Saturday, June 18, 2011

Janet's 5 Ways to Welcome the Return of the Monarchs

A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston (Chronicle Books, $16.99)
Beautifully illustrated by Sylvia Long, the text inside is clear and informative.

Dinosaurs Roar, Butterflies Soar! by Bob Barner (Chronicle Books, $16.99)
A fun, brilliantly colored book which provides the young child with a sense of evolution.

Little Butterfly by Klaart je Van Der Put (Chronicle Books, $6.95)
Toddlers can stick their fingers through this board book to move the butterfly's head and open the pages to a simple rhyming text.

Mini Monarch Butterfly Finger Puppet by Folkmanis ($4.99)

Folkmanis is a master at constructing finger puppets of the highest quality, detail and durability. Come visit our baskets of beautifully crafted animals and see how the monarch spreads its wings.

The Prince of Butterflies by Bruce Coville (Harcourt, $7.00)

One of my favorite children's book describing a boy's spiritual affinity and life's journey with the monarchs.

June 2011, Janet Elfant

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mo's 5 Books to Inspire Summer Crafting!

Summertime is a great time to make and do things! Many people don't know it, but the Big Blue Marble has a small but mighty craft section on the second floor. Go check it out! Or ask a friendly staffer to bring you down their favorite craft book.

Lost Crafts: Rediscovering Traditional Skills by Una McGovern (Cambers UK, $16.95)

Check out the beautiful paper-cut cover by Rob Ryan! Then open it up and learn about the everyday art and skill of days gone-by.

Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft compiled by Laura Heyenga (Chronicle, $27.50)
Are you a fan of Nikki McClure or Rob Ryan? This book features intricate paper-cut artworks by these and other artists.

Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques + Truly Original Projects by Christine Schmidt (Potter Craft, $19.99)
Be the envy of hipsters everywhere after you learn the techniques in this book.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris (Hachette, $27.99)

Amy Sedaris is crazy and this satire on craft books is genius. Did you know that "Reckless crafting causes eight times the number of accidents caused by faulty glue guns and snakes combined!?" Sedaris' book is full of this and other crafting safety facts. She will also teach you about crafting for Jesus, unreturnable gift giving, and "fornicrafting."

Designer's Notebook by Andrew Schapiro and Brad Mead (Chronicle, $19.95)

This sophisticated design journal/sketchbook has dotted grids for making notes and diagrams of future projects. It also contains a resource guide at the back with design terms and measurements, as well as a detachable ruler, tracing paper, and stickers. It also has a nifty pocket in the back!

June 2011, Mo Speller

Monday, June 13, 2011

Amy’s 5 Picks for Father’s Day Gifts

Man with a Pan: culinary adventures of fathers who cook for their families edited by John Donohue (Algonquin Books, $15.95)
From a New Yorker staff writer and author of the blog “Stay at Stove Dad” comes a great looking collection of stories and recipes from well-known chefs, artists, authors and plain old regular guys. Each contributes personal tips and experiences and what appears to be their go-to recipes, which all look fantastic. Here are a few to chew on: Miso Cod, Fish Tacos, Pistachio Pesto, Milk-Braised Pork, Low Country Boil, and (my favorite) Pretty Good Cake.

The Imperfectionists: a novel by Tom Rachman (Random House, $15.00)
This book has been receiving glowing recommendations from staff members and customers. It’s the first novel by the author, a journalist, and is set at an English language newspaper in Rome. Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different person connected to the newspaper, and somehow the author manages to weave it into a sharp novel.

Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun by Ken Denmead (Gotham Books, $18.00)
For the serious DIY dad who is also a kid at heart. There are instructions on projects ranging from making dry ice ice cream to an “alien” drum kit made out of PVC pipe, to a “high-tech treasure hunt” utilizing smart phones and web coding.

How to Build a Fire and Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew by Erin Bried (Ballantine Books, $15.00)
Another how-to book for the modern dad, or anyone for that matter. It has short entries on a variety of basic skills that people from the younger generations apparently lack, from how to carve a roasted bird, strip furniture, or write a love letter. Peppered in are endearing anecdotes and advice from men of the Greatest Generation.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Anchor Books, $14.95)

This novel has been receiving great reviews and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year. I have not read it yet, but the dad in my life did and could not put it down.

June 2011, Amy Vaccarella