Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

Dorie's Cookies is the mother lode of cookie recipes that you could ever want to bake! 

Dorie's Cookies will be the standard by which all other cookie cookbooks will be judged!
just doesn't get any better than this! Dorie worked on this cookie cookbook for three years and set a very high bar for the cookie recipes that would make it into the book.
Dorie definitely has, as they say in the trade, "chops!" Dorie writes a blog called "Everyday Dorie" which has a large following. She has written 12 cookbooks and has been writing them for twenty-five years, has received four James Beard awards, worked with Julia Child on a cookbook, and is in the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. At one time, Dorie even had a pop-up bakery/boutique with her son, called Beurre & Sel.

The wonderful photography is by Davide Luciano. There are full-page photographs of every cookie recipe in the book with colorful backgrounds that pop. *See below 

The recipe for "World Peace Cookies," which is a signature cookie for Dorie is in the cookbook. To attest to how popular the WPC cookies are, they have been in two other cookbooks by Dorie Greenspan. Dorie explains why she named a cookie "Good, Better, Best Cookies" because it "is proof that sometimes as good as good can be, more can be better and even more can be best."  Dorie's Cookies proves that even more can be best!

Almond Crackle Cookies
Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett is another excellent cookie cookbook that you can find at the Virginia Beach Public Library. The VBPL also has Dorie Greenspan's excellent cookbook, Baking: From My Home To Yours. Bon Appetit!
Reviewed by Joan L.

Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


by Matthew Van Fleet

Little Chickie Baby walks into a dance hall, but he just hatched yesterday and doesn’t know how to dance!! Leave it to the boogie animals to show little Chickie Baby how it’s done!

With rhyming verse and dancing prompts for kids to follow Dance by Matthew Van Fleet will get them up participating and learning moves with Chickie Baby! The best part is that the book has tabs for you and the child to pull to watch the animals strut their stuff! 

The book is made a of a stronger reinforced board material to allow the child to easily pull the tabs and hopefully last through many rereads. The book even notes the author’s website on the back, where you can find the song that accompanies the book- great for a fun shimmy and shake storytime!

For more creatively made picture books try Tree: APeek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup. Still got the dancing bug try Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


by Jeff VanderMeer

Image result for annihilation jeff vandermeer

Suburban neighborhoods just like the ones we live in: idyllic families, jobs, and people living. Beyond that the Southern Reach government bases doing top secret research. Beyond that a border. Beyond that.... well they are still trying to figure that out.

Meet Area X, a large span of mysterious living wilderness that has completely annihilated every trace of human life in its large contained mass. Meet the four ladies of Expedition 12: their leader-an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and our narrator, the biologist. The 12th expedition to venture into the unknown of Area X and there are still few answers to their question. The past 11 expeditions before them have all suffered different tragic fates. One expedition ended in mass suicide, one expedition all passed away from fast moving cancers upon their return, one expedition returned with all its members empty shells of their former selves.

What is in store for this 12th expedition? What will they find across its border? Will they make it back to report their discoveries?

Annihilation is the first in the Southern Reach trilogy and if you pick this one there is no way you can go without reading the second and third. With the first book swirling with secrets, betrayals, government cover-ups, I couldn't wait for my hold on the second one. Be sure to read the first one before the movie comes this year directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina) starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, and Natalie Portman as our unreliable Biologist narrator. 

For more Sci-Fi and books-to-movies try Stories of Your Life and Other Stories by Ted Chiang and its movie adaptation The Arrival staring Amy Adams and directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Friday, February 10, 2017

March: Book One by John Lewis

March: Book One by John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis has been in the news recently, which caused his graphic novel trilogy, March, to appear on bestseller lists and sell out on Amazon. The third volume, March: Book Three, won the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Featuring stark, black and white illustrations by Nate Powell and co-written with Andrew Aydin, March: Book One begins on the morning of January 20, 2009—the day of President Obama’s first inauguration. Congressman Lewis is shown preparing for the big day. Just before the ceremony, he is greeted by a mother and her two young boys, which leads to Lewis telling the story of his upbringing as the son of sharecroppers in rural Alabama.

The narrative switches between Inauguration Day and key moments from Lewis’s past: growing up in the segregated south; wanting to become a minister; meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the first time; and experiencing other life-changing events that inspired Lewis to join the civil rights movement.

March: Book One by John Lewis

There are also glimpses of humor, like when Lewis recalls his love for the chickens on his family’s farm, who would serve as his impromptu congregation when he practiced his sermons.

Juxtaposed against these lighthearted anecdotes are the brutal retellings of conflicts from the height of the civil rights movement. After meeting leaders such as Dr. King, Lewis felt a call to action as a young man in college and became involved in nonviolent protests. Although Lewis and his group were strongly against violence, their sit-ins led to police involvement, which resulted in Lewis and his fellow protestors being beaten and arrested.

Eventually, Lewis’s group was successful in pressuring the mayor of Nashville to desegregate lunch counters. March: Book One ends on a cautiously hopeful note, with the realization that although they had won a small victory, their greater work had just begun. The following volumes in this trilogy lead up to the fateful march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

March: Book One by John Lewis
Search the VBPL catalog for March: Book One, Book Two, and Book Three. Book Three was recently honored with four Youth Media Awards from the American Library Association. If you enjoy this series, you might also enjoy Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, also by Lewis. For another civil rights biography in graphic novel format, check out I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., by A. R. Flowers.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan served in the U.S. Army for 17 years, including multiple tours in Iraq. While deployed, he was injured and left with a fractured back, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). For his service, he received numerous commendations, including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. However, despite the medals and recognition, Montalvan found himself a broken man.

Once a confident officer, upon leaving the military and rejoining civilian life, Montalvan became withdrawn and depressed. He began using alcohol as a means of coping with the physical pain that he suffered from daily. His psychological injuries progressed to the point of agoraphobia, where Montalvan would require hours to work up the courage to leave his apartment. Montalvan’s life changed forever when he heard about a service dog program that eventually led him to Tuesday, the golden retriever who would become his in 2008.

Tuesday had been trained by an assistance dog program that places dogs with people who have disabilities, including many wounded veterans. In Tuesday, Montalvan found a kindred spirit. Tuesday had not always been a model service dog as a puppy and had required extra training before completing the program. But once Montalvan met Tuesday, he knew his life could only get better.

Tuesday and Luis Carlos Montalvan

With Tuesday by his side, Montalvan slowly overcame the debilitating fear of crowds that, before, would have triggered another PTSD episode. Additionally, Tuesday helped him manage his anxiety and could detect changes in Montalvan's breathing, nudging him and bringing him back to the present when a flashback threatened to take hold. Tuesday provided Montalvan with a focal point whenever he needed to interact with others. At home, Tuesday was trained to assist with basic household chores, such as helping Montalvan get dressed, fetching objects, and bracing him while going up and down stairs, among many other daily tasks.

Montalvan became an advocate for wounded veterans as well as people with disabilities. He also became an outspoken critic of the Iraq War. He and Tuesday frequently traveled the country, raising awareness of these issues and advocating for others. Without Tuesday, Montalvan knew that he would not have been capable on his own. Tuesday gave him back the confidence that he had lost, and the two of them shared several years together.

Tuesday and Luis Carlos Montalvan

As the result of his injuries from the Iraq War, Montalvan's leg was amputated above the knee in early 2016. He also had serious heart problems. Tragically, later that year in December, Montalvan was found dead in El Paso, TX. He was 43.

At the time of his death, Montalvan's forthcoming and final book, Tuesday's Promise: One Veteran, One Dog, And Their Bold Quest To Change Lives, had been completed and is scheduled to be released in May 2017.

Search the VBPL catalog for Until Tuesday as well as Montalvan's book for children, Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog. If you like this book, you might also enjoy Reporting For Duty: True Stories of Wounded Veterans and Their Service Dogs by Tracy Libby (previously reviewed on VBPL Recommends).

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath

You’ve heard of fictional princesses such as Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.

But have you heard of Khutulun, actual Mongolian warrior and wrestler princess? When her father insisted that she should get married, Khutulun agreed on one condition: her potential suitor must defeat her in wrestling. If he didn’t, he would give her 100 horses.

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath

After defeating many suitors, Khutulun found herself 10,000 horses richer.

Or how about Qiu Jin: Chinese poet, author of manifestos, and activist for women’s rights? She advocated the overthrow of an oppressive government, condemned the abusive practice of foot binding, and empowered women to educate themselves. For her revolutionary acts, she was executed at the age of 32.

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath elevates the stories of numerous women whom history has forgotten. In addition to featuring obscure women from times past, the book also touches on more well-known figures who have changed the world, such as Florence Nightingale, Nellie Bly, Harriet Tubman, and Joan of Arc.

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath

Author Jason Porath is a former DreamWorks animator whose website, rejectedprincesses.com, evolved into the book of the same name. The book features artwork in the style of Disney, but with a twist. Also included are maturity levels and content guidelines to indicate which stories may or may not be appropriate for children.

Search the VBPL catalog for Rejected Princesses. For more stories of forgotten women’s history, check out Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Madder: Anthology 2: Simple Pleasures by Carrie Bostick Hoge

Madder: Anthology 2: Simple Pleasures by Carrie Bostick Hoge

Madder: Anthology 2: Simple Pleasures by Carrie Bostick Hoge is a collection of 17 knitting projects that feature classic, wearable designs. Many of the patterns are constructed with basic stitch patterns and make use of simple shaping.

Lila Pullover

Patterns like the Lila pullover are offered in two variations, such as a worsted-weight top-down construction (Lila Top Down) or a bulky-weight version (Lila Winter).

Charlotte Light Mitts

The Charlotte Light Mitts are knit mostly in easy ribbing and garter stitch, with short-row shaping for the hand portion.

Lori Shawl

Straightforward design and pattern construction, combined with gorgeous photography by the author, make this an excellent resource for knitters. Search the VBPL catalog for Madder: Anthology 2: Simple Pleasures. If you like this book, you might also enjoy Madder: Anthology 1 by the same author. For more easy yet classic patterns, check out Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague.