February Library List – 16 Books and Videos to Pair With Outings


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February Library BannerMy February Library list is looking ahead to March while taking inspiration from events in January and February. Which books will my kids take an interest in? I’m bad at guessing, so I just order anything that excites me, and I hope we can find a common ground. If I find a hit, we will definitely combine int with an outing.

February is a great time to stock up from the library and huddle indoors. By the time I’m through ordering, collecting and reading or watching these books and videos, we may see some signs of spring.  The following is my February Library List of things I want to share with my kids.

*Like last month, I am using our Amazon affiliate links instead of choosing one library among the several Twin Cities libraries our readers patronize.

1.)  Labyrinth – PG

The death of David Bowie has sparked a resurgence of interest in his work. Tonight at 7:00 p.m., the Minneapolis St. Paul Film Society will be screening Labyrinth. I remember loving this movie, but also finding it a bit scary. However, it came out after 1984, so it is a true PG, not a PG-13. I think, since I’m sharing Star Wars with my kids, they can handle Labyrinth.  If you want to see it in the theatre, you can see it at St. Anthony Main on tonight. If you are not interested in Labyrinth, but want to share your memories of David Bowie with your children, Hennepin County Library staff has created a David Bowie List.  If you do request Labyrinth, expect a wait, it has a growing waiting list.


2.)  Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu and  3.) The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

When I mentioned to Gianna that I was adding The Snow Queen to our reading list this month, she said we HAVE to pair that with Breadcrumbs by local author Anne Ursu. Anne Ursu’s book is a modern day retelling of The Snow Queen and involves 5th Graders and friendships. It has an age recommendation of Grades 3-5. The Snow Queen has similar age recommendations. We can top off our Snow Queen study with a visit to Stages Theatre between between March 4th and March 20th (March 6th is the Pay-What-You Can Performance) for their all-ages musical version of the Snow Queen.


Chilling out with a broken leg on his Ice Castle Throne4.) Frozen (PG)

I know, you could actually pair this with the two books and musical above, but Common Sense Media gives this a younger age recommendation of 5+, so I’ve decided to list it separately.  It can be part of a bigger exploration of Andersen’s Snow Queen for an older child, or it can stand apart as an accompaniment to visiting the Ice Castles Exhibit in Eden Prairie with a younger child. Ice Castles is scheduled to run until March 5th (weather permitting). With or without the books, Stages could fit into the mix.


bucket_collecting_maple_sap[1]5.) Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

We are approaching maple syrup season and that always makes me think of Little House in the Big Woods. The maple syrup chapter can be a fun introduction to any of the many maple syrup events in local parks in the spring. As an adult and a commuter, I am happy to be reminded just how big and warm my house is and how lucky I am to have (mostly) shoveled walks and a warm bus to get me to work. I feel deeply for Caroline Ingalls when I think of her shut up in that tiny shack with small children, not ever really knowing if her husband will return. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it is eye opening to visit the rebuilt big woods cabin in Pepin, Wisconsin.


6.) Fritz Danced The Fandango by Alicia Potter

I’m not really sure how to prepare for Animal Dance at Children’s Theatre, or if it is even necessary, but I’ve heard a rumor that there will be live, dancing goats onstage. I’m not sure this is true. Children’s Theatre is still kind of quiet about what to expect. Just in case, I thought I would check out this little picture book about a dancing goat. Fritz is recommended for preschool and up. Animal Dance is also recommended for preschool.


7.) Number the Stars and 8.) The Giver — both by Lois Lowry

I had never even heard of Number the Stars until I saw it was going to be at two different local children stage’s this spring – Old Gem & Stages.  Then my daughter started talking about the book. She rarely tells me what they are doing at school, so I emailed her teacher to find out more. He loves this book, too, and he told me its by the same author as The Giver, which is another book I’ve been wanting to read. If we enjoy that book, there are sequels! This could keep us busy for awhile. Because I’m excited that she’s excited about a book, I’m going to make a special point to get to at least one of these productions. Number the Stars book and play are appropriate for approximately 8 and up. The Giver is a little more mature and recommended for 11 and up.


9.) One Frozen Lake by Deborah Jo Larson

One Frozen Lake by local author Deborah Jo Larson is obviously a nice pairing if you plan to go ice fishing. Weekends through February 28th you could also visit the Ice Shanty Project‘s 2016 On-Ice Program. This free public exhibit celebrates Minnesota winter by having artists design ice houses. March 7th is the day ice houses have to be removed from Minnesota lakes, so there isn’t a lot of time left. This book is best for ages 3-7.


 10) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (NR)

Last year, I dubbed this the Second Worst Musical Ever Made, but by the time our grade school production was over, it had grown on me a bit. It is still not tops on my list, but the subject matter is mostly family friendly. More importantly, my kids like it. So, I’ve added the video to our February Library List. If it turns out your family really likes the video version, The Broadway version will be stopping at the Orpheum from March 29th through April 3rd.


11.) Disneynature: Wings of Life (G)

St. Paul Natural Resources has declared 2016 “The Year of Birds and Bees“.  We can start out the year with Wings of Life, a documentary about pollinators.  This is also streaming on Netflix, so its not actually on my February Library List, but it is available. I’m excited to see what St. Paul does with this year. This is a 6+ show according to Common Sense Media.


12.) Snakes & Frogs & Toads (G)

Maplewood Nature Center is hosting their annual Snakes Alive on Saturday February 27th.  If we time it right, I could pique their interest with a video about snakes the night before, but any time shortly before would be a good way to gauge their interest.


13.) Punk Skunks by Trisha Speed Shaskan and Stephen Shaskan

This book by local power couple, Trisha Speed Shaskan and Stephen Shaskan, is due to be released on Feburary 9th. Now is a good time to get on the library waiting list. Or, on February 13th, the Shaskans will be at the Red Balloon autographing books. Gianna’s new Periscope book club will be featuring Punk Skunks on Friday, February 26th at 11:30 a.m. at Addendum Books.  If you already know the book by heart, it will be more fun to ask the author’s questions and follow along with the reading. This book is recommended for ages 3 and up.


14. Miss Colfax’s Light by Aimee Bissonette

15. Game Changer: John Mclendon and the Secret Game by John Coy

These two books are inspirational biographies by local authors for 6-9 year olds. Game Changer came out in November and tells the true story of Coach John McLendon, who ended segregation in basketball by orchestrating a secret game.  Miss Colfax’s Light will be released in March and tells the story of Harriet Colfax, one of the first female lighthouse keepers. I’ve added both to my February library list because we hope to share both story’s with Bookhounds.


16.) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

March’s Family Day at the Minneapolis Institute of Art is Art in Motion, which will include some “awesome animated films”.  The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of “Awesome Animated Films” Is The Dot and the Line by Norton Juster who also wrote one of my husband’s childhood favorites, The Phantom Tollbooth. So this isn’t really prep for Family Day — which doesn’t really require prep — but it just reminded me of some fun things to share with my kids.  And maybe the curators of Family Day grew up loving The Dot and The Line, too?  It’s possible.  The Phantom Tollbooth is recommended for ages 8-12, but The Dot and the Line can be enjoyed by all ages.  My 4-year-old loves it.


Mouse symbolThe February Library List contains affiliate links.

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for FamilyFunTwinCities.com.

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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