Terese’s Thoughts: Calypso

Calypso by David Sedaris

First Lines: “Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you’ll acquire a guest room.”


If there is a theme among this collection of essays, it would be family. Sedaris is fiercely loyal and loving when it comes to his own, but he also isn’t afraid to describe their less attractive qualities. We learn of the overly-tanned skin of one of his sisters as well as his father’s hammer toes, but his love for them is never in question.

Throughout the essays, Sedaris seems to be grappling with reaching middle age, but in a way that makes you genuinely laugh out loud.

He reflects on the complicated relationship he shares with his father, who he knows won’t be around much longer, and looks back on life with his mother, who died of cancer in her own middle age. While spending time with his family at the North Carolina beach house he purchased, they recount stories of their sister Tiffany who committed suicide just before her 50th birthday. While these can make for sad stories, they are also poignant and hilarious. Sedaris has the talent of making his reader laugh at the bleakest of situations.

My Thoughts

Sedaris is one of the very few writers who unfailingly makes me laugh and cry within a mere five pages. His ability to find comedy in pain is admirable and his skill in communicating as much through writing his uncanny. Although I only have two siblings instead of the five Sedaris grew up with, I can relate to his close-knit sibling relationships. Reading essays of the Sedaris siblings lounging and talking on a beach blanket, I felt my family would have fit right in.

Mom and Me Reviews: Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack

Mom and Me Reviews: Prince & Knight by Daniel Hack, Illustrations by Stevie Lewis

First Line: “Once upon a time, in a kingdom far from here, lived a charming prince who was handsome and sincere.”

Summary: This is the story of a prince who is ready to marry, but cannot find a bride. He searches everywhere, but cannot find “the one”. When a dragon attacks the kingdom, he goes to defeat the attacker and meets his one true love– a knight.


                Maggie: N/A

                Conor: N/A

Guest Reader (Anonymous): unable to score

                Mama Lala: 7 out of 10

Their Thoughts:

“Where is this place, ‘Far from here’?”

“It’s going to be a girl. The Knight is going to be a girl and the girl is going to be the one the prince likes” (cue penetrating stare at me).

It took them a long time after the book was over to share their thoughts. Then they said, “I don’t know if this is appropriate for my age group.”

My Thoughts: I love the bright vivid colors of the illustrations. I enjoy that it starts with ‘Once Upon a Time’, and ends with ‘Happily Ever After’. I think the book was well-worded. I also think it caused the child to think about and even evolve their thoughts of being gay. They assumed things about the story, and it made them uncomfortable when it didn’t conform to their assumptions. It made them uncomfortable that it made them uncomfortable, too. I think that is why they believed this was “not for their age group.” All in all, I am glad I read them this story at this age, and not a younger one– or too much older. I wanted to confront these assumptions at a younger age. The topic had been discussed before, and they are in contact with people who are gay, so this was not a new subject– it was a new perspective, though.

FYI: This story contains LGBTQ+ themes, and may require discussion with your little ones on the matter.

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

Mom and Me Reviews: Sometimes People March

First Line: “Sometimes Ants March”

Summary: Tessa Allen uses this book to explain the reasons people march (or protest) in terms your littles are more likely to understand. It does not argue that people should march, it simply explains why they choose to in as simple of terms as possible. For the older littles, there is also a reference at the end of the book listing which marches and protests are presented by the different illustrations, and what the main purpose of these protests were.


                Maggie: 9 out of 10

                Conor: Did not participate in this storytime

                Mama Lala: 10 out of 10

Their Thoughts: “I wouldn’t read this regularly. It’s not a ‘fun’ book, it’s a ‘life-lesson’ book. It’s a good book to know (of); read once. It’s about standing together, for justice.”

My Thoughts: I love that Tessa Allen has put these complex issues into understandable chunks of information. She makes the issues relatable and simple. I also appreciate the list of protests in the back, and especially the page numbers listed alongside them. When Maggie asked me what a sign meant, I could explain it to her because of this!

FYI: This book covers many controversial issues, past and present.

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Arctic Fury

The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister

First line: In the front row sit the survivors.

Summary: Virginia Reeve has spent years as a guide for settlers trying to cross the mountains to California until one day she receives a request for a new adventure. Upon meeting her new benefactor she learns that she is going to be leading a group of women into the arctic to find the ships and crew of the Terror and Erebus. Many men have tried and now it is time to let women try to succeed where the men failed. However, not everything turns out like Virginia and her hopeful crew had planned.

My Thoughts: I went into this book really excited because I loved the author’s debut novel, The Magician’s Lie. And I am not saying I didn’t like the book. I did. I found the story interesting and the setting fascinating but it just didn’t have the same magic as her first book. I liked how the author linked several very tragic events together in one book. Virginia kept referring to the Very Bad Thing. I guessed early on what this was but I liked that twist. I definitely did a lot of reading on the internet to get better informed about the true events behind the story.

One thing that surprised me was that there was very little time in the book dedicated to the actual time on the ice of the arctic. But the descriptions were stunning. I cannot imagine trying to spend time, especially months in the winter, in the arctic. I could tell that the author did research on survival skills, the time period and life on the ice.

FYI: Perfect for fans of historical fiction.

Linda’s Favorite Books: Wreck the Halls

Wreck the Halls by Sarah Graves

First Line: Blood was everywhere, so much of it that at first Ellie and I didn’t realize what it was or understand what we’d walked into.

Summary: So opens the story, WRECK THE HALLS, the fifth book in the Home Repair is Homicide series with Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree. An ex-Wall Streeter, Jake has bought a fixer-upper in small town, Eastport, Maine with her son, Sam, and her boyfriend, Wade and learns small towns have their own secrets.

When Jake and her best friend Ellie arrive at the kitchen of Faye Anne Carmody’s they find her dazed and covered in blood and her no-good husband, the town butcher, Merle, who is missing. Then Jake discovers his body wrapped in his own butcher paper and the town residents all have an idea of what happened, an open and shut case against the wife, Faye Anne.

Jake and Ellie aren’t convinced of Faye Anne’s guilt as take it upon themselves to find the real killer and when another citizen of the town is murdered they realize the murderer’s trail began long before the death of Merle the butcher.

Thoughts: This book is another of my cozy mystery authors I enjoy reading. The way it is written you also glean a few details on home repair, especially older ones worn by the weather off the coast of Maine. The author uses several twists and turns to keep the story moving along and I kept guessing at the real villain. I like this series and would recommend it to anyone.

Mom and Me Reviews: Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses

First Line: “She’s got a smile that it seems to me reminds me of childhood memories,”

Summary: In this storybook telling to the lyrics of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine, a father and daughter bond over their love of music.


                Maggie: 8 out of 10

                Conor: Did not participate in this storytime.

                Mama Lala: 10 out of 10

Their Thoughts: It’s amazing that they put (the song) into words (storyform)! I think this isn’t for little kids– it’s for my age and older. Maybe more for the parents than for the kids. “It reminds me of a place that is beautiful, and keeps me warm and safe.”

My Thoughts: I love when artists of different genres work together. I’ve known this to be a wonderful song for, well, a very long time. It is easier to share that with my littles in this form– a storybook. Accompanying each line is a beautiful illustration, something to help them understand what it means.

FYI: Another great version of this to share with your children comes in song form! Check out the original, or the lullabye remake by Rockabye Baby!

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Cousins

The Cousins by Karen McManus

First line: I’m late for dinner again, but this time it’s not my fault.

Summary: On a resort island lives the Story family. They have lived there for generations. But one day the Story children are disinherited by their mother. The only clue is a note that reads…You know what you did. For over twenty years the four siblings had no contact with their mother or even returned to the island.

Then one day a letter arrives for the next generation of Storys. It is inviting them to the island for a job at the family owned resort and to get to know their grandmother. Everyone is shocked by this change of events but each grandchild is willing to see if they can get a chance to earn back their grandmother’s approval.

My Thoughts: Once again McManus writes a fun and twisty mystery. There are mysterious people, family secrets and ominous warnings. Everything you could want from a good story. Each of the characters if very different. We even get a peak into what happened on the island before the Story kids were disinherited.

I liked the characters. I loved the drama. I was constantly trying to think of what the big reveal would be. And I have to say that it was not what I thought it would be. Maybe my thoughts were a little too wild but sometimes authors do those things. This book, especially near the end, gave me all the Rebecca vibes. Hopefully that doesn’t give too much away! I like that YA authors are writing books for teens that are just as good as the ones for adults.

FYI: Perfect for fans of Megan Miranda and Sara Shepard.

What’s Megan Listening To?: In Death series

In Death series by J. D. Robb

This series is by far the longest running and favorite series I’ve followed. It’s Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb, and I was already a fan of her books, so when my friend & coworker Kristy told me about them, I jumped right in!

It takes place in the future starting in the 2050’s and follows Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas through her cases and her personal life. Currently there are 50 in the series, and several extra books in between.

She always starts the book with a quote that has to do with that story, then you follow the whole case through, beginning to end, going to the crime scene, interviewing witnesses, what Eve is thinking, giving a little from the killers side, and then the satisfying take down. You also delve into her personal life with Roarke, her complicated past, her inner circle of friends, and her hatred for fashion & social life. I have laughed, cried, gasped out loud, and sat in stunned silence.

I would love to list my favorite characters, but there are way too many, and I would feel bad if I left anyone out. In the beginning Eve was a loner, but throughout the book she develops relationships that really makes a family unit. I can’t describe J.D. Robb’s talent at making these fictional characters feel like real life people. I would love if she did spin off series of any of the cast of characters.

I also have to add that I have listened to the series on audio, and the narrator Susan Erikson probably contributes a little to my love of the series, if you haven’t listened to them, I highly recommend it! The way she voices each person is distinct and incredible, their voices have been permanently cemented in my mind.

*A necklace my sister made me*
A necklace my sister for made me.

Mom and Me Reviews: One Little Bag

First Line: This is a WORDLESS book!

Summary: This book is difficult to summarize, as each reader finds a different story within the image. My daughter and I interpreted the story as this (SPOILERS!):

A Tree is cut down then driven to a paper mill. The tree is shredded, made into paper, and folded into brown paper bags. The bags are boxed then shipped to different locations. One bag is given to a father and son while purchasing a flashlight. It is reused as a lunch sack, and a LOT of other things. The boy grows up using and reusing his brown paper sack. He even takes it to college, where he meets a girl. They fall in love, get married, and have a baby. Now, the baby grows up with the brown paper bag. He takes it to his grandpa, the original boy’s father. They make memories together with it. They put new memories into the bag. Grandpa’s chair is empty now, maybe he died. They look at the memories the little boy made with his grandpa, stored in the brown paper bag. They plant a new tree in the old brown paper bag. Full circle!


                Maggie: 10 out of 10

                Conor: Did not participate in this storytime.

                Mama Lala: 8 out of 10

Their Thoughts: It would be easier to understand if it had words, but (I) like that it let (me) decide the story. I wish the grandpa didn’t die. I like that he grew up with (the bag), and he didn’t throw it away.

“Can we read it again, mama?”

My Thoughts: I love how my little loved this story. Her heart seemed to sink into the book. The author’s note at the end of the story was interesting, but I wish I hadn’t read it aloud to my daughter. It confused the story for her. She had trouble remembering which details were in the story, and which happened to the author.

FYI: There is the possibility of death as a discussion topic in this book.

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

Holiday Bags for Children at the Library

Happy Holiday from the Derby Pubic Library! Bring your youth to the library to pick up their very own holiday goodie bag.

We miss you.

There, I said it. Covid-19 has kept us apart, and that makes us sad.

We even missed out on our annual time with Santa at the park this year! No trains, crafts, or young smiling faces to greet us.

It’s just too much. We can give up the cookies and crafts, but those smiling faces is where we draw the line. So, come! We have a present for a few of you.

Come pick yours up (if you are between the ages of birth and 18) Monday, December 14th- Friday December 19th! There are a few goodies in there for you to enjoy, just from us to you. A way to say “thank you for being you, and thank you for coming to see us.”

Pick up is available at the Youth Services desk, or at the drive through. Bags are divided into age groups (Birth-2) Toddler Bags, (age 3-5) Preschool Bags, (K- 2nd grade) Beginner Reader Bags, (3rd-5th grade) Elementary Bags, and (6th-12th grade) Young Adult bags. We also have a limited supply of bags with Spanish (picture) books in them.

Toddler Holiday Gift Bag

“It touches my heart how excited he is about having his own ornament. He loves it! He keeps pulling it off the tree and showing it to people.” — Conor’s mom

Preschool Holiday Gift Bag

“See all this!?” — Amelia

Beginner Reader/ Early Elementary Holiday Gift Bag

“Look! We got two bookmarks!” — Evan Gustafson

Elementary Holiday Gift Bag

“I LOVE Junie B. Jones!”

Young Adult Bag

“I love everything in the holiday bags… My favorite think in the bag was the make-your-own-ornament because it allows me to get creative and it is easy to do.” — Anni

Hopefully you’ll enjoy your bag every bit as much as these young people did! See you soon!

Happy Reading my friends,

LaLa the Library Lady