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Little Witch Academia. The Complete Series

I binge watched this heartwarming and fun series in one sitting. Akko has dreamed of becoming a witch from the moment she went to a Shiny Chariot event where she witnessed the power of magic. Although she is from a non-magical family, she is inspired by Shiny Chariot's performanceDetermined to make her dream come true, she attends Luna Nova Academy, a school where girls learn and develop their magical skills. It's where her adventure begins. There, Akko faces the trials of school and friendship while learning each step of the way.

Follow Akko and her friends on their fun and magical adventures as she pursues her dreams of becoming a witch in Little Witch Academia (2017, TV-Y7). Check out a Roku with Netflix to watch the series today.


Stepping Stones

This is a charming story of city girl Jen whose family leaves the big city for the country and farm life. If farm life was not bad enough for a city girl, Jen also has two new stepsisters who live in her room every weekend. Stepping Stones (2020) centers on Jen and her sisters' life on the farm and their time spent at the farmer's market. Jen and her new sisters learn about the hard work it takes to run a farm and to be part of a family that sticks together. Overall, Lucy Knisley's story is uplifting and will appeal to readers of books like Smile and Roller Girl

Regular Show. Season 1

Regular Show (2009-2017) is anything but regular. It follows two best friends a blue jay, Mordecai, and a raccoon, Rigby, who work as groundskeepers at a park together. They work at the park, but they spend most of their time trying to get out of work or slacking off whenever they can at the behest of their boss, a gumball machine named Benson. Their antics usually lead to some aspect of the park getting destroyed, leaving them to clean up the mess afterwards.

While it is unusual for a kids show to feature mainly adults, it helps with the charm of the show because they have many nods to adult items and drinks being switched for more family friendly ones. The adventures they go on are fun and the dialogue and characters are enjoyable. Look at Regular Show if you are looking for a more mature but silly animated show.

Watch season 1 of Regular Show(rated TV-PG) on Hoopla today.


Echo

Echo begins as a fairy tale with Otto, a boy lost in the woods who meets three strange women telling him of a prophecy concerning a rare harmonica. From there, we hear three different stories of four pre-teen children who all live in different times, places, and circumstances, leaning on music to get them through hard times. The tales take you to Germany, Pennsylvania, and California, with storylines interconnected and centered around the possession of a rare harmonica. The audiobook was magical to listen to. I would recommend this beautiful, historical fairy tale to readers for all ages.

Listen to Echo (2015) by Pam Munoz Ryan on Hoopla today.



The Bad Beginning

The Bad Beginning (1999) is the start of the downright dreadful, disastrous, and dangerous turn of events that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire must endure after the passing of their parents in a tragic fire. They are sent to live with the dreadful Count Olaf, who cares more about the inheritance the children have than their wellbeing. The Baudelaire siblings must work together to thwart the evil doings of Count Olaf and figure out what really happened with the fire that killed their parents.

Lemony Snicket's writing gives the story character and makes the reader long for more with his unique style and prose.The Bad Beginning kicks off A Series of Unfortunate Events. Read the ebook on Overdrive or listen to the audiobook on Hoopla.



Bluey (2018-)

Join Bluey, a blue heeler puppy, along with her Mum, Dad, and little sister, Bingo, for delightfully simple and charming mini adventures. Each 22-minute episode contains three separate stories, demonstrating the joys and challenges of childhood, siblings, and friends. One of the best parts of this show is the dynamics between the characters and how well the parents play and interact with their children.

Bluey's Mum is active and athletic and works a job outside the home, while her Dad stays home with the girls, often playing imaginative games together, and often both are home for family time. Bluey and Bingo appropriately represent 6-and 4-year-olds through the series, in their struggles to share and take turns, and in their sweetness, creativity, and sometimes just silliness.

Bluey (TV-Y) is perfect for little kids and grownups to enjoy and laugh along with together. Check out one of the Family Rokus with Disney+ to watch the series.

Craft the Zoo!

We know you miss the LittleShop activities, but you can receive them via email this summer!

We're going to "craft the zoo," making eight animal projects over the next several weeks. All you'll need are paper, scissors, glue, and crayons or markers.

Each project will also be sent with a catalog link to find materials for learning more about all of these favorite zoo animals. IPPL cardholders can request these materials for curbside pickup.

To be added to the LittleShop at Home list, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Activities are designed for ages 7 and under.

If you signed up for LittleShop at Home projects for May, you are already included for Craft the Zoo emails.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I just saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997) on Overdrive's ebook list. Well if you are looking for one great book to read, go no further. You found it. The best page-turning adventure that you can't put down, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first in this epic story of the eleven-year-old wizard who becomes every reader's favorite hero.

Even if you saw the movie, you'll want to read Harry's entire story. It has no boring parts and will grip your attention from page one. You will feel you've been transported into the story itself. And it does not matter how old you are. Even as I'm writing this, I can feel myself aboard the Hogwarts Express on my way to live Harry's journey with him and his pals Hermione and Ron. This is a ride you will not want to miss.

Check out J. K. Rowling's debut novel (and the one that started it all). Visit Overdrive to read or listen to the first book... then check out the rest of the series.



​This Week in the Prairie Patch: May 31-June 6

Plant Updates

Fans of the Prairie Patch will be happy to know that the garden's progress has not been slowed by Covid-19. There are a variety of perennial plants and bulbs already growing and blooming, and we will have other new seedlings planted in the garden in the next few weeks. Our globe alliums started blooming last week and you can experience them in addition to the rest of this summer's first Sensory Garden tour. Look for the blue signs throughout the garden to see what to hear, see, taste, smell and touch.

Weekly Garden Giveaways will be announced soon. Last year we gave away over 120 pounds of food to patrons and neighbors and we're excited to see what this year's bounty will provide.

EBook Recommendations

Non-Fiction

Kitchen Garden Revival
Common Backyard Weeds of the Upper Midwest
Gardening Lab for Kids 

Fiction

Grandpa's Garden 
The Secret Garden 
A Victory Garden for Trying Times

Volunteer Opportunities for the Garden: If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteeringnThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Front Desk

Mia Tang is 10 years old, and the new front desk clerk at the Calivista Motel in California. Mia and her family are immigrants to America from China. Her parents have worked many years at many tough jobs since arriving in America, but believe their dream has come true when they get jobs managing the Calivista. The only trouble with their dream is their new boss Mr. Yao, who is mean and keeps finding ways to take money from Mia's family's paycheck.

Mia finds out at school about a chance for her family to win their own motel, but she must write an essay explaining why she and her family would be the best choice. Mia has to balance her life with school, work, and friends, all while trying to keep Mr. Yao happy. It is a tough job, but Mia thinks she can do it all.

Check out Front Desk (2018) by Kelly Yang, geared toward kids in grades 4-6. It's the first in a series, with the second novel expected to be released in September 2020.

This book is available to read or listen to on Overdrive—check it out today.


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Podcasts for Kids & Families

Tired of screen time? Try listening to a podcast! Here are a few of my family-friendly favorites:

Ear Snacks with Andrew and Polly: Andrew & Polly and their friends consider music, science, art and culture in a fun-filled family-friendly podcast that parents enjoy and younger kids eat right up.


Wow in the WorldHosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz guide curious kids and their grown-ups on a journey into the wonders of the world around them. Go inside the brains, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids: But Why is a show led by real kids's questions! It's a big interesting world out there. On But Why, tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.

Book Club for KidsBook Club for Kids is a podcast where middle school readers discuss the books they love with host Kitty Felde. The author answers questions, and a celebrity reads from the book.

ChompersMake tooth time easy with this morning and night tooth brushing show for kids. When it's time for your family to brush teeth, start Chompers. Kids will hear jokes, riddles, stories, fun facts, silly songs and more, that'll keep them giggling - and brushing - for the full two minutes that dentists recommend.



Series Spotlight: Owl Diaries

The Wingdale owl family (Mom, Dad, Eva, Humphrey and Baby Mo) live in a tree in, of course, Treetopolis. When Eva receives a new diary, she faithfully records all her adventures, concerns, problems, triumphs, and sadness in the diary.

Each of the 13 books (so far) in this series focus on one big event in Eva's world. The plots feature a mystery that Eva solves and most readers of this series will solve. Friendships, working together, and solving problems are what Eva and her friends do.

The digital illustrations are a major part of the storytelling. There are collage-like illustrations are on each page. The connection between image and words is very clear. It would be easy to extend activities by encouraging art projects.

The author uses clever references to owls: "What a hoot," "Anyhoot," "sticking her beak into my business," and Owliverse."Readers will enjoy searching for connections. Speech bubbles are used for dialog between characters.

These books by Rebecca Elliott have gentle plots, interesting characters, and are for readers beginning "easy readers." The first book is Eva's Treetop Festival (2015). Each book has 74 pages (Lexile 530-620). At the end of each book is, "How much do you know about…?" Questions follow and a final suggestion of further activities.

Many of the books in this series are available as e-books on Overdrive.

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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Do you have Animal Crossing: New Horizons FOMO? Fear not! Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is free from the App Store (Google or Apple). Join all your favorite villagers for the ultimate virtual camping trip. It's the same cute, colorful game you'd expect, without Tom Nook shaking you down for bells all the time. This version of the classic game has seasonal events that make logging in a treat. Go fishing, catch bugs, pick fruit, and decorate your very own campsite. The best part? You get to choose which villagers you host.


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Hair Love

Enjoy this story inspired by the Academy Award winning short film that shows the love a father has for his daughter by learning how to take care of her natural hair. "My hair is mommy, daddy, and me. It's hair love!" Delightful!

Hair Love (2019) was written by Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison. Listen to the audiobook on Hoopla, read the ebook on Overdrive, and watch the Oscar winning film on YouTube.

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So Weird. The Complete Series (1999-2001)

I have been finding that Disney+ is a great way to relive favorite shows of your childhood.  My latest binge was So Weird (TV-Y7), about Fiona, a teenager, on the road with a band for which her mom (Mackenzie Phillips) is the lead singer.  Fiona is drawn to everything strange and unusual, which she constantly stumbles upon, revealing more and more about her father's unexplained car accident when she was a baby.

While revolving around many supernatural occurrences, older kids and their families can enjoy this family adventure/mystery series together.  So Weird originally aired on The Disney Channel in the late 90s, but you can now stream the entire series on Disney+ via the library's Family Roku devices.