Monthly Archive January, 2012

Down-to-Read with Daniela: A Friend for Einstein: the smallest stallion
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A Friend for Einstein the Smallest Stallion Cantrell Charlie 9781423145639 photo

 

Age Group:
3-8 years

Genre:
Non-Fiction, Friendship, Animals, Picture Book

Summary:
A Friend for Einstein
shares the adorable story of the world’s smallest stallion and his quest for friendship! Too small to play with the other ponies, Einstein tries befriending a myriad of farm animals. But none are quite right for inquisitive Einstein. That is until he meets Lily, an energetic friend who is sure to keep up with the wiry pony!

My Thoughts:
I could not stop smiling while reading this book! Could Einstein be any cuter?? I want one! He actually reminds me of a stuffed unicorn toy with blue eyes that I got as a child.

The pictures in this non-fiction book are really too charming for words. With full page photo spreads and just the right amount of text, this book is the perfect choice for a read-a-loud.

Experience the cuteness of real life and borrow A Friend for Einstein: the smallest stallion from your local Vaughan Library today!

One for the money
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I’m really excited that Janet Evanovich’s first book in the Stephanie Plum series is now a movie, arriving in theatres on January 27th.  In “One for the money”, Stephanie Plum, former department store lingerie salesperson turned bounty hunter, meets her nemesis as she hunts down wanted cop Joe Morelli.  Since he was her former high school boyfriend, obviously things are going to be…interesting to say the least. 

 

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This is the first book in a lighthearted action adventure series, the most recent being “Explosive Eighteen”.  I admit that I haven’t read the last few, since after that many books, the plots seem repetitive.  But for the first few novels, I was quite amused by the antics of Stephanie and also her extremely funny grandma; both characters are quite the feisty ladies!

 

Reviews aren’t out yet for the movie, but I’m optimistic it will be entertaining (Check out the trailer online).  And if you are a patient person and don’t want to see the movie in the theater, you can wait for the movie to make it to VPL’s catalogue, and then add your name to the inevitable waitlist.

Cult Cinema – Rubber
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Rubber was definitely the most unique, original film of 2011. And so far everybody who has seen it either seems to be fascinated by it or repelled/annoyed by it. It’s a horror comedy with postmodernist commentary on filmmaking (and I realize this sentence alone has already made some of you stop reading).

Meet Robert. He is a junkyard tire that becomes self-aware and discovers he has the power to blow up people’s heads. Sounds like the making of a B-movie with lots of wacky, bloody gore? You betcha.

Movie poster for "Rubber"

But French director Quentin Dupieux isn’t content to just crank out another bizzare one-note grindhouse film. The early moments when Robert first comes to life and unsteadily, wobbily, starts to roll along draw you in and make you root for this inanimate piece of rubber. You actually feel the same simple joy Robert does when he starts to discover how he can manipulate objects in his environment; it’s like watching a baby or a puppy discover the world. Despite the fact that this black rubber tire has no face and no discernable features, there are multiple moments throughout the film when this tire’s frustration, rage, or desire are palpable.

This movie also has arthouse elements to engage the thoughtful or analytical viewer. They include characters who know they are in a movie getting exasperated with the ones who don’t; characters breaking the fourth wall by talking to the camera; and an opening monologue about how films are full of things happening for “no reason”. But perhaps the most significant aspect is a self-reflexive commentary on today’s movie audiences, with the inclusion of actual spectators equipped with binoculars who are watching the proceedings of the film. In a very early moment of the film, before Robert has come to life, there is a long silent moment where the spectators watch and wait, but nothing at all happens. The character of a young boy says exactly what has just crossed the skeptical movie watcher’s mind: ”Oh. It’s already boring”. (And then something happens.)

Who will like this movie? People who like creative, independent cinema. People who like modern grindhouse films. People who like movies about moviemaking. People who sympathized with the lamp in Spike Jonze’s IKEA commercial despite the announcer telling you not to.

Looking for something different? Check out Rubber today!

IDENTICAL STRANGERS
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Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited

 

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This fascinating memoir reads like a cross between a science fiction thriller and The Parent Trap. Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein are identical twins that were separated at birth. While each grew up knowing that they were adopted, neither knew that they had an identical twin sister, nor that they were originally  part of a secret study on  separated twins.

 

At the age of thirty five these two women slowly discover  the circumstances of their births and each other. Told in their alternating voices this book is an engrossing real life look at the nature vs nurture debate.

 

 

Woodbridge Library Midweek Matinee
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Join us at the Woodbridge Library for a Matinee every two weeks.  We have a wide collection of classical movies featuring actors such as  Clark Gable,  Marlon Brando, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.  For upcoming Black History Month, we start off  the celebrations with The Help (February 1) starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.  This is based on the book written by Kathryn Stockett who details the African American maid experience in the deep south.  This is truly an historical story with many hilarious moments ! 

For the rest of the month of February, we show That Hamilton Woman (February 15)  and A Place in the Sun (February 29).

Come along  for an afternoon of fun at the movies.  We even have popcorn and it is all free!

Down-to-Read with Daniela: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
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WAR HORSE

blog131211 war horse photo

Age Group:
Child

Genre:
Adventure, Animals, Classic, Fiction, Historical, International, War Story

Summary:
Joey is a just a farm horse like any other – until the day he’s sold off to join the cavalry at the oubreak of World War 1. Beloved by his young owner Albert, and now thrust into a ruthless, deadly battlefield, Joey must adapt quickly to his new life. On the way he will make fast friends with horses and men alike. But he will also come to know the cruelty of humankind. Yet Joey is strong and determined. And he’s not about to give up now!

My Thoughts:
I was inspired to read War Horse after seeing previews for the new Spielberg movie of the same name. I am also a fan of books such as Black Beauty and movies like the Black Stallion. War Horse is on par with these classics, delivering a tight plot, charismatic characters, and a kind of magic realism. At the same time, I learned a lot about WWI through subtle but memorable details. As the narrator, Joey the horse maintains a sort of innocence that is certain to charm young readers!

I am looking forward to seeing the movie version too. I hear it is getting good reviews. Has anyone had a chance to see it yet? Check out the preview on YouTube by clicking here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7lf9HgFAwQ.

Borrow War Horse from your local Vaughan Library today! For another heartwarming period piece, try Black Beauty too and the movie!

Down-to-Read with Daniela: How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton
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Full Title:
How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life 

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Age Group:
Adult and Child

Genre:
Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement, Science, Sociology

Summary:
If you can imagine the metaphor of a bucket, then you can re-imagine your life! When your bucket is full and when you actively fill the buckets of others, you are on the road to drastically reducing negativity in your life and discovering true happiness.

In this collaborative effort, Rath and Clifton share with readers their philosophy on life. When we “dip” from the life buckets of others, no one benefits. But when we take the time to share positivity, to tell people how much they matter – to make every moment count – we are taking action to improve our relationships, health, and productivity.

My Thoughts:
In simple, straightforward language, Rath and Clifton unveil a unique and compelling attitude toward personal fulfillment. What I liked about this book is its accessibility. How Full is Your Bucket? is succinct and pleasant to read. It is free from theoretical jargon, with an inspiring focus on positive strategies.

This book is an uplifting choice for anyone who is looking for deeper satisfaction in their life!

Borrow How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life from your local Vaughan Library today! For the little ones in your family, try How Full is Your Bucket? For kids.

Down-to-Read with Daniela: Love Times Three by Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie Darger
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Full Title:
Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage

With:
Brooke Adams

Age Group:
Adult

Genre:
American, Autobiography, Memoir, Non-fiction, Religion

Love%2BTimes%2BThree%2Bbook%2Bcover photo

Summary:
Meet Joe, Alina, Vicki and Valerie – a modern family with a twist! As Independent Fundamentalist Mormoms, polygamy is a key tenet of faith for the Darger family, who share their home with their 23 combined children. Alina, Vicki and Valerie are all “married” to Joe but he is only legally married to Alina. On the same day he also “married” Vicki. Some years later Vicki’s twin sister Valerie joined the family with her five children after experiencing a painful divorce.

The family, who experienced their fair share of hardships over the years, shares with readers the beginning of their families and their desire to be accepted in society. In an attempt to educate readers and de-stigmatize their lifestyle, the Dargers open up about all aspects of their lives, including jealousy, discrimination and many more personal challenges.

My Thoughts:
For fans of the TV shows Big Love or Sister Wives, Love Times Three is the next step toward making sense of a lifestyle that is both fascinating and immensely varied. Although this certainly was not the most well written book, it did not disappoint in its exploration of polygamy, providing a well rounded foundation of religious beliefs, in addition to the inevitable challenges of living the lifestyle.

The Dargers are a likeable family who reveal numerous details about their lives. From what I could tell, they are genuinely happy. At the end of the book, some of their eldest children share their thoughts on growing up in a polygamist family, and their opinion on carrying on the lifestyle. This is an interesting read from a human interest standpoint and definitely worth a check!

Borrow Love Times Three: Our true story of a polygamous marriage from your local Vaughan library today!