Toronto Public Library Homepage

This page has been archived and is no longer updated.

« February 2011 | Main | April 2011 »

March 2011

What Would Emma Pillsbury Craft?

March 29, 2011 | Claire | Comments (0)

Emma Most gleeks out there will tell you that, along with the singing, dancing and general fabulous exuberance of Glee, the fashion is beyond cool.  From Kurt's elegant, sophisticated wardrobe to Tina's Victorian Goth glamour to Rachel's self-styled "sexy-schoolgirl-librarian-chic", each character has a distinctive  look that the fandom has come to love.  The character whose wardrobe has made the most stir, however, is retro-dressing guidance counsellor Emma Pillsbury.  Her look is immaculately put together and ladylike, but also youthful, flirty, colourful and fun.  Entire websites have sprung up in admiration of her style (the popular What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?  is my personal pick). 

It doesn't have to break the bank to create your own Emma-inspired wardrobe--it just takes a little craftiness.  Toronto Public Library has a variety of materials that can send you on your way to a whole new Emma-licious look!

If you're handy with a sewing machine, take a look at Sew Cool Sew Simple: Skirt
Stylish Skirts.  
With clear instructions and lots of pictures, this book promises that "if you can dream it, you can make of all, you'll never--ever--suffer from skirt envy again".  Another Emma-friendly sewing book to check out is Sew What! Skirts:  16 Simple Styles You Can Make With Fabulous Fabrics.

If you're a knitter by choice, the new Rowan's Greatest Knits:  30 Years of Knitted Patterns from Rowan Yarns is worth a look.  Designers such as Kaffe Fassett, Sasha Kagan, Kim Hargreaves and Jean Moss showcase some of their most luscious, feminine designs.  And just for fun, some of the hats in 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit would make lovely accessories.

Speaking of accessories, where would Emma be without hers?  I think Emma Bags
would like Chic Bags:  22 Handbags, Purses, Totes, and Accessories to Make--I could see her sporting almost any selection in this book!  Making Vintage Jewellery:  25 Original Designs, From Earrings to Corsages might also pique her interest, as would Vintage-Style Beaded Jewellery--35 Beautiful Projects Using New and Old Materials.  

Emma's look is all about beauty, detail and individuality.  Exquisite Embellishments For Your Clothes will help you see what you already own with a fresh eye, and offers lots of small tweaks that can give you a new look with very little effort.   Felt it!  Stitch it! Fabulous! Creative Wearables from Flea Market Finds celebrates earth-friendly retro style that would certainly win Emma's approval.  Finally, the Toronto-based Worn Fashion Journal regularly features vintage, retro or otherwise Emma-friendly looks.  Check out their web site in between issues!


Johnny Boo? Stinky? Zita the Spacegirl? Comic Book Heroes for the Very Young

March 24, 2011 | Claire | Comments (2)

Kids love comics, and several studies have shown that comics do a great job of motivating kids to read more and of improving their reading skills. Lately some excellent, age-appropriate graphic books have been created for very young children (think ages 3-7) who are just a bit too young for traditional comics.   Here are some picks to introduce your young child to stories in this fun format.   

Stinky If it comes out of the Toon Books imprint, you know it's gonna be great.  With giants like Art Spiegelman and Jeff Smith on the author roster, some of the very best talent in the industry is on board.  One of my favourites from this excellent line is Stinky by Eleanor Davis.  Stinky is a swamp monster who's afraid of kids, but has a change of heart when a newcomer builds a treehouse in his swamp and befriends his pet toad.  The reconciliation doesn't come until Stinky tries a few hilarious but unsuccessful plans to rid the swamp of its new inhabitant. 



Another great Toon Book title is Benny and Penny in Benny
  The Toy Breaker. Benny and Penny are two mouse siblings who love to play, and the Toy Breaker referred to in the title is their visiting cousin Bo, who leaves a swath of toy destruction in his wake.  Comical frustration builds until they decide to play with each other instead of the toys.  If this book is a hit in your home, you can also try Benny and Penny in Just Pretend and Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!  



Johnnyboo Johnny Boo, the Best Little Ghost in the World stars a friendly little ghost named Johnny Boo and his pet ghost Squiggle.  When Johnny Boo bumps into an Ice Cream Monster and Squiggle accidentally ends up in the monster's tummy,  only Squiggle Power can save the day!  School Library Journal says of Johnny Boo that "James Kochalka has a real talent for articulating all the fun and adventures to be had when one has the carefree mindset of the very young".  Kids who enjoy the first Johnny Boo story might also like Johnny Boo:  Twinkle Power or Johnny Boo and the  Happy Apples

For those towards the older end of the 3-7 age spectrum, the brand-new Zita
Zita the Spacegirl is a science-fiction adventure that's fabulous fun.  Zita and her friend Joseph travel through a strange portal to a new world, where they are separated.  Zita goes on a quest to find Joseph so they can return home together, and on the way she forms some fast friendships.  Check out the book trailer from First Second books, and enjoy your storytime tonight!





March Break Programs at Riverdale Branch

March 10, 2011 | Claire | Comments (0)

Bob Riverdale Library has some excellent activities planned for March Break!  We're kicking off with Bob the Magician on Monday, March 14 from 2 to 3 pm.  Bob is not only magical, he's also very funny.  He's bringing along Sammy the Rabbit to join in the magical mayhem. Come prepared to be amazed.

Wednesday March 16 from 2 to 2:30 pm,   The Paper Bag Paper
Princess will grace our puppet stage.   Cheer with us as Princess Elizabeth matchs wits with the Dragon who has come between her and her prince!  This classic fractured fairy tale with its unorthodox ending provides lots of laughs and excitement on stage. 

Check out our other March Break programs--we've got something going on every day!


Documentaries for Music Lovers

March 7, 2011 | Claire | Comments (2)

Philip I'm fascinated by the lives of creative people, and documentaries on the subject are always high on my radar.  One that I have just finished enjoying is Glass:  a portrait of Philip in twelve partsA contemplative, intimate account of the contemporary composer Philip Glass, I found the unhurried way this film takes its audience through different aspects of Glass's public and private lives surprisingly engaging.  We see Glass composing at home, collaborating with other musicians, and preparing for the debut of his opera Waiting for the Barbarians. We also get to see Glass in more personal moments, relaxing in his Nova Scotia cottage, playing with his young sons and interacting with his spiritual teachers.  Filmmaker Scott Hicks has created an accessible portrait of a deeply thoughtful and creative man whose music has been exceptionally influential.  


Another documentary that is high on my list of recent favourites is Throw Down Your Heart, which Heart introduced me to the musician Bela Fleck.  Fleck is a world-famous banjo virtuoso who has experimented with a range of musical styles over the course of his 30-year career.   In this film Fleck travels to Africa to trace the roots of the banjo as an instrument and also to collaborate with various African musicians.   The high points of this adventure come when Fleck sits down and jams with traditional rural artists who can't speak a word of English.  It's amazing the musical conversations that happen, and the personal bonds that are forged, all without a common language--other than musicianship, of course.  You'll never look at the banjo the same way again!


If you haven't heard of  Evelyn Glennie, then Touch the Sound, a Sound Journey with Evelyn Glennie is a must-see.  Glennie is one of the world's top percussionists.  She plays a wide range of fascinating instruments, and tours widely, collaborating with both classical orchestras and contemporary musicians.  She lost her hearing at the age of 12 but has trained herself to hear with her body, and performs barefoot to experience the sound vibrations more clearly.  For me the most memorable moment in this intriguing film is the scene where Glennie works with a young deaf girl, teaching her to play a drum and experience the sound with her body. 

What is your favourite musical documentary?