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Montgomery’s View: Frank and Lucky Get Schooled (a Picture Book)

posted: , by Mary Peverada
tags: Montgomery's View | Recommended Reads | Kids & Families


by Lynne Rae Perkins

Published by Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)

Frank has a bad day until he meets Lucky at the shelter and rescues him. This is the story of a boy and his dog and their loving relationship. Together they learn a lot – Lucky went to school 10 times and Frank went to school thousands of times. But their learning doesn’t stop at school. Lucky loves science and enjoys the natural world immensely – he sees a squirrel (“can I catch it”), a bee (“can I eat it”) and a mud puddle (“does it feel good”). Lucky even helps Frank learn about science – botany and entomology from the burrs and ticks he needs to pick off his dog, chemistry as he searches for the best way to get rid of skunk odor, astronomy as they are forced outside because of the skunk odor, math – infinity the number of biscuits that Lucky could eat and percentages to figure bed requirements for boy and dog. They look at reading, history, art and geography – but best of all they share the whole world with each other. The watercolor illustrations are expressive and the thought bubbles are a perfect addition.

This book is funny, entertaining, clever and informative. It is a positive treat!

Find it at the Portland Public Library today.

Montgomery’s View: Among a Thousand Fireflies (a picture book)

posted: , by Mary Peverada
tags: Montgomery's View | Recommended Reads | Kids & Families


Poem by Helen Frost and Photographs by Rick Lieder

Published by Candlewick

A beautiful tale of two fireflies seeking each other in the dark among thousands of other fireflies. (An end-note explains how the male and female fireflies are seeking flashes that are in sync.) It is the simplicity of the tale and the brief but captivating poem that make this book so alluring. The team of Frost and Lieder (creators of STEP GENTLY OUT and SWEEP UP THE SUN) have again exquisitely explored the natural world and the small creatures that live around us – and are often taken for granted. The photos are stunning – and the harmony of words and photos is absolute. The design of the book also adds so much.

The end-note is very informative.

As Lieder says on the book jacket flap: “Watching fireflies, we see sparks of magic come to life.” Readers will long for a summer’s night to go out and gaze at the fireflies.

Pick up a copy at the Portland Public Library


A (New) Year of Reading! Books for A Calendar Year

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture


“My energy and curiosity may be renewed but the larder isn’t. There is probably less food in the house than there has ever been. I trudge out to buy a few chicken pieces and a bag of winter greens to make a soup with the spices and noodles I have in the cupboard. What ends up as dinner is clear, bright and life-enhancing. It has vitality (that’s the greens), warmth (ginger, cinnamon) and it is economical and sustaining too. I suddenly feel ready for anything the New Year might throw at me.” –Nigel Slater, Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes

The calendar year is a simple trick up nearly any kind of author’s sleeve: our lives are ordered by years, by seasons passing, and a writer can easily order a book in this way. I thought of this recently as I took down Nigel Slater’s Notes from the Larder, which begins tidily with his cooking in January as he runs smack into the New Year and considers his options, and continues with a gently torrential output of words about seasonal ingredients and recipes straight on through to December. Have I ever read this tome cover to cover? I haven’t, but I suspect the time to start is now.


There’s a real reader’s pleasure in matching a January to another January in a book, or if you’re impatient for summer, you can (hooray!) just skip ahead. If you’re interested in this sort of reading–either the record of a year in nature, in cooking, or authors exploring interesting ideas and setting specific goals over the course of a year–here’s a list of a few to consider, from Shonda Rhime’s Year of Yes to Margaret Hathaway’s The Year of the Goat.  If you have a literary bent, pick up A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers For Every Day of the Year. Or you can get really wild with The Year of Living Danishly.

Nature writing lends itself particularly well to this sort of ordering (Winter! Spring! Summer! Fall!)–as it does in one of my own very favorite books, Sue Hubbell’s A Country Year: Living the Questions. Or you can peer up at the night sky with A Year of the Stars: A Month-by-Month Journey of Skywatching, and dig in the soil with A Homesteader’s Year on Deer Isle. Find these titles and more in our PPL catalog booklist Begin Where You Are: Books for a Calendar Year.

With warm wishes for a new year of reading.

-Elizabeth, PPL Reference Staff

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