Tag Archives: Children’s

Book Review: “Waiting for the Magic” by Patricia MacLachlan

Waiting for the MagicWaiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan

This novel, written by Patricia MacLachlan (author of Sarah, Plain & Tall), I recommend highly for children who are beginning chapter book reading, as well as adults. MacLachlan does an excellent job of treating serious family concerns(absentee fatherhood, pregnancy) through children’s [and pets’] eyes. William and Elinor’s father leaves his family (again) and their mother decides to take corrective action by adopting four dogs and a cat. The family readjusts, and the reader sees, through William’s perspective, the conflicted emotions of being a child in a broken family. MacLachlan not only writes with poignancy, but with a sense of whimsy as well, when the children find out that their new pets can speak to them (Elinor hears first, since all four-year-olds can hear magic, according to the littlest dog). “Waiting for the Magic” is a sweet story that grapples with serious issues with a tone that isn’t ominous, and offers an uplifting message about the endurance of the family. Amy June Bates’ occasional black-and-white sketch illustrations support the text and help the reader to visualize each individual member of the family, human and otherwise.

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A Quiet Night at the Library

Right now, our library seems to be in the very middle of a multi-week lull in the action in the Children’s Room. The Make a Splash summer reading club ended nearly two weeks ago, but there is still a week left before procrastination-happy parents come in for last-minute summer reading books requested by the schools.

I normally work only 1pm-5pm on Fridays, but I volunteered for extra hours (and extra $), so I worked until 9pm.  From 5-9 I was on duty in the Young Adult/teen room.  It was the slowest day I’ve experienced, and the lack of teens was probably compounded by the fact that the weather outside was lovely.  During my four hours in the teen room, I probably helped only 5 teens and one elderly gentleman – much fewer than usual.

Luckily, I’d been given some projects to work on by my superiors and the other librarians.  Tonight was perfect for doing computer-heavy, involved tasks.  Here’s a sample of the few projects I’ve been doing:

1. Princess Book List.  In the Children’s Room, we’ll often get parents of preschool girls asking for princess books.  Inevitably, this happens while all of the librarians are busy with other patrons, so the princess patrons simply get referred to the Disney section.  Well, my superiors (and I) agree that it would be ideal to encourage non-Disney books, and make them easily available for the little girls that like everything to be a combination of pink, purple, and sparkly.  I finished the list today, and it should appear on the SHPL webpage next week.

2. Summer Book Weeding. This is my first assignment of this sort.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with library lingo, “weeding” is the process of assessing the frequency of use of materials in order to give/throw away anything that doesn’t earn its place on the shelf.   Today, I started the first round of weeding of the Summer Story books, just going through ones that have been on the front display shelf.  So far, it seems that less than 1/5 of the books are going into the tentative “weed” pile.

3. Journal Hunting. One of the full-time librarians got handed down an assignment from the boss, and she handed it down to me.  I started going through the School Library Journal, checking to make sure that our library has copies of all the most highly featured materials in the journal.  So far, I’ve found that we already have all but a few of the books that appear in the featured lists (this one happened to be about picture books that reinforce mathematical concepts).

Although these three projects are business-as-usual for seasoned librarians, they are all new tasks for me.  I’m excited to learn new procedures and develop familiarity with all aspects of the profession.  Additionally, I may also soon begin re-cataloging all of the audio CD collection in the Children’s Room.  We shall see….and don’t forget to enjoy the extra “quiet time” at the library in the August slow season.

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