Mom and Me Reviews: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth The ABC Storybook

First Line: “Sarah wants to be an actress.”

Summary: If you’ve seen the movie by the Jim Henson group (with David Bowie), then you know the storyline.

Basically, a teenage girl is left to babysit her little brother. She becomes annoyed by him as she is trying to read and rehearse lines from her play. She wishes that the “goblin king” would take her brother away, like the girl in the story she’s reading does. The Goblin King grants her wish, and Sarah has to solve a labyrinth within 13 hours to get her little brother back. As expected, the labyrinth is filled with magical tricks that make her journey even more difficult.


                Maggie: 9 out of 10

                Conor: Did not participate in this storytime

                Mama Lala: 7 out of 10

Their Thoughts: I like the movie, and the story! It gives you such an imagination. I like all of the magical characters. It’s an ABC book, but it reads like a storybook instead of a baby ABC book. The pictures are good. If you haven’t seen the movie, the story doesn’t make sense… it doesn’t “fill in the gaps”. It just didn’t “move me” enough to get a “10”.

My Thoughts: I appreciate that this book is both an abc book, AND a storybook. It helps to bridge the gap between my two kiddo’s wide age range (2 and 9). My kids have seen and, as they should, LOVE this movie. IF they hadn’t i’m not sure it would be clear what happens in this story. Some characters are introduced, but their presence isn’t explained. All in all, I’m grateful this has been made into a storybook, but I had higher hopes for it. The illustrations are magically marvelous, though.

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

Mom and Me Reviews: The Tempest

First line: “My noble master, Prospero, is a clever magician.”

Summary: This book retells William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest as a Children’s picture book. If you haven’t read Shakespeare’s play by the same name, here is a quick overview: Prospero, duke of Milan, is overthrown by his jealous brother, Antonio. Alonso and his brother Sebastian help Antonio accomplish this. Antonio puts Prospero and his daughter in a boat and casts them out to sea. The boat washes ashore an island where an evil witch and her son rule. He rescues the spirit (our narrator) from the witch, then uses him for his own gain. Years pass. One day a boat carrying the people who wronged Prospero passes by. Prospero calls on the spirit (our narrator) to seek revenge on them– not to kill but to scare, and possibly abandon on an island, the way his has been abandoned. The spirit and prospero try to manipulate the island’s inhabitants to a fate of their choosing.

Ratings: Maggie gives this picture book 6 out of 10 stars. Conor did not hear this story. Mama Lala also gives this picture book 6 out of 10 stars.

Their Thoughts: I shared this book with my oldest, Maggie. She is nine. She liked that “it was magical”, and “it was colorful”. She had trouble understanding the book also because “my age group doesn’t read those kinds of things.” She had trouble connecting with the book, she said.

My Thoughts: The illustrations are beautiful. This retelling, though shortened for the benefit of a younger reader, still seems out-of-range for most picture book readers. I’d say this one is more for the parents, than the children it was intended to be read to. That said, Ellinas did a decent job of shortening the story to important plot points, in an understandable language for children.

Happy Reading, our friends!

— Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

Mom & Me Reviews: A Super-Heroine Guide

If you are a lover of the comic superhero realm, you’ve likely been asked this classic question:
Marvel or DC?

It is a timeless question with many variations of answer.

Sam Maggs, a comic book maker, suggests we might love both. She wrote both Marvel Fantastic and Fantastic– Female Super Heroes Save the World, AND Brave and Bold!– Female DC Super Heroes Take on the Universe.

The Top 10 Greatest Female Superheroes In The History of Comic Books

First Line:

(Brave and Bold): “In a universe filled with adventure and danger, the brave female Super Heroes of DC’s comic books change the world and shape the future.”

(Fearless and Fantastic): “Students, warriors, secret agents, inventors, crime fighters, journalists… the inspiring female Super Heroes of Marvel Comics make their marks in many different ways.”

Summary: The two books aver compatible in organization, illustration, and writing. If you are looking for a brief introduction to the heroes of both the DC and Marvel world, these two books are a decent place to start. If you are particularly interested in the FEMALE superheroes, this is a GOOD place to start.

Considering the size of each book, Maggs does a good job choosing which POPULAR FEMALE COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS FROM MARVEL AND DC - Comic Book and  Movie Reviewscharacters to introduce to the audience. Fresh artwork of each character fills one of two pages allotted to them. About two paragraphs lie on the adjacent page– words devoted to a brief description of WHY this character got into the superhero business, and where their abilities lie. One of the most interesting features of these books, is the footnote at the bottom of each entry, directing the reader to two to four other superheroes who are “friends, allies, and role models” of the character in question. Of course, only other heroes listed within the book are included. Pepper Pots might love Tony Stark, but he is not listed among the allies at the bottom of her page.

My Thoughts: One caveat of these books are the age directed, when reflecting the writing. Carrying a Lexile of approximately 1200-1400, one would suggest this book be directed to 5th graders (at the youngest). However, because the content is at such an introductory level it could also be directed to younger age groups. In these cases, I’d suggest the content be read aloud by an adult to the young ones. (My daughter is in 2nd grade, at the time of reading, and this worked well for us. Every once in awhile I had to explain the meaning of a word, but it wasn’t often enough to make it not worth the while.)

Today is a great day to introduce your littles to these “wonderful women”. Boy or girl, young or old, having women worth looking up to is important. Though fictional, these women are a great place to start.

Happy reading, my friends!

Mama Lala (Chelsea) & Maggie

Ultimate Guide to Reading Wonder Woman through the Derby Public Library

Hey nerds!

Reading comics can be a complicated thing. The main character’s stories are told and retold by different authors, artists, and illustrators. They are reproduced, collected, recollected.

Popular issues are reprinted. Unpopular issues never see the light on their illustrations again. So how does one read a popular comic’s story from beginning to finish– alpha to omega? They search online for an ultimate guide, that’s how!

Today, I have for you an ultimate guide to reading Wonder Woman. This guide, however, is specific to what the Derby Public Library (and the consortium we are a part of) owns and lends out to the public.

Here we go:

Wonder Woman was “born” in the Golden Age of comics– 1942. I say born meaning published for the first time. Her story has been “restarted” multiple times, though. In other words, there are several options for “starting points” within Wonder Woman’s stories.

Her story was introduced in 1942 by William Moulton Marston. She was redesigned with the Silver age of comics in 1958 by Robert Kanigher. It was reintroduced in 1987 by George Perez, and again by Greg Rucka in 2006. Wonder Woman New 52 was introduced in 2011 by Brian Azzarello. Greg Rucka took another stab at a Wonder Woman reintroduction in 2016 with the “Rebirth” relaunch.

I like to start at the beginning, so that is what I will do with you. Keep in mind, though, that YOU can start wherever you want!

From here, I’ll leave you a list (with links!) of which books to read in which order. Each book will fall into one of four categories:
DPL book
Consortium Book
ILL book
Not currently Collected

A DPL book, is a book we carry here at the Derby Public Library. A Consortium book is a book one of our “sister” libraries has available for check out. You can check it out with you Derby Public Library Card, and it will be brought here via courier for your convenience. An ILL (or Inter Library Loan) book is not available in our consortium, but thanks to some amazing people here at the Derby Public Library… someone in Alaska, Florida, or anywhere in between might have a copy available for you to borrow. Our ILL team with source it, have it shipped here, and available for you to pick up with the simple request form. There is, unfortunately, a fourth category: the Currently Uncollected category. These are issues I have been unable to find collected CONVENIENTLY for you, the reader. These issues may be easier found as singles at your local comic book shop (or Amazon), or if you are lucky available for read online.

Without further adieu, your reading list:

How to Read Wonder Woman, at the Derby Public Library

  • Golden Age
    • Not Currently Collected:
      • Sensation Comics #105-106
      • Wonder Woman #48-97
      • Comic Cavalcade #13
    • ILL: Wonder Woman the Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 2 by William Moulton Marston
    • ILL: Wonder Woman the Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 3 by William Moulton Marston, Joye Murchison, Robert Kanigher, and others
    • ILL: Wonder Woman the Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 4 by Joye Murchison and others
    • ILL: Wonder Woman the Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 5 by various authors
    • ILL: All Star Comics Archive Vol. 0-11
    • ILL: Wonder Woman The Complete Newspaper Strip, 1943-1944 OR Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics OR Wonder Woman The Complete Dailies
  • Silver Age
    • Not Currently Collected:
      • Wonder Woman: #205-211;
      • 223-270;
      • 291-293;
      • 296-329
    • ILL: Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman, Vol. 1-4
    • ILL: Diana Prince: Wonder Woman, Vol 1-4
    • ILL: Wonder Woman The Twelve Labors
    • ILL: Huntress: Darknight Daughter
  • Collections  part of “official Wonder Woman”, but not “in order”
    • Consortium (Andover/El Dorado)Wonder Woman, a Celebration of 75 Years by William Moulton Marston
      • All-Star Comics 8; Sensation Comics 1; Wonder Woman VOL. 1 7, 28, 99, 107, 179, 204, 288; Wonder Woman VOL. 2 1, Wonder Woman 64, Wonder Woman 93, 142, 177, 195, 600; Wonder Woman VOL. 3 0; Justice League: New Frontier Special 1; Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman 1, 7
  • In order APPEARANCES out of WW series
    • Golden
    • Silver
    • Modern
      • ILL: Wednesday Comics by Neil Gaiman
      • ILL: Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman       

Finally, if you LOVE the character, but aren’t so into the original story & trajectory, there have been many novelizations over the years. Too many to list here (perhaps another post, another day). They are easy to find with a quick Koha search at the library, though. We have novelizations (and graphic novels) for those interested in all ages: picture books, beginner readers, chapter books, young adult, and graphic novelizations!

Happy reading, my friends!

I Take My Books How I Take My Coffee…

Admit it, we all have a type. Some of us prefer the dark and seductive. Some prefer the sickeningly sweet. Others still prefer the strong and straightforward choice. There are many options. Most (if not all) are enticing, but still our vice calls to us.

My vice is coffee. I’ll take it any way I can get it, but a lady does have her preferences. Maybe you’ll find your preferences connect from book to beverage as well.

Tea (earl grey): Beverages :: Literature : Novels

Refined is the theme here. These pages, and leaves, have stood the test of time. Extras are not required. Austen, Shakespeare, Bronte, Melville, Wilde, Lee, Tolstoy, Elliot, Dickens… what more could a reader require? Once each of the classics have been read, though that is a lofty goal, one might move from here into the modern classics or contemporary novels. Who says you cannot read a book more than once, though? Certainly not us.

Prepackaged : Beverages :: Graphics & Comics : Novels

Do you regularly sit in front of a screen into the wee hours of the morning? Is a controller glued to your hand? Is there a checkered board in front of you? Is that a cheeto in your hand? Graphic Novels and Comics might be your preferred choice of literature. Yes, I do mean literature. Have you read “V for Vendetta”, or, like, any comic? They are all so political it’d be hard to miss the theme. It’s just presented in a different format. Just like those drinks in the cooler at the gas station: its still coffee… it just has a few preservatives in it. Drink with caution. They’re addicting.

Hot Chocolate : Beverages :: Chapter books: Novels

There’s something so comforting about a good hot chocolate. I don’t know about you, but it takes me back to childhood Christmases. Just because those days have passed (for me), doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy the beverage, though. Same goes for the books. Just because the main characters are young, doesn’t mean the novels are any lesser. Read with pride my people. Harry Potter and The Giver do not lessen with time.

Frapuccino : Beverages :: Young Adult Books: Novels

Ah, to be young and not worried about the amount of sugar sure to go to your hips, or tummy, or that annoying double chin I got at twenty-five. Truth is, we all know we’re going to drink it anyway. It’s too good to pass up! It’s just a natural an unconcerned pick for many teens. In the same notion, we all know that new YA book. We all want to read it. We all feel awkward as we traipse the YA shelves of the local library. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, though. A little indulgent, perhaps, but worth the calories.

*Iced Coffee : Beverages :: Young Adult: Novels

**A slightly more adult version of those YA novels. It’s still iced, but a bit less sweet. It’s a bit more to the point– sharper. Watered Milked down a bit, sure, but one cannot be expected to go cold turkey!

Black Coffee: Beverages :: Nonfiction : Novels

“Just the facts, ma’am.”

Actually, I find this beverage also fits the Hard Science Fiction Reader as well. Sometimes High Fantasy draws in the black coffee drinkers as well. It’s science driven. It’s an epic journey, magic driven but more serious than flouncy. These extra genres require no sweetness.

Flat White: Beverages :: Genre Fiction : Novels

So, you enjoy your coffee but you won’t turn down a bit of milk or sugar? It’s not watered down, its plot padding!

Affogato: Beverages :: Specific Genre Fiction(s): Novels

Indulgent. A specialty, many have never considered this option. Once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to go back though. Keep a pint of ice cream in the freezer, just in case you come across one of those nights you need a little something extra.

Chai Latte: Beverages :: Realistic: Novels

Can’t pick between coffee and tea, can you? You own a high brow library (all read and enjoyed), but keep eying that new book at the library. You know, the low brow one you’d never tell your friends about. Rest easy, my friends. We can meet in the middle at a realistic choice.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte : Beverages :: Bestsellers : Novels

Basic. If so many enjoy it, why can’t you. Well, I’m here to tell you: you can, Becky. You can do it! Any kind of reading, is good reading… and any kind of coffee, is good coffee. Why force yourself to drink something different? That PSL calls to you! The barista even knows your name! Why go with some random book you’ve barely heard of, when Patterson, Evanovich, and Grisham know exactly what you like? Ignore the haters, Becky. I got you.

White Chocolate Mocha Latte : Beverages :: Contemporary Romance : Novels

It’s so sweet. From the whipped top, to the white chocolate syrup, it’s designed to hit that sweet tooth with everything it’s got. It’s almost too much, but not quite enough to deter you.

Dulce de leche : Beverages :: Erotic Romance : Novels

Ingredients: kahlua, dulce de leche, coffee, chocolate, heavy cream, sugar

Adult readers only! You must be 21 or older to buy this beverage. With heaps of chocolate, Kahlua (or any liquor of your choice, really), and a heavy dose of heavy cream… this drink is positively sinful. You may feel a bit guilty about this kind of indulgence, even. Ain’t no shame in the game though, honey. As long as you’re legal buying age, everyone deserves a bit of adult relaxation.

I hope if these aren’t your go to genres now, that maybe you’ll consider reading them in the future. Perhaps the reverse as well, try a new beverage! It might be the best one yet.

Happy Reading my friends — Chelsea