Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Farmer Joe baby-sits by Nancy Wilcox Richards

All branches of the library are currently accepting registrations for our Pre-school Storytime. This program is open to children 3 ½ to 5 years who are not yet in kindergarten. Please call your local branch for details or to register your child.

Time spent reading with children is very special indeed. One of my favourite children’s picture books is Farmer Joe Baby-Sits by Nancy Wilcox Richards. Farmer Joe must baby-sit little Jennifer for the afternoon. Jennifer’s mother arrives with everything she think Farmer Joe will need to keep the child occupied for the afternoon. Well, poor Farmer Joe doesn’t know what to do with it, so he takes Emily on a tour of his farm and they have a wonderful adventure together.

Frankly this wonderful poignant book appeals to adults just as much as it does to children. It reminds us that time spent in the company of children can be very special, and how much children enjoy our attention.

Izzy, Willy-Nilly, by Cynthia Voight

Something from our “oldies but goodies” file. A favourite for one staff person is Izzy, Willy-nilly by Cynthia Voigt. Izzy is fifteen, and she’s an average, nice girl. When Izzy is invited to a post-game party by Marco, a popular senior on the football team, she is delighted to accept. Marco has too much to drink at the party, and when he drives Izzy home, he loses control of the car and crashes into a tree. Marco escapes with a few cuts and bruises; Izzy has a broken left leg, and her right leg is so badly damaged that it has to be amputated.

Suddenly, Izzy is no longer Izzy the nice girl; now she is Izzy the cripple. No one, looks at her the same way anymore. Family members are angry and feel helpless. This is an excellent young adult novel that remains relevant, even though the book was published in 1987. The somewhat slow pace of the book echoes the slowness of recovery, both from the trauma of amputation, and from the depression that almost brings Izzy down.

How Izzy copes with the loss of her leg and the loss of who she has been until this point, and slowly becomes her own person, makes for poignant, beautiful reading.

Random Passage by Bernice Morgan

Library shelves hold many treasures, and we encourage browsers to spend some time exploring books that are not new. A staff person recently enjoyed the book Random Passage by Bernice Morgan. This 1992 best selling first novel by Newfoundland writer Bernice Morgan was made into a TV miniseries.

It recounts the story of the Andrews family and their move from England to Newfoundland in the early part of the 18th century. The story of their struggle to survive on the rugged, magnificent coast of Newfoundland, along with two other families and assisted by the enigmatic Thomas Hutchins is a riveting read. Livelihood for many of Newfoundland’s outport communities was based on the cod fishing industry and seal hunt, and this book gives the reader a better understanding of their way of life.

This is an important part of Canadian history told in a way that makes it very real and immediate and also a lot of fun to read.