Staff Picks: Song of the Sea (DVD)


Song of the Sea (DVD: Rated PG, 94 minutes) © 2014

Rating: 4.5/5

Summary: Saoirse, the last selkie, and her brother Ben go on a quest to save the world of magic.

Review: From the creators of The Secret of Kells, the animation in Song of the Sea is both effective and lovely. The movie is set in Ireland, and deals heavily with Gaelic mythology (Mac Lir, Macha the Owl Witch, etc.) that will be mostly unfamiliar to an American audience. Overall, the movie does an excellent job of introducing characters and their stories, making them approachable. So while there is certainly a deeper story to be had by familiarizing yourself with the folk tales mentioned, it is still highly enjoyable. As a parent, the ‘scenes of peril’ and ‘pipe smoking’ that earned the PG rating posed little challenge in watching the movie with my three and seven year old sons.

Read-a-likes: While it represents rougher animation and slower storytelling, fans here may be interested in the creator’s first movie, The Secret of Kells. Those interested in learning more about Irish mythology can check out A Treasury of Irish Folklore. Adults fascinated by the setting should give Corra Harrison’s Burren Mysteries a try.

Availability: This film is available at the Lake Bluff Public Library as a DVD.

Review by: Eric Bailey

Staff Picks: The Aeronaut’s Windlass


The Aeronaut’s Windlass (Jim Butcher: Fiction) © 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: Since time immemorial, the towering Spires have sheltered humanity, keeping them safe from the mist shrouded surface world. The increasing effectiveness of airships has led to booming commerce and conflict amongst rival spirals. Captain Grimm of the Spire Albion merchant ship AMS Predator is about to become embroiled in a dark plot to conquer his home Spire.

Review: This is the first book in a new series, and a bit of a deviation for its author. Author Jim Butcher is known for his Codex Alera and Dresden Files stories. Thematically, this is a different animal than the Rome and fantasy infused Alera and the urban fantasy of the Dresden Files. Rather, the steam punk and air ship infused world reads more like the Horatio Hornblower or David Weber’s Honor Harrington. As with his other series the elements in play here are not especially unique, but the story and setting still intrigue. The handling of cats as a unique race of sapient creatures with their own distinct way of thinking is particularly well done. The book suffers from exposition at times as the first in a series, but ably sets the stage for following entries.

Read-a-likes: While different thematically, those who enjoy Butcher’s new series will likely be rewarded by picking up his Dresden Files and Codex Alera novels. Fans of the lively aerial combat featured will be rewarded by David Weber’s excellent Honor Harrington series. Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey and Maturin adventures remains the gold standard for nautical Napoleonic War adventure, and may be worth a try for fans.

Availability: This novel is available through the Lake Bluff Public Library as a book, eBook, and eAudiobook.

Review by: Eric Bailey

December New Releases

Click on a title, or contact the library, to place a hold on an item!


  1. The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J.M. Lee
  2. Out of Bounds by Val McDermid
  3. The Seventh Plague by James Rollins
  4. Curtain of Death by W.E.B. Griffin
  5. True Faith and Allegiance by Tom Clancy
  6. Island of Glass by Nora Roberts
  7. The Midnight Bell by Jack Higgins
  8. Bryant & May: Strange Tide by Christopher Fowler
  9. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins


  1. Good Clean Beauty by Goop
  2. The Secret Life of Fat by Sylvia Tara
  3. The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
  4. The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes by Melissa Hartwig
  5. Crown of Blood by Nicola Tallis
  6. Making Life Easy by Christiane Northrup
  7. The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
  8. George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones
  9. The Wars of the Roosevelts by William Mann



  1. Bridget Jones’s Baby
  2. It Had to be You
  3. The Dressmaker
  4. Southside with You
  5. Jason Bourne
  6. Magnificent Seven
  7. Sully
  8. Florence Foster Jenkins
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children



  1. Tony Bennett Celebrates 90
  2. Peace Trail by Neil Young
  3. Blue & Lonesome by The Rolling Stones
  4. Acoustic by Simple Minds
  5. Long Way Home by Leon Redbone
  6. Darkness and Light by John Legend



  1. The Turncoat’s Gambit by Andrea Cremer
  2. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
  3. Freeks by Amanda Hocking


  1. The Capybara Conspiracy by Erica S. Perl
  2. Ugly by Robert Hoge
  3. Big Game by Stuart Gibbs
  4. Insert Coin to Continue by John David Anderson
  5. Race the Night by Kristin Hubbard
  6. Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson
  7. How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora
  8. Ryan Quinn and the Rebel’s Escape by Ron McGee
  9. Cinnamon Moon by Tess Hilmo
  10. Welcome to Wonderland by Chris Grabstein

Stories & Starbucks: Teen Book Club


Summary: Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship – the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Read-Alikes: If you liked this book, you might also like Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, and Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.

Book Club: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is the January selection for Eliza’s teen book club, Stories & Starbucks. Copies of the book will be available at the Circulation Desk and downloadable versions can be found on MyMediaMall.

Book club will meet on Saturday January 28th at 2:00pm at the Starbucks Coffee located at 18 Waukegan Rd. in Lake Bluff. We’ll even treat you to a coffee, tea, or snack!


Disney’s Moana: Books After the Movie

Walt Disney’s latest movie, Moana, tells the story of the strong-willed daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe on the island of Motunui. She seeks out the ocean and reunites a mystical relic with the goddess, Te-Fiti, who created the island. When trouble strikes her island, the primary coconut crops begin to rot on the trees and fish become scarce. Moana realizes the trouble that the island and her people are in, and sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, with the hopes of saving her people.

If you’ve recently seen Moana and are looking for more books about Polynesian tales and related topics, here are some good ones that are available at the library:

Maui and the Sun by Gavin Bishop
The Maori people of New Zealand tell this version of the Polynesian folktale in which a trickster uses magical powers to slow the movement of the sun.

Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross
Discover how the greatest explorers in history plunged into the unknown and boldly pieced together the picture of the world we have today. With the help of masterful cross sections, dramatic storytelling, and sidebars that highlight key concepts, places, and technology, readers explore fourteen historic journeys.

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson
A bear and a boy who both love exploring learn to share their adventures together

Women Explorers: Peril, Pistols, and Petticoats! by Julia Cummins
Introduces inspiring women whose passions for exploration made them push the boundaries, including Nellie Cashman, Annie Smith Peck, and Delia Julia Denning Akeley.


Local Favorites – November 23, 2016

The following titles are top-sellers at the Lake Forest Book Store this week:

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all”.

Cooking for Jeffery by Ina Garten
For America’s bestselling cookbook author Ina Garten there is no greater pleasure than cooking for the people she loves—and particularly for her husband, Jeffrey. She has been cooking for him ever since they were married forty-eight years ago, and the comforting, delicious meals they shared became the basis for her extraordinary career in food.

Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11) by Jeff Kinney
When Greg discovers a bag of gummy worms, it sparks an idea. Can he get his mom off his back by making a movie…and will he become rich and famous in the process? Or will doubling down on this plan just double Greg’s troubles?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd and Johanna’s 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

A Portrait of Emily Price by Kathering Reay
Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter…

Red Notice by Bill Browder
A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world, and also the story of how, without intending to, he found meaning in his life.

Soup Nights by Betty Rosbottom
A year-round cookbook featuring one hundred soups and sides from veteran teacher and cookbook author Betty Rosbottom that makes soup the centerpiece of any meal.

The Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson
When food photographer and stylist Erin Gleeson left New York City to live in a cabin in the woods of northern California, she started the blog The Forest Feast to document her vegetable-centric, seasonal approach to cooking.

Won for the Ages: How the Chicago Cubs Became the 2016 World Champions (Chicago Tribune)
In 2016, the Chicago Cubs were at last baseball’s champions, breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat and shedding the label of “lovable losers” once and for all. Led by manager Joe Maddon and built around rising stars Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs brought the Fall Classic back to the ivy-covered confines of Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945 and won the franchise’s first championship since 1908 in unforgettable fashion.