Tag Archives: children

Celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday!

7 Sep

One of my favorite childhood memories was my mom reading James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my sister and me.  I loved the whimsical (and sometimes a bit scary) fantasies.  This September 13 marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.  In Manchester, England the weekend before they are celebrating with a two day event complete with a giant inflatable peach, visit from the BFG, Willy Wonka’s Garden, and more.  The Hoboken Public Library has a variety of Dahl’s books, books on CD, and movies to spark your imagination; here are just a few to get you started.

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach was one of my two favorite books as a child (the other was E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web).  James accidentally grows an enormous peach and finds friendly talking insects inside who travel with him on a thrilling journey.  You can take out the book from the Hoboken Public Library and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.


The movie adaptation of The BFG was in theaters this summer.  The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant, who unlike other giants doesn’t want to eat little children, but instead sends them good dreams.  He befriends a little girl named Sofie who helps him stop the less friendly giants from causing mayhem.  If you enjoyed the film, borrow the book or book on CD today at the Hoboken Public Library.


Matilda isn’t any ordinary girl, she has telekinetic powers which she uses to deal with her horrible parents and headmistress.  The musical adaptation of Matilda has been playing on Broadway since April of 2013, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to get tickets soon since it scheduled to end its run on January 1. You can borrow Matilda as a book or its movie adaptation on DVD from the Hoboken Public Library

The Witches

Roald Dahl’s The Witches is perfect if you are looking for a spooky Halloween read.  A boy must help his grandmother stop witches from turning all of the world’s children into mice.  You can borrow the book in print or on CD from HPL and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably Dahl’s best known work; it features a group of children who get a dream tour of a magical chocolate factory.  Remember not only Dahl, but the recently passed actor Gene Wilder in the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (my preferred version, despite being a huge Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fan and the author’s disapproval of the adaptation).  You can also borrow Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Play adapted by Richard R. George if your little aspiring thespians would like to act the book out.  The library has the book’s sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator that reveals what happens after the elevator went into space.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I was surprised and delighted recently when I learned the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Roald Dahl along with Ken Hughes.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fun fantastic story about an inventor of whistling sweets and his flying car.  It was my favorite musical as a kid and I will probably have the songs from it stuck in my head all day.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is based on a children’s novel by James Bond author Ian Fleming.  Dahl also wrote the screenplay for the Bond film You Only Live Twice.

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life


Image via Amazon

Adults can always enjoy rereading Dahl’s children’s classics, but for those looking for something written for a more mature audience you can borrow from our library Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, a collection of darkly humorous short stories he wrote in the 1940s and 1950s.  Also available for adults at our library is Dahl’s Two Fables.

The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant

Dahl may have not only written a screen play about a spy, he may have been one himself!  You can read about his involvement with the British Secret Service in Conat’s The Irregulars.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

1000 Books Before Kindergarten: My Toddler’s Top Ten Recommendations to Get You Started

6 May


Image via BCCLS

1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a national program, which the Hoboken Public Library and other BCCLS libraries will soon be participating in with the goal to create lifetime readers starting at an early age.  Parents visit their local library to register their infant, toddler, or preschooler. They present their log at their library once they have read 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, and 1,000 books. Each time they achieve a goal, they get a stamp on the log and a sticker.  You can learn more at http://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org.

In honor of this initiative, I thought I’d include 10 of my son’s favorite picture books that your child can borrow from BCCLS libraries.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was my sister’s favorite book as a child so she couldn’t resist buying a copy for her nephew who loves it just as much as she did.  The book’s bright colorful collages and simple story of a caterpillar who eats different foods each day of the week make this work a perennial classic.  My son saw a caterpillar yesterday and sweetly said, “It is going to turn into a beautiful butterfly and fly back to me.”

2. Chu’s First Day of School, by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex.


I had mentioned in a previous post that Chu’s Day was my son’s favorite picture book, well now there are more Chu books for your child to enjoy. Chu’s First Day of School is a good choice if your little one is nervous about their first day of preschool or kindergarten as the little Panda with the big sneeze learns to make new friends by just being himself. I’m also looking forward to checking out for my son Chu’s Day at the Beach that was just released in April.

3. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises, by Dr. Seuss.


Kids love Dr. Seuss. My two favorites have always been How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Lorax. My son loves Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, which is filled with fun onomatopoeia words that have his mommy making funny noises from a mooing cow to the sizzle of a frying pan.

4. Again!, by Emily Gravett.


This is a picture book that my son loves and that every parent can relate to.  A little dragon asks his mom to read a book to him again and again.  Each time she shortens it slightly and changes the story, until exhausted she falls asleep.

5. You’re My Little Bunny, by Claire Freedman and Illustrated by Gavin Scott.


Maybe it is because my son was born so close to Easter, but he loves rabbits. This is a story he asks to be read again and again. In sweet rhymes You’re My Little Bunny depicts a day in the life of a bunny and his mom.

6. Bedtime Bugs: A Pop-up Good Night Book, by David A. Carter.


My son loves making the little bugs in Carter’s book brush their teeth and take their baths in this fun interactive pop-up book. He is also quite fond of the other books in the series. But due to the delicate nature of the pop-up pages make sure you are there to supervise your child’s enjoyment of them so that they will stay intact for years of enjoyment.

7. If You Give a Pig a Pancake, by Laura Numeroff and illustrated Felicia Bond.

Numeroff has a series of books where cute, playful animals are given an item that triggers a series of events which all lead back to that original item.  The first book in the series is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and all are fun to see how the chain of events unfold, but my son’s most requested is If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

8. The Spaghetti-Slurping Sewer Serpent, by Laura Ripes and illustrated by Aaron Zenz.


Be prepared to have your tongue tied in knots with the tongue twisters in this book where almost every letter begins with S. My son loves this silly story of Sammy Sanders search for the Spaghetti-Slurping Sewer Serpent.

9. The Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna.


This adorable book is filled with cute rhymes as the Pout-Pout Fish’s under the sea friends try to convince him to turn his frown upside down. My son loves the twist ending and I like the message encouraging children to not put preconceived limits on themselves.

10. Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC, by Lisa Falkenstern.


From my previous blogs it should be clear that I’m a huge fan of steampunk so it delights me that this is my son’s favorite alphabet book. Two cute steampunk inventor mice go through the alphabet with different objects from Anvils to the final reveal with Z of what they have been working to create. My son also loves Lisa Falkenstern’s A Dragon Moves In.

Want more recommendations?  Stop by the Children’s Desk for more fun book choices that will have your child entranced.  And tell us your kid’s favorites in the comment section.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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