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Extraordinary Bunnies

cover image for Battle BunnyIt’s Easter, and so I’m writing about bunnies. Bunnies are perhaps a little overdone in children’s literature, I’ll admit. They are so cute and cuddly and kind-looking. It seems the perfect match for our cute, cuddly, kind young readers, right? Think Pat the Bunny, or Big and Little Nutbrown Hare in Guess How Much I Love You. Did I mention Goodnight Moon? They are sweet and make you want to snuggle in for your bedtime treat, but sometimes enough is enough. Let’s take a little of Peter Rabbit’s feistiness, mix it with James Howe’s beloved Bunnicula, and now – enter Battle Bunny.
Here’s an oryctolagus cuniculus with a little zing, a little daring, a little ammunition! Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, two quippy authors well-known for their ability to tell hilariously ironic, sarcastic or plain silly tales for children, team up to re-do the saccharine sweet picture book Birthday Bunny by allowing “Alex” to scribble, draw, and rewrite the story to fit Battle Bunny. With a few extra lines drawn here and there, the birthday bunny becomes a lean, mean fighting machine among the evil forest critters. It’s no longer a birthday; it’s “doomsday!” Luckily, Alex himself makes an appearance to save the world from Battle Bunny and celebrate his own special day. You can expect a lot of hoots and hollers and probably jumping on the bed when you read this one at bedtime!
There aren’t as many chapter books featuring bunnies (not as many as mice or dogs, for example), so I guess the older kids graduate out of the super soft, squishy, hopping phase. So I was interested when one of my favorite off-the-beaten-path children’s authors, Polly Horvath, came out with Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire (by Mrs. Bunny, and translated from the Rabbit by Polly Horvath). And truly, these are no ordinary bunnies.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny decide to move to a new hutch and have no clue of the adventure that awaits, an adventure which is slowed down some by the delightful and humorous dialogue and storylines following the Bunnies and the humans in the book. When, out of the blue, Mrs. Bunny suggests they become detectives, Mr. Bunny is unsure and wonders if they will need detective licenses. “I think fedoras are enough. Anyone who sees a bunny in a fedora will not feel the need to see a license,” replies Mrs. Bunny. “It is very hard to find fedoras with holes cut out for our long and fuzzy ears, Mrs. Bunny. On the other hand, if we go to town we can drive our bright and shiny red Smart car.” Later, Mrs. Bunny explains to a girl how she gets her information:

“Google,” said Mrs. Bunny.
“I didn’t know you could Google marmots,” said Madeline.
“You can Google anything, dear,” said Mrs. Bunny patronizingly. “I just learned how to use the computer this year. Mr. Bunny taught me.”
“And I’m never teaching you anything again,” said Mr. Bunny.
“You got that straight,” said Mrs. Bunny.

If you enjoy this hilarious and really rather in-depth ride into the fascinating world of married bunny detectives, you will be thrilled to know a sequel is already out – Lord and Lady Bunny – Almost Royalty.
But I don’t mean to sell the long-lashed, cottontailed, warm and fuzzy bunnies short. They have their purpose and their time. Try Carol Roth’s Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night for an updated bedtime story, gorgeously illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev, one of my favorites. Or check out a classic like the newly reissued Velveteen Rabbit with illustrations reproduced from the 1922 first edition. Follow it with Goodnight Moon – yes, definitely do that – and put on the lullaby Bunny in the Moon by DidiPop for an excellent night’s rest. Tomorrow may be time for more battling with Battle Bunny!

Posted in: Children's Dept, Mercury Column

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World Book Night in Manhattan!

world bookManhattan Public Library is excited to announce our participation in World Book Night 2014. World Book Night is a global celebration of books and community in honor of the literary contributions of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, two of the most influential voices in Western literature. As part of this event, 25,000 reading enthusiasts/volunteers in the U.S. alone will hand out over 500,000 books help inspire, or re-inspire, passion for reading.

For our part, thanks to a generous grant from the World Book Night US organization, MPL will be receiving 200 free copies of Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple and After the Funeral by Agatha Christie to hand out to the Manhattan community. Manhattan Public Library will also be giving out copies of Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and a variety of great children’s books.

From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on April 23rd, Manhattan Public Library staff will visit local hot spots to hang out free books and chat with people about reading, books, and libraries. Our destinations include City Park, Hibachi Hut, Varsity Donuts, Bluestem Bistro, and Little Apple Brewery. We’ll even be sending a crew of night owl librarians to stop by Local Love open mic night at Aggie Central Station!

To learn more about World Book Night, visit: www.us.worldbooknight.org. To follow MPL on it’s odyssey across Manhattan, find on Facebook and Twitter for live updates of our itinerary.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, library services, News

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Survey Says!

We want to hear from you! Beginning April 14 and continuing through May 11, MPL is conducting an online survey to understand how patrons use the library’s technology so we can provide resources and services that are valuable to the community. The Impact Survey is anonymous, available in English and Spanish, and takes 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey is confidential and does not collect any personally identifiable information.

Please support the library and help us improve our services. Click the link at the top of our web page to fill out the survey.

The Impact Survey is a project of the University of Washington Information School with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Relax at Your Stress-free Library

John Pecoraro, Assistant Director, Manhattan Public Library

Stress is everywhere in our lives. It seems that the world has grown smaller, time has grown shorter, we try to do more with less, and the stress piles up. What can we do about it? Techniques for relieving stress run the gamut from diet to yoga, from exercise to meditation. With income taxes due on April 15, it’s not surprising that April is Stress Awareness Month. Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), Stress Awareness Month is a national effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.

If you’re feeling the pinch of stress, check out some of the titles available at the public library.  “The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-free Living,” by Amit Sood, for example, is based on the Mayo Clinic’s popular stress management program. Dr. Sood explains that it is the human mind’s instinctive restlessness and shortsightedness that causes stress. He offers insight into skills that will help you reduce the stress in your life, such as practicing gratitude, compassion, acceptance, and nurturing relationships. Visit Dr. Sood’s website at http://stressfree.org/. (more…)

Posted in: Adult Services, Mercury Column, News

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