Monday, August 31, 2009

The Best Picture Book Ever

For a youth services librarianship application, I needed to write an essay identifying the "best picture book I ever read" and describe why. The following is my response.

Recently, I have been volunteering to shelve children’s books with the Savannah’s Live Oak Public Library newest branch. New children’s books have an exciting smell and luster that has yet to be marred with character from loving little hands. As I sort the titles, many are familiar faces from my own childhood or experience, babysitting, or work at Locke Branch. Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Blueberries for Sal, Alexander and the No Good, Very Bad Day, Where the Wild Things Are, Olivia, Eloise, and an entire case filled with Dr. Seuss. Mrs. Nelson, Amelia Bedilia and all those Froggie books I used to bribe Jonathan into bed time, greet me as old friends. The list of titles suitable for the honor seems endless. Still, my heart will forever remain loyal to one title.

“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf,” and thus began my childhood obsession with Eric Carle and his The Very Hungry Caterpillar. From my first trip to the local public library (Locke Branch) and every other visit until I graduated to “chapter books,” it remained the coveted prize I would nudge other kids out of the way to grab.Maybe I’ve always been a fan of Carle’s colorful illustrations and the unique “hole”-some page design. Maybe there is some deep, post-modernist interpretation to be gleaned from its glossy pages. I think the most likely reason of all, however, is the thrill of the happy ending revealing that “He was a beautiful butterfly!”

No matter how many times I heard or read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I couldn’t help but become hooked. With exciting onomatopoeia and repetitive phrasing, it is hard not to anticipate what will happen next. These traits make it the perfect book to share with young readers cultivating their curiosity and passion for reading. Additionally, the story lends itself to enrichment and education. One could easily tie in lessons on diet, days of the week, colors and metamorphosis. Of course, that’s not to mention the myriad of caterpillar and butterfly art projects to take home.

I could cite the scholarly literature and reviews I perused in an effort to justify my selection. Yet, with a book as classic and timeless as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, doing so only detracts from the simple elegance of the story. Many children’s titles come and go. There may even come a time when the great Spongebob Square Pants fades from popularity. However, other titles seem to always have been and always will be; they are the core of any public library’s children’s collection. Any children’s collection worth its state budget allotment will forever contain The Very Hungry Caterpillar, earning its deserved place as the best picture book ever.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hockey in Savannah

Do you have any idea how hard it is to learn hockey while living in Savannah? I took up hockey a few months ago--just as something to do. Something I knew I could get Rich outdoors for. (It's hard to find motivation to leave the air conditioning during a 110% humidity Savannah Summer.) It started innocently enough--we just passed a hockey ball back and forth and tried to avoid Roz. I used Rich's regular stick, while he used the sacred stick he used to score his goal while playing on real ice. When we realized that, unlike Rich, I am not a right handed hockey player who can use a left-handed stick, we decided it was time to upgrade.

Finding a hockey stick in Savannah is a trick. About the only place with any is Play it Again Sports. There located in the back corner. There isn't much selection, so you've got to be lucky to find what you need. Rich must be lucky, because he found a basic street hockey stick (no frills plastic blade and all) for a right-handed player about my height. Truth be told--he didn't know my exact height and just bought the shortest stick they had. It fits perfectly.

We'd practice shots after work and I started getting respectable. However, just because I could clear the tennis court net did not mean I could aim. Rich decided we needed a net. Do you know how hard it is to find a hockey net in Savannah? Sure you can get a regulation size (4 x 6 foot) net meant for soccer, but they are flimsy and the holes in the net are too large for a hockey ball.
Rich decided to construct the frame from PVC pipe bought at the Home Depot.

Finding the net itself was another challenge. Apparently netting is harder to come by than you'd think, especially in Savannah. We searched high and low for an adequate material and finally settled on mesh laundry bags--you know, the sort that are on sale everywhere in August for the college bound.

The top tier of the net is one bag cut open on both the left and right side. The bottom tier consists of three bags, each split open on one side and the bottom. They are sewed side by side, with the aid of some extra-wide bias tape that was on clearance. The two layers were then stitched together, again using extra wide bias tape. My basic Singer sewing machine was not pleased with this project; it took an hour before I started my next project to return settings to normal cotton sewing mode.As you've guessed it, the net is attached to the frame with my own version of duct tape--cable ties.

The down side of our masterpiece? We can no longer play hockey on the tennis court. The management of our apartment has decried the court strictly for tennis. All other forms of recreation are strictly prohibited. Not that many people in the appartment complex actually play tennis. Guess they have to keep one thing about the place look nice and not outdated.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Started

My mind is spinning with the hundred and one things I'd like to do, and the seven thousand things I have to do. I originally thought of starting this blog to show off my crafty goodness. Now, I hope, I'll also be able to showcase what else keeps me so busy and happy. Here's hoping! StumbleUpon