The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! It was one of those mixed reading weeks where I completed some books with my son, read some books I was excited to have arrive in my new library shipment, enjoyed finishing an audiobook and completed a few books for my challenges. 

First off, reading wise, thank you to Mr. Schu @mrschureads for interviewing me about Lenore Look’s author visit at my school. Lovely to answer questions and celebrate Lenore Look’s visit:

So, I can’t stop talking about The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes – brilliant formatting, style, narrator, and the humor made this book quite entertaining. Happy to have it as one of the library new book treasures. Cannot wait to promote it! Goodreads Summary: “Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometimes confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins-adults-named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, I said kidnapped. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Luckily for you, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn’t? ).”

This was the great reading week of books by Alan Gibbons, the author who is visiting my school on March 1st. I found it interesting to jump from a realistic fiction to a fractured fairy tale/poetry book to a science fiction book to a horror book…

IMG_3773Chicken by Alan Gibbons – Really enjoyed the character development in this story. Beautiful characters all harboring fear of some sort. The bullying was a powerful poignant part of the story that was a little painful to read. Goodreads summary: “Davy’s too chicken to stand up to bullying at school. He’s been singled out as an easy target. His family aren’t much help—they’re all chicken too. Mom’s frightened of learning to drive, big brother Carl is terrifying himself trying to impress his new friends. And Dad has too many problems of his own to be sympathetic. But in the end it’s his little sisters strange secret which spurs Davy on—and surprises the whole family as well.”


Rib Ticklers by Alan Gibbons – I enjoyed some of the stories and poems in this book and look forward to sharing them with students! This book was packed with a jump through humours fairy tale stories and mixed in humorous poems.

The Three Heads of Cerberus by Alan Gibbons – Interesting book that I’d slightly pair up with the Legendeer trilogy, but not emphasize as being in the same hemisphere. Interesting science fiction adventure with the ultimate questions such as: who can you really trust? Are you just a pawn or a key element?

Dark Spaces by Alan Gibbons and Robbie Gibbons – Very short horror stories that might stick with you… a little too well. Glad I didn’t read these in the evening. Goodreads Summary: “Alan Gibbons at his chilling best in this new collection of nerve-jangling stories from one of the UK’s leading exponents of children’s horror. Terrifying tales of vampire slayers, vengeful ghosts, rampaging werewolves and demonic computers mean that this book has something for everyone. With action, excitement, danger and suspense on every page, Dark Spaces will have you gripping the edge of your seat, scared to enter the darkness alone.”

Other books I’ve enjoyed this week:

Shadow Bringer by David Calcutt – If you have a fan of A Monster Calls, then you have an excellent book to connect them with next… this has that same theme in a beautiful twisted perspective both feeling ancient and present day. Quite a powerful yet quick book to enjoy.


The Great Race by David Bouchard, paintings by Zhong-Yang Huang – an excellent Chinese New Year book following the story of how 12 animals were selected by Buddha and challenged to a great race to determine the order they would be in through the years. What I didn’t expect was to see how the animals friendships would help determine their placement. Special, beautiful book. (I honestly have wanted to find a book like this for years!) Goodreads Summary: “To help her arrange her paper cut-outs of the animals in the Chinese zodiac in the proper order, a young girl’s grandmother tells her the story of the race in which each animal secured its place.” – image from Goodreads

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan – Wow. Just WOW. I see the interconnectedness with this book to all of the other amazing books that the talented Shaun Tan has created. For years I avoided short story collections, cannot explain why but I certainly was mistaken about how much I would enjoy them. This is one amazing, fluid short story collection packed with incredibly powerful illustrations. I highly recommend. I don’t know how well primary school children will connect with this book but think that it is appropriate for 5th grade and up. Goodreads Summary: “Breathtakingly illustrated and hauntingly written, Tales from Outer Suburbia is by turns hilarious and poignant, perceptive and goofy. Through a series of captivating and sophisticated illustrated stories, Tan explores the precious strangeness of our existence. He gives us a portrait of modern suburban existence filtered through a wickedly Monty Pythonesque lens. Whether it’s discovering that the world really does stop at the end of the city’s map book, or a family’s lesson in tolerance through an alien cultural exchange student, Tan’s deft, sweet social satire brings us face-to-face with the humor and absurdity of modern life.”

Again! by Emily Gravett – Hilarious, cute bedtime story showing the patient yet changing storytelling of a dragon mom with her enthusiastic, book loving little dragon. My favorite part of the book was the story changing that the dragon mom shared in the wide spread illustration while the image stayed the same in the small book she had… My son’s favorite part of the story was the hole burned through the back of the book. Quite the appealing, precious book!

IMG_3824The Lost Happy Endings by Carol Ann Duffy & Jane Ray – What a powerful, disturbing, dark, interesting book. I love the value of stories and additionally the gorgeous language. Reading this book aloud to my son was quite the experience. Warning: a character is burned up in this story. Makes sense and is fluidly integrated into the story. Reminded me of a Grimm fairy tale. I LOVED it. I RECOMMEND it. But I think it is more appropriate for 3rd grade and up. Goodreads Summary: “A bewitchingly different bedtime story. A magical tale about what happens when, one night, a wicked witch steals the happy endings to bedtime stories. It is up to Jub, the keeper of the happy endings, to save the day and ensure sweet dreams everywhere.”

ZizzyZizzy by Penny Matthews, illustrated by Danny Snell – Such an adorably slow sloth story, irresistible! I think this would be a perfect book to introduce the discussion of curiosity since this little sloth gets curious enough about seeing the sea that he slowly leaves his normal home and heads towards the sea. Adorable illustrations as well. Goodreads Summary: “Zizzy the baby sloth loves nothing better than to hang upside-down in a tree and eat leaves. Sometimes he catches a glimpse of blue through the creepers and wonders what it could be. Will he ever know what lies beyond the dark rainforest?”

Prudence wants a pet by Cathleen Daly, illustrated by Stephen Michael King – Talk about persistence with your needs! This little girl makes a branch and twig pets until disappointment ensues. Special little story to pair with other pet stories. Goodreads Summary: “Prudence wants a pet. Desperately.“No,” says Dad, “pets cost too much to keep.”  “No,” says Mom, “pets make noise.” But Prudence is determined. She finds her own pet. It is a…branch. But Branch isn’t exactly the pet of her dreams, and neither are Twig, Mr. Round (a car tire), or her baby brother Milo. Poor Prudence. Will she ever find the perfect pet?”

IMG_3827Warambi by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Andrew Plant – I’ve never seen end pages of a book be so informative before! Interesting, heartbreaking story about a little bat impacted by human action on his community. Goodreads Summary: “When the home of a little bent-wing bat colony is destroyed, Warambi finds herself separated from her family and forced to shelter in a rather unusual place. Scary sounds are all around her. Danger is never far away. Will she find her way home?”

Reading GapContinuing my #readinggapchallenge – sports books

Erm, nope, not getting to this one this week and that’s totally fine… 🙂 

NFPB2013leavesThought I’d also mention my Non-Fiction Reading Goal Progress:

I enjoyed reading:

World Heritage – Protecting Threatened Animals by Brendan and Debbie Gallagher – 4th grade and up- It was fascinating to travel around the world with my son reading about habitats, threatened animals, and timelines. Very well organized and fascinating book. Perfect for one of my exhibition inquiry groups. Happy luck that my son brought it home for us to enjoy together. Goodreads Summary: “Dense but well designed, and UNESCO supported, this books shows the mission for protecting threatened animals around the globe and within world history. World View opens volume. Superlative photography. Criteria icons and highlights. Map Reading training.Timelines on every spread. Fast facts. Almanac facts. Running glossary.”

Pest Fest by Julia Durango, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus – poetry – really enjoyed reading this poetry book which was quite the surprise, one poem, one long poem, one funny long poem, one special funny long poem… here’s to unexpected poetry surprises!


Be our guest

at the fest

where the test

is to find which pest

is the best —

or at least

a better pest


Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.


20 comments on “Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

  1. msyingling
    February 4, 2013

    The Templeton Twins was a beautiful book, but it was too Snicketesque for my taste. It’s circulated decently with my middle school students, though.

    • The Styling Librarian
      February 4, 2013

      Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it, reminded me of Snicket mixed with a few other authors…

  2. Beth S.
    February 4, 2013

    I loved Prudence Wants a Pet! I use that one as an example writing an ending that resonates.

  3. Holly Mueller
    February 4, 2013

    I had a group read The Templeton Twins during a mystery unit. They loved it – I knew they would!

  4. Lorna
    February 4, 2013

    Glad that you got a copy of the Templeton Twins–it has been well circulated by kids in the 4th/5th grade classroom where I donated a copy earlier in the year after sharing the book trailer. The Great Race does sound like a great find and something I don’t know a whole lot about. The cover art looks stunning. I too tend to avoid short story collections, but your description of the Shaun Tan one makes me want to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation!

    • The Styling Librarian
      February 4, 2013

      Glad I’m not the only one not so keen on short stories, I’ll be looking into them more… The book trailer for the Templeton Twins is perfect promotion as far as I’m concerned! 🙂

  5. Tara
    February 5, 2013

    My sixth graders love Templeton Twins – the whole format, Snicketyesque though it may be, is something they so enjoy. And thanks for the trailer – I have a collection of these on Pinterest now for my kiddos. It’s such a great way to set up a book talk.

  6. Hannahlily
    February 5, 2013

    Wow, The Templeton Twins sounds like something I would LOVE. I’m pretty sure my library has a copy. Big fan of Outer Suburbia as well. Shaun Tan is absolutely amazing.

  7. novalibrarymom
    February 5, 2013

    The Templeton Twins has been on my list for a long time, and just hasn’t happened yet. My 3yo and I really enjoyed Prudence Wants a Pet, and I’m adding Again to our library list…sounds like a great bedtime read!

    • The Styling Librarian
      February 5, 2013

      I have loads of books that just aren’t getting onto the plate yet… Again was a riot…

  8. LInda Baie (@LBaie)
    February 5, 2013

    So, so many to respond to, Debbie. Wow! I marked Shadow Bringers on the wish list & then decided to add The Lost Happy Endings. Studying myths & fairy tales is a favorite thing & this will make a good addition. Thanks

    • The Styling Librarian
      February 5, 2013

      I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface on books at my library… Curious to know what others think about these books…

  9. carriegelson
    February 5, 2013

    I adored Prudence Wants a Pet! I think I need to pick up a copy of Templeton Twins and read it to my twins! Looks so fun!

  10. Myra GB
    February 11, 2013

    I am so glad that you enjoyed Tales from Outer Suburbia – I’ve done a review of that amazing book a year ago, I think. Here’s the link just in case you feel like taking a looksie:

    Distant Rain was my favorite from that collection. And Shaun Tan has very generously shared the original spreads with me by email when I told him that I was using it for my keynote presentation in Penang Malaysia for an international conference on giftedness and talent and creativity. Such generosity of spirit. Beautiful breathtaking artwork. Genius.

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