It feels as if Beaufort County has been thrust into the dog days of summer a few weeks early this year. The weather has most of us feeling tired and worn out by midafternoon and in need of a refreshing pick-me-up. The cure for the muggy summertime blues is right around the corner at one of five Beaufort County libraries.
The library is filled with books and movies that your whole family can enjoy when the heat and humidity have zapped your strength. It's the perfect time to stop by and pick up some classic stories to enjoy alone or with your whole family. After you finish the book, you can also check out the DVD version of some favorite tales.
Spend a lazy day or two rediscovering some childhood classics, such as "Winnie-the-Pooh," by A.A. Milne, with simple, yet elegant illustrations by Ernest Shepard. After you read the book, check out the feature "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," narrated by Sebastian Cabot.
Before they hit the big screen, E.B. White's classic books set the standard for family read-alouds. Take a trip to the farm in "Charlotte's Web," where Charlotte dispenses wisdom for old and young alike (that is suitable for humans as well as pigs). "Charlotte's Web" is a great story for all ages and the message found in the book is timeless. The chapter book "Stuart Little" introduces us to a typical New York family who learns that their new "baby" is a mouse named Stuart. They quickly learn that having a tiny mouse around the house can be an advantage, especially when an expensive piece of jewelry is dropped down the drain. But Stuart also has a more adventurous side, which sends him boating in Central Park and driving race cars. After you enjoy the writings of White, check out the movies based on his books and you decide which is best -- the book or the movie.
Never miss a local story.
If you're feeling more daring, check out one or two longer books that are action-packed adventures. The Beaufort County library offers several versions of "The Swiss Family Robinson," by Johann David Wyss and "Treasure Island," by Robert Louis Stevenson. Check out the complete, unabridged versions of these classic stories of adventure on the high seas, or try a shortened version more suitable for new readers or listeners with short attention spans. When you've finished the book, it's time to get the popcorn ready and watch Disney's feature-length movie adaptations of these two stories.
If those two tales leave you yearning for more pirate fun, check out J.M. Barrie's book, "Peter Pan." Still popular today, the book has pirates, fairies, magic and, of course, a ticking crocodile. The Beaufort County library can hook you up with several different movie versions of Peter and Wendy's adventures, including Disney's award-winning production and the movie "Hook," which is a comical adventure featuring a grown-up Peter Pan taking on Captain Hook.
The world's most accomplished nanny, "Mary Poppins," was not originally a movie star, but simply the title character of a series of books by P.L. Travers. These stories are great for reading independently or as a family read-aloud. Tucked in among the fun, magic and adventure that fills the pages, readers will also get some history lessons as the Banks family deals with the politics and suffrage movement of 1910 London. After the book is finished, drop by the library again and this time get the classic Disney movie "Mary Poppins," starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. The sidewalk chalk scene that features Andrews and Van Dyke dancing with animated penguins is still a favorite with viewers, but it was also considered a filming feat when the movie was produced in 1964.
Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" provides a summertime escape for all ages, as readers and listeners are transported to a jungle filled with animals, trickery and adventure. The library has many versions of these stories, ranging from the complete stories of Kipling, which are best suited for older readers or for reading aloud, to picture books for preschoolers that each feature just one of the famous stories. Library staff will be happy to help find the edition that's right for you. After the books are finished, get ready to move to the beat of the rhythmic soundtrack of Disney's "The Jungle Book" and "The Jungle Book 2."
If you still need a few more book and movie pairings to get you through the waning days of summer, don't forget L. Frank Baum's Oz books, E. L. Konigsburg's "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" or Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." Hopefully, these suggestions will remind you of some much-loved tales that you would enjoy reading and watching again. If you need more ideas, swing by your favorite branch -- the friendly staff will be happy to help you find a classic book and movie to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Julie Bascom is the youth services manager at the Hilton Head Island library.