The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: What are you reading? 7/2/12

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme!  

I think I mentally needed a break after two weeks ago’s realistic fiction book treasures and then I had fun with picture books last week… So now, power fiction reading!

First off: FICTION BOOKS- fun to get back into reading novels, eyes still slowing me down a tiny bit but not for long!

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy – this was originally one of those wonderful books I cried “mercy” with an ARC and had a few students in my advisory club read it. After their high praise and advice, I decided it would be one of the first ones of my summer break fantasy reading. Here’s what I think: Really enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor, especially the narrator talking to the reader subtly at times, the titles of the chapters, the illustrations, the individual characters that you actually enjoyed getting to know, and the adventure that seemed to and then didn’t seem to have a purpose… I really loved this fantasy. Lovely break from some serious realistic fiction I’ve been reading lately. Oh no to it being a series, I can totally see some fun spin off’s with this book series and am curious to see where it goes! Summary from Goodreads: Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be. Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes–a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson – Historical Fiction – Really enjoyed reading this treasure of a book. Grateful for the bloggers recommending it lately- enough that I picked it up. Loved traveling through time with Kirby Larson through the eyes of children, adults, and Miss Kanagawa. Such a beautiful perspective in each time and sensitive topics well approached in beautiful ways. Really recommend this book! Summary from Goodreads: I am Miss Kanagawa. In 1927, my 57 doll-sisters and I were sent from Japan to America as Ambassadors of Friendship. Our work wasn’t all peach blossoms and tea cakes. My story will take you from New York to Oregon, during the Great Depression. Though few in this tale are as fascinating as I, their stories won’t be an unpleasant diversion. You will make the acquaintance of Bunny, bent on revenge; Lois, with her head in the clouds; Willie Mae, who not only awakened my heart, but broke it; and Lucy, a friend so dear, not even war could part us. I have put this tale to paper because from those 58 Friendship Dolls only 45 remain. I know that someone who chooses this book is capable of solving the mystery of the missing sisters. Perhaps that someone is you.

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck– I listened to this book as an audiobook- great performance by John Curless – it took a little while to “get into” the story, but once we were in, we were hooked. Loved the adventure and connection to fairy tales. I think that if I was reading vs. listening, I might have skimmed some fairy tale wrap-ups, but enjoyed the audio so much, it didn’t matter. My son loved this book as well and we’re both planning to read the next book when we have time! Summary from Goodreads: Tom’s six older brothers take after their father. Tom does not. The brothers are adventurers who go on dangerous quests in the Land of Stories. Tom stays home with his mother. Tom’s brothers are famous for the exciting endings they discover for the tales the Story Bureau assigns to them. Tom worries he will “never” have a story of his own. But when his brothers fail to return from their adventures in time to celebrate Tom’s twelfth birthday, a letter from the Story Bureau arrives . . . addressed to Tom. It is up to “him” to find out why his brothers haven’t completed their missions. Tom packs his bags and kisses his mother good-bye. It turns out that he has his own story after all–and you are about to read it.

GRAPHIC NOVEL!! I’ve been waiting for this one:

Giants Beware! by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre – This graphic novel rocked! Loved the female leads, brought me to a more mature graphic novel I enjoyed recently but this one is quite entertaining and appropriate (I think) for 2nd/3rd grade and up. What an adventure this spunky character “Claudette the giant slayer” is ready to jump into. I felt like there was more to the story and am nervous (or excited) there might be a sequel! Goodreads Summary: Make way for Claudette the giant slayer in this delightful, fantastical adventure!  Claudette’s fondest wish is to slay a giant. But her village is so safe and quiet! What’s a future giant slayer to do?  With her best friend Marie (an aspiring princess), and her brother Gaston (a pastry-chef-to-be), Claudette embarks on a super-secret quest to find a giant—without parental permission. Can they find and defeat the giant before their parents find them and drag them back home?  Giants Beware! offers up a wondrous, self-contained world in the tradition of the very best of Pixar. Claudette and her friends will have you laughing out loud from page one.


I Have the Right to Be a Child by Alain Serres, illustrated by Aurelia Fronty, translated by Helen Mixter – I LOVED THIS BOOK. My son sat so serious through certain portions and connected the rights to all these other books we’ve read recently about children who don’t have these rights and he said, “Wow, I am lucky aren’t I…”  Love the honor of children’s rights and awareness of those who don’t have them. Connection to Convention on the Rights of the Child. This book connects me back to other treasures on children’s rights. I will add to my blog list on children’s rights and responsibilities:

Turtle in July by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney – POETRY- gorgeous. – For me, this was a fantastic poetry book to enjoy with my son. The poems were dying to be read aloud and after I read them, my son would say, MY TURN and read it with even more enthusiasm. I additionally think the illustrations were beautiful, so lifelike. Fabulous poetry book to share with kids. K-5 (and I loved it as an adult as well!) Summary from Goodreads: An illustrated collection about the activities of particular animals in each month of the year.


The Butt Book by Artie Bennett, illustrated by Mike Lester: My son and I laughed and laughed our way through this book. Almost as much as Chicken Butt. He kept looking incredulously at me about how I was so easily reading the whole thing aloud, but I loved it. (No, I have no issues with reading aloud the word butt, even in classes- much to the shock of many of my students whom I read Chicken Butt to!)  Summary from Goodreads:
Make way for the butt!
Tall butts, short butts, round butts, flat butts.
Butts on mummies and butts on mommies.
Butts on giraffes and elephants and dogs and… FISH?
Yes, even fish butts are celebrated in this tribute to backsides, rumps, tushies, keisters, heinies, and derrieres. Dozens of funny rhymes and pages of laugh-out-loud pictures pay homage to a body part that keeps kids and grown-ups giggling with glee.
Bottoms up!

Little Pig Joins the Band by David Hyde Costello – Very cute story about how to find your place. Goodreads Summary: Little Pig has trouble keeping up with his older–and bigger–siblings. When they get out Grandpa’s old marching-band instruments, Little Pig is too little to play any of them. However, he gets a big idea: the disorganized band could use a leader.

Next? I have a stack of 18 books from the public library that I desperately wish to read, shall see what I get to, 19 days before I have to return them all and fly off to Hong Kong! I’m really enjoying reading The Tiger’s Apprentice by Laurence Yep for Hong Kong Battle of the Books right now…

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads:

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2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
The Styling Librarian has
read 428 books toward her goal of 500 books.

21 comments on “Styling Librarian: What are you reading? 7/2/12

  1. I had never heard of The Secret History of Tom Trueheart, after reading your review and watching the book trailer I’m going to have to look for it. I’ve got Giants Beware on hold at my public library, but they still don’t have a copy yet. So I am waiting and waiting. Happy Reading.

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 2, 2012

      It was on my TBR pile forever, the audiobook was my final way of getting it read. Part of my new school’s Hong Kong Battle of the Book list… I know, I WAITED forever for Giants Beware, was so excited to have it come in! 🙂

  2. Linda Baie
    July 2, 2012

    Great list of books this time-thank you for the review of The Hero’s Guide and Giants Beware. I have the first-time to read it, will look for the 2nd. I loved Turtle In July too, talked about it last week.

  3. Alex Baugh
    July 2, 2012

    I have heard of all of these books but haven’t read any myself, though we have them on a TBR shelf to review them for my school.

  4. Katya
    July 2, 2012

    The Hero’s Guide sounds like a lot of fun. I may recommend that one to my son once he finishes the Warriors series.

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 3, 2012

      That might be a good break from Warriors, those are so popular (and prolific). I told a student to jump into Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan when he needed a break from Warriors and he was thrilled… but The Hero’s Guide is a little lighter and funnier, which might be also a great change!

  5. Stacey Shubitz
    July 2, 2012

    I Have the Right to Be a Child is one I have to get my hands on and soon! Thanks for the heads-up.

    I’ve read Artie Bennett’s book. It’s a funny one. 🙂

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 3, 2012

      I was quite excited about Right to be a Child book- especially with my research/focus with one of my (former) teaching teams. Artie Bennett just contacted me last week and I was thrilled to laugh through the book. 🙂

  6. Lorna
    July 2, 2012

    Some great books! I’m about half-way through Hero’s Guide and it indeed is a fun romp. It’d be a hoot to book talk and I can think of several passages that would draw some readers in. Friendship Doll is on the short list for what to read next when I finish Hero’s Guide.

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 3, 2012

      So true, there’s some pretty fantastic passages for read alouds from Hero’s Guide! I thought Friendship Doll was a good switch from Hero’s Guide. Now I switched from Fantasy to Animal Fiction and next in line is Realistic Fiction… having fun plugging away!

  7. Earl
    July 2, 2012

    “The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom” always catches my eye when I’m at the bookstore and knowing it’s been getting positive reviews makes me want to check it out. I also noticed your Reading Challenge- 85%. Impressive. Good luck!

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 3, 2012

      Thanks! I probably will reach my reading goal this month and increase it. For me, goals are really helpful- keep me focused. 🙂 The Hero’s Guide has a pretty appealing cover, one thing that drew me in (besides reviews and getting the ARC a while ago…)

  8. novalibrarymom
    July 2, 2012

    I loved Hero’s Guide. I think it could span a whole lot of ages, both as a read-aloud and as an independent read. I’m 30 years old, and I was laughing out loud and making my husband read parts 🙂 The Friendship Doll is going on my TBR list…thanks!

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 3, 2012

      I agree, I love that Hero’s Guide is appropriate for a wide range of readers, fun for all. And I was thrilled with Tom Trueheart being appropriate for my son to listen to and my own entertainment. Think Hero’s Guid could be the same way.

  9. You read 2 books I really liked this last year- Hero’s Guide and Giants Beware were so great!
    Friendship Doll has been on my TBR for a while- I’ll have to get to it at some point.

    Happy reading this week! 🙂

    • The Styling Librarian
      July 3, 2012

      Thanks Kellee, I thought those two were fantastic, probably your reviews guided me to them!! 🙂 Happy reading your way… 🙂

  10. Ms. O
    July 3, 2012

    I am putting Giants Beware on my TBR list right now. I’m not usually a graphic novel fan but that sounds fun … and I know the kiddos like ’em!

  11. Pingback: Styling Librarian: Technology Resources Shared for June 2012 « The Styling Librarian

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