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The secrets of real-life romance--and the social skills, or lack thereof, of ogres--are revealed in two books on this month's reading list, offered by Voice staffer Karol Barske and Carol Small, children's librarian at the Noe ValleySally Brunn Library at 451 Jersey Street. To see if books are available, drop by the branch, call Small or branch manager Alice McCloud at 355-5707, or visit the San Francisco Public Library online at www.sfpl.org.
- Emma the bear cub teaches her dolls their ABCs, gives them a checkup with her doctor's kit, and shows them the wild cat in her backyard zoo, in Emma in Charge by David McPhail. Ages 3 to 5.
- Duck convinces the cows, sheep, and pigs from Farmer Brown's farm to perform in a talent show at the county fair, in Doreen Cronin's Dooby Dooby Moo. Ages 3 to 6.
- Eight-year-old Marcus tries to find some hair for his mother, who had chemotherapy treatment for cancer and doesn't want to be in the family photo, in Hair for Mama by Kelly Tinkham. Ages 6 to 8.
- In The Diary of a Killer Cat by Anne Fine, Tuffy defends his penchant for stalking birds and ruining flowerbeds: "For pity's sake, I'm a cat." Ages 6 to 9.
- Find out the size, habitat, food, language, culture, and attack methods of every type of fiend imaginable, in The Practical Guide to Monsters by Nina Hess. Ages 8 and up.
- The young residents of a 13th-century village in England tell their stories in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz, with illustrations by Robert Byrd. Winner of the 2008 Newbery Award. Ages 9 and up.
- Leah Garchik includes overheard items, a regular feature of her daily San Francisco Chronicle column, in Real Life Romance: Everyday Wisdom on Love, Sex, and Relationships, illustrated by Miguel Gallardo.
- Small Plates by Brigit Binns offers recipes that take 20 to 30 minutes from start to finish, including Gruyere-Chive Popovers and Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon.
- Marya Hornbacher, who examined her struggle with bulimia and anorexia in Wasted, tells the story of her lifelong battle with mental illness, in Madness: A Bipolar Life.
- Junot Diaz won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his moving tale of a 300-pound Dominican-American fantasy writer, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
- Sara Paretsky edits an anthology of mysteries, Sisters on the Case: Celebrating 20 Years of Sisters in Crime, featuring 25 whodunits by the founders and leaders of the women writers' group.
- In Bernard du Boucheron's The Voyage of the Short Serpent, a bishop goes on a mission to reclaim a Norse colony that has turned from Christianity to paganism and cannibalism.
- Joseph Wambaugh's latest detective novel, Hollywood Crows, is about a couple of Los Angeles beat cops who find themselves in the clutches of a woman involved in a nasty divorce from a strip-club proprietor.
Going Green at Home
- Learn about "Going Green with Your Family" at a talk on Thursday, May 15, featuring Leslie Crawford, author of City Walks with Kids; Jennifer Caldwell, director of Hope to Action, a group raising awareness about global warming; and Susan Silber, of the Low Carbon Diet. The event is 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Noe Valley Meeting Room at the library, 451 Jersey Street.
Litquake Shakes the Library
- Litquake and the SF Library present "Noe and Nearby Poets" Debbie Yee, Keith Ekiss, Pireeni Sundaralingam, Colm Ó Riain, Kirsten Lee Andersen, and Zack Rogow in a reading and reception at the Noe Valley Library on Tuesday, May 20, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Space is limited; call 355-5707 to save a spot.
A Lapful of Songs and Stories
- You and your baby or toddler are invited to hear stories, songs, and fingerplays at the weekly lapsits, held Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m. at the library. Children 3 to 5 can stay for preschool story time, a read-aloud program at 11 a.m. This month, the programs will take place on May 6 and 13 (and June 3).
Movies for Preschoolers
- Kids 3 to 5 are invited to come to the Noe Valley Library for a special film program on Tuesday, May 27. The films start at 10:15 a.m. For questions about programs, call 355-5707.