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What are the hot items at the library?

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Here’s what Ann Arbor District Library staff members are recommending to readers. Visit aadl.org/theann for links to the material discussed below.

And the winner is … library patrons who like the Oscars

Anne Martino is an information desk clerk at the Pittsfield branch of the AADL.

Anne Martino is an information desk clerk at the Pittsfield branch of the AADL.

For an entertaining 90-minute break from Earth, check out the movie “Gravity” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. “Houston,” down below, is the voice of Ed Harris. The space drama recently won seven Academy Awards, including best director, best cinematography and best visual effects. Space is depicted as a very dangerous place — a New York Times reviewer called this film a “Jack London tale in orbit.”

Bullock plays astronaut Ryan Stone, a star scientist and mother whose young daughter has died. Clooney is a seasoned astronaut. Following an accident, the two are stranded in space, facing daunting challenges such as trying to avoid a lethal storm of debris.

Alfonso Cuarón wrote the script with his son Jonás. Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is beyond fabulous. State-of-the-art special effects, both analog and digital, made me feel like I was, yes, floating in space. “Gravity” is rated PG-13.

If you can knit you’ll never run out of friends

Erin Helmrich is a teen and IT/production librarian at the AADL.

Erin Helmrich is a teen and IT/production librarian at the AADL.

Mochimochi Land was launched in 2007 by Chicago knitter Anna Hrachovec “as a place where knitted toys and people can live together in a spirit of tolerance.” Now, thanks to a partnership between Mochimochi Land and AADL, you can access a collection of delightful knitting patterns to create your own friends.

AADL is overjoyed to partner with Hrachovec to offer 20 DRM-free downloads of Mochimochi Land knitting patterns to AADL cardholders. All you need is an AADL library card; log in with your linked AADL online account, and all of these patterns are yours for the knitting.

The characters that inhabit Mochimochi Land are Hrachovec’s original designs. Her inspiration comes from Hello Kitty, Pee-wee’s Playhouse and illustrators like Dr. Seuss. Her knitted toys have been featured on “The Martha Stewart Show,” many other websites and in print. Visit annahrachovec.com and mochimochiland.com.

It’s hard to bathe a woolly mammoth … but not impossible

Kayla Pennoyer is an information desk clerk at AADL.

Kayla Pennoyer is an information desk clerk at AADL.

It would be hard enough to make a stubborn woolly mammoth eat his vegetables or take a nap, but give him a bath? That seems pretty impossible.

In Michelle Robinson’s “How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth,” a young girl shows you how to do just that. Already sporting her yellow raincoat and rubber galoshes, she shares her tips on bathing a mammoth until he’s clean and sparkly. Her hilarious tricks to get him into the tub include donning an ogre mask, pushing him on a skateboard and even resorting to a crane.

If the text of this picture book isn’t enough to get you giggling, then the illustrations are sure to give you a chuckle. Illustrator Kate Hindley uses vibrant colors and soft textures to show squeaky bubbles, bursts of mud and Mammoth’s coarse hair. Among the funniest elements of the book are Mammoth’s facial expressions, used to convey surprise, indignity and delight.

Robinson has authored 11 picture books, including “What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot” and her newest, “There’s a Lion In My Cornflakes.” She lives in England and loves to be silly.

 

 

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