Fun at Foster's blog
What if we could be immortal, never die? Would we have a soul? Would we have purpose, a reason for being? These are questions you might consider asking after reading not one, but two, recently released graphic novels inspired by the works of Anne Rice.
The first book is Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story and tells the familiar tale from the viewpoint of Claudia, the little-girl-turned-vampire and the companion to Louis and Lestat. Her immortality is given not by choice, but a ploy used by Lestat to keep Louis near him. That immortality comes at a price, not just by her need for blood, but by the very fact that she will never age. Although she will always remain the figure of a five year old child, her mind will continue to mature and change, a fact not welcomed by Lestat. She will increasingly question and challenge him at every opportunity, just as she will grow in her love and affection for Louis, a love that will never be fulfilled. It is the truth of her existence that leads her to betray her maker and search out others of her kind in order to find the purpose and meaning in her life. It is a search that will play out to its unfortunate end.
While the story is well-known to Anne Rice fans, it is worth reading for Claudia’s perspective on things and is a good companion piece to the original novel. Beautifully drawn in sepia tones, the only contrasting color is the color of blood.
The second graphic novel to follow this trend of the soul and immortality is The Servant of the Bones. It is the story of Azriel, a Jewish man living in Babylon, who agrees to become the servant of the title in order to serve the ruling king and protect his people. But he is tricked, and his body is melted in a vat of gold, leaving nothing but his gold-encased bones behind. He becomes a genie (somewhere between an angel and a demon), his bones trapped in a box, his spirit to be released by its possessor when the need arises.
His immortality is one of darkness, and the centuries quickly pass. He comes when he is called, but he soon learns that not all his masters are righteous or good. In time, he becomes less willing to obey and even attacks those who would command him. He gains something of himself and soon no longer requires the box (or its owner) to appear. In time, he finds himself compelled to solve the murder of a young woman in modern times. This brings him into conflict with a cult determined to bring about an apocalypse, with themselves as the only survivors.
The Servant of the Bones is colorfully drawn, and Azriel is not too hard on the eyes, if I do say so myself. Despite not having read the book on which it is based, I found the graphic novel easy to follow and an interesting read.
While both novels are very different in story and scope, I did find they had some common ground. Both dealt with the choices of immortality (given or not) and the consequences that followed. Both dealt with individuals trying to find themselves in their new lives, and despite the very different outcomes, both sought to retain something of their souls.
Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess
Fe fi fo fum
It's time for us to have some fun!
I must say, I simply can NOT believe all the new faces that we have had the last few weeks! I do hope that you will all become regulars. For those of you that are new to our group, generally we read from 1-4 books - depending on the 'mood' of the kidlets. As we have SO many new littles, our group has been extremly lively - which is why we only read 1 book this last Tuesday. Don't worry about it, they will get used to the group and your little one will settle down and listen.
Our letter this last week was P. The kidlets certainly knew a lot of P words - did you work with your little one? I am pretty sure that Pizza is my favorite p word. ;-)
Our theme last week was 'Chinese New Year'. I must confess, I forgot to write the name of the book that we did read (oops!), so I can not list it. But here is a small list of other Chinese New Year books that E.P. has;
The runaway wok : a Chinese New Year tale
by Ying Chang Compestine
Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan!
Celebrate Chinese New Year
My first Chinese New Year
This next New Year
They have quite a few more for you to chose from.
Author Website of the Week
I hope that you will check out some of Grace Lin's books - there are a LOT of them. Her website is packed with crafts and fun things to do, most of them relating to one of her books. You click on the book and it takes you to a page with coloring sheets and activites. She has activites for all ages, from a simple coloring sheet for your little to activites for your older child and things for you to do as well.
Next Week (February 12)
Our letter of the week will be Q. So think up some q words (Queen Celeste, anyone? tehehe!) Do we have anyone whose name starts with Q?
Our theme will be 'Be my Valentine', I am seeing a heart craft in our future!
I am going to take a wild guess and believe that most, if not all, of my storytime parents are readers themselves. Are you finding ways to feed your own reading addiction? I remember how hard it was when MY kids were littles. I am pretty sure that I hid books in the bathroom.
Until next week,
Foster library is happy to team up with local yoga instructors to offer a fun, new service. Beginning Wednesday during the story time hour (3:30-4ish), parents are welcome to practice the ancient traditions of yoga while the kids hear a fantastic story. As long as your child is 4 and up, and you have your own mat or towel, you are welcome to join the group on the second floor of the library. This is a pilot program, so if you are interested, let us know! We will offer yoga every Wednesday for February and April. Keep checking for updates!
If you can’t make it to yoga, check out some great titles we have in the library.
From the Ventura City Hall Brochure:
"Between the first and second floor windows of City Hall are 24 faces. Made of terra cotta, they depict mendicant priests called brothers or friars. These happy friars, a popular detail of the era, add a bit of whimsy to the serious neoclassical facade and are also an historical reminder that the City of San Buenaventura was one of the nine original Mission towns founded by Father Junipero Serra and Franciscan friars in 1782."
Find more information on the fascinating history of Ventura here.
Resident Photographer Aleta Rodriguez
Attention: Ventura County Residents
E.P. Foster library is starting a series of food events the title of the series is Book Appétit. Cookbook authors, chefs, restaurateurs, all involved in any aspect of the food industry are welcome to participate. Book Appétit’s main purpose is to celebrate food and bring our diverse community and tastes together. We would love to hear from the community with any suggestions you have as far as scheduling events or inviting speakers!
Please contact David Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas or questions.
P.S.The pictured bread and San Marzano tomatoes will be discussed in an upcoming blog...
Nineteenth Century English Literature is remarkable both for its high artistic achievement and for its variety. The greatest literary movement of its earlier period was that of romanticism. It was born in the atmosphere of the violent economic and political turmoil that marked the last decades of the 18th and the first decades of the 19th century. The outburst of political activity brought on by the Great French Revolution of 1789 and the bitter wars with Napoleon's France that ravaged Europe for almost 25 years were the dominant political forces at work. The hardships of the industrial and agrarian revolution whose joint effect was a gradual change of all aspects of social life in England made the situation rife with class hatred.
Great distress was caused by large landowners enclosing millions of acres of land for their own purposes and thus dispossessing labourers who were reduced either to slaving on the fields of their masters or to migrating in search of the means to support themselves by working 12—14 hours a day for wages notoriously below subsistence level. The labouring poor, in town and country alike, suffered the utmost misery from underpayment and overwork and from crowding in hugely overpopulated industrial areas. This, briefly, was the background for the English Romantic Movement.
Two authors whose writings reflected these tumultuous changes were Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. Hardy chose to evaluate the changing patterns of relationships within the framework of upper middle class society with his drama, (Tess of the D’urbervilles and The Mayor of Casterbridge). Dickens focused more on the culturally depressed and the downtrodden with satire (Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol), and with the legal and social injustices of the day (A Tale of Two Cities). I will begin with Hardy’s fourth novel, “Far From the Madding Crowd”, and then reflect on Dickens novel, “The Pickwick Papers”, later in the month.
One of Hardy's central concerns in all of his writing was the problem of modernity in a society that was rapidly becoming more and more industrial. His project as a writer was to create an account of life in the swiftly changing Dorsetshire as it had once been. He was particularly interested in the rituals and histories of that part of England, as well as the dialect of its locals. The title Far From the Madding Crowd suggests avoidance of the life of a city, modernized government, crowds and industry; in it, Hardy tries to fashion a portrait of what he saw as an endangered way of life .
At the beginning of the novel, Bathsheba Everdene is a beautiful young woman without a fortune. She meets Gabriel Oak, a shepherd, and saves his life one evening. He asks her to marry him but she refuses, because she is not in love with him. Upon inheriting her uncle’s prosperous farm, Bathsheba moves away to Weatherbury.
In one of the most dramatic scenes (rife with metaphor) Gabriel befalls a tragic misfortune as his dog goes mad and drive’s his sheep off the edge of a cliff. (This is a great metaphorical symbol for the changing landscape of the agrarian society,set against the development of Industry). Oak becomes destitute as a result and travels to Weatherbury looking for work.
After rescuing a farm from fire, he asks the mistress if she needs a shepherd . It is Bathsheba and she hires him. But he becomes much more than a shepherd with the needed skills of managing a prosperous farm to his impetuous mistress. His humble ways and loyalty bail her out on more than one occasion. Oak becomes integral to her prospects. However, Bathsheba then falls for a dashing but immature young soldier in his Red Uniform, Sergeant Troy (only after teasing a middle aged wealthy neighbor on a whim with a valentine sent to him that reads, “Marry Me”.) That man becomes obsessed with her. And now with Oak and Troy; she has a 3rd suiter. But her true love is the Sergeant.
Within a series of social accidents, Troy has empregnated a girl (Fanny Robin) right before he falls for Bathsheba. Fanny dies in child birth and Troy leaves the area grief stricken and Bathsheba heartbroken. But the neighbor/suitor is enraged with Troy’s action and kills him. He is then arrested by Oak (who is now also a bailif) and is sent away to prison. With only one prospect left, the durable but whimsical Bathsheba finally consents and marries Oak at the end of the novel. They are seen sitting by a fireplace quite comfortable together. But on the mantle sits a music box with a figurine attired in a red soldier’s uniform; unrequited love on two fronts in an age of Romanticism, Madness and changing prosperities.
Storytime with Miss Celeste
Fe fi fo fum, It's time for us to have some fun!
Did everyone have a great time this last Tuesday? I sure did! I do hope that you parents/caregivers are enjoying Storytime as much as the littles and I do. If there are songs or stories that you would like us to do, please share them with me. It helps if you can write them down for me, or go on over to the E.P. Foster Facebook page and leave a comment.
I see a lot of you making connections with each other and I love that. Parenting is hard (and wonderful) and our connections help.
So this week our Letter of the Week was O. We had TWO kidlets with O names; Olive and Oscar. Olive spoke up (kinda ;-)) but I did not know about Oscar til later. By the way, if you wanted to check out a book with characters named Olive or Oscar - EP has some!
The O is probably one of the easiest letter signs of them all -you just put all your fingers on your thumb and make an O!
Here is a link to some beautiful ASL fingerspelling art. This (Lifeprint.com) is a fabulous website if you are interested in learning sign.
Our theme this last Tuesday was 'Cold Weather Critters'. We read 'Playtime Penguins' by Tony Mitton and 'Over in the Arctic' by Marianne Berkes. Don't you just love books that read with rhythm? I thought that the Arctic book would be too long for our group, but they loved it! :-) I will definitely be reading more from her 'Over in' series.
EP has many more books with cold weather critters, here are just a few;
A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
Little Polar Bear series Hans de Beer (there are about 9 or 10 in the series, EP has around 7 AND a bunch in Spanish!)
Whale is Stuck by Karen Hayles
Snow Bear by Jean Craighead George (might be a bit old for the toddler group, but this is an awesome author)
Penguin Pete & Little Tim by Marcus Pfister (of Rainbow Fish fame)
Arctic Song by Miriam Moss
In Arctic Waters by Laura Crawford
A splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom
Baby Beluga by Raffi (I wish that I had remembered this one in time to re-learn it, it is a great story-song).
Author Website of the Week
Guess what? The Authors of BOTH of the books that we read this week have websites, so we are going to have TWO this week. Why? Because I just could not decide which one to pick. ;-)
And while these sites do not have all the bells and whistles (or videos or coloring pages) that last weeks site did, I am sure that you will find some lovely books to add to your list of 'must reads'.
Next Week (February 5th)
Our Letter of the Week will be P, so think up some great P words (I am thinking Pizza!) and if we have anyone whose name starts with P, Please speak up!
Our theme is going to be Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Snake, so of COURSE we must read books about snakes! If anyone has a stuffed snake, please bring it!
Until next week,