Library Events & News

Library Events & News 2017-11-02T12:36:50+00:00

Library Events & News


Genre: Children’s Fiction Literature

Award:  John Newberry medal (1965), Zilveren Griffel (1971), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee (1966), Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis for Jugendbuch (1968)

Book Summary:  The son of a famous Mantador, Manolo, grows up with a community who expects him to pick up where his famous father left off.  His father was prophesized to be a great bullfighter by a gypsy when he was a baby.  Everyone places him in a role of future matador.  He shows absolutely no interest and realizes after a while that he is actually afraid to do most adventurous things.  Finally some men take Manolo to his first bull fight.  They feel he has been ‘left alone’ for too long.  While at the bull fight he sees the beautiful bull and the bravery at the bull fight.  He is sad to see the bull injured and it upsets him.  He sees the viciousness of the bull also.   He even has the matador throw his hat to him during the bull dedication.  Manolo was terrorized by thoughts of the career of bullfighting.  He was then taken all the time to a bull fight with the men.  They would have him study various parts of the bullfighters technique.   Later he meets the father of his friend.  The father is bitter and jealous because Manolo’s father became a famous bullfighter without even trying whereas the father trained constantly and was never chosen all because of the gypsy prophesy.  He was very bitter.  He assuaged the bitter father by promising to ask to give his other son a chance to be in the bullring when his time comes to fight the bull.  Juan also helped Manolo to practice with the bulls at night to get over his fear.  Eventually the time comes for Manolo to fight.  His benefactor, the count, who has been paying for him to become the next bullfighter and preparing a bull for him gives him good advice.  He tells Manolo to not let people tell him what to become.  he also explains that courage is overcoming fear not pretending not to have it.  In the end Manolo does attempt to fight and is very good but his heart is not in it.  He stops the fight and tells the count and everyone else that Juan should be given a chance to become a great bullfighter.  Juan does compete and does very well.  Manolo sits down next to the local doctor and they talk about Manolo’s future profession as a doctor.  He is sad but knows this was for the best.

APA Reference:

Wojciechowska, M. (2007). Shadow of a bull. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.

Impressions:  This story totally transfixed me.  I loved learning a little about a vocation I knew nothing about.  I love the way Minolo shares his conflicts with the reader.  The fact that the culture is expressed so well kept my attention.  The conversation, the townspeople, the costumes and the constant mention of attending mass all captivated me.  He faces his fears constantly even though he thinks himself a coward.  This story teaches that even when we are afraid we can practice real courage by following through with the thing that fears us the most.  The courage to stand up for yourself and not let people tell you who you are is such a great lesson.  A wonderful story.

Professional Review:

by Deb Nance

A book about bullfighting seems like the last book I would want to read, but Shadow of a Bull is not just a book about bullfighting. Shadow of a Bull is a rich book about the trials of being the son of a hero, a book about the struggles of a boy trying to find his own way in a world that is attempting to force him to take a path the boy does not want to take. Manolo is the son of a magnificent bullfighter. When Manolo’s father is killed in the ring, the people look to Manolo to become the man his father was. Manolo does not want to be a bullfighter. But he does not want to disappoint his mother and his father’s friends and all the people of his town. He is afraid, paradoxically, of both the bull and of being a coward. He can find no way out.

The author is somehow able to share with the reader the beauty and the horror of bullfighting. I was surprised to find that I could see bullfighting in a new way, as an art, as a heroic act, though I continue to feel revulsion as well.

APA Citation:

Readerbuzz, D. N. (1970, January 01). The Newbery Project. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from

Read Alikes:

I, Juan de Pareja

The Dark Frigate

…And Now Miguel


Genere:  This book is a children’s juvenile fiction book.

Award:  Caldecott Award Winner (award for the most distinguished picture book illustrators)

Book Summary:  Max is a little boy who loved to play and sometimes the play cause him to not settle down.  His mom called him her wild thing.  His reply was that he would ‘eat’ her up!  Well his mom decided his humor was lost on her and so she sent him to his room without supper.  He then continued to use his imagination to travel across the sea for over a year and live with other wild things.  The wild things made him their king because he is the wildest thing of them all!  They lived like wild things.  They danced and enjoyed a rumpus. Over time he decided he was lonely and wanted to be with someone who loved him most of all.  He missed his mom.  He decided to leave the wild things and return home.  The other wild things were not happy.  Max took his boat and sailed back home for over a year until he ended up in his very own room.  He found that his supper was awaiting him still hot.  He was finally home.

APA Reference: Sendak, Maurice (1963). Where The Wild Things Are. New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Impressions: This story is a great example of how a person’s imagination can create reality.  Max is a rambunctious as any other boy and uses his imagination to avoid dealing with the fact that he has not behaved as he should.  He is acting in ways that maybe he can’t control.  He feels a need to release energy and so he does it by poking the dog with his knife for example.  He decides to escape the situation by going in his mind to the place where the wild things live.

Professional Review:  

By Elizabeth Kennedy (2017)

To sum up, Where the Wild Things Are is an excellent book. What makes it so extraordinary is the creative imagination of both Maurice Sendak the writer and Maurice Sendak the artist. (To learn more about him, see The Artistry and Influence of Maurice Sendak). The text and the artwork complement one another, moving the story along seamlessly.

The transformation of Max’s bedroom into a forest is a visual delight. Sendak’s colored pen and ink illustrations in muted colors are both humorous and sometimes a little scary, reflecting both Max’s imagination and his anger. The theme, conflict, and characters are ones with which readers of all ages can identify, and is a book that children will enjoy hearing again and again.

 APA Reference:

Kennedy, Elizabeth. (2017, February 9). Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Retrieved from

Library Uses:  I think it would be enjoyable to have a Wild Things Event where the children could participate in various physical activities in costume.  Maybe a book mobile and put up a jumping castle along with some dodgeball or outdoor roller skating.


James and the Giant Peach – The boys uses his imagination after having to deal with the loss of his parents.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – This is another story where the main character escapes harsh reality by inventing.  In this case he wants to be more but is discouraged by his father but through his own creativity he succeeds.

The Gruffalo – This story is told from a mother as a story to children.  The tale places a small mouse who is afraid of all kinds of predators (fox, owl and a snake).  He decides to use his imagination to spin a tale about a terrible beast called a Gruffalo.  He does meet an actual Gruffalo in the end

Genre:  Juvenile Fiction

This book is a children’s story about how giving is receiving.

Book Summary: Rainbow_fish_original_cover.jpg

The book begins when a very beautiful and exotic fish is asked to share his scales.  He is arrogant and behaves as if he is too beautiful to spend time with the other fish.  Later a young fish asked to have just one small scale and he says no.  Then when the other fish turn their backs on him he wonders why and seeks advice.  He is told to give away all of his scales to the other fish if he wants to be happy.  He sees the young fish again and gives him one scale.  He sees how happy the young fish is by just receiving the scale and decides to continue to give away his scales.  He is finally happy.

Citation: Pfister, M. (2003). Rainbow fish: a musical literacy kit. Belleville, IL: Playful Harmonies.

This book was a great lesson in humility and how when you give you also receive.  I did like the lesson taught but didn’t like that the fish was not remorseful and didn’t apologize and seek forgiveness from his friends.  I think its a good idea for children to learn to admit when they wrong others.  I would have liked to see the Rainbow Fish not only share his scales but maybe even compliment the other fish about how special they are as individuals also.

Professional Review:

Rainbow Fish, The (1992)

from The Cambridge Guide to Children’s Books in English
Picture books by Marcus Pfister which, along with its sequel, Rainbow Fish to the Rescue (1995), has become a modern classic, particularly popular in schools. While Pfister’s soft illustrations, enhanced by the holographic scales of Rainbow Fish, are responsible for making the book eye-catching, it is the stories themselves that underlie the books’ success. They are essentially moral tales, the first dealing with vanity and selfishness and the second with hostility to strangers. It is the simplicity of the telling, particularly in the original book, that allows the books to be instructive without becoming didactic. Other titles have followed: The Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale (1998), The Rainbow Fish’s Birthday Book (1999), The Rainbow Fish’s Bath Book (2000) and Rainbow Fish and the Sea Monsters’ Cave (2001).

Agnew, K. (2001). Rainbow fish, the (1992). In V. Watson (Ed.), The Cambridge guide to children’s books in English. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Retrieved from

Library Uses: This book could be use for a classroom theme for younger elementary students.  Sharing is always a great lesson.

Readalikes:  All of these stories highlight giving and sharing.

The Wolfs Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza

The Little Red Hen Big Book by Bryon Barton

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Genre:  Juvenile Fiction

Book Summary:

     Ferdinand is the story of a bull who started off as nothing special.  In fact, his mother worried that because he didn’t behave as the other bulls did, he would remain alone.  He was a bull who just loved to sit, smell the flowers and ponder life.  He did not feel a need to compete with the other bulls.  Over time he grew and grew until one day he was one of the largest bulls in the valley.  But while other bulls really wanted to fight in Madrid in the bull fights Ferdinand continued to relax and was totally uninterested in competing.  One day while Ferdinand went to sit and sat on a bee by mistake and was stung.  When this happened he jumped up and ran around which gave  onlookers, men from Madrid, the impression that he was an aggressive and fierce bull but this was not the case.  Ferdinand was taken to Madrid to compete.  The Banderilleros , Picaderos and Matadors were afraid until they realized ferdinand refused to fight.  Ferdinand would look at the lovely ladies and smell the flowers in their hair.  Since he would not fight he was sent home.

APA Reference: Leaf, M., & Lawson, R. (2011). The story of Ferdinand. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.

Impressions: The book is a lesson in avoiding stereotypes.  Ferdinand was expected to perform a certain way based on how he looked.  He did not let others decide who he would become.  He was fine with being himself.  Some other things I took note of was the glorifying of taking Ferdinand from his family.  I’m not sure this was appropriate for small children because it could seem scary to think that you can simply be taken away by strangers.  Another observation is that because Ferdinand was peaceful in nature and strived to avoid violence.

Professional Review:  Whether it was the creator’s intention or not, The Story of Ferdinand is considered to contain anti-violence and/or anti-war messages. In fact, Ferdinand came to symbolize peace and passivity to such an extent that I am now using the field of Semiotics (the study of symbols and signs) to look at Ferdinand as a cultural icon. When people see a bull with a flower, they automatically think “Ferdinand,” if they’re familiar with the story. In turn, they often think of gentleness and/or peace. I’ve even located a few political cartoons that make use of Ferdinand as a symbol. So, even though it’s unlikely the book’s creators intended it, The Story of Ferdinand really is the first subversive children’s picture book of the modern era. (McQueen, 2008)

APA Reference: Grace Enriquez on October 2, 2017, Karen Jensen, TLT on October 2, 2017, Robin Willis on October 2, 2017, Brigid Alverson on October 2, 2017, Sarah Couri on October 2, 2017, Travis Jonker on October 2, 2017, . . . Lori Henderson on October 1, 2017. (2014, February 24). Sharon McQueen Talks about Her Fascination with The Story of Ferdinand. Retrieved October 02, 2017, from

Library Uses:  I think it would be enjoyable to have a lunch time skit.  Pretending to be a bull or a matador for example would be quite entertaining to other students and would certainly promote interest in a book like this.


Millions of Cats

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Tikki Tikki Tembo