Who Will Win the Race?

Children’s Book/Movie Tie-In Alert!
The House With A Clock In It’s Walls

September 21, 2018 is the release date for the movie version of author John Bellairs 1973 children’s book House With a Clock In It’s Walls.  The movie is a major production directed by horror film expert Eli Roth.  It will be starring Cate  Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, and Jack Black.

In House With a Clock In It’s Walls, Lewis (played by Owen Vaccaro in the film) goes to live with his mysterious uncle, Jonathan (Jack Black) who lives in a typically spooky mansion in Marshall, Michigan.  Yes, it is a real town, and there is a real mansion, called the Cronin House, in Marshall, Michigan.  It is here that Lewis meets his uncle’s equally weird neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) and discovers their connections to the occult and the clock embedded in the walls of the house.  When Lewis, inadvertently, wakes the dead, the action takes off even as the ticking clock begins to speed up.  Who will win the race to stop the clock?

To add to the overall spookiness of the situation the illustrations in the book were done by Gothic illustrator extraordinaire, Edward Gorey.   Gorey wasn’t really that fond of doing the illustrations for books, thinking of them as drudge work and something he had to do to make a living.  However, there is no doubt that his illustrations added to the Gothic tension in the story that attracted young readers.

McLure Library has several Bellairs books in the collection.  If you go to the movie, or maybe you just want to reread a loved book, come on over and check one of them out.  House With a Clock In It’s Walls  (Or any of Bellairs other books.)

Children’s Book/Movie Tie-In Alert!

World Wide Knit in Public Day – June 9, 2018

Tired of Knitting Alone?

Be Bold.  Be Brave.  Go Public!

Join your fellow knitters for one day of knitting in public.  Saturday, June 9, 2018 is World Wide Knit in Public Day.

The needle arts have long been a popular and one of the most popular of needle arts is knitting.   If you don’t knit you can read about knitting.  There are a surprising number of children’s books that feature the needle arts and knitting in particular.  McLure has many of these titles ready for you to check them out.  Check out the following titles at McLure Education Library.

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Tiny & Hercules

Five short stories about the lives of two unusual friends: Tiny, an elephant with a fear of ice skating and a newfound love of knitting, and Hercules, a mouse with a heart of gold and a desire to learn to paint.

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With a supply of yarn that never runs out, Annabelle knits for everyone and everything in town until an evil archduke decides he wants the yarn for himself.

A classical take on knitting – and its consequences.   The 1974 Caldecot winning children’s book Duffy and the Devil makes for a rollicking read.

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The spinning and knitting the devil agrees to do for her win Duffy the Squire’s name and a carefree life until it comes time for her to guess the devil‘s name.  Then there is the Devil to pay.

For a historical perspective on knitting take a look at this book.

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When his father leaves to fight in World War I, Mikey joins the Central Park Knitting Bee to help knit clothing for soldiers overseas.

For those interested in knitting something for themselves, McLure has a book help get you started.

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Provides step-by-step instructions covering the basic stitches, knitting tools, and finger-knitting, with directions for twelve easy projects.

Knitting in public is not for everyone or every time.  When you want to knit alone, this is the book for you.

Cover Image of Leave Me Alone!

Grandmother wants so badly to be left alone to finish the knitting for her grandchildren that she leaves her tiny home and her big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to finish her knitting.

But if you are tired of knitting alone?  Then.  Be Bold.  Be Brave.   Go public.

Get those needles and that yarn and take your knitting out of the closet, your room, or your house.  Knit while you eat that Big Mac.  Knit while you sip your Starbucks.  Knit at your local bookstore while you listen to a recorded book.  Or best of all, read aloud to kids while they knit.

University Libraries & SUPEStore Collaborate to Help Students Decrease Textbook Costs

After a successful Spring 2018 pilot project, University Libraries & the SUPEStore are collaborating again this summer to help students decrease textbook costs. Students may check out titles for short-term loans or request chapters through ILLiad/Document Delivery (copyright standards apply).

The following courses currently have at least one print title on course reserve at McLure Library–

  • AEL: 521, 632, 634
  • AHE: 591, 610, 621
  • BCE: 512, 513, 514, 533
  • BEF: 503, 534
  • CEE: 515
  • CIE: 640
  • CRD: 569
  • CSE: 455, 555
  • HY: 104
  • KIN: 167, 362, 365, 366, 401, 403, 491, 493, 588, 615

Use the Course Reserve portal for more details.

Questions? Email us at Ask-a-Librarian.

Fairy Tales from Cold Places

Russia and Slavic folktales are a hot basis for several YA fantasy series that have been making waves in the last few years.   Some of this interest has been driven by the popularity of the television series “American Gods” and the prominent place of Slavic folk religions, but, undoubtedly, some of it is driven by the classical appeal of the old fairy tales and folk tales about the Firebird and Baba Yaga.  Those long cold winter nights in the northern and central part of Europe has given rise to some beautiful tales that have been reworked into some fresh YA fantasies that are suspenseful, thrilling, and intriguing with unexpected plot twists and turns.   McLure Library has several of these series available for check out.

Vassa in the Night

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter based in the very old, Baba Yaga tales from Central Europe and Russia, with a very new setting, Brooklyn, New York.  This novel comes complete with a witch named Babs Yaga.

Grisha Trilogy

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The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo took the YA fantasy world by storm a few years ago.  The novels, are set in a world that is reminiscent of Imperial Russia and filled with all the beauty and brutality of that history, and folk life, combined with the perils and power of the 20th Century Soviet Union with all of that destructive firepower.  McLure Library has all three of these novels available for check-out.

Crown’s GAme

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Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye, and its sequel Crown’s Fate, is a series set in Imperial Russia in the 19th Century when Russia was invaded by France and the Ottoman Empire .  The Tsar initiates the Crown’s Game.  This is a duel to see which of two teenage enchanters will become the Royal Enchanter to the Tsar.  These novels are filled with romance and danger based in the tales of Old Russia.

Girl At Midnight

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The Girl At Midnight trilogy is set in a dystopian world under New York City and involves the hunt for a powerful Firebird and the New York City subway system.  McLure Library has the first two of the three books in this trilogy for series for YA readers.

If you are interested in these titles and want help in getting them, just give us a call at McLure Library.  205-348-6055 and we will be happy to help.

Arthurian Legends and Myths for Young Adults

McLure Library has several series and stand alone novels for young adults in which the King Arthur legends and myths are twisted, turned, and retold.  This almost makes some of them unrecognizable, but keeps the stories fresh and entertaining for those who consider themselves King Arthur experts.

Retelling tales is not a new idea and young adult author, T. A. Barron, started doing it in back in the 1990’s with a 12 book series that is titled The Merlin Saga.  The first of these novels may be twenty years old, but the series has retained their magical elements and will provide hours of reading pleasure.  The series is broken up into smaller segments; Lost Years of Merlin, Merlin’s Dragon Trilogy, Great Tree of Avalon, and a final novel titled,  The Book of Magic.  All of Barron’s books use Arthurian myths and legends to reinforce an underlying theme of nature and ecology and the power of renewal and free choice.

McLure library has the 5 books of the Lost Years of Merlin.

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The Great Tree of Avalon series begins with The Child of the Dark Prophecy, continues with Shadow on the Stars, and ends with The Eternal Flame.

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Rick Yancey has also written a series for young adults that uses the Arthurian legends and myths as the starting point.  The Alfred Kropp trilogy is about an awkward, unmotivated teenager who finds himself in possession of King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur.  McLure has two of the titles in this series.

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King Arthur to the Rescue

King Arthur has proved to be a popular figure in myth and legend ever since he first showed up in the written word back in the 12th Century.  McLure Library has a variety of retellings of these Celtic myths for a wide range of ages and interests.  There are several children’s series (they also appeal to YA’s and adults) that are popular with reader’s starting about Grade 4.  Two of the most popular for this age group are the series by Susan Cooper and Lloyd Alexander.

Susan Cooper wrote The Dark is Rising Sequence starting in 1965 and the series became a Children’s and Young Adult Best Seller.  The series is based on a combination of Arthurian legends, Celtic mythology, and Norse mythology that makes for a potent mash-up.  McLure has the entire sequence of 5 titles (our copies are well worn due to their popularity) in the collection starting with the first in the series Over Sea, Under Stone.

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The other titles in this series are: Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, Grey Kingand Silver on the Tree.  The Grey King won the Newbery Medal for excellence in Children’s Literature in 1975 and the concluding title in the series, Silver on the Tree was published in 1977.

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The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander is a pentology of Children’s High Fantasy that were published between 1964 and 1968.  These novels are also a combination of Welsh mythology and Arthurian legend.  The titles in this series are, in order: Book of ThreeBlack Cauldron, Castle of llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.  There was a book of short stories published in 1973, Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain, that Mclure does not have in the collection.    The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book in 1966,  The High King won the Newbery Medal in 1969, and the series has remained popular through the years.


The renewed interest in the myths, legends, and stories from Scandinavia has resulted in a spate of re-releases of old classics.  These classics provided the inspiration for many of the Norse based novels that are present day hits.

Ingri D’Aulaire and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire won a Caldecott Medal in 1940 for their book Abraham Lincoln, but, perhaps, their best known works are their books on mythology.  The D’Aulaire’s did a series of books about Norse myths, legends and stories, that have been re-released and have the potential to inspire a new generation of readers.

The New York Review of Books has released a new edition of the classic D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths with a preface by Michael Chabon.  This book was part of a series that the D’Aulaires’ did that featured Scandinavia.  McLure Library does not have the Norse Myths volume, but the UA Libraries has the other books in the series in it’s collection.

Children of the North Lights published in 1935 is located at the Annex.


D’Aulaires’ Trollswas the follow-up to The Book of Norse Myths, and the 1972 edition of this volume is located in the UA Libraries Annex.    To request this title use this link.


If you are interested in these titles and want help in getting these titles just give us a call at McLure Library.  205-348-6055 and we will be happy to help.

More Norse Reading

The last blog post featured Norse mythology, so now let’s move on to what McLure Library has that features those berserk wild fighting men of the North and their fearless exploration of the vast northern oceans.  While the Vikings were known for their fighting prowess they also had their softer side.  They were great storytellers and these stories have come down to us in many forms.  McLure Library has several books that incorporate features of the Viking sagas and voyages of exploration into fascinating retellings of these tales of daring-do.  The television mini-series American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and the success of those brutal Viking epics like The Last Kingdom have brought about renewed interest in old Norse myths.  Here is a sample of some of the stories about those cold cold gods of the North and the Viking sagas.

Canadian historical fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay‘s novel Last Light of the Sun is loosely based on Viking Sagas and is the tale of the conjoined fates of Bern Thorkellson and two others from lands ravaged by the Vikings.

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For a completely twisted Norse story, try Story of Owen.  This novel is not only a mashup of Arthurian legends and myths with a good dose of Beowulf thrown in for good measure, it is alternative history.  Told, somewhat, in the style of the old Norse Sagas, it is the story of Owen Thorskard, the dragon slayer of Trondheim.  Full of daring-do, it also features a bard – Siobhan MacQuaid.

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Calling Mr. Wednesday and Some of the Other Days of the Week

Don’t know who Mr. Wednesday is?  Mr. Thursday?  Ms. Friday.  Do you wonder who these people are, and why they are named for the days of the week?  (or is it the other way around?) Curious about Norse mythology?  Are your kids curious about Norse myths and legends.  McLure Library has some good reading available in those areas.

Starting with the basics, there are two beautiful books with general information and great pictures about the Norse Gods for young readers that will also appeal to adults.

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McLure Education Library

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If that is not enough Norse, or maybe, it is to fact filled, McLure Library other fantastical take-offs on Norse mythology that might catch your fancy.

Nancy Farmer, a Newbery Honor award winning author, has a trilogy that is full of action, humor, and Norse mythology that will teach and entertain.

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Alabama author Lou Anders has a series that make very good reads for middle grades.  McLure has all three titles in this ongoing series.

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Need a story that is part puzzle and part myth?  This one might be just the game.

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Feel the Heat! – Cool Northern Mythology

Take-offs and mashups using mythology as a starting point for YA novels has been a recent trend that shows no signs of abating and the fantasy genre is quickly diversifying its mythology base.  More diverse myths are being brought to the attention of readers and movie goers everywhere and McLure has plenty of titles for you that will keep you in the know when it comes to these myths and legends.

Now that the Dog Days of Summer are over and we are all ready to cozy up with warm drinks and good books that are perfect for those long winter nights, why not cozy up with the imaginative series based on Egyptian, Norse, Chinese, and Middle Eastern myths that are in McLure library?

Middle Grade author, Rick Riordan made his name retelling the Perseus, Greek demi-god myths, in the Percy Jackson series.

That series has been followed by two other series;  The Kane Chronicles, based on Egyptian mythology, that consists of three titles,

Red Pyramid                                    Throne of Fire                            Serpent’s Shadow

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The novels were quickly followed by the graphic novel version of these titles.  Mclure has two of them with the third due to be published soon.

Red Pyramid:                                                               Throne of Fire:

The Graphic Novel                                                   The Graphic Novel

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Riordan has also done a series featuring those fiery gods of the North.  Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, based on Norse mythology, that currently stands at two titles, with the third that was just published in October.

Sword of Summer                         Hammer of Thor

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The successful conversion of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods novel to the small screen world of TV is a modern retelling of Norse mythology for adults.  The UA libraries doesn’t have that particular novel, but McLure Library has Anansi Boy’s, the sequel to American GodsAnansi Boys is based in the myths of West Africa and the West Indies.  So if you like Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy in American Gods, check him out in a starring role in his own book: Anansi Boys.  It was listed for the Alex Award (Adult books suitable for Young Adults) in 2006 and is at McLure in the School Library Collection.

Cover Image   PR6057.A319 A85 2005

McLure doesn’t have Neil Gaiman’s current best seller Norse Mythology, (that is at Gorgas library) but we have a beautifully illustrated version of both Egyptian and Norse Mythology done by well known YA and children’s author Donna Jo Napoli.  The amazing colored illustrations are accompanied by brief explanations of each of the major Egyptian and Norse Gods that make looking at these books a real pleasure for these long winter evenings.

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All of these books are in the McLure Library School Library collection located in the basement of McLure Library.  If you would like to read any of these books call 348 – 6346 or 348-1508 and we will put it on hold for you.  Or you can come to McLure and see what other fantastic reading we have on our shelves.