old and new books. You could read a new book every night. Along with the reading tradition, start a paper chain in red, green, gold, silver or white paper. The chain can represent the days until Christmas or the number of books you read.

This month we have a family storytime on December 10th to celebrate many different holiday customs. Come prepared to enjoy latkes with applesauce, Lucia buns, and a few other delicious items. The stories will feed your imagination; the food will enhance the experience!