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This month's library picks include an anthology of nonfiction prose by Joan Didion and a CD of songs inspired by the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. If you want to check out either work's availability, get three to a nearby branch or visit the San Francisco Library online at www.sfpl.org. In addition to books, the library has magazines, CDs, DVDs, videos, and audiocasettes. Note: The Noe ValleySally Brunn Library at 451 Jersey Street remains closed for seismic renovation until late 2007. For information, call 557-4353.
- Little Bear takes some tentative first steps toward independence when he sets up house in a small cave of his own, but it's nice to have Big Bear nearby, in Martin Waddell's Sleep Tight, Little Bear, illustrated by Barbara Firth. Ages 3 to 5.
- Does rainy weather get you down? You'll appreciate why Molly eventually exclaims, "I Love the Rain," in the picture story by Margaret Park Bridges, matched with watercolor and ink illustrations by Christine Davenier. Ages 4 to 7.
- Mooch the cat decides that the perfect present for his best friend, Earl the dog, is The Gift of Nothing, Patrick McDonnell's thoughtful offering. Ages 6 to 9.
- Laugh with, and at, Goha the Wise Fool, in 15 short tales featuring this Middle Eastern folk character, retold by Denys Johnson-Davies. The amusing and insightful incidents are illustrated in hand-sewn khiyamiyas (appliqués) created by Egyptian artists Hany El Saed Ahmed from drawings by Hag Hamdy Mohamed Fattouh. Ages 6 to 9.
- In A Mother's Journey, Sandra Markle tells how a mother emperor penguin must make a winter journey to find food to bring back to her newborn chick. Alan Marks' watercolors portray the harsh, cold beauty of the Antarctic. Ages 5 to 8.
- Happy Land: Musical Tributes to Laura Ingalls Wilder is a CD of modern musicians and singers performing a selection of 18 old-time tunes, popular songs, and hymns mentioned by Wilder in her books about her family's life on the 19th-century American frontier. Lyrics included. Ages 5 and older.
--Children's annotations by Pam Ow, Children's Librarian at the Eureka ValleyHarvey Milk Memorial Branch
- A biologist, a sniper, and a giraffe named Snehurka are among the narrators describing the East African capture, sea voyage to a Czechoslovakian zoo, and massacre of 49 "cameleopards" in Giraffe, a first novel by Economist writer J. M. Ledgard.
- The Ladies of Grace Adieu, eight stories by Susanna Clarke, author of the 2004 bestseller Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, revisits the English countryside of 1811 and characters who tangle with fantasy and magic.
- Holiday cooking ideas abound in two cookbooks: Classic Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals, which has 150 of the television star's favorite dishes; and Morgan Freeman & Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause, exotic island recipes compiled to benefit Grenada's hurricane devastation.
- In Chas Addams: A Cartoonist's Life, Linda H. Davis reveals the amazing talent, ghoulish humor, and impressive womanizing (Greta Garbo, Jackie Kennedy) of Charles Addams, the eccentric -ew Yorker cartoonist and creator of "The Addams Family."
- Seven previously published nonfiction books by Joan Didion--Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, Miami, After Henry, Political Fictions, and Where I Was From--are included in her new collection, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live.
- Journalist Michael Walker tells tales of Los Angeles' pop, rock, and folk musicians from the late 1960s and early 1970s, in Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood.
--Adult annotations by Karol Barske of the -oe Valley Voice staff
Sing Along with Gayle
- Gayle Schmitt will offer a sing-along music program for children of all ages at the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Branch on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 3:30 p.m.
Lapsits, Story Time, and More
- Come enjoy stories, songs, and fingerplays with your baby or toddler, at the Noe Valley Library's Tuesday lapsits, held at 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 5, 12 & 19, and Jan. 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30, at Bethany United Methodist Church, 1268 Sanchez Street (corner of Clipper). Bethany will also host preschool story time, a read-aloud program for kids ages 3 to 5, on the same dates but starting at 11 a.m.
- During December and January, the Mission, Glen Park, Bernal Heights, and Eureka Valley branches also offer story times and lapsits, plus a variety of reading, art, music, and lecture programs. For a complete schedule of San Francisco Library events, go to www.sfpl.org.
- The Noe Valley Bookmobile will be parked at 665 Elizabeth Street near Diamond Street on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.