Fun at Foster's blog


I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “be careful what you wish for.” Whether it is fame, riches, or beauty, getting what you want is not always the answer to your problems. Sometimes, it actually makes things a lot worse. You may get what you want, but it’s what you do with it that matters most. Such is the case for a young girl named Coddie in Kerascoët & Hubert’s graphic novel, Beauty.

In Beauty, Coddie is a young girl living with her abusive godmother. Her life is spent slaving away in her godmother’s inn, scaling and salting fish. She is a bit of an ugly duckling and, thanks to the fish, she doesn’t smell particularly pleasant. She is often ridiculed by the people in her town, who make fun of her big ears, plain face, and fishy smell. Only her mother and Peter, her godmother’s son, show her any kindness.

One day, while gathering firewood in the forest, she unknowingly comes upon the fairy, Mab, disguised as a frog. When her tears free Mab of her spell, she grants Coddie the appearance of beauty. As Mab says, “If Mab cannot change your nature, she can change the perception of it.” While her fishy smell remains, Coddie is suddenly seen by everyone as the most beautiful of women. Only Coddie can see her true appearance.

It might at first seem a true gift, but Coddie’s beauty soon becomes troublesome—and even dangerous—for her. The men in her village become violently obsessed with her, to the point that she is forced to flee into the forest. The women in her village are more than happy to see her go, as her beauty has caused such a distraction that the men begin to fight over her. A young nobleman comes to her rescue, but her adventures are far from over. She will eventually find herself a queen, the focus of a war, and even a prisoner, all because of her beauty.

Readers familiar with Kerascoët & Hubert’s other work, Beautiful Darkness, are already well aware that fairytales don’t always have the happy ending we’re used to expecting. It is much the same with Beauty. Coddie, who changes her name to Beauty, becomes a bit taken with her own appearance as she manipulates the men around her. When she is later made queen, she uses the opportunity to enjoy the life that was previously denied to her because of her looks. She is, to put it plainly, a self-absorbed, spoiled brat. It is only after she loses her king and her kingdom that she truly sees what her beauty has cost her. She must learn to be beautiful on the inside as well as the outside if she is ever to be the beloved queen she wants to be.

As self-absorbed as she was, I must admit I couldn’t help but have a little sympathy for Coddie, for I’m a bit of an ugly duckling myself. I certainly know how it feels to be teased and tormented for not being pretty, so it wasn’t hard to understand how that beauty could go to her head. I don’t think Coddie behaved all that badly, and she does redeem herself in the end.

While it may not be the fairytale you’re expecting, Beauty is definitely worth reading. Also, be sure to read the epilogue for a bit of a twist. It will make you rethink everything you read before it.


Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

BRATS RAW @ Foster

On Wednesday, April 15, E.P. Foster Library will host a special screening of BRATS RAW.

This documentary features additional footage from the original BRATS documentary by Donna Musil. It includes a series of uncut interviews narrated by General Schwarzkopf and Kris Kristofferson.

The doors open at 6 p.m. for this free event, which will take place in the Topping Room. Stop by to learn more about the experience of growing up in a military family!

Sketching with John Iwerks @ Foster

Interested in developing your artistic side? Join us on Saturday, April 11, for a special sketching event at E.P. Foster Library!

Sketching with John Iwerks is a workshop that will feature tips and techniques for artists of all skill levels. Bring your sketchbook to this free event, or consider borrowing one from the library.

This event begins at 10 a.m. in the Topping Room. If you're curious about John Iwerks' amazing artwork, you won't want to miss this opportunity to see him in action!

Read Me a Story & More @ Foster

On Tuesday, April 28, Read Me a Story & More is returning to E.P. Foster Library.

Read Me a Story & More is an early literacy educational workshop for parents and/or caregivers of children ages 0-5. Modeling reading to parents/caregivers during a weekly storytime is just the beginning when it comes to helping children develop early literacy skills. For parents to become totally engaged, they need more.

This early literacy education workshop gives them more. It gives them the research, the developed methods, and the basic supplies needed to take this information home and actually be able to share it with their child. In the workshop, parents and caregivers learn the value of reading to their child, including the six early literacy skills and five practices. Not only do they learn why it is important to read to their child, but they learn how to select materials and how to read to their child, including dialogic reading. Various books are used to model different levels of reading and child development.

The workshop goes beyond books with activities involving art and creativity, discovering the world, language development, exploring concepts, playtime, and oral storytelling. In the workshop, it is demonstrated how to transform a child’s favorite book into a flannel board story. Each participant at the workshop receives a free bag filled with information, books, activities, flannel figures, and a flannel board.

Registration is required for this event; please contact the library at (805) 648-2716 for more information and to sign up for this great opportunity!

The Month of the Military Child

“A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture.”


Sociologist Ruth Hill Useem coined the term "Third Culture Kids" after spending a year in India on two separate occasions with her three children in the early fifties. Initially they used the term "third culture" to refer to the process of learning how to relate to another culture; in time they started to refer to children who accompany their parents into a different culture as "Third Culture Kids." Useem used the term "Third Culture Kids" because TCKs integrate aspects of their birth culture (the first culture) and the new culture (the second culture), creating a unique "third culture."

Military children—more commonly referred to amongst themselves as “Brats”—are considered to be Third Culture Kids. They often say goodbye to more significant people by age 18 than the average person will in their lifetime. They may see extended family like grandparents, cousins, aunts, or uncles only between deployments, if at all, and they may attend ten or more schools while growing up. Your Resident Photographer went to three different high schools before graduating—and it almost ended up being four after the school district rezoned the base we were living on when I became a senior.

Looking at old photographs, I often check the background to figure out where the pictures were taken. Years don’t seem to matter, but places do. My dad usually lined us up in front of whatever sight we were visiting or whatever housing area we lived in at the time. Occasionally, we even got to climb on retired military equipment. Even though the military lifestyle can be challenging, I have nothing but fond memories of growing up in different places around the world, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

This April, as we observe the Month of the Military Child, E.P. Foster Library will be presenting BRATS: Our Journey Home, the first documentary about growing up military, directed by Donna Musil, and BRATS RAW, a collection of interviews that did not make it in to the documentary. The library also has other resources available that give insight into what it’s like to grow up military.


Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

Library LAB: 3D Printing Class @ Foster

Are you looking to learn more about 3D printing? Stop by E.P. Foster Library on Friday, April 10, for a free 3D modeling and printing class!

This event will cover the basic concepts behind 3D printing as well as the software and hardware involved in creating models and exporting them as files for printing. Several laptops will be available for hands-on exploration, but participants are also welcome to bring their own.

The class begins at 2 p.m. in the Library LAB on the first floor, next to the reference desk. Call the library for more information!

New Film Discussion Group @ Foster

On Monday, April 6, we will hold a special movie screening and discussion at E.P. Foster Library.

This event will feature a satirical comedy from 1967 that pokes fun at a British film phenomenon at its peak in popularity. There will be time afterward for praise or critique, so be ready for a lively discussion!

The screening will be in the Topping Room, and the doors open at 6 p.m. Stop by to see what this new monthly event is all about!

2015 Haiku Writing Contest @ Foster

April is here, and that means that E.P. Foster Library is hosting its annual Haiku Writing Contest!

Visit our first-floor book display if you're looking for inspiration; we have a collection of haiku-themed materials to help get you started. You can enter the contest at the library or by filling out our online entry form.

Entries must be received by Friday, April 17, 2015. Each submission will be judged and the top three will receive prizes, so get your haiku in early!

Some Hidden Gems from the UK

With the current success of The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, and Mr. Turner, and actors such as Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kira Knightley, it’s become fairly obvious that some of our most interesting current films and stars are coming from the UK.

Even British films that have achieved less exposure are certainly worth looking into. I was not familiar with The Edge of Love (2008), but it turned out to be one of the most intriguing films I’ve seen in years. Edge is a free bio of the pacifistic Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys), and his dual relationships with his wife Caitlin (Sienna Miller) and his childhood sweetheart Vera (Knightley). Eventually Vera’s new husband William (Cillian Murphy), a soldier, is reluctantly drawn into the ménage.

Oh What A Lovely War: Dylan Thomas (far left) and friends

Set in World War II and the London Blitz, the film also provides a vivid evocation of urban life in wartime with Vera, an aspiring singer, performing for audiences sheltering in the London underground, and the populace attempting to carry on as usual in London pubs. But the focus of the film always remains on the complex web of volatile personal relationships fired up in a tempestuous era.

The film’s narration includes voiceovers of Thomas’ rhapsodic writing, which somehow managed to emerge from the poet’s chaotic lifestyle. As one review noted: “Incredibly, those years of alcohol and bad behavior also produced some remarkably good poetry.”

A past article from The Telegraph includes a more in-depth account.

An effective and lesser-known thriller is Last Passenger (2013), a white-knuckle opus set on a runaway London train headed for the coast and possible disaster. How the minimal cast of varied characters, including a small boy and his father, deal with the situation provides ample suspense in a claustrophobic but effectively-utilized setting and generates some believable chemistry along the way.

For some good-natured comic relief, check out several new releases from the classic series of British “Carry On” comedies. The discs come as double-features, two films per disc for double the fun.

Carry On Screaming

So far I’ve only seen Carry On Cowboy (1965), obviously a campy western satire, and what may well become my favorite, Carry On Screaming (1966), a spot-on spoof of the old dark house/horror genre. The cast may be mostly unfamiliar to American audiences, though the spirit of Benny Hill is often in evidence. But the young Jim Dale should be a somewhat well-known name, now familiar to legions of fans as the reader of the Harry Potter audio books.


Ross Care

BRATS: Our Journey Home @ Foster

On Wednesday, April 8, E.P. Foster Library will hold a screening of the film BRATS: Our Journey Home.

This film by Donna Musil examines what it's like to grow up in a military family, and explores questions of family, identity, and the concept of home.

This free screening will take place in the Topping Room. The doors open at 6 p.m.; we look forward to seeing you there!

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