The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

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

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts  and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! Yet another week to share multiple picture books. Love these ones… Some were books I’ve wanted to read for many years, others are books I randomly found in the library when I went browsing…

Here’s the books I celebrated this past week:

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

The Tree Lady – The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry

The Tapir Scientist – Saving South America’s Largest Mammal by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop


Abduction at Griffith Observatory by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson – Adult, Mystery. (Yes, I snuck in an adult book.)

Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith – Loved this wonderful adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood. Always enjoy when Eric Kimmel throws you into the south. This one had a wolf trying to pretend to be a coyote. He then tried to impersonate Little Red Hot’s grandmother… but her hot pepper pie has a fantastic turn to the story. Goodreads Summary: “Little Red Hot loves red hot chili peppers. She eats them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When her grandmother catches a cold, Little Red makes her a hot pepper pie that will knock those cold germs right out of her. But before Little Red shares her pie with Grandma, she meets Se? or Lobo ? and the pie comes in very handy when the wily wolf tries to trick her into thinking he’s her grandmother.”

Marty McGuire has too many pets! By Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Floca – Realistic Fiction – 2nd/3rd grade and up – Absolutely enjoyed every moment of this book from Marty having the best of intentions to her inspiration to fundraise to help a local organization to the explosion of issues that occur when she overcommits. Personally I loved the portion of the book that reflects on Marty dealing with taking care of a hedgehog since I’m a former (over 12 years ago) hedgehog owner. Love how the message that even when you try to follow through on your commitments, you might not achieve what you hope in the way you thought it out…Goodreads Summary: “Marty McGuire really has her hands full this time — with a lazy boa, a hyper hamster, and a potty-mouthed parrot! Is her pet sitting business about to go OUT of business? After visiting a sanctuary for retired lab chimpanzees, Marty wants to follow in the footsteps of her idol Jane Goodall and help with their care. But “adopting a chimp” is expensive, so Marty and her third-grade pals hatch a plan to raise money by holding a talent show at school and opening a pet-sitting business in Marty’s basement. It turns out that each pet has a personality of its own, and wrangling them is much harder than Marty expected. How will Marty keep her latest great idea from going to the dogs?”

Weeds Finds a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliott, pictures by Carolyn Fisher – I love when a picture book helps you look at things from another perspective, appreciate commonplace things. This book is a soft spoken, beautiful book that introduces how weeds find a way to grow in many different places. Just loved every bit of the book. Goodreads Summary: “Weeds are wonderful! Persistent, exuberant…these plants have personalities, and this nonfiction picture book puts them on colorful display! From bright yellow dandelions popping through cracks in sidewalks to purple loosestrife growing rampant along roadways, weeds offer unexpected splashes of color and life to the least likely of places.

Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco – I was excited to read another new-to-me Patricia Polacco book, about her childhood with her brother on the farm at Christmas. The story is about how the family has a hard time financially and is also focused on grief after their grandmother passes away. A housekeeper comes to help out, Kay Lamity, who is a little mysterious… like Mary Poppins in a way. How attitudes change, gifts are appreciated either store bought or homemade, and the family has a lovely Christmas morning. Goodreads Summary: “Richie and Trisha want to buy Christmas gifts for their family, but they don’t have enough money. Enter Kay Lamity, a new housekeeper . . . but is that all she is? She comes into their lives like a whirlwind, brimming with positive energy and a can-do attitude. Kay not only straightens them out when it comes to whether or not Santa Claus is real, she teaches them something about gifts: the just-good-enough kind that come from the pocketbook and the unforgettable kind that come from the heart. Because of Kay, Trisha and Richie—and the family—have a Christmas morning they will never forget.”

Rooting for You – A Moving Up Story by Susan Hood, illustrated by Matthew Cordell – I’ve been anticipating this book for a long time. I loved interviewing Matthew Cordell months ago and was so curious about the complete book… what a perfect book for learning about growing, taking risks, change, life cycles, ecosystems, support from others, encouragement and more. So fun to fold out pages, lift them different directions and more… This book can be celebrated and purchased for so many reasons beyond the classroom as well… I see it as a lovely companion book for a graduation and even see how some pages could be selected for a signature sheet or signatures on the end pages… I remember how one wonderful parent has a book that he has every teacher sign over the years of that child’s education. Think it was Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. I also think another lovely book-gift could be Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and Marc Brown… So Rooting for You is one of those perfect books, all the way round. Goodreads Summary: “It’s time for one little seed to come out of his shell. But he’s afraid. It’s a big world out there. There may be dangers! (Like monsters!) There are definitely obstacles. (Like rocks!) And while there’s a good deal of uncertainty, he discovers that he has friends to help guide him on his way and root for him to have his day in the sun.”

Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger, pictures by Cece Bell – My son said “This guy is awesome!” after we laughed through the book Crankee Doodle and I pointed out that he was also the author of Origami Yoda. I thought the voice of the pony was a riot, Crankee Doodle was hilarious too… Great read aloud. I personally felt a little foolish for not questioning and looking up what in the world macaroni meant before this. It makes SO SO SO much more sense to know that it means fancy vs. simply a noodle. That always drove me bananas about the song Yankee Doodle. Very happy to understand and learn more through a hilarious book! Goodreads Summary: ““Yankee Doodle went to town / a-riding on a pony / stuck a feather in his hat / and called it macaroni.” Many know the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” but few understand it. This unapologetically silly picture book reveals that the legendary ride to town (and the whole macaroni thing) was all suggested by Mr. Doodle’s overeager pony. This just makes Mr. Doodle cranky: “I do not want macaroni. I do not want a feather. I do not want any other clothing, any other pasta, or any other parts of a bird. I do not want anything that they have in town!” A historical note ends this colorful, comical take on a nonsensical old song.”

Babbit by Lydia Monks – illustrator of What the Ladybird Heard – A cute little toy is put at risk when her young owner doesn’t monitor her… or is that what it is about? Is it about witches and other nasty forest creatures stealing the bunny to eat? Is it about two girls on an adventure? Is it about acting out a drama for fun? You figure out for yourself. I was left looking, thinking, reflecting, looking and feeling befuddled, in a mostly good way. Cute book. Goodreads Summary: “Babbit is a garrulous toy bunny who has a startling adventure–how will his flippity floppity day end? Talkative carrot lover Babbit is having a lovely picnic with the Big One and the Little One, but just as they are packing everything away, he is grabbed But who has stolen him? This humorous story of learning to play nice and take care of toys has a happy ending for all.”

Pirates vs. Cowboys by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by David Barneda – Good example to use for conflict- when two cultures like pirates and cowboys meet up, they might not speak the same language or understand one another’s slang expressions. This can certainly lead to poor communication and misunderstandings, and with pirates and cowboys, it can include guns and swords as well! Quite the amusing book to see how things are resolved. Goodreads Summary: “It is a sad and sorry day when Burnt Beard the Pirate and his scurvy crew swagger into Old Cheyenne looking to bury their treasure. Black Bob McKraw—terror of the Wild West—and his posse don’t take too kindly to pirates invading their town. And to add insult to injury, the pirates and cowboys can’t understand a lick of what the others are saying. None of them cowboys speak Pirate, and none of them pirates speak Cowboy. Who will save the day before these sorry—and stinky!—bilge rats and yellow-bellied varmints draw their cutlasses and six-shooters?”

Dino-Wrestling by Lisa Wheeler, illustrations by Barry Gott – Well. I’ve missed this series by Lisa Wheeler. A few years ago my son participated in a fantastic wrestling program and he LOVED reading this book that introduces, in a fantastic way, various forms of wrestling with smooth, humorous creatures tying together the entire story. Recommended for sports fans, especially if you know anything about wrestling, or maybe even if you know nothing! I certainly learned a few things… Goodreads Summary: “The Dino-Wrestling Jamboree is ON! Dinos compete in all styles of wrestling at this gigantic event. Allo and Ankylo grapple in a folkstyle match. Lucha Libre fans go wild as the masked Tarbosaurus takes on Iguano. Tricera and Gigano loom large on the sumo dohyo, while over in the freestyle tent, Leso and Compy battle for the pin. Just what will happen when the Diplo and Ptero tag teams rumble in the WWD fight? You won’t want to miss this action!”

Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka – I’ve never tired of reading Eric Kimmel’s adaptation, but I’ve read this book multiple times in the past under a different title, The Chanukkah Guest. Just love the story of Bubba Brayna who mistakes a bear for her local rabbi and treats him to a special meal and gives him a special gift as well. Hilarious and wonderful. I appreciate the new illustrations even though I have fond memories of the original. Goodreads Summary: “Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, but at ninety-seven, doesn’t hear or see very wellso when a bear arrives at her door, lured by the delicious scent, she invites him in to celebrate Hanukkah with her.”

Bird Child by Nan Forler, illustrated by Francois Thisdale – 2009 – This is a story that I’m going to think about for a while. I loved how originality and speaking up for others rose up above all other bits of the story… I also appreciated that there wasn’t resounding regret at the end of the story. Goodreads Summary: “Bullying and the ability to rise above it are at the heart of this strikingly beautiful picture book. All school-aged children have either bullied, been bullied, or witnessed bullying, and all too often, they feel powerless to stop what has been set in motion.
Such is not the case with Eliza. Her mother has given her “wings to fly” and the ability to see all the possibilities that lie before her. So, when bullies pick on the new student, Lainey, gradually robbing her of her smile and ability to paint beautiful pictures, Eliza wants to help, and she does, by finding a way to show Lainey all that she can be. Then in the schoolyard, Eliza stands up to the bullies. One by one, the other children add their voices, and soon the bullies have skulked away.”

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrated by CaTia Chien – gorgeous picture book following the life of someone who deals with stuttering daily and learns he can keep promises to himself and others. Excellent book about action and protecting animals as well. Powerful messages resound but it also is just a gorgeous picture book. Goodreads Summary: “Alan loves animals, but the great cat house at the Bronx Zoo makes him sad. Why are they all alone in empty cages? Are they being punished? More than anything, he wants to be their champion—their voice—but he stutters uncontrollably. Except when he talks to animals… Then he is fluent.”

A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham – Lovely circular story with collaboration and cute animals to boot. Enjoyed how problems were solved and friends were celebrated… Goodreads Summary: “Mouse has baked a special treat for Little Bird’s birthday! But delivering it to his friend isn’t easy—not when everyone he meets along the way offers to trade something for a piece of cake. . . .”

Cinders- A Chicken Cinderella by Jan Brett– The pictures are one thing, looking at them is heavenly although I missed hedgehogs. The story was smooth, lovely but for some reason I felt odd about humans beginning and ending the story and the fairy tale being dreamlike instead like a classic tale. But overall really enjoyed reading. Goodreads Summary: “Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don’t recognize her.”

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.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.




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

  1. I was surprised with Weeds too. I need to stop being surprised when a nonfiction picture book turns out to be good. Tall Story is on TBR list since I’m trying to do a themed reading month about the Philippines.

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 25, 2014

      🙂 Agreed, nonfiction books should just be expected to be fantastic. Glad you learned about Tall Story, pretty powerful novel. Happy reading to you!

  2. Linda Baie
    August 25, 2014

    I loved Bird Child, have already shared with a teacher to use it with her students. So many new ones here to look for, Debbie. Thanks for the Polacco, also new to me, and I’ll definitely look for Rooting for You and the new Marty McGuire! Thanks for so much!

  3. Michele Knott
    August 26, 2014

    What a great reading week! So many good ones, from great writing and stories to amazing illustrations. I really liked putting Weeds Find a Way and Rooting for You together this year. A Piece of Cake surprised me for some of the teaching elements it had! Happy reading to you this week!

  4. carriegelson
    August 26, 2014

    Hurrah that Bird Child is getting such wonderful attention. It has been a favourite of mine for years. Really powerful as a read aloud. I just read A Boy and A Jaguar this week too and was totally charmed by it. Would love to have my own copy.

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 26, 2014

      Maybe it was you that got Bird Child onto my TBR list! 🙂 I like when we both share the same book treasures… 🙂

  5. Myra GB
    August 27, 2014

    Hi there Debbie, this is the second time that I’ve seen Bird Child! I have to find that title next time I visit our library. So many great books you have here. I am a huge Patricia Polacco fan – she is so prolific – so many great picture books! 🙂 Loved that you snuck in some adult reading too. How awesome is that. 🙂

  6. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye)
    August 28, 2014

    So many books good books!!! I don’t even know what to talk about.
    First, NEW MARTY MCGUIRE?!?! Yes! I cannot wait to read it.
    Love Tree Lady, Weeds, and Crankee Doodle.
    Have A Boy and Jaguar in my TBR from the library pile.

    Happy reading this week! 🙂

  7. Emily Lim-Leh
    August 30, 2014

    I loved Candy Gourlay’s Tall Story which is such a page-turner and enjoyed The Boy and His Jaguar which I reviewed a few weeks back.
    I have a few of your reads on my list of books to borrow!

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 30, 2014

      Just finished Candy Gourlay’s Shine. Going to think on that treasure for a while… Happy reading to you! 🙂

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