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Your local library has a treasure chest of books for every person, every taste

by Kendal Rautzhan

It’s sometimes easy for all of us to forget about the very things that are always available to us. Take your local public library, for example. Public libraries house thousands of books that are available for adults and children to borrow at no charge. All you need is a library card and that’s free, too. That’s an amazing and valuable asset when you think about it. Just abide by the honor system of returning the books to the library on time, and the whole nine-yards need never cost you a penny.

It’s important to mention, too, that your local librarians are a wealth of information. They have answers to your questions and if they don’t, they’ll take the time to help you find them. Books and information are their business, and if you take the opportunity to tap into that resource, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much you will receive in return.

Save time and money. Make it a weekly habit to visit your local public library with the children in your life. Get a library card for yourself and one for each child. You’ll be glad you did.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Shredderman: Secret Identity” by Wendelin Van Draanen, illustrated by Brian Biggs, Alfred A. Knopf, 138 pages

Read aloud: age 8 and older.

Read yourself: age 9 and older.

Bubba Bixby is a bully, prone to using his fists, name-calling, intimidating other kids, stealing other kid’s stuff and causing non-stop trouble. Nolan Byrd is half Bubba’s size, a math genius and known as Nerd. Both are in Mr. Green’s fifth-grade class.

When Mr. Green announces the new project for the month, Nolan hatches a daring plan for his project that might make Bubba stop being a bully. He knows his plan is risky and to pull it off will take more of a superhero than a Nolan Byrd, but maybe Nolan is more courageous than he realizes. If so, Bubba better watch out.

Filled with humor, truth, and peppered with wisdom, this book is excellent in more ways than one.

Librarian’s Choice

Library: Douglas County Public Library, 1625 Library Lane, Minden

Library Director: Linda Deacy

Youth Services Librarian: Kathy Echavarria

Choices this week: “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” by Ed Emberley; “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” by William Steig; “No, David!” by David Shannon

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“Houndsley and Catina” by James Howe, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay, Candlewick, 2006, 37 pages, $14.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 5 and older.

Read yourself: age 6Ð7.

Best friends Houndsley and Catina think the world of one another. Catina announces she wants to be a famous writer and has already finished her first book – 74 chapters. Houndsley reads her book and realizes Catina is a terrible writer, but he can’t bring himself to tell her that.

Houndsley loves to cook for Catina and their friend Bert. Catina and Bert think Houndsley’s cooking is fantastic and they encourage Houndsley to enter a cooking contest. He agrees, but when he sees the audience and television cameras, Houndsley becomes too nervous to cook anything the right way.

Ultimately, Houndsley and Catina agree that the thing they both do very, very well is being good friends with each other and that’s much more important than winning prizes or being famous.

A sensitive and warm portrayal of what it means to be a true friend, this little gem shines on every page.

“Nonsense!” written and illustrated by Sally Kahler Phillips, Random House, 2006, 32 pages, $14.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 3Ð7.

Read yourself: age 7.

“What would you say if dogs grew on trees, if rhinos could fly, and chickens laid cheese? … ‘Nonsense!’ you’d say. It’s an excellent word when you know something’s really absurd.”

So begins this delightful, fun book. But this clever book isn’t just about funny ideas that you know are nonsense. Author/illustrator Phillips weaves a strong and important message for children to remember: When someone tells you that you’re not good enough or you’re not special or puts you down, don’t believe them. That’s nonsense.

• Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature and can be e-mailed at kendal@sunlink.net