Reviewed by Ron Freeman

I recently read a wonderful, creepy, children’s book. It is called The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson.

As a general rule, we tend to believe that technological advancements improve the quality of our life. In Arntson’s society of the future, he takes many of our seemingly positive technologies, extends them in a very logical way, and creates an eerie future.

We tend to feel that if every school had a computer for every child, learning would increase dramatically because every child would be engaged and programs could identify specific skills for a child to work on. In Arntson’s world, computers allow for more and more standardized testing, which creates more standardized learning, which results in a wealth of knowledge that gets left behind.

We tend to feel that GPS is a very positive development, because we aren’t trying to look at maps while driving and we never get lost. In Arntson’s world, GPS is so prevalent, and cars are so smart, that nobody can find anything without it.

Reviewed by Jamie Mayo

I listened to Okay for Now in preparation for the Kansas City Mock Awards, a tradition among librarians here (and all over the country) to make our best guesses as to what the Newbery Award committee will choose as the winner for 2012.

Our Mock Awards will be held this week, a couple of weeks before the actual awards will be announced at the American Library Association’s Conference in Dallas.

Reviewed by Amy Morris

If you are looking for an engaging, interactive picture book to read with your child at bedtime or during a story time setting, then check out Press Here, by French author and illustrator Herve Tullet.

A recent poll of Children’s Services librarians netted a number of seasonal favorites that we thought you all might enjoy too. Check them out, and post your favorite winter-themed children's books in the comments!

Ron Freeman, Trails West:
I return every year to Snow Day! by Lester Laminack because it's a book with a great ironic ending. You think the narrator is a child who is watching it snow, imagining school being cancelled and all the fun he's going to have. The next morning he realizes that there wasn't much snow and school won’t be cancelled and the family is rushing trying to get to school on time. Then you realize the story isn’t about a kid, but about a teacher! Who knew teachers hope for snow days too?!

Clare Hollander, Central:
At the top of the list must be The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry. The Gift of the Magi is still powerful for me, even though I know how it ends. Reading it aloud, it just flows, and everybody still loves listening to it at my house, even though they know how it ends.

T.M. James Times photo

T.M. James & Sons was a store in early Kansas City that sold fine china. It was established by Thomas Martin James, who moved here from Kentucky in 1854, about four years after the founding of the Town of Kansas, or Kansas City, as we now call it.

His store became the place in Kansas City at which you could buy both Wedgewood and Spode china.

T.M. was successful in other enterprises, and he and his wife, Sally (or Sallie) Woodward, were an important part of the core group that founded the First Baptist Church of Kansas City. In the 1870s the “& Sons” was added in reality, when J. Crawford and Luther joined their father in running the store. Both became leaders in Kansas City business, Crawford serving as president of the Commercial Club, as well as a member of the Board of Education.