Childhood Horrors

Sometime ago in the mists of the last century, there were only three TV networks. On holidays, you usually had the choice of a football game, a different football game, or the longest movies the network could find – usually Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Sound of Music.  Chitty, an overly technicolor musical, scared the daylights out of me. As soon as that Childcatcher came prowling, I was behind the sofa holding my breath. Today’s kids would just send his photo to Instagram and beat him up.

Children see things differently. Some are easily spooked, some are skeptical from birth. Kids misunderstand and misinterpret things, and that alone can create unfounded horror.

Obviously, most children’s films try to avoid horror, but what’s marketed to kids is not always Barney and Big Bird – few Grimm’s Fairy Tales end happily ever after. Poltergeist –  ghosts, demons, peeling faces, and evil clowns in child-swallowing glowing closets – was only rated PG. PG, because PG-13 hadn’t been invented yet.

Young Sherlock Holmes (the food nightmare) scarred one of my children; to this day she won’t eat cream puffs. Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! and its disembodied heads was another. Another didn’t trust Nazgûl (nor should you), and was terrified by Matilda. The 1971 Alastair Sim animated A Christmas Carol, with its writhing starving waifs and the faceless, voiceless Ghost of Christmas Future taints every incarnation I’ve seen since.

If your child likes spooky things and wants to be a part of the Addams family, here’s a list of kid’s films – honest! – that just might give your kid the shivers. If you have a child with a more sensitive nature, you might want to wait a few years on these:

Toy Story – Oh, doll-headed spider and hook-bodied Barbie, how we hate you! You may be Pixar, but you’re scary!

Coraline – Creepy button-eyed fake parents trying to steal a child?  Hmm….

Labyrinth – Sure, we adore Bowie, but these are Muppets who steal babies, chase girls with drill bits with intent to kill, and drop people into pits lined with talking disembodied hands. ‘Nuff said.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Disney likes to whistle and pretend this isn’t theirs, but Ray Bradbury didn’t edit the scariness out of his novel of two boys and an evil carnival run by Mr. Dark, complete with electrocutions and freakshow.

Who Framed Roger RabbitBut this is a comedy! you cry – and it is, until crying Toons get faced with The Dip. Be prepared for a talk on death.

Return to Oz – if the flying monkeys didn’t scare you, perhaps Dorothy’s electroshock treatments will.

Jumanji – sure, it’s a game, but a deadly one. Floors that swallow people are just some of the issues; the intensity and situations may be too much entirely for young viewers.

Harry Potter series – yes, the first one is a charming tale of an orphan boy who learns he’s a wizard, but the stories get darker, and major beloved characters start dying. By the third film, Voldemort is embodied evil and believably out to get Muggles. Like your child.

The Dark CrystalFraggle Rock it’s not. It’s a dark Muppet film with lots of dark themes. Preteens maybe, but there’s no Elmo to lighten it for the little kids.

Gremlins – another movie made before PG-13, so it was stuck with PG. Gremlins are cute little things until you feed them, and then they become psychopathic demons out to harm and kill.  If preteen horror films was a separate genre, this would be one of their cornerstones, along with perhaps The Witches, Watcher in the Woods, and Jaws (which is also only PG).

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – let’s face it, Roald Dahl is almost never nice to children. Here alone, he sucks them up pipes, dumps them down garbage chutes, and has them cornered by very scary men in dark alleys asking them to sell their souls for money. But the crowning touch cited by many critics is the boat ride  scene, all psychedelic and threatening – but that’s the way it is in the book, too – a disorienting journey where everyone believes Wonka’s looney.

Every parent knows their child best. Some kids like a scary movie, some kids will wind up sleeping in your bed for a week with all the lights on. If your kid shows interest in scary movies, these might be a gentler introduction over, say, The Exorcist. Just be aware that even a seemingly wholesome, kid-marketed movie can have some really scary moments when you least expect it.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in October

Science, History, and Technology all come alive with CPL programs this month! Here are some highlights:

Cheshire World War I Digitization Day

Tuesday Oct 3, 2017, 1:00 – 4:30 PM

Cheshire Public Library will be partnering with the Connecticut State Library to hold a World War I Digitization Day on Tuesday, October 3, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m., at the library, 104 Main Street.  Cheshire area residents and their family, friends, and neighbors are being asked to find their WWI related items and stories that might be tucked away in drawers or trunks so they can be included in this important archive.  Registration is not required – just drop in.

Town-Wide Instagram Scavenger Hunt

Saturday Oct 7, 2017, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Grab your friends, family, and phone for the third annual Town-Wide Instagram Scavenger Hunt! You’ll receive a set of clues in the morning, then travel all around Cheshire photographing your solutions and posting them to Instagram. Solve as many or as few clues as you like. All you need is a smartphone or network-enabled device, an Instagram account, a vehicle, and a sense of fun! After the hunt, come back to the Library for a celebratory snack, prizes, and a raffle drawing. Participants of all ages are encouraged to participate. For those unfamiliar with Instagram, technology help will be available when you pick up your clues on the morning of the hunt. Registration is required.

Donuts with Grownups and Coffee with the Candidates

Saturday Oct 7, 2017, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

We are inviting the candidates who are running for the Cheshire Town Council to attend this special session to give Cheshire families the opportunity to meet, ask questions and register to vote if you haven’t already! Donuts with Grownups Storytime is designed especially for working families with children ages 2 and up who can’t make it to our weekday storytimes. Enjoy crafts, activities, music, stories, and of course Donuts as a family!  Best suited for children age 2-6. Cheshire residents only, please. Registration is required.

Introduction to Microsoft Word

Part 1 – October 11, Part 2 – October 18, Part 3 – October 25, 6:00 – 7:30 PM

This class will provide an introduction to Microsoft Word and is divided into three sessions.

  • You will learn basic navigation skills to effectively use the Microsoft Word program.
  • Create a simple document.
  • Edit text and check spelling errors.
  • Format the document.
  • Insert a picture; change font formatting and much more.

Registration is required.

It Happened in Connecticut

Thursday Oct 12, 2017, 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Witchcraft trials, a serial murderer who inspired a popular movie, and a bizarre vagabond who has fascinated people for 150 years are three amazing yet true stories from the state’s past. Author Diana Ross McCain draws the tales from her books It Happened in Connecticut: Twenty-five Events that Shaped the Nutmeg State and Mysteries and Legends of New England: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained. Following the presentation, McCain will sell and autograph copies of her books. Registration is required.

Yale Jashan Bhangra

Saturday Oct 14, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Yale Jashan Bhangra, a dance team founded in 2005, performs a traditional folk dance from Punjab.  Learn about Punjabi and Sikh culture, watch a short bhangra performance and get a dance lesson from these talented dancers. No registration required.

Introduction to iPad

Thursday Oct 19, 2017, 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Do you have an iPad or are you thinking of getting one?  Get the lowdown on apps, music, settings and more. Please bring your fully charged iPad (if you have one), Apple user name/password and your e-mail user name/password if applicable. Registration required as space is limited.

Friday Night @ the Library

Friday Oct 20, 2017, 5:30 PM

The library will be opening at 5:30 pm on Friday October 20 for another Friday Night @ the Library! Enjoy events for children, families & adults including a concert, mini-art lessons for adults and children with ArtsPlace artists and more!   The “Back In Time”’ concert at 6:00 pm will feature Liz McNicholl and Lindsey Ceitinn in a family-style singalong of old favorite songs and fiddle tunes.   Purchase pizza (from Cheshire Pizza and Ale) and drinks from our Friends of the Library. No registration required.

DNA Testing for Genealogy Research: Fact & Fiction

Saturday Oct 21, 2017, 2:30 –  4:00 PM
Thinking about doing a DNA test for your genealogy research or have done one already?  Genealogist Janeen Bjork will talk about the three major companies offering DNA testing, the costs, facts and misconceptions of what testing can do for you.  Registration is required.

Reviving Five Thousand Years of Chinese Civilization

Monday Oct 23, 2017, 6:00  –  7:30 PM
This presentation covers the essence of the traditional Chinese philosophies: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, how those core concepts influence medicine, literature, music, and arts, how the rich traditions are being interrupted, and how the authentic culture is returning to world stage through New York based Shen Yun Performing Arts. Registration is required.

Connecticut Rock ‘n Roll: A History

Tuesday Oct 24, 2017, 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Join author Tony Renzoni as he shares tales from his book “Connecticut Rock ‘n Roll: A History.” Learn about some of the Nutmeg State’s musical highlights: the beautiful harmonies of New Haven’s Five Satins, Gene Pitney’s rise to fame, Stamford’s the Fifth Estate and notable rockers such as Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Saturday Night Live Band’s Christine Ohlman. Book sale and signing immediately following the program, registration is required.

Connecticut Made

Thursday Oct 26, 2017, 6:30  –  7:30 PM
Join us as Cynthia Parzych discusses her book Connecticut Made.  She will explain interesting, fun business to visit in the state, from wine, beer, jewelry, art and much more.  Her book will also be available for purchase and signing after the presentation.  Registration is required.

Halloween Dance Party and Trick-or-Treating

Monday Oct 30, 2017, 6:00 PM

Come dressed in your Halloween costume for this special Halloween dance party followed by trick-or-treating around the library! For ages 2 and up. Registration required.  Open to Cheshire residents on September 15, all others on October 29th.

Anime Club Halloween Cosplay Extravaganza

Tuesday Oct 31, 2017, 3:00 – 4:30 PM

Dress up and act like your favorite character: anime or otherwise! Prizes will be awarded and Japanese refreshments will be provided—this is one event you won’t want to miss!!  For grades 7—12, no registration required.

It’s National Keep Kids Creative Week

September 24st – 30th, 2017 is “National Keep Kids Creative Week”. The holiday was started in 2003 by author/illustrator Bruce Van Patter to restore children’s innate ability to “think outside the box, not “in front of the box.”

 

During National Keep Kids Creative Week, parents are encouraged to eliminate or at least cut down on kids’ screen time, and help them brainstorm creative activities instead. Write a story or create a recipe together. Challenge them to come up with their own superhero, cool invention, or fun game to play.  Bruce Van Patter’s website has some great ideas to get the ball rolling.

Cheshire Library has a lot of resources to encourage creativity, too, as you might imagine. Let’s get those creative juices flowing!

Art Lab for Kids : 52 creative adventures in drawing, painting, printmaking, paper, and mixed media by Susan Schwake

The Artful Parent : simple ways to fill your family’s life with art and creativity by Jean Van’t Hul

You Can Write a Story! : a story-writing recipe for kids / by Lisa Bullard

150+ Screen-free Activities for Kids : the very best and easiest playtime activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com! by Asia Citro, MEd

Tinkerlab : a hands-on guide for little inventors by Rachelle Doorley

365 Things to do with LEGO Bricks by written by Simon Hugo

ChopChop : the kids‘ guide to cooking real food with your family by Sally Sampson

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley is a wonderful graphic novel about her lifelong relationship with cooking. Lucy grew up in a household where food was always central. Her mother ran a catering business, grew her own food, and operated a farmer’s market stall. Due to this constant exposure, Lucy based many of her memories on food. Huevos rancheros reminds her of her adventures in Mexico with her best friend. Croissants remind her of the time she backpacked through Europe with a close college friend. Sushi takes her back to her travels in Japan. Hot chocolate, burgers, and fries remind her of traveling Italy with her father. Baking sweets became her way of working through stressful times in her life. Accompanied by these recorded memories are delicious recipes that are fun to make. After reading this graphic novel, you will gain a new appreciation for the importance different types of food can have on impacting people’s lives.

Genre: Non-fiction graphic novel

Setting: Modern-day Mexico, Italy, Japan, New York, and Chicago.

Number of pages: 173

Themes: Family, friendship, travel, growing up, and cooking.

Is this good for a book club? This would be good for book clubs that enjoy books about food.

Objectionable content? There are discussions of alcohol, periods, and pornographic magazines.

Can children read this? Teenagers would enjoy the stories.

Who would like this? Anyone who loves food.

Rating: Five stars

Pirates: Books, Movies, and Pirate Language Lessons

September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day.  There are many ways to celebrate. Dress like a pirate, talk like a pirate, watch a pirate movie, and, of course, read about pirates.

What’s your pleasure, matey?

How to Talk Like a Pirate: Take Pirate language lessons from Mango Languages. Available online from the Cheshire Library’s eResources page. Click on the Languages button and login to Mango to learn the proper way to talk on the high seas.

Pirate Movies. We’ve not only got all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but  several other pirate films and TV series, too.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (DVD – Animation)
After years of failed attempts to win the Pirate of the Year Award, Pirate Captain and his oddball crew go on a race to pillage the most booty.

Pirates: Dead Men Tell Their Tales (Downloadable)
Step back in time and discover the magic of the real Pirates of the Caribbean investigating the stories of Blackbeard, Sir Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd,  Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

 Treasure Planet (DVD – Animation)
Young Jim is given a map that charts the course to Treasure Planet, a distant world where hundreds of space pirates have stashed their loot.

Black Sails: The Complete First Season (DVD)
In 1715 New Providence Island is controlled by notorious pirate captains, and the most feared is Captain Flint. As the British Navy returns to exterminate Flint and his crew, Flint allies himself with Eleanor Guthrie, daughter of the local kingpin.

Cutthroat Island (DVD)
Morgan Adams, the female captain of a pirate ship, is on a treasure hunt for millions of pounds of gold buried on Cutthroat Island. She and her uncles each hold sections of the map to the treasure, but her Uncle Dawg would rather kill everyone in his way, including his niece.

Captain Blood (DVD)
A swashbuckling classic. After he treats wounded English rebels, physician Peter Blood (Errol Flynn) is arrested and sentenced to slavery in Jamaica. But Blood leads fellow slaves in an escape and strikes terror into the Jamaicans as the pirate Captain Blood.

Books about pirates.

Pirate by Clive Cussler (Fiction)
Confronted by a determined adversary, husband-and-wife treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo embark on an international quest involving an eight-hundred-year-old relic and a brutal murder. Also available as an eBook.

 

Pirate King by Laurie R. King (Fiction)
Mary Russell, wife to Sherlock Holmes, is traveling undercover along with a film crew that is ready to shoot a pirate movie. When the crew embarks for their Morocco location, Russell feels a building storm of trouble:  a film crew with secrets, decks awash with romance, and now the the real buccaneers the studio has recruited to provide authenticity are ignoring the movie studio owner and answering only to their dangerous outlaw leader. Also available as an audiobook.

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson (Non-fiction)
Pirate Hunters’ is a gripping account of two courageous divers’ quest to uncover the shipwrecked vessel of Joseph Bannister, one of history’s most infamous pirates. Also available as an audiobook.

 

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (Young Adult Fiction)
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map, pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies. Now the only thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. Her power to enchant with song makes her a formidable foe– Alosa is only half-human, the daughter of a pirate king and a siren.