Tag Archives: mercer mayer

Summer Break is Coming: How to Keep Your Bored Hordes Entertained this Summer

26 Jun

If you are a parent with young children you probably will at some point in the next two months hear the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored.” But the Hoboken Public Library has you covered with great programming all summer long.  The whole family can join in the fun with summer reading for kids, teens, and adults where the pages you read can win you great prizes.  And although we love you to stop by for great books, music, and videos you can also borrow ebooks and stream movies and music so you have an instant answer when boredom hits, especially helpful on those rainy days we have been having in NJ lately when you don’t want to leave the house.  Here are a few recommendations from my son of things he has been enjoying.

Mr. Putter & Tabby Series
mr putter and tabby
My son has been loving the Mr. Putter and Tabby series. Cynthia Rylant’s series for beginning readers about an elderly man and his adventures has charmed my son.  Being a cat fan he loves Mr. Putter’s cat tabby who joins Mr. Putter on his many adventures.  I like that being divided up into short sections, it is easing my son in to chapter books.  Also it is refreshing to see a series for kids about older adults that appeals to a younger audience.  Mr. Putter often reminisces about things he did when he was younger and his neighbor and adventurous friend Mrs. Teaberry often encourages Mr. Putter to try new activities.  I’ve seen my son progress so much over the past year of just beginning to pick up sight words to being a proud reader and it is great to see how excited he is to check out a new book.  Many of the series are available not only in print from BCCLS libraries but also as ebooks from eLibraryNJ, eBCCLS, and Hoopla.

Frog Goes to Dinner
frog goes to dinner
Frog Goes to Dinner is a short (13 minute) adaptation of the classic wordless picture book by Mercer Mayer that is available to view on Kanopy.  A frog escapes from a boy’s pocket in a fancy French restaurant and gets in some hilarious trouble.  My son laughed so much at this one.  Though the book is probably more geared for kindergartners and preschoolers who are just beginning to read and will love a book where they can add their own words and story to the images, he still wanted to check out the original.  That to me is one of the great parts of the video story books that they may make reluctant readers interested in checking out the books the videos are based on.  Also available are adaptations of Mayer’s A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog, and Frog on his OwnKanopy has a whole section just for kids that you can select so they only see children friendly content.  Plus your child watching content in Kanopy Kids doesn’t count towards your ten adult selections each month so they can stream all they want and you still have access to great documentaries, indie films, and classics to check out.

Music on Freegal
My son, like a lot of kids, loves dancing to music.  I wish we could all have the lack of self-consciousness young children have when they hear a song they love and can spin and jump about.  Freegal is great since you can create playlists of your favorite songs.  Hoboken Resident Cardholders can download 5 songs per week and/or stream three hours per day.  Two of my son’s favorite songs are Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! and Happy by Pharrell Williams.  Besides making your own playlist you can also find plenty of ready-made playlists such as Book It: A Summer Reading Playlist to stream.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference


Searching for Imaginary Beasties: Invisible Beasts, Half-Off Ragnarok, and Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo

22 Oct

From Big Foot to the Loch Ness Monster there are all sorts of creatures that exist in legends and myths.  My husband knows someone who claimed he saw a vampire cat in the Phillipines and even the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies.  Whether you believe that these animals of legend are hidden away or just like a good story, what better time than Halloween to track down one of these beastie books?

Half-Off Ragnarok : An InCryptid novel, by Seanan McGuire











I had written about Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series in last year’s Halloween post on Urban Fantasy series.  The first two books in the series Discount Armageddon and Midnight Blue-Light Special focused on Verity Price a cryptozoologist and ballroom dancer.  In the latest novel in the InCryptid series McGuire focuses on Verity’s older brother Alexander.  The tone and humor are still familiar from the first novels, but I liked Alexander’s perspective as a cryptoherpetologist who to the ordinary world seems to be studying regular reptiles and working at a zoo in Ohio, but is actually studying the fricken (small feathered frogs) in the nearby swamps.  There is a twist with his Australian girlfriend Shelby, who also works at the zoo as a big cat trainer, which I won’t reveal but further builds on the mythology of the world that the book is set in.  The book’s main mystery is who and why someone or something is turning people into stone so there are a lot of Basilisks, Gorgons, and Cockatrices in this book, but many other creatures are featured as well including my favorite the Aeslin Mice (think the mice from Cinderella, but ultrareligious).  Since Half-Off Ragnarok focuses on Alexander rather than Verity, it feels like a fresh start, but the book reveals some of what occurred in the first two books so if you are one to avoid spoilers you may want to start with Discount Armageddon first.  In the acknowledgements McGuire mentions that the next book will also focus on Alexander.  I’m hoping that future novels may focus on more of the Price family who all seem equally quirky and endearing.  Pocket Apocalypse the next book in the series is scheduled to be released in March of next year.

Invisible Beasts: Tales of the Animals that Go Unseen Amongst Us, by Sharona Muir










Muir’s debut novel Invisible Beasts is a beautifully written guide book to unseen animals.  Unlike in the InCryptid series these animals are unseen not simply because they are hiding from humans, but because they literally can’t be seen except for a few individuals with a rare genetic ability.  Sophie, Invisible Beast’s narrator, is one of these individuals.  Since unlike her sister she is not a trained researcher her observations are less scientific and more poetic than one would find in your average guidebook (Muir is unsurprisingly a poet as well as prose writer).  Instead of drawing from the creatures of myths and legends, Muir creates original beasts.  Many of the animals such as the Truth Bats, who are disturbed by lying and give a person’s voice a ring of truth, are used as analogies for things we encounter in our day to day lives or as explanation for things such as the invisible species of possum that likes to hide missing socks or keys in its pouch.  The book also draws attention to the importance of ecological preservation beyond iconic animals like pandas or bald eagles.  I did at times wish there was more of an overarching story along with the entries about each animal.  I would enjoy seeing a sequel to Invisible Beasts that focused more on Sophie and her interaction with the visible world as well as featuring the unique creatures in the invisible one. Parts of Invisible Beasts appeared in literary magazines as individual stories and at times the work felt more like a short story collection than a novel and therefore it seemed like it wasn’t wholly necessary to read about each animal in order.  Two of my favorite “animals” were the Spiders of Theodora and the Invisible Dogs.   To learn more about Muir’s inspiration for her imaginary bestiary you can read an insightful interview on her publisher’s website.

Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zooby Mercer Mayer











Little kids love beasties and shouldn’t be left out of the hunt for incryptids.  Mercer Mayer’s Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo, was one of my favorite picture books as a kid.  My cousin had left her copy at my grandmother’s house and I always had it read to me several times whenever I stayed there.  I loved the silly bright pictures of all the made up creatures that Mayer created.  There are little hidden details on every page that make it a joy to look at.  I couldn’t resist buying a copy for my own toddler last Halloween.  This title contains many of the creatures Mayer later used in his popular Little Monsters series.  Professor Wormbog has collected monsters from A (Askinforit) to Y (Yalapappus), but he is missing the mysteries and elusive Zipperump-a-Zoo, which he can’t find on land, in the sea, or up in the trees.  Kids will love the twist ending and parents will enjoy the fun humor even as their tongues get twisted around some of the creature’s names.  Mayer has published over 300 titles for kids on everything from potty training to learning to share, but this is still my favorite.  You can find many of Mayer’s books from BCCLS libraries.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

%d bloggers like this: