Archive | March, 2015

Manners, Please

25 Mar

Do you remember the first magic words you were taught?  Were they “please” and “thank you”?  Have you taught the same words to your children?  Do they know when to actually use them?

Mannerly children stand out in a crowd, perhaps not among their peers, but certainly to the adults who still rule their worlds.  Learning to wait your turn, not to interrupt, and to be kind to other people so that they will reciprocate are hard lessons to learn.  However, there are many characters in children’s books that are learning those lessons and can offer your child a usually humorous example of how to be on best behavior.

So, please read the following book descriptions and request them, politely, from the library.  Thank you very much!

Fancy Nancy, by Jane O’Connor.


Nancy has joined the rarefied group of literary superstars occupied by Thompson’s Eloise and Bemelman’s Madeline.  However, Nancy represents with her own personal style.  In the very first book that gave birth to a very successful series, Nancy tries to train her family in the art of being fancy, using large words, and dressing up to the occasion.  However, it all goes terribly wrong when an embarrassing incident in the restaurant where the family is dining causes Nancy to lose her dignity and, perhaps, learning an important lesson about her own expectations.

My Mouth Is a Volcano, by Julia Cook.


Louis has a volcano mouth.  His words wriggle and jiggle and tumble out, even when it isn’t his turn to speak.  So, Louis (and the children reading Louis’ story) learn an important lesson in managing their thoughts and sharing words without interrupting.

D.W.’s Guide to Perfect Manners, by Marc Brown.


D.W. has a goal, to be perfect for a day.  She demonstrates perfection by being clean, orderly, and showing good manners.  Children reading the book can take a test to see if their manners are as good as D.W.’s.

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf, by Judy Sierra.


The Big Bad Wolf is now retired and living in the Villains Villas.  He has befriended a crocodile who is schooling him on behaving appropriately with other story book characters.  When B.B. is invited to a library tea, the other characters attending (many of whom were victimized by B.B. in his younger days) are shocked.  B.B. tries his best to behave, but a giant burp nearly blows the library down.  A friendly librarian (!!!!!) forgives him and suggests that he isn’t bad, just misunderstood.

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners, by Laurie Keller.


The Rabbit family has new neighbors but they are unlike their usual acquaintances: they’re otters.  How does a rabbit get along with a otter?  It’s a puzzle to the rabbits until they remember the Golden Rule and try to treat others as they themselves would like to be treated.

Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur: A First Book of Manners, by Judy Sierra.


If you happen to frequent places where you might meet a dinosaur, a grocery store as an example, this book provides guidelines on how to behave and not upset the giant lizard.

Please Say Please: A Penguin’s Guide to Manners, by Margery Cuyler.


Penguin teaches his animal friends how to behave when they are invited for dinner.  Rules involve good behavior like a giraffe not burping at the table and an elephant not spraying milk out of his trunk.

Hippo Says “Excuse Me”, by Michael Dahl.


It’s never too soon to start teaching children manners.  This little board book starts your child’s lessons by showing animals saying, “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.”

Thanks a Lot, Emily Post!, by Jennifer LaRue Huget.


Many years ago, a woman named Emily Post wrote a book about manners for every situation.  The children in the story are told by their mother that she expects them to use Emily Post as their guide to good manners.  However, the children turn the tables and insist that their mother follows the rules as well.

If you’d like to politely request these books, you can by going the BCCLS website and entering the title in the “search” field.  You can then patiently wait for the e-mail that tells you that the book is waiting for you at the library.  And please return the book on time so that another patron can learn good manners, too.  Thank you and you’re welcome.

-Written by Lois Rubin Gross, Senior Children’s Librarian

Steampunk Heroines: Prudence by Gail Carriger and Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

18 Mar

Ed. Note: This is the 100th post to the Hoboken Library’s Staff Picks blog! A million thanks to our readers! 🙂

The Victorian Era is one often associated with women being the angels of the households concerned primarily with raising children and staying home, while men were off having adventures.  Steampunk stories often rewrite history and give women a more starring role than they would have often had at that time.  Two steampunk novels Prudence by Gail Carriger and Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear both feature strong women characters written by two terrific female Speculative Fiction Authors.

Prudence by Gail Carriger


Image via Amazon

Prudence is the first in Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series, a follow-up to her Parasol Protectorate series of books.  All of Carriger’s novels are set in an alternate British Empire where werewolves, vampires, and ghosts exist in addition to airships and other steam powered contraptions.  If you like to avoid spoilers be aware that it is difficult to discuss or read this series without revealing a few things that happen in the earlier books.  You can read my blog post about her earlier series here.  Rue (short for Prudence) has the ability to take on other supernatural beings’ powers while turning them into regular mortals (though this eventually wears out as she gets a certain distance from them).  Both her birth parents and adoptive father are well-off so Rue has led a pampered life.  The first half of Prudence sets up the series with Rue gathering a steamship crew in London for what she thinks is a mission to India involving a rare new form of tea.  Many of the crew includes the children of characters from the Parasol Protectorate series.  If you haven’t read the previous books this works to catch you up on things, but it is also of interest to those who are familiar with Carriger’s other books to see what has happened to some of those characters over the twenty years that have elapsed since TimelessPrudence takes a whimsical look at Victorian manners and is a fairly light read though it does hint at some of the historic issues of colonialism.  Rue proves herself to be a strong and competent leader as both a steamship captain and working as an ambassador to come up with a solution to a tricky political situation involving the supernatural community in India.  I appreciated that Carriger included some of the mythic creatures of India in Prudence that many readers in this country might not be as familiar with.  There are a few hints of romance, but I was unsure and intrigued to find out who Rue might wind up falling for by the end of the series.  With Prudence, Gail Carriger continues to be my favorite steampunk author.  I can’t wait to hear from her in person for the first time at the Steampunk World’s Fair happening in New Jersey this May.  In the fictional world, I’m looking forward to seeing in the next novel where this new crew of adventures chooses to float.

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memery unlike Rue does not come from a privileged background, but she has just as much spunk and spirit.  The book’s title is a misspelling of her name, which is very appropriate since Karen is very memorable.  Karen Memory is set in Rapid City, a fictional amalgamation of Pacific Northwest Cities like Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle where airships fly through the air and mechanicals are used for everyday tasks like cooking.  Karen’s father trained horses and was accidentally killed while working with one, leaving Karen an orphan.  Until she can save up the money for her own stable, she finds a position at Madame Damnable’s Sewing Circle at the Hôtel Mon Cherie, which is a nice way of saying brothel. Despite the nature of her and the other women’s work Karen Memory avoids describing their activities directly and the focus is more on their sense of sisterly comradery and general living conditions than their occupation.  Karen along with the other women of Hôtel Mon Cherie offer shelter to a women escaping from Peter Bantle who holds her indenture, which leads him to seek revenge all the while a murderer reminiscent of the Jack the Ripper is plaguing the streets.  It is much bleaker and less comedic in tone than Prudence and felt so well researched and atmospheric that if it were not for an occasional steam-powered device, I might have felt like I was reading a historical novel.  The action sequences at the end of Karen Memory would make a great movie, but there is also a sweet blossoming romance at the story’s heart.  I had been hearing many good things about Bear and after this novel, I definitely plan to seek out more of her work.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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