Category Archives: Titles

Breaking news: Lewis Barnavelt defeats Greg Heffley!

In idle moments, Ms. Walker’s mind often wonders to the circulation statistics. What books are the most popular? What are the boys reading these days?

Usually, it’s no surprise: graphic novels reign supreme – right now Sisters by Raina Telgemeier is the most-circulated book in the library by a long shot.


When it comes to popular fiction titles, it’s usually the big series that come out on top: Wimpy Kid, Warriors, Ranger’s Apprentice et al.

But check this out! Top fiction book since September here at St. George’s?


Why yes, that’s a book by the late great John Bellairs, illustrated by the incomparably creepy Edward Gorey!

This isn’t a random occurence: it’s the Grade 4 read aloud. And it’s probably the best read aloud ever. It’s scary. It’s funny. There are magic stained glass windows and secret passageways and a hookah shaped like a Spanish Galleon. It’s pretty impressive that a relatively unknown book published in 1973 is beating the likes of the Wimpy Kid. Take that, Greg Heffley!

(And for what it’s worth, in this librarian’s opinion, Lewis Barnavelt is WAAAAY wimpier than Greg Heffley.)

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Filed under Authors, Book Review, Grade 4, Titles, Uncategorized

Digital Audiobooks

We’ve begun adding digital audiobooks to our library collection! Currently we only have a handful – mainly novels the boys study in Language Arts – but we will continue to build the collection as demand dictates.

If you are in Grade 6 or 7 and would like to try one of these digital audiobooks, the instructions can be found here



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Filed under Grade 6, Grade 7, Titles

The Phantom Toothbrush!

The Phantom Tollbooth is my favourite book, and I read it to the Grade 3s every year. It’s a classic: a hilarious, touching and pun-filled adventure through the Kingdom of Knowledge. The only problem is, sometimes the title doesn’t make immediate sense to the students, so I have to explain what a tollbooth is, and also that, in this context, “phantom” doesn’t mean a literal ghost, but is actually a synonym for “mysterious”.

A few years ago, a boy in Grade 3 couldn’t remember the title and asked me: “What’s the name of that book we’re reading? The Phantom… Toothbrush??” Ever since then, I’ve joked that we need to write a sequel where Milo finds a mysterious toothbrush that transports him to the land of… dental hygiene…? We’ll work on it.

Well, believe it or not, today as I was tidying up the library, I discovered A MYSTERIOUS TOOTHBRUSH in a Ziploc baggie. It truly is The Phantom Toothbrush.

It must be a sign.

The Phantom Toothbrush

The Phantom Toothbrush

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Filed under Fun, Grade 3, News, Titles

Verily, what every elementary school library doth need…

… is a copy of Compound of Alchemy, a “most excellent, learned, and worthy work” by George Ripley, reprinted by Kessinger Publishing. I cannot recommend this title highly enough.

With its eye-catching cover, this title is sure to fly off the shelves!

With its eye-catching cover, this title is sure to fly off the shelves!

Librarians: how many times have your young students come to you, clutching a lump of lead or copper in their grubby hands, desperate to turn it into gold? I’ve lost count. There is just some information that the internet doesn’t have, and that is why we can turn to the esteemed work of Mr. Ripley, circa 1471. As long as they brush up on their Middle English, this text is simple and easy to follow:

Erth is turnyd into Water, eh?

Erth is turnyd into Water, eh?

How IS the fubftance of an Egg wrought into a Chyk, George?

How IS the fubftance of an Egg wrought into a Chyk, George?

At a slim 190 pages, this handy guidebook is the perfect choice for budding pseudo-scientists – or, indeed, anyone who likes to swap f for s at will – and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for the under-12 set.

Plus! There are BONUS MYSTICAL PICTURES, guys! Unrelated to the book itself – just for your enjoyment.

Fair warning

Fair warning

These two must be up to something

These two must be up to fomething

A double headed dragon!

A double headed dragon!

We anxiously await the hordes rushing to get their hands on this gem of a title.

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Filed under Fun, Library Studies, Titles, Uncategorized

Spine Language 2014

Today rang in the 2014 edition of a Library favourite: Book Spine Poetry! Inspired by Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes, the Grade 6 boys try their hand at creating poems out of stacked books.

This lesson follows a now-familiar pattern:

Ms Walker: Today, we’re going to write poetry! (This spells doom in many a boy’s heart)


Ms. Walker: But we’re not going to use pencils or paper – and you don’t actually need to write anything!

After a couple of minutes’ worth of introduction, some samples both IRL and online, they’re off, enthusiastically scanning the shelves and piling books with reckless abandon. It’s priceless.

Here’s a small sample of some of their poems!

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Filed under Grade 6, Library Studies, Poetry, Titles

Just plain creepy…

Last week, Mr. Weber approached Ms. Walker with a copy of Dr. Seuss’s You’re Only Old Once! He declared it the strangest, creepiest book he’d seen in a long while, and Ms. Walker had to agree! Check out some of the illustrations:

What on earth...? From

What on earth…? From



A little research revealed that You’re Only Old Once was published on Dr. Seuss’s 82nd birthday, and was inspired by the number of medical tests he had to endure after suffering some illnesses. It was not really intended to be a book for kids (the dour tone and remarkably depressing message also indicate this). Very glad we didn’t choose this as a read-aloud for Grade 1s!

This reminded Ms. Walker of some other somewhat disturbing illustrations that both fascinated and repulsed her when she was little, from Tomi Ungerer’s book No Kiss for Mother.

rat grinder 2

Don’t show this to our little furry friends!

The St. George's nurses are not at all like this

The St. George’s nurses are not at all like this

rat grinder

Fresh ground rat. Mmmmm.

These sorts of images stick with you for a long time! Do you remember any particularly traumatizing illustrations from children’s books?

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Filed under Fun, Library Studies, Titles, Uncategorized

Stimulating Statistics

Follett, our library catalogue system, has the ability to spit out all kinds of interesting (?) statistics.  It’s just like Major League Baseball!  We thought you might like to see a sort of “snapshot” of the first month of school here at St. George’s Junior School.  Do any of these surprise you?

People who have signed out the most books so far this year:
Mrs. Tinker 2JT (50 books signed out)
Armaan H. 4VL (28 books signed out)
Gary X. 7BS (22 books signed out)

Classes who have signed out the most books so far this year:
3BC (218)
2JT (198)
4VL (190)

Most popular searches on Destiny Quest:
chi’s sweet home
diary of a wimpy kid
silver six

Most popular graphic Novels:
Amulet: Book Five, Prince of Elves
Deep Space Disco
Amulet: Book Four, The Last Council

Most popular fiction:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever
The Kingdom of Fantasy
The Amazing Voyage: the Third Adventure in the Kingdom of Fantasy

Most popular chapter books:
The Way of the Samurai
Night Raid
Dragon of the Red Dawn

Most Popular primary fiction:
Where’s Waldo Now?
Where’s Waldo in Hollywood?
Where’s Waldo?

Most popular non-fiction:
Adventures in Cartooning
The Lego Ideas Book
Mega Book of Tanks

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Filed under Fun, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 7, Lists, Titles