Review: Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker

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Summary: 

From the publisher:

The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

Featuring eight interconnected stories and sixteen hauntingly beautiful illustrations, Scary Stories for Young Foxes contains the kinds of adventures and thrills you love to listen to beside a campfire in the dark of night. Fans of Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Auxier, and R. L. Stine have found their next favorite book.

Review:

I admit, I was skeptical by the premise of this book. Scary stories…for animals? Young animals? But I like foxes, and I like scary stories, so I was willing to give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did, because this book was a hit for me. Scary stories for kids are tricky; most standard horror fare is not kid-friendly, but young readers will protest at anything that’s not scary enough. So I have to give kudos to Christian McKay Heidicker for coming up with the perfect solution by making all of the characters (save one surprisingly familiar human antagonist) animals. The threats to our adorable fox kit characters are both realistic and scary, including hunters’ traps, badgers, and in my personal favorite of the stories, rabies. I was almost immediately attached to our two main characters, Uly and Mia, and rooted for them to overcome the terrifying trials that threaten them. I also really liked the framing of the story, where seven fox kits are listening to these scary stories that build on one another. After each story, one kit is too frightened to continue and goes home, but the rest beg the elderly storyteller to know what happens next.

I will warn you that Heidicker doesn’t pull any punches and is realistic about the brutality of nature. Some animals do die. Some family members are cruel. Not everyone gets a happy ending. But, as the publisher recommends, if you/your child enjoys Coraline, Goosebumps, The Night Gardener, or The Graveyard Book, then they are sure to enjoy Scary Stories for Young Foxes. Ages 10 and up, highly recommended.

Check it out on the catalog here!

Miss Jessica

 

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New and Improved STEAM-A-Rama Starts This Week!

STEAM-A-Rama is back!  We are so excited for a new season of one of our favorite programs.  A couple changes have been made to make this program even better for you.

 

This program will now begin promptly at 2pm and end at 3pm (or before if your child finishes the activities early).  This allows staff introduce concepts we are experimenting with for the day, share important information with everyone about the different stations so that kids and parents can confidently start activities and this also allows staff focus on assisting kids and families during activities without interruption.

 

We are also now offering monthly themes that allow us to discover topics and build knowledge on different aspects that we can’t always cover in just one session.  September we will be discovering Physics.  Check our calendar for each month’s theme.

 

Miss Marta

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell was the book to read when I was in grade school. Just seeing the cover now is enough to bring back fond memories of Scholastic book fairs and poring over the creepy illustrations, half-scared and half-fascinated. Clearly I wasn’t the only one, as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark remains popular to this day. First published in 1981, each book in the trilogy follows a simple formula: several short stories of the strange and supernatural written in a fairly straightforward voice, similar to the style of the Hook Man and similar urban legends told around campfires or sleepovers for decades.

As popular as it’s been, it hasn’t been without its controversy. The American Library Association lists Scary Stories as the most banned or challenged book throughout the ’90s and it still made it to the top ten for the early 2000s.

As a lifelong fan of the strange, the unusual, and the spooky, needless to say I was thrilled to hear that a movie adaptation of the series was being made. Released on August 9, the studio’s release reads “It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind…but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time-stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying tome.”

It is rated PG-13, so it may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive viewers, but it is likely to appeal to middle grade fans of the book series. Check out the trailer here. And if you just can’t get enough of Alvin Schwartz, there was also a documentary about him and his Scary Stories released back in March. It doesn’t look like it’s available on DVD or Netflix yet, but you can find it on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Vudu. 

Miss Jessica

 

Fortnite Books

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With its combination of the excitement of shooters and the creativity and construction of sandbox games like Minecraft, Fortnite has taken the video game world by storm and it doesn’t seem like its popularity is letting up anytime soon. These books full of tips and tricks will help readers become the last one standing in the Battle Royale, plus an art book if they want to learn how to draw their favorite characters.

 

 

Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : Advanced Strategies – Jason R. Rich

Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : Secrets of the Island – Jason R. Rich

Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : The Unofficial Gamer’s Guide – Jason R. Rich

Fortnite Battle Royale Hacks : Building Strategies – Jason R. Rich

The Fortnite Guide to Staying Alive: Tips and Tricks for Every Kind of Player – Damien Kuhn

Official Fortnite Battle Royale Survival Guide

Unofficial How to Draw Fortnite for Kids : Learn to Draw 40 of Your Favorite Fortnite Heroes by Andrew Howell

An Encyclopedia of Strategy for Fortniters : An Unofficial Guide for Battle Royale – Jason R. Rich

An Unofficial Encyclopedia of Strategy for Fortniters : ATK Driving Techniques, Challenges, and Stunts – Jason R. Rich

Miss Jessica

 

Review: Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

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Summary: 

I usually add the publisher’s description here, but in my opinion it doesn’t do this book justice, so we’re doing things my way today! This graphic novel is the story of best friends Sanity and Tallulah, who live on the space station Wilnick. Sanity loves to do science experiments and creates an adorable – and huge – three-headed kitten named Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds. But when Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds gets loose on the station, Sanity and Tallulah have to track her down before security makes them give her up. Meanwhile, unexplained power outages all across the station have everyone in a panic, and if they don’t figure out what’s causing it soon, the whole station could blow up! Will Sanity and Tallulah be able to save Princess Sparkle and the day? 

Review: 

I just finished reading this book myself not too long ago and have been trying to convince everyone I know to read it since then. Sanity and Tallulah is a super fun scifi adventure with a diverse cast of characters. Between the hunt for Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds, and the mysterious power failures on the station there is plenty of action. The art is fun and eye-catching without falling into the boring, monochromatic silvery palate a lot of futuristic media does, and the writing is similarly breezy and enjoyable. The science itself is mostly of the made-up, “reverse the polarity of the neutron flow” variety, but I really liked that it shows women and girls with an interest in STEM. Sanity herself is a budding scientist smart enough to create Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds solo and Tallulah’s mom is the engineer in charge on Wilnick. 

With the sequel coming out this fall, now is a great time to read Sanity and Tallulah! Recommended for ages 8 – 12.

Check it out on the catalog here!

Miss Jessica

Five On Friday: June

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It’s June, and that means it’s time for Summer Reading! Our theme this year is It’s Showtime at Your Library, so I decided to borrow the showtime theme for this month’s Five on Friday. Here are five middle grade books all about the theater for the superstar in you.

 

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Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle

Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

 

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Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

 

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The Marvels by Brian Selznick

The journey begins at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage. Nearly a century later, runaway Joseph Jervis seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Albert Nightingale’s strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past.

 

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Summerlost by Ally Condie

It’s the first summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery.

 

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How to Stage a Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly

Sidney plans to be the director of the Juicebox Theater when he grows up. For now, he handles the props, his best friend Folly works the concession stand, and his sister May hangs out in the spotlight. But the theater is in danger of closing, and the kids know they need a plan to save it and fast. When they join a local commerce club to earn money, Sid and Folly uncover some immoral business practices, and it gives them a great idea for saving the theater. That is, if you can call extortion a great idea.

And that’s all for this month! Be sure to check back in July, same bat time, same bat channel for the next 5 on Friday.

Miss Jessica

 

Live Clue Tween Event

Video Game Live Clue

Tweens and teens ages 8 to 14 can compete in a live version of the popular board game with a twist on Thursday, June 6 at 6:00.

Characters from video games have all ended up in a single video game world and someone has been murdered!  Can you figure out who did it, with what weapon, and where?

Registration is required.  You can register here or by phone at 309-524-2480 on in person at the Children’s or Adult reference desks.

Miss Tess