Posted in Book Review

Wanda and Winky

Written by Linda K Mclean

Illustrated by Susan Vandeventer Warner

This is a local true story about the elephants that used to be at the Detroit Zoo. I never saw them there but my parents did. My dad really remembers them (he is a local and he says he is “old”. Mom is not either).

The elephants went to live at a nature conservantory. They were the bestest of friends. I liked this story because it is about elephants that like each other. I liked that it was a local story. Next time I am at the zoo, I will look for their old habitat.

Everyone should read this book, especially kids who like animals and zoos.

Posted in Book Review

Ask the librarian: Susan Farnum

Name of Library: Forest Park Public Library

What kind of librarian are you: I’m a children’s librarian and the head of the Youth Services department here. We work with babies through teens (up to 18 years-old).

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? I was a kid, I wanted to be an author or run a bookstore. I always admired the librarians I knew, but it didn’t occur to me I could be a librarian myself until I worked at my college library as a student worker. The librarians there were very encouraging of us to go to library school and I know of at least two of us who did and are now librarians.

How do you pick books for your library? The other librarians and staff members in my department work with me to select books. We all have different ages and areas we specialize in. We use a combination of things to find just the right books for our colection. Award and recommended lists, magazines, and book blogs help, but we also have to do a lot of talking and listening (and observing) with the readers in our community to know what they like and are looking for. Those are the people that depend upon us the most, so we want to make sure we represent them well!

Do you have a favorite author? So many! Because I work with so many ages I read for all different ages and my favorites change all the time. Right now it’s Herve Tullet, Ezra Jack Keats, Jarrett Krosoczka, Matt de la Pena, and Tao Nyeu (picture books), Jonathan Stroud, Jennifer Holm, and Rebecca Stead (middle grade), Raina Telgemeier, Jarrett K (again), and Doug TenNapel (graphic novels), Scott Westerfeld, Rainbow Rowell, Sharon Draper, Holly Black (teen/YA)

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I learned this in library school and it’s still one of my favorite questions to start out with: “What’s the last book that you read that you really enjoyed?” I ask my other follow up questions based on that. Even if I’m talking to a parent and kid who are there because they have to pick out a book for a specific assignment or in a certain reading level range this can be a very important question. I feel there’s so much out there that in most cases, there’s really no reason someone has to read a book they don’t like, even for an assignment. Most cases the teacher has a topic and allows for the kid to choose the title–and that’s where we can come in to make it the best fit for them. Librarians call this Readers’ Advisory, but it can feel a little like a game sometimes, and I think that’s why so many librarians love that part of their job.

Posted in Book Review

Never Insult a Killer Zucchini


By Elana Azose & Brandon Amancio

Illustrated by David Clark

I picked this book up for Annoying Little Brother who loves zucchini. He calls them “bikinis” though. It is very funny to hear him say let’s eat bikinis for dinner.

This book is an alphabet book. Every letter is about a type of science experiment. At the end of the book, they explain how these projects really works. The boy in the book has created a killer zucchini. His classmates have created equally dangerous and weird projects, like mind control, a vortex and shrink ray. I am not sure this science fair is safe!

I liked learning about the science projects and seeing what could happen.

I recommend this book to Guy Raz. It seems like his kind of book. If you like science facts, you should read this too!

Posted in Book Review

Babushka’s Doll


By Patricia Polacco

This is a perfect Halloween book because I don’t like it. Okay, I really don’t like the fact the doll comes alive. It is creepy. It comes alive and acts like the girl. The girl was being very naughty so the doll was naughty.

The doll scared the girl to behave. My mom said she wants that doll. I say NO, it will act like me and scream! (Yes, sometimes I yell but not always).

Anyway this is a good creepy story right before Halloween. It will make you wonder if your dolls will come alive and be naughty.



Posted in Meet the authors

Meet Amy Marie Stadelmann


Author website/social media:, @amymariestad on twitter and instagram.
Tell me a little about yourself: Hello! Well, I’m Amy and I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have a little dog named Cosmo and I collect garden gnomes that live all around my apartment. When I’m not writing and illustrating books, I’m a designer in the world of kid’s media working on animated tv shows and apps.
When you were my age, did you like to read? I was a slow reader at first, but once I got the hang of it, I loved it! My mom is a big reader and we would take regular visits to the library and that helped get me into the habit early of always having a book to read.

What was your favorite story? I first read The Little Prince when I was around 8 or 9, and that is still my favorite book to this day! But I also was very obsessed with all the Oz books written by L. Frank Baum. Oz is still my absolute favorite fictional land.
How do you get your ideas? Most of the time ideas are a mystery! But, I think one way that ideas come to me is by being curious and asking questions of the world and of myself. Sometimes the answers surprise me and I think, ‘there might be a story there…’
Is it hard to write a book? Any creative project has it’s moments that are hard, but also moments when it’s easy or confusing or hilarious or frustrating to the point of tears. It’s a lot of work, and the hardest part is probably just deciding that it’s done. (I could nitpick my work all day!) But the end product is so worth it, because you get to share a story with the world!
Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? Well so far, it’s just books 1 and 2 of Olive & Beatrix, and while The Not-So Itty Bitty Spiders is special to me because it was my first book, I do think The Super-Smelly Moldy Blob is a bit stronger of a story and I also really love the Beatrix/Houston relationship in that one! That was very fun to write and illustrate!
What author do you really like right now? I’m currently reading the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books by Ransom Riggs. I love the way he created a magical fantasy story from real life old photographs. Very clever, and so fun!
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Write! Write down your stories, even if they are just little ideas. Writing (and drawing!) are just like anything else, the more you practice – the better you get. Also, and I think this is important for adults too, make sure to let yourself daydream. Let yourself sit quietly and just dream with no particular goal, because your imagination is also just like anything else and the more you use it and let it run free – the better and stronger it gets.

Posted in Book Review

The Super-Smelly Moldy Blob


By Amy Marie Stadelmann

This is the perfect book to kick off my Halloween Week. It is second Olive and Beatrix story. I liked this book. These my favorite book candies.

It is cool because they do science and magic mixed together. They are good role models for girls. It would be cool to dress as them for Halloween.

In this story, they do a science project at their school. But both Olive and Beatrix want the same table, the best table. They fight over it and drop their experiments. Their experiment makes a Super-Smelly Moldy Blob that they have to chase around their school.

I totally recommend this book. You will like it.

Tomorrow, the author is joining me to answer my questions!