An Unconventional Librarian’s Holiday Gift Guide: The Wild Ones, Animal Adventures for Tweens

The Wild Ones by C Alexander London

The Wild Ones: Moonlight Brigade by C Alexander London

The Wild Ones: The Great Escape by C Alexander London


I love The Wild Ones series and so will your reader!


Bibliographies, Information, General Books


I don’t know how or where the photographer got so close to so many animals but I am AMAZED by reading

Animal Ark

A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate mix of poetry and prose of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.
Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature’s markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore’s lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.”

The photos inside are amazeballs and the poetry, written by Kwame Alexander, will delight even the youngest animal lover. The sloth, frogs, creepy snakes and bugs to leopards all get center stage with these beautiful full color images. So much animal goodness!

Many thanks to National Geographic for bringing us photos of animals we may never see in real life.


Non Fiction

If Your Kids Like Gross: Strange, Unusual Gross & Cool Animals by Charles Ghigna

Strange, Unusual Gross & Cool Animals
by Charles Ghigna

Strange Unusual Gross and Cool Animals by Charles Ghinga

If your kids are into gross things. Then this is the book for you. Once again, animals and insects prove to be the weirdest things out there and Animal Planet has brought them to us. Oh how I love Animal Planet, home to the Puppy Bowl. So…there’s no cute little puppies tacking each other in this book, but you will see a Blue-Footed Booby which is a bird that actually has blue feet and live on the Pacific Coasts. The feet are actually useful for keeping their chicks warm in the nest.  Another cool animal is the red-eyed crocodile skink. These little guys look like teeny weeny crocks and when they are in trouble, they faint. How funny is that?

There’s so much for your little gross loving friends or you future zoologist to learn about and to love! Naturally, kids will want to learn about animal poop, right? Not to disappoint, and actually quite interestingly, I’ve always thought that learning about animal scat (a fancy word for poop) was a good way to keep from getting eaten by bears. And from keeping my shoes from getting dirty. Wanna know what a pile of moose poop looks like? Of course you do. Turn to page 75 and find out.

But not before you eat.

So much to love about strange, unusual, gross and cool animals!


p.s. it looks like a big blob.

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Books Children

Need to talk to kids about death? Try Life and I by Elisabeth Helland Larsen & Marine Schneider

Life and I by Elisabeth Helland Larsen & Marine Schneider


There’s something about talking to children about death that leaves even the strongest of parents stuttering, mumbling, or reaching for euphemisms. I’ve learned through experience that sometimes kids need the truth. Maybe a basic truth, but the truth. Some kids need a bit of a story to help them understand. If you’re in a situation in which  you have to speak to a little one about death and your little one needs a story to connect with but you don’t want to go the religious or anthropomorphous route of talking animals, Little Gestalten brings us an interesting view.

It’s called Life and I, A Story About Death. Death is depicted as an impish, waifish  watercolor little girl sort-of-being who talks about all the things that death is part of.

I pay visits to small animals with soft fur and to big animals with trunks or sharp teeth…

Death also discusses how she visits many people at one time, old and young. Death has to exist, the book says, in order for new babies to make their way in this world. The best part of the book is near the end when Death says that Love doesn’t die even when something  you love does.

There are some great bits in the book. Perhaps it will make discussing death easier with little ones. This is a keepsake book that would be nice if talked about every year on a grandmother’s birthday or something.

Talking with kids about death is difficult. I’ve had to do it myself many times. I hope more books become available that are as beautifully illustrated as Life and I.

How have you talked to your little ones about death?




Are you getting a Fox for Christmas?

Have you ever wanted to own your very own sweet baby wild animal? Me too! The problem is obvious, though. Those cute little guys don’t belong in the house, and I’m really not sure how they’d get along with Bailey. But I digress. If you’ve ever wanted a sweet little baby fox of your own, here’s how you can own one.

Get it in a book!

The Fox Diaries by Valarie Budayr

My friend Valarie has written an adorable book just for you (me) called The Fox Diaries.

As if that book isn’t great enough, here’s a book that is for all you Old Schoolheads (like me). Remember how much you loved The Secret Garden growing up? Vals has co written a book about The Secret Garden called A Year in the Secret Garden which is a perfect complement for the book!

A Year in the Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters

If you’re a homeschooler or have a tween bookclub, these activities are perfect: you can do crafts, make food, and engage in bookish activities all year long!

Just fyi, Vals has a website called Jump Into A Book and hosts Multicultural Children’s Book Day, which I have happily participated in for years! The world needs to know about diverse readers and writers!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day is January 27th 2016. You BETTA believe Pammy Pam will participate!

I guess I better return all this fox kibble since I can read the book instead.

Happy Reading!


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Oh Katherine Applegate, why do you torture us so and make humans out to be complete jerks???  Because, my friends, sometimes we are when it comes to animals.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This message will stay with you forever. FOREVER!

The message in here is not pedantic so readers who hate books that they think are teaching them a lesson will love it. Who doesn’t love animals, right? On the surface, The One and Only Ivan is a sweet tale of Ivan and his friends at the Big Top Mall. But underneath, readers will understand that animals have feelings, deserve respect, and that humans can be cruel (and sometimes nice).

Why was I weeping over a giant Gorilla?

Because Ivan.

Did you cry too?


My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza

Oh I love stories in which animals outsmart other animals. And My Lucky Day is no different. Check it out!

Isn’t that fun? My littles used to love ending! What’s your fave book about an animal outsmarting another animal?

Books Children

Why Christopher Holt wrote The Last Dogs Series for Me. An Interview!

HEY HEY HEY Welcome Back! If you missed something, check out my review of The Last Dogs series.
As promised, Bailey and I bring you our exclusive interview with Christopher Holt, author of The Last Dogs series, which Bailey and I enjoyed immensely.
UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN:  Welcome to our interview! Let’s get started. Do you drink coffee?
CHRISTOPHER HOLT: Most definitely! On those late nights, a writer needs a little something to keep his brain buzzing with new ideas! But, of course, it needs a little cream and sugar.
UL: Right. If as in cream you mean soy or almond milk, I understand.  Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?
CH: Personally, I find it appalling that someone could dislike donuts OR cookies.   I’m a fan of anything sweet. I previously worked as a gumball salesman, and even had a dog named Cupcake! As for dunking, I reserve that privilege for Oreos only (it’s not right to eat them any other way).
UL: We’ll agree to disagree about the Oreas, but you had me at Cupcake. But down to business.  How did the series get started?
CH: Growing up, I was always surrounded by pets. My house was filled with dogs…Salt, Pepper, Cupcake, Ariel, Shadow, Brandy, Sir Edmund Spunk, Showtime Double Feature—I loved them all, and use my memories of them when I write about the four-footed heroes of The Last Dogs. I’ve also always been a lover of a good adventure! As a kid I read series such as C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and anything written by Bruce Coville. It was the collision of my love of animals, adventures, and writing that created The Last Dogs series.
UL: Ah yes, who doesn’t love adventures or dogs?  What else have you written?
CH: I am immersed in the world of The Last Dogs! The second novel, Dark Waters, is out in stores, and the third book—The Long Road—comes out in November!
UL: Thank you for writing the series just for me. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
CH: Great question! Just like the Praxis procedure gave Madame Curie and other characters in The Last Dogs the ability to understand human language, I’d love the ability to understand animal speech…even if only for a little while. I think it would be a blast to be able to talk with animals for an entire day. I’m sure they’d have a lot to say, just like Max, Rocky, Gizmo, and the rest of The Last Dogs.
UL: I would LOVE that too!  What makes you happy?
CH: I am truly happiest when I get to spend time with the people in my life who matter most. Family and the power of friendship are very important and should never be taken for granted. If anything, I’d like my readers to take that away from each of The Last Dogs books. Max will do whatever he needs to do to find his missing family, but he is only able to succeed with the help of his friends, Rocky and Gizmo. Love and friendship can get you through even the toughest of situations.
UL: Gizmo is so full of spitfire for a little dog. I LOVE her! Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?
CH: It’s always great to hear stories about families and the adventures they have with their pets! Not only does it inspire me (just as my own family and pets do), but it also puts a smile on my face. If readers have any stories or photos they’d like to share, they can contact me through tumblr at! You can also find me on Facebook (Christopher Holt), on Twitter (@TheLastDogs), at christopherholtbooks [at], and online at
Hey friends you’ve GOT to check out the tumblr.  The pics of people and their dogs, esp the kiddies are adorbs!
Books Children

The Last Dogs Series by Christopher Holt

If you know anything about me you know I LOVE dogs.  I especially love books with talking dogs.  Who hasn’t ever looked into their beloved pooch’s eyes and wondered what they were thinking?  I can tell by looking at my own Bailey that he loves me but I would love to hear his thoughts.

I’m sure that Christopher Holt heard my plea and that’s why he wrote The Last Dogs series for me.

The Last Dogs Unconventional Librarian

And oh how I have enjoyed the series.  Here’s a bit about it:

When all the humans in his world disappear, Max, a yellow Labrador Retriever, begins the search for his family. He knows that if he can just find Madame Curie, a wise, old black Lab, she’ll be able to help. Madame had a premonition of astonishing events to come — she might know where Max’s family is.

But Max can’t make the journey alone. Joined by friends Rocky and Gizmo, Max sets off to find Madame. Along the way, the trio must face a pack of angry wolves, forage for food in a land where kibble is akin to gold, befriend a house full of cats, and outsmart a gang of subway rats. Ultimately, they’ll have to escape from the biggest threat of all: the Corporation, a “perfect” society for dogs and by dogs, where nothing is quite as it seems.

Ok so now you know the premise.  What would happen if all the people disappeared? It makes me think of all the natural disasters that have happened, specifically, Hurricane Katrina, in which people had to leave their pets behind. How devastating that must have been for all parties involved.  I’m certain my Bailey would look for me if I went missing.  Now you can hear it straight from the dogs.

To be sure, you should probably read the series in order. I didn’t but Holt did a great job of catching me up on what I’d missed.  This catch up feature is perfect for kids who come to the story later but don’t want to put the book down and get book 1.  It is so great to hear the dogs talk as they go on these adventures.  The three main characters Max, Gizmo, and Rocky are hysterical.  Rocky, the dachshund, constantly talks about food.  In The Last Dogs: Dark Waters, Rocky dreams of chasing kibble.  His conversation with the kibble is a riot: his little legs are moving and he talks in his sleep saying “Come back here, kibble…I’m-a-getchoo. I’m gonna eat you up!”  How funny is that? I giggled for hours.

There are many characters in the series to delight and frustrate the reader.  If you have a child who likes talking animals this is the series for them.   give this series 4 paws!

Unconventional Librarian 4paws


Can’t get enough of The Last Dogs? Stay tuned to this channel for an exclusive interview with Christopher Holt!




What an Animal Reading Challenge

Yes. I’ve gone off the deep end for sure.

I’m participating in another challenge, but this one is perfectly perfect for me.

It’s called What an Animal Reading challenge.

The challenge is hosted by Yvonne here

The rules? Simple

Read 6 books that have an animal on the cover, in the title, or  as the main character, etc.

I think this challenge is perfect for me since I love to read books about dogs and kids love animals too!

Hop on over there and sign up

and then check back here to see what I’m doing.