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Play with your Food!

91df2c88d25db8ce28e57367eb545918 Saxton Freeman and Joost Elffers are masters at playing with food. In their hands oranges get frustrated, strawberries give kisses, and kiwi’s mug for the camera. In their many books, including Food Play, How are you Peeling?, and Food for Thought, the pair use the natural shapes of fruits and veggies to create dynamic characters and clever scenes.GR-130_6_2_3


The images in the books tell their own stories without words, making them work for kids of all ages–even adults will get a kick out of the creative ways fruits and veggies are turned in to recognizable faces and transformed into other objects.


Using the creativity demonstrated by Freeman and Elffers, teachers, parents, and other caregivers and fun-thusiasts can encourage kids to make their own fun and silly faces from fruits and vegetables. Finding inspiration in the foods that are best for young people can make them both fun to play with and fun to eat. What characters are hiding in your fruit bowl? Get creative and find out!


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Did you know today is National Take a Chance Day?

And did thou know’st today is National Talk Like Shakespeare Day? Or National Lost Dogs Awareness Day?

One thing I like to do from time to time is look at the website,, which lists national day-long celebrations of events and things beyond the official holidays. Some are highly-recognized and reflect important issues, like the National Day of Silence last week.   Others are completely obscure and have dubious or unknown origins, like National Peanut Cluster Day back on March 8.

Here are a few upcoming national days and some Wheelock College Library items you may want to pick up (or just stay online and access since this is 2015 and we have ebooks and streaming videos) in recognition:

Ascruffypril 30: National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
The Scruffy Puppy by Holly Webb; illustrated by Sophy Williams
Bella’s excitement over her new shelter puppy, Sid, is slightly dampened by her friends and their snooty attitude towards shelter dogs. Bella enters Sid into a dog show to show her friends that dogs are wonderful no matter if they’re pedigreed or from a shelter.

saharaspecialMay 5: National Teacher Appreciation Day
Sahara Special by Esmé Raji Codell
Sahara is heartbroken and struggling in school after her father left and her only solace is writing.  After she loses her motivation to turn in schoolwork, she has to repeat the 5th grade, which sounds awful at first.   However, she gets a new and unconventional teacher who supports and inspires Sahara and her fellow students.

Teachers Know What Works Experience, Not Statistics, Confirms What Will Work by Keen Babbage
There are many books out there about improving schools.  This particular one brings the focus to teachers and how based on their experiences, teacher input is invaluable in discovering what works in the classroom with and for students.

May 9: National Lost Sock Memorial Day
A Pair of Socks by Stuart J. Murphy; illustrated by Lois Ehlertapairofsocks
A sock searches the house for its lost mate. This children’s book is perhaps the only one out there told in the point of view of a sock!

Not a book about lost socks, but one of my favorite moments involving a sock separated from another occurred in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

closingfoodgapMay 9: Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day
The Red Wagon (DVD): Facing Hunger / Directed by Dave Raizman and Jim Ritvo ; Producer, Jim Ritvo.
This documentary tells the story of individuals and families in rural Vermont struggling every day to feed their families and having to rely on the charitable food system of food banks, soup kitchens and food shelves.

Closing the Food Gap  : Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty by Mark Winne
Not really a book about hunger, but author and food activist, Mark Winne examines the issue of poverty and its effect on on food choices.

May 15: National Endangered Species Day
Endangered Animals by Ben Hoare and Tom Jackson
This book takes a look at creatures around the world that are currently threatened with extinction, along with the ways that we can help them survive.atlasofendangered

The Atlas of Endangered Species by Richard Mackay
This atlas profiles species lost, threatened and surviving today through full-color maps and graphics.  It covers the environmental impacts of human development including climate change and damage caused by deep-sea trawling and mining.

May 22: National Vanilla Pudding Day
puddingComplete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs by Elizabeth Gordon.
The definitive reference for recipes free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and eggs.

Pudding a Global History by Jerry Quinzio
No specific coverage on vanilla pudding, but still an interesting read about pudding!

May 25: National Tap Dance Day
happyfeetHappy Feet (dvd)
Mumble is unlike other emperor penguins.  Instead of singing a heartsong to attract mates, he tap dances to the tune.   After he is cast out of his penguin community, he meets an unorthodox group of penguins and they embark on a series of adventures.

Where the Action Is: Tap Technique, Part 1
Learn how to tap dance!  Seriously, the above is a link to a tap dancing instruction video provided by our streaming video subscription, Academic Videos Online.

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Literary Cosplay

After 10 years of living in Boston, I finally went to my first Anime Boston.  Anime Boston is an annual convention that celebrates and promotes Japanese animation, comics and pop-culture. I don’t keep up with anime as much as I used to but part of the appeal of an event like this is just immersing yourself in the culture. And one of my favorite parts of this culture is cosplay. Cosplay is a type of performance art in which participants dress up as a character often from video games, anime, or comics. Many cosplayers create their elaborate costumes by hand – sewing, gluing, molding and piecing together ideas that existed only in an imaginary or virtual world. The art of cosplay has grown over the years and has created celebrity cosplayers and even a reality show! And as we all know, once you have a reality show, you’ve really made it in this world.

Cosplay isn’t just limited to anime and comics. Some of my favorite literary characters have been brought to life by cosplayers. As I read, I form images in my mind as to what the characters and the setting look like. It’s one thing to see it in my head, but to see it brought into the real world is truly incredible.


Mistborn cosplay by Ellen Hyde of Hyde Designs

Mistborn – I love the Mistborn series written by Brandon Sanderson. He is a master at creating rich and detailed worlds. In this series, Allomancers are people who are born with the ability to “burn” metals which give them special abilities such as increased strength, speed or the ability to influence the emotions of others. While Allomancers can only burn one kind of metal, giving them access to only one special ability, Mistborn can burn all metals which makes them especially powerful. To distinguish themselves from regular Allomancers, Mistborn wear special cloaks that enable them to blend in with the night mists. See more of Ellen Hyde’s work at her website, Hyde Designs.

A Surprise Pride and Prejudice Engagement

A Surprise Pride and Prejudice Engagement

Pride and Prejudice – This Jane Austen cosplay is just beyond words. A family planned an elaborate Pride and Prejudice surprise engagement in which they put on hand sewn Regency dresses and acted out various scenes from the novel ending, of course, with Mr. Darcy proposing to Elizabeth Bennett. It also helps to have family members who look as if they’ve stepped out of a BBC period drama.

Moaning Myrtle at Dragon Con 2013

Harry Potter – With the end of the books and movies, some of us may be experiencing a little Harry Potter withdrawal.  Thankfully, there are other ways to revisit Hogwarts. While it may seem pretty easy to cosplay as a Hogwarts student (Sweater, white collared shirt, tie, done.), these people definitely took it to another level. By the way, there’s an entire convention dedicated to Harry Potter!

Marauder’s Map dress by Ali

Marauder’s Map dress by Ali.

The map on this dress was hand drawn using a fine point Sharpie! See more details on Ali’s Tumblr.

Steampunk Rowena Ravenclaw by Aleta Pardalis

Steampunk Rowena Ravenclaw by Aleta Pardalis

Aleta Pardalis is a genius at creating steampunk interpretations of well known characters. See more of her work on her website!

Who would you like to cosplay as? Are you a cosplayer? If you are, we would love to see your creations! Share links in the comments!

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Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month! In honor of this 28th anniversary of the event, we have installed a display and browsing shelf that highlights the library collection. The display illustrates the progress that women have made throughout history and across the globe. The books on the browsing shelf showcase different women and women’s issues from various eras and regions. There are books on women in the arts, women in education, women social workers, and women writers. Some of the books include biographies about famous local women such as Mary Baker Eddy and Jane Addams.

Pictured: Lucy Wheelock and grade school children Photo Credit: Wheelock Archives

Women have had a major impact on history. We invite you to explore and enjoy the plethora of books we have selected for you in honor of Women’s History Month.

If you want to know more, visit the following websites for more information about WHM.

Resources for Education


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Style by the Book – Paddington Bear

A while back, our food blogger, Cortney, did a post on Paddington Bear’s favorite… marmalade! At the time she decided to forgo creating a Style by the Book post but I couldn’t resist taking on Paddington’s iconic toggle coat. I added in plenty of marmalade as well! I think Paddington would approve.

Paddington Bear
Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!
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