Monthly Archives: July 2011

Staff Picks- Commander Toad

Commander Toad series by Jane Yolen

Loaded with puns, the books about Commander Toad by Jane Yolen, found in the Easy reader section
of the children’s department, are as much fun for adults as for children, especially in grades 1-3. My
daughter (and I) read these books back in the 1980s when they were new, so when I saw them again on
the shelves here, I grabbed four of them and laughed my way through them all.

I can relate them to the TV series “Star Trek” through the main characters: Commander Toad “…guides
his ship where no space ship has gone before…”; “…copilot is Mr. Hop, who thinks deep thoughts
behind his green face”; “Lieutenant Lily fixes engines. She loves the big machines.” But “… young Jake
Skyjumper [who] reads the maps and plots the way from star to star” reminds me of “Star Wars.” By the
way, the name of their “…mighty ship, long and green…” is Star Warts.

The stories I chose were: Commander Toad and the Space Pirates, Commander Toad and the
Intergalactic Spy, Commander Toad in Space, and Commander Toad and the Planet of the Grapes. All of
them were unique adventures and a lot of fun to read.

Recommended by: Paula at Main

Find this book in our catalog!


Staff Picks – Favorite Fantasy Authors

It’s my turn again to write a blog, and I had so much fun with the last list I thought I’d give everyone another one. This is a list of some of my very favorite authors. I’m a sci-fi/fantasy reader, and I love reading series, so that is what you’ll find here. You can click on the author’s name to see which branches have which books and if they’re currently available.

We’ll start with the obvious ones; books you’ve probably heard of that I still want to put on this list for three reasons. 1)If you thought of reading them but weren’t sure, I wanted to put my stamp of approval on them. 2)It’s helpful to have the titles in the right order so you know what to read next. 3)This is a list of my favorite authors, and they should be on it!

Charlaine Harris
-Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire) Novels-
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone
Dead in the Family
Dead Reckoning

Jim Butcher
-The Dresden Files-
Storm Front
Fool Moon
Grave Peril
Summer Knight
Death Masks
Blood Rites
Dead Beat
Proven Guilty
White Night
Small Favor
Turn Coat
Ghost Story (coming later this month)

-Codex Alera-
Furies of Calderon
Academ’s Fury
Cursor’s Fury
Captain’s Fury
Princep’s Fury
First Lord’s Fury

Kim Harrison
-The Hollows Series-
Dead Witch Walking
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
Every Which Way But Dead
A Fistful of Charms
For a Few Demons More
The Outlaw Demon Wails
White Witch, Black Curse
Black Magic Sanction
Pale Demon

Patricia Briggs
-Mercy Thompson Series –
Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked

This next bunch are authors that most people probably haven’t heard of, but that I really enjoy reading. I hope you’ll give them a chance!

C.E. Murphy
– The Walker Papers Series –
Urban Shaman
Thunderbird Falls
Coyote Dreams
Walking Dead
Demon Hunts
Spirit Dances

-The Negotiator Trilogy –
Hearts of Stone
House of Cards
Hands of Flame

Ilona Andrews
-Kate Daniels Series –
Magic Bites
Magic Burns
Magic Strikes
Magic Bleeds
Magic Slays

-The Edge Series –
On the Edge
Bayou Moon

Devon Monk
-Allie Beckstrom Series –
Magic to the Bone
Magic in the Blood
Magic in the Shadows
Magic on the Storm
Magic at the Gate
Magic on the Hunt

Mercedes Lackey
Pretty much everything she has ever written, I love. 🙂

And that’s it, since I can’t be too greedy with the authors I call favorites.
Any feedback on the list idea? Which do you prefer, lists or just reviews? Send an email or just comment here on the blog and let us know!

Recommended by: Ashley at Main

Staff Picks – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been one of my favorite books since I was young. While recently discussing Halloween, the story came up again, and made me wonder what all resources our library had that are Alice related. I thought I’d share what I came up with for anyone that might be interested in reading (or watching, or listening to) Lewis Carroll and his work. (This isn’t even a totally comprehensive list, just one that hits all of the main points. Feel free to come to one of our branches or search our catalog yourself for more!)

We have different movie versions of the tale:

A musical version from 2005

The animated Disney movie from 1951

The latest version directed by Tim Burton

Books about Lewis Carroll:

Inventing wonderland : the lives and fantasies of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, J.M. Barrie, Kenneth Grahame, and A.A. Milne by Jackie Wullschläger

Lewis Carroll: A Biography by Morton N. Cohen

Lewis Carroll: An Illustrated Biography by Derek Hudson

And of course, the original:

As a book, the Classic Illustrated edition with illustrations from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries


As an audio book on cd

There are books that are based on Alice in Wonderland but with a new, fresh twist:

The Looking Glass Wars Series by Frank Beddor

And even a song book!

Songs from Alice : Alice in Wonderland & Through the looking-glass. Words by Lewis Carroll ; set to music by Don Harper ; with illustrations by Charles Folkard.

It might be fun to end the summer with a big tea party for you and your friends (no matter your age!) with a Wonderland theme, or maybe just enjoy a final day filled with Carrollian nonsense before settling back in for school and work in the fall. There’s a lot of inspiration to be had from Lewis Carroll’s work, so I hope you can enjoy the selection that the library provides.

Recommended by: Ashley at Main

Staff Pick – Using Mango Languages

This week, instead of reviewing a book, Addie from the main branch is spreading the word about a service the library offers called Mango Languages.


The Raleigh County Public Library provides an awesome online program that many people may not even be aware of! It’s called Mango Languages. It’s great for students, those traveling to a different country, or those that just want to learn to speak a different language. The way Mango works is by teaching actual conversation skills that you would use in real-life situations. You will learn more than grammar and vocabulary…you’ll learn to communicate! Currently, there are over 30 different languages you can choose from, including Spanish, French, Russian, Farsi, and also English as a second language.

Mango Languages is easy to access and best of all, it’s FREE! Just go to Raleigh County Public Library’s website ( On the left side of the page, click on the “Research and Learning” icon. Then choose “Databases”. Click on the Mango icon and it will take you to the site. All you need is a Raleigh County Library card to log in and start learning!

Don’t miss your opportunity to take advantage of this exceptional program for free!!

(If you don’t want to go the long way, here’s a direct link to our databases page. 🙂 The Mango link is at the top! )