Tag Archives: unicorns

Hamsters & Unicorns

7 Sep

Today is the hardest day: the day before school starts.

It is important to make it last, to suck the marrow out of every last bit of “freedom”.

It is a good thing I love my job.

I will help myself escape reality by immersing myself in three exciting graphic novels, all perfect for the elementary set.

Princess Hamster: Harriet the Invincible is the first volume of a new series by Ursula Vernon.


Publisher’s Summary: Harriet Hamsterbone is not your typical princess. She may be quite stunning in the rodent realm (you’ll have to trust her on this one), but she is not so great at trailing around the palace looking ethereal or sighing a lot. She finds the royal life rather . . . dull. One day, though, Harriet’s parents tell her of the curse that a rat placed on her at birth, dooming her to prick her finger on a hamster wheel when she’s twelve and fall into a deep sleep. For Harriet, this is most wonderful news: It means she’s invincible until she’s twelve! After all, no good curse goes to waste. And so begins a grand life of adventure with her trusty riding quail, Mumfrey…until her twelfth birthday arrives and the curse manifests in a most unexpected way.

There is a second volume entitled Of mice and Magic due out in March 2016.

Equally as pink and purple are two books by Dana Simpson: Phoebe and her Unicorn and Unicorn on a Roll.


Publisher’s Summary:A boy and his dog . . . a girl and her . . . unicorn?

It all started when Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this led to Phoebe being granted one wish, and she used it to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. But can a vain mythical beast and a nine-year-old daydreamer really forge a connection? Indeed they can, and that’s how Phoebe and Her Unicorn unfolds.

This beautifully drawn strip follows the unlikely friendship between a somewhat awkward girl and the unicorn who gradually shows her just how special she really is. Through hilarious adventures where Phoebe gets to bask in Marigold’s “awesomeness,” the friends also come to acknowledge that they had been lonely before they met and truly appreciate the bond they now share.

The fun continues in the second volume.


Publisher’s summary: One year has passed since Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond, accidentally hit a unicorn in the face, and was granted a single wish—which she used to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. In some ways, not much has changed. At school Phoebe still clashes with her rival–and sometimes “frenemy”–he ever-taunting and imperious Dakota. Outside of school, she still fills her free time with extra-credit homework assignments, dramatic monologues about the injustices associated with school cliques, and imaginative conspiracy theories regarding global forces like the “powerful construction paper lobby.” But unlike before, Phoebe now has a best friend to share it with—someone to make her laugh and to listen to all her extravagant ideas.

In this second volume of Heavenly Nostrils, titled, Unicorn on a Roll, the reader is invited on a journey into the lives of Phoebe and Marigold as they navigate the difficulties of grade school, celebrate the winter holidays, and explore their super hero/super villain personas together. Join in the fun, as Phoebe competes against Dakota for the leading role of “Lisa Ladybug” in their fourth-grade play—or as she struggles to “manage” the PR debacle related to her nose-picking-scandal. (“I will neither confirm nor deny the events surrounding Boogergate.”) Witness a band of unicorns staging an “intervention” and learn all the details of Marigold’s secret crush on a mysterious creature she has never seen. Perhaps most important, watch as this surprising friendship between a charming, nine-year-old dreamer and a vain, mythical beast forever changes both of them for the better.

Whether you are in or out of denial, have a great Labo(u)r Day!

Fun with Magical Creatures

3 May

Friday Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce came to William Walker as part of their promotional tour of their middle grade novel Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures.


My class has really been into magical creatures this year. One boy draws and writes stories about dragons and many other students have created comics with characters who have special powers, like Fry Guy, a french fry who  encounters, then,  solves problems. Although they haven’t read this book yet (it will be our next read aloud) I knew they’d be interested once they got to the assembly, so we brainstormed good questions to ask before we went to the assembly.

Once we were there, Maggie and Jackson did not disappoint. They presented a lovely contrast, one dark, one fair; one looking at the bright side, one looking at the dark side.They had clearly practiced their presentation, which was fast-paced and engaging.

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Although they mentioned their book, they spent much of the hour-long presentation talking to the kids about how to create a magical beast.


Jackson posed questions to the audience while Maggie drew the creature they designed, the Snowplace Pole Deer.


Their goal was to inspire kids to develop their interests because you never know where they will lead. Jackson and Maggie nth told kids that, through writing, they are able to pursue interests they’ve had since childhood, just not in the way they imagined they would when they were 10 or 11 years old. And I think that is a powerful message.

Guess who’s coming to Walker

1 May

For the last few weeks I have been listening to Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle  books in the car.


They’d been on my “to read” list for a while, but Morris obligations and the HUB Challenge kept pushing them further down the list. Then, my principal got a call from Powell’s Books, which is just down the street, asking us if we’d be interested in an author visit from Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce who have collaborated on a middle grade novel. My principal asked me if I knew anything about these authors and I about burst. So, Maggie & Jackson are coming to William Walker Elementary School today.

They will be talking about Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures.


I will get my signed copy tomorrow, and will write more about their presentation over the weekend.

I will try my best not to go too fangirl, but if I do, I probably won’t write about that.

Complementary Characters

24 Jul

I’ve mentioned before that my twin sister has always been far more outgoing than I. Sometimes that was hard.

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Here we are dressed up for Hallowe’en. Despite my smile ( am the groom), I was not that happy about this costume because I wanted to be the bride and the bride always gets more attention My sister was taller & the dress fit her. I think I was too short for it. In spite of my initial feelings about this costume, I remember having a really good time in this costume. I’m a bit curmudgeonly and grumble about doing things or going places, but generally end up having a far better time than I expected.

And so it is with Unicorn & Goat in the fantastic Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea.


Narrated by Goat, we learn how life changes when Unicorn arrives. Anything Goat does, unicorn does better and Goat is not pleased. However, Goat soon learns that it’s not always easy being Unicorn. Nope, it’s not all rainbows and glitter. Together, though, Goat & Unicorn can be an unstoppable team.

This book reminds me of two other books I like to use that show how friends balance each other out:

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There are a lots more out there. Why not share your favorite and then give these a try.

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