The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: What are you reading? 10.1.2012

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme!  I enjoy keeping track of my reading and sharing with others each week.  This has been a fantastic reading week.

The Poison Garden by Sarah Singleton
Goodreads Summary: It is the 1850’s, and a young boy, Thomas, leaves his family to be apprenticed to a pharmacist, at the behest of his dead grandmother. He also inherits a magical box from her, which provides him entry into a mysterious garden. But while visiting it, he sees a ghostly vision of his grandmother, who tells him she was poisoned, and warns him that he must find the person responsible, and save her precious garden. For she was one of five members of an arcane guild, each of whom cultivated an individual garden, mastering the art of poison, perfume and medicine. The guild members jostle for power as, one by one, they are murdered … Can Thomas solve the mystery, before he in turn is threatened? My thought: Highly recommend just grabbing The Apothecary by Maile Meloy instead of reading this book. The Poison Garden did have a few good twists and a big surprise at the end that made it worth completing, but honestly dragged on a little for me with the transitions between different portions of the story for me. LOVE the cover image and initial plot though!

The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith – This was quite the treasure of a book! I found it on the shelf when I was weeding the fiction section and had the mental conversation of “Dick King-Smith- how can I weed his books? They’re fantastic. Well, I’ll look through each one and pull ones that have deteriorated… Wow, a hedgehog, this is cute!  Must read!” So, for those close to me, they know I’m quite appreciative of all things hedgehog.  Onto the book: I loved this book, quite a cute plot: a hedgehog wants to resolve the issue of hedgehogs getting hit while crossing the street. Loved the hedgehog point of view and felt like this was a cross between Toad Rage by Morris Gleitzman and Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Lucinda’s Secret by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black – I’m still enjoying the re-read of this series as a read aloud with my son. Sometimes there are a few words that I don’t use but what a fantastic adventure! I love the illustrations and was thrilled to see how my son poured over the map at the beginning of the book. Goodreads blurb: Let the story of my niece and nephews be a warning. The more you know, the more danger you’re in. And trust me, you don’t want to meddle with the Little People. — S.S. One thrilling adventure — The Spiderwick Chronicles! Their world is closer than you think.

The Great Piratical Rumbustification and The Librarian and the Robbers by Margaret Mahy, illustrations by Quentin Blake – Fantastic book(s), love the characters, retired pirates, tough librarian reforming robbers, and parents who break out of monotonous routines and enjoy life… Since I’ve been reading articles left and right on the transition to letting go of Dewey in the library, I found The Librarian and the Robbers a pleasant book to jump back in time with, if only for a little while. Goodreads Summary: Wild and wonderful, these stories will appeal to all readers of fine children’s literature, and Blake’s illustrations, full of spirit and exuberance, are the perfect accompaniment of Mahy’s vigorous tales.
The Great Piratical Rumbustification introduces us to Alpha, Oliver, and Omega Terrapin, alone for an evening of devilish fun and none other than Orpheus Clinker, a reformed pirate cleverly transformed into a respectable babysitter. Or has he reformed? Before you can say “Yo Ho Ho” the Terrapin household has become headquarters of the century’s biggest pirate party.
The Librarian and the Robbers is an equally tickling tale of a band of wicked robbers who one day carry off Serena Leburnum, a beautiful librarian. Follow what happens as the lovely and learned Miss L. not only outwits the robbers, turning them into outstanding citizens, but also teaches them the everlasting pleasures of the Dewey Decimal System.

Music on the Bamboo Radio by Martin Booth – I took this book home this long weekend and was pleasantly surprised to get so involved in the book that I couldn’t stop reading it. It has been a while since I enjoyed reading a historical fiction book. It additionally was fascinating to follow the WWII story setting in Hong Kong. Living here is interesting in the first place but also it is an interesting glimpse into the past.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver – Wow, I really was engrossed in this book. Distracted me from completing any other book. Reminded me a little of Hunger Games storyline with progression of the adventure to a new location, loss of another character, and determination to survive and thrive… Anxious to read the third book but know I have to wait over seven months.

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push, push, push,
like Raven taught me to do.

The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.


Tai Chi Morning- Snapshots of China by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Ed Young – Gorgeous reflection on a journey through China interconnected journeys between the poet and illustrated were impressive. I didn’t realize how much I have missed poetry lately. Happy to have time to enjoy golden words.  Goodreads Summary: In 1988, award-winning poet Nikki Grimes spent three weeks along the east coast of China. At the same time, artist and China native Ed Young was there writing and sketching his impressions in a personal journal. Both observed signs of the old China alongside the new, and both set what they saw on paper. Through Grimes’s penetrating verse and Young’s deft drawings, Tai Chi Morning blends two voices that speak not only about China but also about the many ways of experiencing the world.


Henry’s First-Moon Birthday and Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding by Lenore Look, illustrations by Yumi Heo – Immerse yourself in Chinese culture with these two beautiful books of celebration! I highly recommend both of these approachable books for K-4/5. I immediately connected with this golden line in Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding: “Now, I am an umbrella turned inside out. I squeeze back my tears.” – My son and I discussed these gorgeous words and what they mean… Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding is a beautiful story of a niece nervous about change when her uncle gets married. This book provided a great glimpse at traditions, communication, and family celebration. Henry’s First-Moon Birthday is a beautiful story about a little girl who has a brother who has his first moon birthday  As a teacher, I couldn’t believe the amount of gorgeous language within these two book treasures. Besides sharing a beautiful story, the similies and metaphors are exploding out of both books at a gorgeous rate. Here is a few treasures I loved:

From Henry’s First-Moon Birthday:

“Her face is pink again, like the salmon on crushed ice at the Pike Place Market.”

“Everyone says he looks like a fancy butterfly in his silky new clothes.”

From Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding:

“…hair like unwoven silk, eyes like two black pearls…”

“Her good=bye dress looks like summer and she smells like trees and cartwheels.”

Goodreads Summary for Henry’s First-Moon Birthday: Jenny’s baby brother Henry is having his one-month birthday — his first-moon, as it’s called in Chinese. And even though Jenny’s sure he doesn’t deserve it — all Henry does is sleep, eat, and cry — there’s a big celebration planned for him. Together, Jenny and her grandma get everything ready, from dyeing eggs a lucky red to preparing pigs’ feet and ginger soup. And someday, when Henry’s old enough to appreciate all her hard work, Jenny will tell him how lucky he was to have her in charge. The childlike charm of Lenore Look’s story is perfectly captured in Yumi Heo’s naïve illustrations, which give readers the impression that Jenny drew them herself.

Goodreads Summary for Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding: Jenny’s favorite uncle, Peter, is getting married, and everyone is happy happy — everyone, that is, except Jenny. While her family runs about getting ready for the traditional Chinese wedding — preparing for the tea ceremony, exchanging good-luck money called hungbau, helping the bride with her many dresses — Jenny is crying on the inside. How is she supposed to still be Uncle Peter’s number-one girl, with her new aunt Stella around? Maybe if she can stop the day’s events from happening, he won’t get married at all… Mischievous kids will love following Lenore Look and Yumi Heo’s feisty heroine from Henry’s First-Moon Birthday in this charming story that also illuminates the many traditions of the Chinese wedding.

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

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7 comments on “Styling Librarian: What are you reading? 10.1.2012

  1. Katya
    October 1, 2012

    My son loved Lauren Oliver’s Leisl & Po so much that I added Delirium to my to-buy pile.
    I love Margeret Mahy but I don’t know that book… I’ll have to check it out of the library. Too bad I didn’t know about it a couple of weeks ago when it was Talk Like a Pirate day! Arrrr.

    • The Styling Librarian
      October 1, 2012

      I really enjoyed Leisl & Po as well, read it as an ARC and it turned out to be “the” book for a whole group of my students last year. I know, I found the book AFTER Talk Like a Pirate Day!! Would have been a perfect, fun read aloud!

  2. Hannahlily
    October 1, 2012

    LOVE Pandemonium. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than Delirium. I can’t wait for the third book to come out! Isn’t The Librarian and the Robbers a fun story? Miss Laburnum has to be one of the greatest librarians in all of literature 😉

    • The Styling Librarian
      October 1, 2012

      I agree, loved the sequel more. That was one of the first times I loved the second book more than the first. High expectations for that third book!! Yes, The Librarian and the Robbers was quite fun! So glad I discovered it!

  3. Jen Vincent (@mentortexts)
    October 2, 2012

    Ugh, I was so mad at the end of Pandemonium. Lauren Oliver is brutal with her endings. I’ve been waiting like you. 😦 And the Hedgehog looks so cute! I had a hedgehog when I was in college. 🙂

    • The Styling Librarian
      October 2, 2012

      I had a hedgehog at the end of college/beginning of my teaching career! His name was Oscar, because although he was adorable, he was also a grouch! 🙂
      I agree, brutal author…

  4. Pingback: Styling Librarian: Author Connections through Twitter and Blogging « The Styling Librarian

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