Oak Harbor Library Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

If You Were Stranded on an Island...

I was recently asked to list ten books that I would recommend to young children for storytimes. What an impossible task! There are so many to choose from and I wanted to list ALL of my favorites, but I knew that I needed to narrow it down to the number requested. So, I gave myself a new way to think about the list: If I were stranded on a desert island (preferably somewhere tropical, with lots of great food and water readily available), which books would I take along to keep any available children entertained while we wait for a passing boat to rescue us? 

This strategy quickly narrowed down my list to books that always please a crowd; books that contain fabulous illustrations, clever writing, elements of surprise, humor and the opportunity for children to participate in telling the story. 

Next time you are planning to be stranded – in the car, camping, waiting at the doctor's office – or you just want to enjoy a wonderful moment sharing a book with a child, you might consider taking along one of these sure-fire winners:  

Chicks and Salsa, by Aaron Reynolds
A rooster who is tired of the same old chicken scratch takes on the role of barnyard chef, inspiring other farm animals to explore the ingredients in the farmer's garden, with hilarious results. 

Clip-Clop!, by Nicola Smee 
Horse consents to give Pig, Duck and Cat the ride of their lives.

Children can explore the concepts needed for kindergarten readiness through creative photographed vignettes,  featuring enticing children's toys.
 I Stink!, by Kate McMullan
Learning the alphabet has never been more fun!  A stinky garbage truck eats his way through town, with a menu featuring trash from A to Z.  

A charming octopus with a sizable ego compares his size with that of other ocean creatures.  The surprising ending will have everyone laughing! 


Pete the Cat  rocks!  The cool cat strums his guitar and sings ballads to all of his favorite colors as his white tennis shoes step into blueberries, strawberries, mud and more.
 Snip, Snap! What's That?, by Mara Bergman 
A slithering alligator is creeping up the stairs and into the apartment of three children.  Were the children scared?  You bet they were!  Until they decide to turn the tables on the reptile.  Readers will enjoy the excitement of this interactive and humorous tale.  
The Rain Train, by Elena de Roo  
Take a ride on the Rain Train and listen to the sounds of the rain as you travel through a child’s dream.  Readers will savor making all of the ratter-tat-tat, clatter-clat-clats as you enjoy this lovely book together. 

A Visitor for Bear, by Bonny Becker
A solitary Bear learns the value and charms of friendship when a persistent Mouse decides to pay him a visit. 

What Pet to Get?, by Emma Dodd 
What child has not wished for a pet?  Explore the possibilities and inconveniences of pet ownership as a boy contemplates the pros and cons of owning an elephant, polar bear, T-rex...  What pet will he get?

-Jane L.S.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Yesterday's music in the stacks concert featured guitarist and singer/songwriter Ali Marcus. Her sweet voice combined with guitar and harmonica kept the crowd enthralled for about an hour, and drew listeners from throughout the building. Many of Ali's songs are autobiographical, telling stories of her family and her own life. At one point as she was singing a poignant love song from her album, The Great Migration, she interrupted herself to say, "My grandpa actually said these words to me." Ali Marcus' songs find calm in the complexity and wisdom of waiting - "not peace, but some courageous sibling, something like feverish faith."

The last concert in the series will feature Chris Brokaw solo on guitar, playing and singing songs from the pre-WWII era on Monday, February 27 at 3:00 PM. Chris is currently touring in Europe, and will be coming to Oak Harbor via New York, where he is scheduled to attend a screening of a new film "Taken By Storm" at MOMA. This documentary of renowned record cover designer storm thorgerson was co-produced by chris and features music by him.