Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination – Staff Review- Maddy

Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination by Brain Jay Jones

 Everyone knows and probably read books by Dr. Seuss growing up, but who is the man behind the legacy? Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel. Before he was known as a children’s author, Geisel drew political cartoons and catchy ads for materials such as bug repellant and education materials for soldiers during World War two. You may be surprised to learn how Dr. Seuss came to write childrens’ books or how he got his name, but I won’t tell. One thing is for sure, Dr. Seuss created a legacy and changed the way people thought about children’s literature for the better. Brian Jones did a great job with this biography, capturing all the details of Dr. Seuss’ life that made him the man he was while keeping readers engaged. 

4 stars biography 

Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth – Staff Review – Maddy

Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Ian MacGregor

During the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie was one of the three entry points in the Berlin wall to cross West Germany into East Germany. Checkpoint Charlie was the gate specifically used by military personnel and gaining access from one side to the other was not easy, especially for East Berliners. MacGregor details the history of the military checkpoint and how dangerous relations were for all sides involved in guarding the barriers and access across the wall. He also uses first hand accounts from military personnel and civilians from the East and West. MacGregor does a great job in detailing all aspects of life during this time and showing readers how the story wasn’t black and white. 
For anyone interested in the Cold War, Berlin wall, or Germany immediately after World War Two, I recommend reading this book as it gives a good history of Checkpoint Charlie and an introduction to how the Berlin Wall affected life on both sides. 

4 stars non-fiction

We hope to reopen soon!

We are working to prepare the library for reopening. We hope to open soon. When we do, things will look a little different! We are removing furniture, adding plexiglass shields and making other changes, so that we can open safely.
What we are doing to keep you safe:

  • Offering contactless holds pickup
  • Maintaining 6 feet of distance between each other
  • Wearing face coverings while inside the library.
  • Following cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

What we are asking you to do:

  • Do not enter the library if you currently have or recently have had a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or are feeling unwell.
  • Keep your hand clean. Hand sanitizer will be provided throughout the library.
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance from others
  • Wear a face covering while inside the library.
  • Follow all directional signs and floor markings.

Limited use: To enable distancing and to keep customers and staff safe, we will have some limits in place.

  • Limited Capacity. Entry is limited to 10 customers at a time, not including those who have appointments to use the Children’s Room or the library computers. Please limit your visit to thirty minutes.
  • Children’s Room. Appointments will be required for children to use the Children’s Room and will be limited to one family at a time. Parents are welcome to select material for their children.
  • Computer Use. Computers have been spaced 6 feet apart and will be disinfected between each use. Computer use is by appointment only.
  • Limited Hours. To be announced.

Lobby Pickup is Available Now

  • You may now place holds for APL owned items in the online catalog. The statewide interlibrary loan system is still suspended. Requests will be accepted for APL items only. 
  • You can also call or email us ( to request items. If you are not sure exactly what you are looking for, we are happy to help.
  • We will try to fill holds each day, but please allow 1-3 days for us to prepare your request. When items are ready, we will call you to schedule a pick up time slot. To enable social distancing, we will be limiting the number of customers in each slot. 
  • Items will be available for pick up in the Spring St. Lobby.
  • Returned items are quarantined for five days, but we encourage you to use caution with these items.

Limits: Please limit requests to 10 items per customer or family member.

Returns: Book drops are open 24/7. Items checked out before the March closure have been renewed to July 10. Please try to return all items you may still have out at your earliest convenience.

Because we are quarantining items before check in, items may appear on your card up to seven days after return. You will not be charged any late fees for items in quarantine.

Moths: A Complete Guide to Biology and Behavior – Staff Review – Terry

Moths: A Complete Guide to Biology and Behavior by David C. Lees and Alberto Zilli

Moths is a book about, well moths and their biology.  The writing of Moths is not terribly technical in most parts of the book, and where it does get techical it explains the science behind the subject in a way that is both relatable and scholarly.  I personally find this book to be a welcome introduction to those just wanting to learn about either moths in general or for those looking to research specific aspects of moth behavior or even if you just want to look at some wonderful and professional close up nature photography, this is the book for you.  I would give this book five stars out of five but I have to deduct one due to some editing issues with a few of the photographs in the book being incorrectly labeled or simply duplicated from other pages.  This issue aside, the book is overall a worthy read and excellent for the coming warm summer evenings that will bring many of these small friends to our backyards. 

4 stars

Fish In a Tree – Staff Review – Corinna

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Available on the cloud library in e-book and audio book.

Daughter of a military father, sixth grader Ally has moved around alot. She is in a new town almost every year and without any consistency in her education no one has yet to pick up on her struggle to read. Enter new teacher Mr. Daniels who begins to notice Ally, seeing something her others had missed. Through her sixth grade journey, with the help of an understanding teacher and some new ‘misfit’ friends, Ally begins to feel more confident and better about herself. I listened to the audio version of this book and I wish I had read it, I found the narrator’s voice to be whiny and irritating, It also seemed to be somewhat predictable, with all the usual school cliques accounted for. But if you are missing school, and your favorite teacher, this book may take you back there.

Two and a half stars.

Renegades Trilogy – Staff Review – Nancy Mes.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer, Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, and Supernova by Marissa Meyer

Nova cannot forgive the Renegades.

After witnessing the murder of her entire family as a child, Nova holds a grudge against the superhero group who promised to be there and failed when she needed them the most. Now a teenager, she plans to take them out from the inside. Disguising herself as Nova McClain, a Prodigy who never falls asleep, she applies to become a Renegade herself, all while operating as the villainous Nightmare after hours. Will she be successful in taking down the organization she holds responsible for the death of everyone she cared for? Or will her true identity be discovered?

While Marissa Meyer is best known for her sci-fi fairy tale retellings, I find her superhero books—the Renegades Trilogy—to be her best work. Filled with compelling characters, a gripping romance, and a solid examination of the concepts of good and evil, The Renegades Trilogy is an excellent example of young adult fiction done well.

The trilogy is headlined by two characters, Nova, on her mission for revenge, and Adrian. As the adopted son of two prominent superheroes, Adrian appears to be the perfect Renegade. But his frustrations with the restrictions set forth by the council leads him to moonlighting as a vigilante known as The Sentinel. By choosing to tell the story of two characters who aren’t entirely on the side of good or evil, Meyer does a great job of exploring the shades of gray between the two. In addition, the series does a great part of picking apart the flaws of a binary hero/villain system. How do you deal with “superhero” characters that act like power-hungry villains? And how much flexibility should be granted to individuals in enforcing justice, when the main thing that sets them apart is the fact that they happen to have flashy superpowers?

But the Renegades trilogy is far from a weighty discussion of heady concepts. No, this young adult trilogy is action-packed, and swift-moving carried forward by fun dialogue between the characters, a hero/villain romance between Adrian and Nova, and plenty of fight scenes. While I found myself skeptical that Nova would be able to keep her secret identity from so many experienced superheroes for so long, the series is so entertaining that this is worth overlooking.

If you’re looking for an exciting mixture of action, superhero concepts, and romance, then I would highly recommend Marissa Meyer’s Renegades Trilogy, a worthwhile read from first to the last book.

Five Stars

The Eleventh Trade – Staff Review – Corinna

The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth

2019-2020 maine student book award list, available in book format on the cloud library.

The Eleventh Trade takes place in Boston Massachusetts where twelve year old Sam is living with his grandfather, after immigrating from Afghanistan. While in Sam’s possession, the instrument Sam’s grandfather uses to make a living is stolen. And thus the quest to find the rebab begins. As we follow Sam’s search for the instrument, he also begins to find friendship also the way. And in pieces we begin to learn what had happened to Sam and his family, and his journey to America.I decided to read this book to familiarise myself with as many of the maine student book awards I I could. I found that the book started off a little slow for me, but as Sam’s journey continued, I became more and more invested to see if Sam was able to get his grandfather’s rebab back, and to learn about their journey to Boston. Spoiler alert: I would suggest finishing this book with a box of tissues at hand. But in the good way, I think we all could use a happy ending right now. 

5  stars

A Gentleman In Moscow – Staff Review – Maddy

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and read by Nicholas Smith

Available on the cloud library in both ebook and audiobook, A Gentleman in Moscow is a nice long book to read while in quarantine.

In 1922 Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a prominent hotel, for being an unrepentant aristocrat by the Bolsheviks (political party in power after the revolution). Going from a prominent man of the upper class who has never worked a day in his life, Rostov is moved to a from his expansive suite to a small attic apartment and left to provide for himself. But being stuck in a hotel, it turns out, is not as boring as it seems. In fact, there will be a lot going on as the times that can be gleaned from inside the Metropol. Some might even happen inside its doors. 
A Gentleman in Moscow is a historical fiction that spans the 1920s-1950s in Moscow. I enjoyed reading about Count Rostov and the rest of the characters in this book. Rostov knows a thing or two about being stuck at home and making the most of it. No spoilers here, but, I was slightly surprised by the ending turned out. 

3 stars

The Serpent King – Staff Review – Cherise

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

This book has been on my To Be Read List for a long time. I finally picked it up after a friend of mine sent me a copy. I was struggling to find something to read that caught my attention even while in a reading slump. The Serpent King was able to do that. I devoured it. It was the first book in a long time I didn’t put aside to read another book. And then another book. 

This book follows three friends, Dill, Lydia, and Travis in their senior year of high school in a small Tennessee town. All three are misfits, not exactly fitting in at school. It’s how they became friends. Dill is the son of a Pentecostal preacher who used live snakes in his services who was arrested, grandson of the famed Serpent King, believing madness comes to each Dillard Early (he is the third). Travis deals with hardships at home and the grief over the death of his brother. Lydia is made for big city life, having managed to somehow run an extremely popular blog and is in some cases famous in the larger world but not where she lives. There was something so completely wonderful and aching about this story that simply kept your attention through the whole thing. If spots were slow, it was done in a way that was still entertaining. This story truly knows how to get you to become attached to these characters quickly and to leave you completely wrapped up in their happiness and loses. 

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to read about small town life (though in the south in a lot of ways you can relate with living in a small town even here in Maine) with wonderfully descriptive writing that really connects with you. The Serpent King is available on the CloudLibrary to check out and I highly recommend it. Just be prepared for some tissues!

5 Stars

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