Rowayton Library Recommends

Ready to Fly, How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina

February 14, 2020

Ready to Fly, How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina by Lea Lyon and A. Lafaye, illustrated by Jessica Gibson--This is the inspiring true story of a young African American girl’s determination to become a ballerina. Sylvia loved music and dancing and was entranced by the graceful ballet movements she originally saw on TV. There was no money for lessons, but there was a bookmobile that provided her with books about ballet. After being turned away by many schools she found a teacher who took her under her wing and she was off! 1950's America could still be a prejudiced place and ballet was considered to be for white girls. She was spunky though and prevailed. (Non-Fiction)

Fly High, John Glenn--The True Story of an American Hero

February 14, 2020

Fly High, John Glenn--The Story of an American Hero’ by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Maurizio A.C. Quarello--This uplifting biography is fascinating. Clearly, John Glenn was born to fly; he had model airplanes hanging from his bedroom ceiling when he was just a tyke. He didn't actually learn to fly until he was 20. There was no stopping him after that! He became a highly decorated WWII fighter pilot, then test pilot, then Mercury astronaut and the first man to go into space. He was fearless, eventually becoming a United States Senator and flying in the space shuttle at the age of 90. (Non-Fiction)

I Am a Promise

February 14, 2020

I Am A Promise by Shelley Ann Fraser Pryce with Ashley Rousseau, illustrated by Rachel Moss--This juvenile biography is the uplifting story of a Jamaican who loved to run from the minute she was on her feet. All her young years she heard from people that she had "promise". She was never exactly sure what that meant but she kept on running. She always promised herself she would do her best. Ultimately she became a multi-medal Olympic track athlete representing Jamaica. She "ran like a rocket ran to be free” (Non-Fiction)

Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be A Vet!

February 14, 2020

Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet! By Dr. Seuss, illustrated by Kelly Kennedy--A dizzying array of possibilities--you have to DO something - are enthusiastically laid out in this early reader. There are some quirky options like lepidopterists to consider along with more standard selections like a trombone player. Everything rhymes so it is tons of fun to read while you think about what you might want to be when you grow up. (Early Readers)

Jack at Bat

February 14, 2020

Jack at Bat by Mac Barnett and Greg Pizzoli--In this comical early reader, Jack is a key player in a tense baseball game between the Ladies and the Brats. His initial role is batboy, which is not playing to his strengths. Once the game gets going he has the chance to save the day for the Ladies. Can Jack do it? Read along and find out and have some laughs along the way. Cute illustrations. (Early Readers)

Vote for Me

February 14, 2020

Vote For Me by Ben Clanton--At last, humorous dialogue about voting choices! The elephant and the donkey work hard to convince the reader one of them is the only/right choice. They get frightfully emotional and a real argument breaks out. The silly ending anoints a Big Cheese with lots of laughs. Primary colors heavy on the red and blue enliven the text. Highly recommended for all ages as a way to lighten up the primary season.

Up On Bob

February 14, 2020

Up on Bob by Mary Sullivan--Bob believes in being prepared. He’s a dog who has a lot of work to do before he can sleep all day. Dog owners will recognize Bob’s nest creation style; it’s hilarious. Once he’s all set he realizes that “Someone” is watching him who will not go away until he too has the perfect nest for sleeping. Bob gets a taste of his own medicine!

Snail Crossing

February 14, 2020

Snail Crossing by Corey R. Tabor--This is a very funny tale of a determined snail. He spots a yummy looking cabbage across the road and begins his long, slow trek to his goal. A group of pushy ants tells him he is in the way so he course corrects in time to meet a variety of motored and feathered obstacles. A kind deed to his new “antsy” friends pays big dividends for all. The illustrations are priceless, especially the expressions on the snail.

Numenia and the Hurricane

February 14, 2020

Numenia and the Hurricane by Fiona Halliday-This book is inspired by a true migration story. Whimbrels are migratory shorebirds who travel from Canada’s North West Territories to the US Virgin Islands. One of the birds was wearing a tracker and the scientists following her realized she had been blown off course by a major hurricane. The book uses poetry and beautiful imagery to describe the daunting journey through the heart of the storm.

No More Naps

February 14, 2020

No More Naps by Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Leo Espinosa--This is "A Story for When You're Wide-Awake and Definitely Not Tired". Annalise is a highly reluctant napper. We meet her screaming because she does not want to take a nap. Out and about in her stroller, she meets all kinds of people, animals, and birds who are happy to "take" her naps. With the whole world asleep around her she realizes it’s actually a good idea, but who will give her a nap? A kindly cat with naps to spare solves that problem! The bold paintings that capture the cityscape and its residents are great.

Cyclops of Central Park

February 14, 2020

Cyclops of Central Park by Madelyn Rosenberg, illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov--This highly original book is gorgeously illustrated. Cyclops lives in NYC with his flock. He keeps them together with constant admonishments about the scary world beyond their cave. Eugene is having none of it and disappears one day. Cyclops searches fruitlessly throughout the city, eventually recruiting the rest of the flock to help him. Further high energy adventures ensue, with everyone learning to appreciate change, as well as the familiar. This is a rollicking, colorful romp.

Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again

February 14, 2020

Bonnie & Ben Rhyme Again by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek-This cute book interweaves favorite nursery rhymes within a story of two young children out for the day with their friend Skinny Doug. The group grows with each rhyme as the characters step out of their story to join the fun. The illustrations are vibrantly colorful and lively. This is a good read aloud because many of the nursery rhymes are familiar.

The Bold, Brave Bunny

February 14, 2020

The Bold, Brave Bunny by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Chow Hon Lam Whimsical illustrations warm this tale of a bunny named Teetu who is frankly tired of bunnies – they are everywhere in his burrow.  He decides to break out of the burrow and explore. He writes a book along the way to replace the one the little bunnies snacked on earlier. His adventures help him appreciate the warmth of his rabbit family.

Bird Hugs

February 14, 2020

Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson-Bernard is an exceptional bird. He has very, very long wings that keep him from flying, as hard as he tries. He gets very discouraged and blue until he comes across a seriously sad orangutan. A comforting hug from Bernard's wrap-around wings perks him up and a star is born. Animals line up for hugs and tell him their problems. Best of all, when you help your friends they help you!

Beehive

February 14, 2020

Beehive by Joyce Hurley--Each page in this lovely book has only one verb that describes bees in the process of making honey. The author’s note at the end has explanatory descriptions for the words. Bold, graphic illustrations are stunning representations of the life of these marvelous insects. Each bee is different

Maleficient: Mistress of Evil

February 2, 2020

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL – Children’s MOVIE (PG) The story of this most iconic villain continues, starring Angelina Jolie. After sharing many happy years, Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by Aurora's upcoming wedding, unexpected allies, and dark new forces at play. While the years have been kind to Maleficent and Aurora, the hatred between man and fairies still exists. Aurora's engagement to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration in the kingdom of Ulstead, but all is not as it should be, there are dark currents swirling everywhere.

The Addams Family Children's Movie (PG) 87 minutes

February 2, 2020

THE ADDAMS FAMILY – Children’s MOVIE (PG) Get ready to snap your fingers! The Addams Family is back in their first animated comedy about the kookiest family on the block. Funny, outlandish, and completely iconic, they redefine what it means to be a good neighbor.

You Season 1 New Series (NR) 451 minutes

February 2, 2020

YOU SEASON 1 NEW SERIES (NR) Based on the book by Caroline Kepnes. A 21st-century romantic thriller centered around a relationship that gets taken too far. When a brilliant bookstore manager, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) crosses paths with an aspiring writer, Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), his answer becomes clear: anything. As he uses the internet and social media to gather the most intimate of details to get close to her, a charming and awkward crush quickly becomes an obsession when he quietly and strategically begins to remove every obstacle, and person, between them.

The Truth Will Out Season 1 New Foreign Series (NR) 355 minutes

February 2, 2020

THE TRUTH WILL OUT SEASON 1 NEW FOREIGN SERIES (NR) Swedish with English subtitles Inspired by true events, this Swedish crime drama delivers enthralling mystery, striking scenery, and droll humor. Returning to work following a mental breakdown, Detective Peter Wendel (Robert Gustafsson), is tasked with creating an elite team of investigators to crack cold cases. When the police find a note on a dead body that claims Sweden’s most notorious serial killer is a fraud, Wendel gets a chance to redeem himself--but only the dregs of the force are available to work the case. Under pressure to mobilize quickly, Wendel is forced to hire two cops who hate each other, plus a forthright woman who isn’t even a police officer. Can his lowly group solve this high-profile crime?

Pitching In Season 1 New Series (PG) 225 minutes

February 2, 2020

PITCHING IN, SEASON 1 NEW SERIES (PG) On the scenic and serene north Wales coast, the residents of Daffodil Dunes are content with their cozy if somewhat outdated, camping-park community. Then owner Frank (Larry Lamb) makes the surprising announcement that he plans to sell the park and retire. But when his strong-willed daughter, Carys (Caroline Sheen) returns home for the first time since her mother's death, 18 months ago, she attempts to change his mind. Cary’s plans events from medieval reenactments to fitness retreats to draw new visitors and increase income. But she is in over her head as she tries to juggle a teenage son, her ex-fiancé's new girlfriend, another woman in her father’s life, estate agent Iona’ (Hayley Mills), who has her own plans for Daffodil Dunes--and for Frank himself--in this endearing family drama.

My Life is Murder Season 1 New Series (PG) 450 minutes

February 2, 2020

MY LIFE IS MURDER, SEASON 1 NEW SERIES (PG) An Australian detective drama starring Lucy Lawless, playing retired cop Alexa Crowe. But with her old boss and long-time friend Detective Inspector Kieran Hussey (Bernard Curry) regularly asking for her insight on cold cases, she can’t resist because Alexa can't seem to stop solving crime. She acts on instinct, a cross of both avenging angel and a bit of a shit-stirrer. Deeply empathetic and blunt to the point of rudeness, she solves the unsolvable with bubbly, sarcastic, ambitious and grounded Madison (Ebony Vagulans), a true extrovert, working as a Data Analyst for the Police and on hand at Alexa's call to do what she does best.

Father Brown Season 7 (NR) 450 minutes

February 2, 2020

FATHER BROWN, SEASON 7 SERIES (NR) Step back in time again to the sleepy 1950s English Cotswolds where Father Brown (Mark Williams) continues to tend his flock and catch criminals with compassion, intuition, psychology, and wit. You'll wonder: Who would kill an opera diva, a church bell ringer or the owner of a medieval whistle? Why poison a gardener or blackmail a lord? When someone steals Lady Felicia's jewels, should Father Brown ask a brilliant thief to help recover them? And how on earth will perish secretary Mrs. McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack) and Bunty (Emer Kenny) find Father Brown and Inspector Mallory (Jack Deam) after the two men go missing?

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice New Documentary (NR) 93 minutes

February 2, 2020

LINDA RONSTADT, The Sound of My Voice – NEW DOCUMENTARY (NR) An icon for more than 50 years, with extraordinary range and ambition, Linda started singing with her family in Mexican Canciones. Her teens found her singing folk with the Stone Poneys, and she was rock queen of the '70s and early '80s. Producing 11 Platinum albums, she was the first female artist to top the Pop, Country and R&B charts simultaneously. She's won 10 Grammy Awards on 26 nominations. Now fighting Parkinson's Disease, she narrates her story in this remarkable film.

Honeyland New Documentary (NR) 90 minutes

February 2, 2020

HONEYLAND – NEW DOCUMENTARY (NR) OSCAR NOMINEE English Subtitles - Hatidze lives with her ailing mother in the mountains of Macedonia, making living cultivation honey using ancient beekeeping traditions. When an unruly family moves in next door, what at first seems like a balm for her solitude becomes a source of tension as they, too, want to practice beekeeping, while disregarding her advice. The most awarded film at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Honeyland is an epic, visually stunning portrait of the delicate balance between nature and humanity that has something sweet for everyone.

The White Crow (R) 127 minutes

February 2, 2020

THE WHITE CROW – MOVIE (R) Written by David Hare, this incredible true story of legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (Oleg Ivenko) is brought vividly to life by director Ralph Fiennes. Nureyev’s poverty-stricken childhood in the Soviet Union, his blossoming career as a dancer in Leningrad, to his nail-biting defection to the West at the height of the Cold War. Nureyev’s magnetic presence as a wild and beautiful dancer limited by the world of 1950’s Leningrad, helped him to emerge as ballet’s most famous star. He flirted with Western artists and ideas. A gripping and revelatory look at a unique artist who transformed the world of ballet forever.

Terminator: Dark Fate (R) 128 minutes

February 2, 2020

TERMINATOR: Dark Fate – MOVIE (R) Decades after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) prevented Judgment Day, a lethal new Terminator is sent to eliminate the future leader of the resistance. In a fight to save mankind, battle-harden Sarah Connor teams up with an unexpected ally (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and an enhanced super soldier to stop the deadliest Terminator yet. The fate of humanity hanging in the balance in this action-packed thrill ride.

Paper Soldiers (R) 87 minutes

February 2, 2020

PAPER SOLDIERS – MOVIE (R) Crime has never been more disorganized than in this outrageous comedy featuring Kevin Hart, Stacey Dash and hip-hop superstars Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, and Capone-N-Noreaga. When a rookie crook (Hart) teams up with a hot-headed hood bully (Sigel) and some other bungling small-time house burglars, the crew's capers result in comic mishaps proving some guys have so much fun…it’s criminal!

Motherless Brooklyn (R) 149 minutes

February 2, 2020

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN – MOVIE (R) In 1950s New York, Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective with an affliction, ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of eh the whole city in the balance.  Also starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Defoe and Alec Baldwin.

Harriet (PG-13) 125 minutes

February 2, 2020

HARRIET – MOVIE (PG-13) I'm Gonna Be Free or Die! Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, telling the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Haunted by memories of those she left behind, Harriet (Cynthia Erivo) ventures back into dangerous territory on a mission to lead others to freedom. With allies like abolitionist William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) and the entrepreneurial Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monae), Harriet risks capture and death to guide hundreds to safety as one of the most prominent conductors of the Underground Railroad. Witness the story of a woman who defied impossible odds to change the course of her life.

Gemini Man (PG-13) 117 minutes

February 2, 2020

GEMINI MAN – MOVIE (PG-13) Will Smith stars in the nonstop action thrill-ride from director Ang Lee. Retired hitman Henry Brogan (Smith) is forced on the run by a young, highly skilled operative who will stop at nothing to eliminate his target. Now on a race around the globe, Henry must outsmart the mysterious assassin at every step, but how far will he go once they finally come face to face? Packed with epic fight scenes and groundbreaking visual effects, Gemini Man is the future of action movies.

Gallows (R) 80 minutes

February 2, 2020

GALLOWS – MOVIE (R) In 1993, an accident results in the death of an actor during a high school play. Twenty years later, a theater group at the same school resurrects the production to mark the tragedy.  In an attempt to sabotage the play, three students break into the school at night, only to discover that the horrors of the past don’t always stay buried, as their own cameras capture a series of chilling and inexplicable incidents that leads to a shocking climax.  Creepy!, Chilling!, Terrifying! Redefines HORROR!.

Black and Blue (R) 107 minutes

February 2, 2020

BLACK AND BLUE – MOVIE (R) This fast-paced action-thriller is about a rookie cop (Naomi Harris) who inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. After realizing that the murder was committed by corrupt cops, she teams up with the one person from her community who is willing to help her (Tyrese Gibson) as she tries to escape the criminals out for revenge and the police who are desperate to destroy the incriminating footage

Angel Has Fallen (R) 121 minutes

February 2, 2020

ANGEL HAS FALLEN – MOVIE (R) When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his trusted Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his out agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm, and save the country from imminent danger.

Pain and Glory (Dolor Y Gloria) Foreign Movie (R) 113 minutes

February 2, 2020

PAIN AND GLORY (Dolor y Gloria) – FOREIGN MOVIE (R) OSCAR NOMINEE Spanish, English and French Languages and also Subtitled--A Film by Pedro Almodovar-A series of re-encounters experienced by Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), a film director in his physical decline. Some of them in the flesh, others remembered: his childhood in the ‘60s, when he emigrated with his parents to a village in Valencia in search of prosperity, the first desire, his first adult love in the Madrid of the ‘80s, the pain of the breakup of that love while it was still alive and intense, writing as the only therapy to forget the unforgettable, the early discovery of cinema, and the void, the infinite void that creates the incapacity to keep making films. And in special collaboration with Penelope Cruz as Jacinta!

The Lighthouse (R) 109 minutes

February 2, 2020

THE LIGHTHOUSE – MOVIE (R) OSCAR NOMINEE From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind modern horror masterpiece The Witch, comes this hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored. Starring Willem Defoe and Robert  Pattinson. A gripping story brilliantly filmed and led by a pair of powerhouse performances, (this film) further establishes Robert Eggers as a filmmaker of exceptional talent. Critics, “Rotten Tomatoes”

Judy (PG-13) 118 minutes

February 2, 2020

JUDY – MOVIE (PG-13) OSCAR NOMINEE Renee Zellweger rocks as Judy Garland in this movie about the legend behind the Rainbow. Thirty years after rising to global stardom, showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. While preparing for the shows, Garland battles with management reminisces with friends and adoring fans and embarks on a whirlwind romance with soon-to-be fifth husband Mickey Deans--all while struggling to overcome intensifying anxiety and physical decline. Featuring some of her best-known songs, this film celebrates Judy’s unyielding spirit and matchless talent.

Joker (R) 121 minutes

February 2, 2020

JOKER – MOVIE (R) OSCAR NOMINEE JOKER centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips' exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham's fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.

Ad Astra (PG-13) 123 minutes

February 2, 2020

AD ASTRA – MOVIE (PG-13) OSCAR NOMINEE Brad Pitt gives a powerful performance in the sci-fi thriller set in space. When a mysterious life-threatening event strikes, astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) must travel to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel the mystery threatening the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

Dragon Gets By

January 22, 2020

Dragon Gets By by Dav Pilke, Dragon wakes up groggy and as a result begins a day full of goofs like reading an egg, frying the newspaper and sweeping his entire dirt floor into the yard. A shopping adventure also goes awry in a major way, leaving him with no choice but to water his bed and crawl into his plants for a well-deserved rest. Young readers will laugh at his humorous misadventures. (Early Reader)

I Voted--Making A Choice Makes a Difference

January 22, 2020

I Voted--Making a Choice Makes a Difference by Mark Shulman and Serge Bloch, Young citizens will enjoy this primer on the merits and how-to of voting. It starts with the principle of why and how one might vote--i.e. for the type of class pet, how some votes are hard (ice cream or cupcakes?), others not (cookies or onions?), how you talk to people about voting, etc. Cheerful paintings add to the enthusiasm of the participants. This is a good, light-handed civics lesson. (Non-Fiction)

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

January 22, 2020

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta, illustrated by Frank Morrison, This is the story of his lifelong love of gardening. Born a slave, he grew up on a farm where he especially loved growing flowers. He experimented with a secret garden in the woods, taking care of people’s plants and getting a reputation as a plant doctor. It was when he was hired as a professor at the Tuskegee Institute that his research into the benefits of the peanut took off. He spent his life teaching and traveling and became a living folk hero. This is an inspirational book, with beautiful, complementary illustrations. (Non-Fiction)

The Oldest Student--How Mary Walker Learned to Read

January 22, 2020

The Oldest Student--How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora, Be inspired by the uplifting story of a girl born into slavery in 1848, who learned to read at the age of 114. Her family was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, but that did not free her from a lifetime of hard work sharecropping and doing odd jobs, with no time to learn to read. At last, a class in her retirement home opened the door to learning to read and she became the oldest student in the country. She loved reading and famously lived the motto “You’re never too old to learn” (Non-Fiction)

Becoming RBG--Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice

January 22, 2020

Becoming RBG--Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner, This is a graphic novel of the Justice's life from birth to the present day. It is an accessible, well-documented biography of a woman who was born before equal rights for women were accepted as a fact. She overcame losing her beloved mother her senior year in high school and went on to excel academically through Cornell and Harvard Law. Her legal prowess was well known and she was asked to join the Supreme Court by then-President Clinton. (Non-Fiction)

Bear Goes Sugaring

January 22, 2020

Bear Goes Sugaring by Maxwell Eaton III outlines Here are the “bear” essentials of maple sugaring. It’s an informational book chock full of facts about sugaring, laced with humor as bear prepares to tap the trees. Producing syrup for pancakes is the critical end goal. The bear has a few sidekicks who mostly point out that they need to keep the focus on eating pancakes and gosh, syrup seems to take a long time to make. The illustrations are terrific; this is a fun educational read for adults and children. (Non-Fiction)

Snail and Worm All Day

January 22, 2020

Snail & Worm All Day by Tina Kugler This book contains three stories about two fast friends. They work through classic childhood issues like bad days, trouble falling asleep, and fear of the unknown with sly humor and fun antics. The illustrations make their personalities shine. This is a great early reader or read aloud about the comfort of a wonderful friend

I Love You Fred

January 22, 2020

I Love You, Fred, by Mick Inkpen, illustrated by Chloe Inkpen, This could be the cutest dog story of 2020. Fred is a good dog who knows how to sit, stay and (mostly) not run away. He is confused about what to do when he hears "Fred", which he assumes is another command he needs to figure out. He will, with a little excitement along the way. Laugh out loud and touching both, this is a great read-aloud.

The Girl and the Dinosaur

January 22, 2020

The Girl and the Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes, illustrated by Sarah Massini, This is about a young girl on a magical journey. It all starts with digging for old bones in the sand and a wish that the bones she finds would come alive when she goes to sleep. Sure enough, a dinosaur taps at her window and their delightful adventures begin. The gorgeous illustrations are lush and spirited and the imaginative worlds they explore have just the right amount of realism to make the magic feel genuine.

Froggy Builds a Snowman

January 22, 2020

Froggy Builds a Snowman by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, Welcome back Froggy! He’s always pushing the envelope just a bit, and this time the setting is the school winter carnival. Everyone is super excited and after a breakfast of cereal and flies Froggy is ready for fun in the snow. He and his classmates have a rip-roaring time, culminating in a snowman build. Froggy's snowman is exceedingly clever!

Freedom Soup

January 22, 2020

Freedom Soup by Tami Charles, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara The story follows a girl and her grandmother as they make freedom soup, a Haitian New Year’s tradition celebrating the end of slavery and the country’s independence from France 12 years later. Everyone gets into the spirit of creating a communal pot of delicious soup. Brightly colored illustrations add to the fun.

Cuddle Monkey

January 22, 2020

Cuddle Monkey by Blake Hellman, illustrated by Chad Otis, This character is adorable. Cuddle Monkey loves to cuddle but is thwarted at every turn by busy parents, inappropriate choices like a puddle, or inanimate objects that don’t cuddle back. He is the soul of patience and eventually prevails. Very sweet!

Cowie

January 22, 2020

Cowie by Elizabeth Stanton The donkey is a stitch. He came by his name because of his love for cows. He would like to be a cow, but despite his best efforts he cannot even muster a proper “moo”. His friends long to help him reach his goal and eventually figure out how. The journey, full of heartwarming watercolors, is a testament to the power of friendship and ingenuity. Highly recommended.

Tartine, A Classic Revisited

January 16, 2020

Tartine, A Classic Revisited by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson is a wonderful cookbook. It’s loaded with stunning, mouthwatering photographs. There are 68 new recipes, some of which are gluten-free, and 55 updated favorites. Check this out and strap on your apron and you won’t have to go to San Francisco to savor this deservedly famous bakery’s treats. (Cookbook)

We are the Luckiest--the Surprising Magic of a Sober Life

January 16, 2020

We are the Luckiest--the Surprising Magic of a Sober Life by Laura McKowen is a page-turner, which may sound like an odd description for a memoir about the struggle to get sober. The author recovered from her addiction using a variety of tools from AA to meditation and yoga. Some of the scenes she describes are shocking, making her recovery even more amazing. It also makes you think about all the different relationships people have with alcohol and other addictive substances. It’s an eye-opening tour de force. (Non-Fiction)

Tightrope--Americans Reaching for Hope

January 16, 2020

Tightrope--Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is a harrowing read. The well-known New York Times reporter returns to his rural hometown of Yamhill, Oregon to survey the downturn of what had been a relatively prosperous area. Factories closed and families splintered, drug addiction got a grip. Kristoff finds that fully one-quarter of his original school bus has died by middle age. The authors look at the unfolding crisis on a micro and macro level and ask that the country. (Non-Fiction)

Notre Dame--A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals

January 16, 2020

Notre Dame--A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals by Ken Follett was written after the author watched the burning of the iconic cathedral last April. He spent years researching cathedral construction for his bestselling book Pillars of the Earth so he was well-positioned to write this engrossing book (all profits go to the rebuilding fund). Cathedrals are the oldest buildings still used for their original purpose. Building a cathedral was a communal enterprise inspiring a multitude of the faithful. Notre Dame’s history is a key part of this impressive legacy; it’s really interesting to learn about how it was built. (Non-Fiction)

Martha Stewart's Organizing

January 16, 2020

Martha Stewart’s Organizing by Martha Stewart is aptly subtitled The manual for bringing order to your life, home and routines. It’s a perfect reference for everyone who resolved to be more organized in 2020. It's organized by month, also by major holidays and rooms in the house. There's something for everyone here and she doesn't make you feel inept because you haven't thought of some of these ideas. Whatever you think of Martha there is going to be a takeaway or two in here! (Non-Fiction)

Such a Fun Age

January 16, 2020

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid has both cringe-inducing and funny moments. It's the story of a successful white mother whose babysitter is African American. One night the babysitter is confronted in an upscale grocery and accused of kidnapping her three-year-old charge. Havoc ensues, especially once the child’s mother seeks to make amends by helping her sitter. The dialogue is sharp and honest and will make you think about the potential complexities of employer/employee relationships complicated by race and class.

A Small Town

January 16, 2020

A Small Town by Thomas Perry is classic Perry. A town housing a big prison is effectively destroyed in a major breakout and a dozen escapees have not been found two years later.  This is a story of revenge. The main character is a policewoman from the town assigned to find the perpetrators who are at large. The novel follows her as she tracks the perpetrators and dispenses with them. Perry pushes the credibility envelope a bit at times but the suspense is real and the characters are well developed.

The Secret Guests

January 16, 2020

The Secret Guests by Benjamin Black (the pen name of John Banville) is a novel based on the idea that the English princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were sent to safety accompanied by secret service protection to an estate in “neutral” Ireland at the height of the London Blitz. There is a lot of fascinating history to mine for the awkward relationships that were the inevitable result of English/Irish tension during the war. Once the princesses get homesick and boring things to get interesting!

The Sacrament

January 16, 2020

The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson is very atmospheric. The Catholic community in Iceland is small but not immune to the troubles the church has had with accusations of misconduct by priests. This beautifully written, affecting novel is told from the perspective of a young nun who is sent from Paris to Iceland twenty years ago to investigate charges against a priest. She goes back twenty years later and confronts her past, regrets over decisions she made, and the chance for redemption. This is a solemn work, highly recommended.

Many Rivers to Cross

January 16, 2020

Many Rivers to Cross by Peter Robinson is the latest DCI Banks thriller. A young Middle Eastern boy is murdered in Eastvale and Banks and Annie Cabot start investigating. The team has to juggle the tensions that surround a proposed real estate development and try and find the threads that tie another murder to their investigation. Robinson is a master at the police procedural and the interweaving of the personal and professional issues that complicate Banks’ job. It is not always easy to know exactly what to do. An excellent read.

Long, Bright River

January 16, 2020

Long, Bright River by Liz Moore is a real page-turner. It takes place in Philadelphia and is the story of two sisters robbed of any chance of a normal life by the disappearance of their father and the death of their mother. Raised by an embittered grandmother, one becomes a police officer and one becomes an addict. The narrator is the cop; the events take place “then” and “now”. Riveting, wonderful character development and

Hunter Killer

January 16, 2020

Hunter Killer by Brad Taylor is the latest in the Pike Logan series. These thrillers are distinguished by the realism the author weaves into the plot as a result of the experiences he had in his 21 years in the Special Forces. The action/mayhem starts in the USA but quickly jumps to South America. It is nonstop but does not feel like a comic, which can happen with this type of book. The bad guys, Russians in this case, have picked on the wrong team leader. It's a highly enjoyable page-turner.

 

Sinking Cities (PG) 240 minutes

December 22, 2019

SINKING CITIES NEW DOCUMENTARY (PG) As the earth warms, sea levels rise, and super-storms become more frequent and intense, many major coastal cities will soon be underwater. Sinking Cities shows New York, London, Tokyo and Miami preparing for the real-time impact of rising seas and devising colossal new construction projects, and groundbreaking solutions aimed at securing their future.

Separated: Children at the Border (NR) 56 minutes

December 22, 2019

SEPARATED: CHILDREN AT THE BORDER NEW DOCUMENTARY (NR) What's happened to the more than 2,000 families who were separated after crossing the U.S. border unlawfully in 2018? How did immigration policy in America reach this point? It also traces why some say what happened on immigration during the Obama years would help lay the groundwork for what the Trump administration did next. Frontline examines immigration policy under both the Trump and Obama administrations, the origins of "zero tolerance." The film traces how the U.S.'s immigration policies involving children have played out over the years--and why, even for those families who have now been reunited, the scars remain.

Shakespeare and Hathaway Private Investigators Season 2 (NR) 450 minutes

December 22, 2019

SHAKESPEARE AND HATHAWAY, Private Investigators, Season 2  – SERIES (NR) The hilariously mismatched detective duo of Luella Shakespeare (Jo Joyner) and grumpy Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton) return for ten more episodes of the hit mystery/comedy-drama set in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon. You might think the birthplace of William Shakespeare would be safe from fraud, extortion, vice, identity theft and ransom, but you would be wrong!

The Loudest Voice (NR) 350

December 22, 2019

THE LOUDEST VOICE New MINI-SERIES (NR) Russell Crowe gives a tour-de-force performance in this seven-part limited series about Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News. Chronicling Ailes’ relentless, stop-at-nothing mission to build Fox News into a force that changed the media landscape and the sexual manipulations, intimidation tactics and indiscretions that tainted his legacy. Also touching on defining moments in Ailes’ political life, where he arguably became the Republican Party’s de facto leader reshaped public opinion and set the stage for Trump's presidency.

The Kominsky Method Season 1 (NR) 207 minutes

December 22, 2019

THE KOMINSKY METHOD, Season 1New SERIES (NR) The sun isn’t setting yet on the once-famous acting coach Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas) and his longtime agent Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin) star as best friends who keep each other going as they navigate their twilight years in youth-obsessed Los Angeles. Mortality is something other people deal with until Sandy is forced to face his when Norman's wife, Eileen (Susan Sullivan), becomes terminally ill. From then on, it's Sandy and Norman against the world, tackling every curveball life tosses their way. Bizarre funeral stipulations, senior dating, the aging of male body parts, a drug-addicted adult daughter and an overdue IRS bill.  All are fodder for big laughs and heartfelt drama.

Games of Thrones Season 8 (R) 122 minutes

December 22, 2019

GAME OF THRONES, Season 8  – SERIES (R) The Long Night is coming and the dead come with it. Queen Cersei Lannister is determined to stay on the Iron Throne at any cost. Allying herself with Euron Greyjoy and Iron Bank of Braavos.

Doc Martin Season 9 (R) 362 minutes

December 22, 2019

DOC MARTIN, Season 9 SERIES (R) All is not well in picturesque Portwenn for brilliant but blunt Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes). To his utter disgust, his medical practice remains under official scrutiny because of his blood phobia, and he is forced to attend refresher courses--starting with phlebotomy.  His wife, Louisa (Caroline Catz), and his aunt Ruth (Eileen Atkins) urge him to take this risk to his career seriously, but events conspire against him. Can he appease the medical board or will his days as the village GP soon be at an end?

Death in Paradise Season 8 (PG) 440 minutes

December 22, 2019

DEATH IN PARADISE, Season 8 –SERIES (PG) Welcome to the idyllic Caribbean island of Saint Marie. With its beautiful tropic charm, you may mistake it for paradise…until you see its murder rate! This season finds Jack Mooney (Ardal O'Hanlan) and his team, seek to solve murders including an express bus passenger, a zoo owner, a presenter of a TV program being filmed in Saint Marie, and a Coffee Trade Magnate.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette (PG-13) 108 minutes

December 22, 2019

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE –MOVIE (PG-13) Based on the runaway bestseller, Where'd You Go, Bernadette is an inspiring comedy about Bernadette Fox (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett), a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Bernadette's leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (R) 162 minutes

December 22, 2019

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – MOVIE (R) Quentin Tarantino’s visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

The Goldfinch (R) 149 minutes

December 22, 2019

THE GOLDFINCH – MOVIE (R) Determined Theodore “Theo” Decker (Ansel Elgort) was 13 years old when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, and even love. Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day...a painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch. The Goldfinch.

Downton Abbey, The Movie (PG) 122 minutes

December 22, 2019

DOWNTON ABBEY, the movie – MOVIE (PG) The beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives. A royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance, and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance. Written by series creator Julian Fellowes and starring the original cast.

The Chaperone (NR) 108 minutes

December 22, 2019

THE CHAPERONE – MOVIE (NR) Louise Brooks, the 1920's silver screen sensation who never met a rule she didn't break, epitomized the restless, reckless spirit of the Jazz Age. But, just a few years earlier, she was a 15-year-old student in Wichita, Kansas, for whom fame and fortune were only dreams. When an opportunity arises for her to go to New York to study with a leading dance troupe, her mother insists there be a chaperone. Norma Carlisle (Elizabeth McGovern), a local society matron who never broke a rule in her life, impulsively volunteers to accompany Louise (Haley Lu Richardson) to New York for the summer. This story is full of surprises--about who these women really are, and who they eventually become. Based on the beloved NYT bestselling n

The Year at Maple Hill Farm

December 13, 2019

The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen traces life at a farm over a year. Starting in cold, dark January it describes each month and season through the eyes of the animals and people who live and work on the farm. Come spring eggs are laid, heavy coats are shed, and the pace picks up. Each month is handsomely laid out with vignettes of various animals. There are some funny asides about animal behavior as well. It's a great introduction to year-round life on a farm. (Non-Fiction)

Science Comics Skyscrapers--The Heights of Engineering

December 13, 2019

Science Comics Skyscrapers--The Heights of Engineering by John Kerschbaum is fascinating and clever. It's loaded with factoids about the history of building UP, beginning with the pyramids. There is a lot of detail but honestly, if rebar construction is not your passion you can fly through that part and move onto the history of the Empire State building. The quiz kid/superhero characters are good foils for exploring the ins and outs of skyscrapers. (Non-Fiction)

Ostriches--The Superpower Field Guide

December 13, 2019

Ostriches--The Superpower Field Guide by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Nicholas Frith is an engaging addition to this series.  Even an ordinary ostrich is pretty extraordinary. Did you know they have the biggest eyeballs of any animal or bird on land? They don’t fly, so weigh north of 300 pounds and can be 9 feet tall! More than half that weight is in the thighs, powering the ostrich at top speeds. The section about the various uses of those gorgeous wings was our favorite. Highly recommended. (Non-Fiction)

Most of the Better Natural Things in the World

December 13, 2019

Most of the Better Natural Things in the World by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Angel Chang is a spectacular introduction to the many wonders of the natural world, courtesy of a roaming tiger with a chair on its back. The tiger crosses through forests, plains, and bodies of water all over the globe. The purpose of his journey is made clear at the end, where there is a helpful glossary for all the places he has been. The paintings are breathtaking and his faithful mouse companion is fun to track. Highly recommended. (Non-Fiction)

Feed Your Mind--A Story of August Wilson

December 13, 2019

Feed Your Mind--A Story of August Wilson by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Cannaday Chapman is a biography of the great American playwright. Born in 1945, he grew up in Pittsburgh. His early love of reading is inspiring, which makes the racist, unfair treatment he receives in school frustrating. He ultimately quits, finding a haven in the library. As he reaches adulthood he starts to write, mostly poetry, but eventually the famous plays that carry the African American voices of Pittsburgh. His fame is now taken for granted but this inspiring book shows the long road he traveled to get there. (Non-Fiction)

One Fox, A Counting Book Thriller

December 13, 2019

One Fox, A Counting Book Thriller by Kate Read is a clever one to ten counting books set in a barnyard. It starts with “one famished fox” eyeing some plump hens and proceeds from that point. The author notes that no foxes or hens were harmed in the writing of the book but there is plenty of action!

My Big Bear My Little Bear and Me

December 13, 2019

My Big Bear My Little Bear and Me by Margarita Del Mazo, illustrated by Rocio Bonilla is utterly charming. A little girl reviews all the advantages of having two bears to count on in life. The watercolor illustrations are lush and perfectly capture the sentiments she expresses. Size matters depending on the situation, but each bear has a role to play and she knows how lucky she is to have such trusted companions. This is a very comforting, calm read that all small children will adore.

Home in the Woods

December 13, 2019

Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler is inspired by the author's grandmother's Depression-era upbringing. She was one of eight children living in a tar paper shack with their mother. They were desperately poor but managed to find enough to eat by foraging in the surrounding woods. They invented games to play and took care of each other. They had so little but through the seasons their lives are enriched by the forest.

Henry and Bea

December 13, 2019

Henry and Bea by Jessixa Bagley is a sweet book about friendship. Bea and Henry are inseparable and best grade school friends. One day Henry mysteriously withdraws and Bea cannot figure out what has happened. She misses Henry and cannot seem to get him to care about anything. It takes a school field trip to unravel the mystery, and help Bea understand what made Henry so sad. The illustrations are lovely.

Francesco Tirelli's Ice Cream Shop

December 13, 2019

Francesco Tirelli’s Ice Cream Shop by Tamar Meir, illustrated by Yael Albert is based on actual events. Young Francesco loved ice cream so much that when he grew up he opened his gelateria, modeled after his uncle's. Even though it was in Budapest, not Italy, it was a huge hit. WWII changed everything and Francesco realized that the store could serve a purpose in the winter when no ice cream was sold. He began hiding Jewish families. They managed to celebrate Hanukah and that spring the war was over. One of the children hidden in the store moved to Israel where he opened a gelateria, continuing a delicious tradition.

CaveBoy Crush

December 13, 2019

CaveBoy Crush by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Joseph Kuefler is a funny story of first love among the cave dwellers. A young caveboy spots a beautiful young cave girl and is immediately smitten. His comical efforts to get her attention will have readers laughing. "Crush" is an important noun and verb in this story, and leads to a very satisfying resolution. This is lots of fun for everyone.

The Boy and the Bear

December 13, 2019

The Boy and the Bear by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Sarah Massini is a lovely story about making and keeping friends. Boy and Bear are both alone but thanks to paper boat messages find each other. After trial and error, they discover wonderful projects to do together until the fateful day that bear has to go. Is he leaving forever? The boy’s patient waiting is of course rewarded when spring comes. The illustrations are a delight.

New York Christmas Baking

December 6, 2019

New York Christmas Baking by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup is a sweet treat. The photographs are enchanting and the gingersnaps with white chocolate glaze speak for themselves! (Cookbook)

Jubilee--Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking

December 6, 2019

Jubilee--Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Topton-Martin has so many wonderful recipes. The cornbread was phenomenal and the meatball recipe sublime. That recipe backstory explains the North African origin in ground meat and grain balls called kofta. Beautiful photographs make the dishes pop off the page. This is a book to savor. (Cookbook)

Making a Life

December 6, 2019

Making a Life by Melanie Falick is literally about making things with your hands. It showcases remarkable talents developed by people over time, often as second careers. Learning new techniques keeps the profiled artisans young and enthusiastic. Flatware, pots, prints, fabrics--it’s all very inspirational and beautiful. Goods made by hand get their proper due in this gorgeous book. (Non-Fiction)

The First Cell and the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last

December 6, 2019

The First Cell and the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last by Azra Raza takes a passionate, hard look at the “progress” that has not been made in the war against cancer. The author, an oncologist, lost her husband to the disease so she has a personal and professional stake in moving treatment improvements forward.  We spend 150 billion dollars on cancer every year and the life expectancies for most cancer patients have not changed very much. The book is a call to reexamine the research priorities to focus on early detection rather than late treatment. This is a difficult but essential book. (Non-Fiction)

Owl Be Home for Christmas

December 6, 2019

Owl Be Home for Christmas by Donna Andrews has a group of ornithologists trapped by a blizzard facing a killer. In true Agatha Christie tradition the killer is among them, but who is it? The mystery has to be solved or no one will be home for Christmas.

 

The 19th Christmas

December 6, 2019

The 19th Christmas by James Patterson finds the Women’s Murder Club facing a fearsome criminal intent on ruining Christmas Day, instead of celebrating the joys of the season. Honestly, there is nothing particularly cheerful about this book but it is a diverting page-turner!

Christmas Shopaholic

December 6, 2019

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella is a warm-hearted toast to the pleasurable chaos of Christmas. Becky has moved home to the UK and finds herself responsible for helping innumerable friends and family have a jolly time. An old boyfriend returns; will that be helpful or not? Read on!

The Christmas Card Crime and other Stories

December 6, 2019

The Christmas Card Crime and Other Stories edited by Martin Edwards is a great assortment of seasonal tales that shine a light on the darker side of the holidays. This is the perfect book to keep by the sofa to dip into when you only have fifteen minutes. The stories are all different and well written. It’s lots of fun.

Under Occupation

December 6, 2019

Under Occupation by Alan Furst takes place in German-occupied Paris. The author lived in Paris for years, which undoubtedly contributed to the book’s strong sense of place. The initially reluctant spy is Paul Ricard. He writes detective novels for a living and makes some pretty funny comments about the craft of writing as the book moves along. Before he knows it he is deeply involved in the serious business of espionage. The plot concentrates on the captive Polish shipyard workers in Germany and their efforts to thwart the German war machine. It's a great page-turner with a lot of fascinating history.

Olive Again

December 6, 2019

Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout brings back the cranky, irrepressible Olive. Maine life has never looked quite so small, and frankly gloomy. The writing is excellent and despite her best efforts to be pretty horrible to anyone who might care about her, Olive is a winning character. There is a beating heart in there and the author has taken pains to create a complex, well-developed woman who has been through a lot.

The Old Success

December 6, 2019

The Old Success by Martha Grimes brings back Richard Jury and his well-known upper-class sidekick Melrose Plant. Still hanging about in pubs, they take on solving multiple murders that may be connected. As always there is a very funny, younger character who gets some of the best dialogue in the book. The past reaches into the present as the murder of a young woman on an isolated island is connected to two other killings. There are good twists in this one.

Heaven My Home

December 6, 2019

Heaven My Home by Attica Locke is outstanding. She is a terrific writer and the characters are interesting and well developed. It’s topical as it all takes place in present-day Texas. Darren, an African American Texas Ranger, is charged with finding the missing nine-year-old son of an Aryan Brotherhood kingpin currently in jail. The town where he disappeared has no shortage of suspects. Very atmospheric, with crackling dialogue, multiple motives, and secrets, all combine with flawed characters to create a very fine mystery.