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A boy and his mother are canoeing on a pond in the Adirondack Mountains. It is peaceful place, maybe even dull. Or, is it? The boy asks his mother, “What’s down there?”
So many things! His mother tells him about them, from the minnows, crayfish, and bullfrogs to beavers hunting “delectable roots” found in the mud and otters clawing for freshwater mussels.
And, over the pond? A great blue heron catches one of those minnows for his dinner. A moose munches a mouthful of waterlilies. As the sun sets, mother and son paddle back to shore and head for home. In the dark, life goes on at the pond. Raccoons come out to prowl, and catfish glide as they seek their suppers in the cool of the night.
Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Pond does several things very nicely. First, it tells a soothing story, perfect for bedtime. But it also introduces an ecosystem, making the science of living things and the secrets found below a pond’s surface very accessible, and it manages to do so without sounding like a textbook.
Deer Valley, Oregon. You could call it quiet. You could call it quaint. The residents of Deer Valley lead normal, everyday lives.
That is until Jude Brighton, the town's young troublemaker, goes missing. Everyone in town knows that the first 48 hours of a missing person case are the most important, but now he's been missing for three days without any clue of his whereabouts. Stevie Clark, Jude's cousin and best friend, presume Jude ran deep into the woods surrounding Deer Valley, deeper than either of them have ever gone. But there are stories about the woods—about the evil that lurks there. This very same evil could be related to another mysterious disappearance that occurred years earlier. While the residents of Deer Valley look for young Jude, they hope he doesn't end up like that unfortunate victim—half eaten and beaten by an unknown assailant.
Rolling down the highways, watching the usually dull scenery go by, you might never guess that there are interesting places to explore not that far from the interstate. For some people, being a hiker means doing the Appalachian Trail, preferably all the way through. But there are a lot of other trails, many just as scenic, within an hour or two or a day’s drive of our area.
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American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident. Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible. He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever he the same . . .
American Gods is now a television series on the Starz network, based on the novel of the same name. The television series was developed by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) and Michael Green (Heroes, Gotham). Gaiman serves as an executive producer along with Fuller, Green, Craig Cegielski, Stefanie Berk, and Thom Beers. The series focuses on Shadow Moon, who meets a strange man named Mr. Wednesday after being released from prison. However, he soon finds himself a part of a large-scale conflict between the Old Gods and the New Gods, who grow stronger each day. The first episode premiered on the Starz network and through their streaming application on April 30, 2017. In May 2017, the series was renewed for a second season.
The central premise of the novel is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them (a type of thoughtform.) Immigrants to the United States brought with them spirits and gods. The power of these mythological beings has diminished as people's beliefs waned. New gods have arisen, reflecting the American obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and drugs, among other things.¹
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are the best of friends. The best of friends any leftover could ask for.
But their neighbor, Miss Brie, tells them that the syrup is almost all gone! "A single drop's left! Just a drop!"