Steam Themed Halloween pt2

Who can live with just one Halloween post? In honor of the best (if not best, at least most colorful) holiday here are more ideas for brining steam into your Halloween plans and a review of the Gail Carriger short story The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar (part of the Parasol Protectorate series).

Don’t forget to share your own Halloween costumes and concepts at and via Twitter @SteamLib.

Music playlists are a staple of every party no matter where it’s hosted. While the classics like “Ghostbusters” and “Werewolves of London” will always hold a place in our hearts it never hurts to add some new pieces into the mix. I put together a small list highlighting some of my favorites from steampunk bands and pop-musicians:

Other suggestions include Abney Park, The Clockwork Dolls, Professor Elemental, and Jonathan Coulton.

Is your library in an area that hosts a large cosplay community?

Image: the librarian as a steampunk gender-bent Sherlock Holmes
Your Librarian as Sherlock Holmes circa 2012

Invite local groups to come and show off their costumes on Halloween and maybe do a Q&A on costume creation. If you’re lucky enough to live near a convention (you can check the Airship Ambassador Convention Listing ). You also might be able to find local artisans/crafts people who would be interesting in coming with some of their steampunk works (tiny hats, gloves, jewelry) to display and sell last-minute costume pieces.

Who doesn’t love coloring?

Image of my personal copy of Brian Kessinger's Coloring With Your Octopus
The best birthday present from The Boyfriend (aka The Project’s IT guy)

Artist Brian Kesinger (author of Walking Your Octopus) has a matching coloring book out now! You can find Coloring With Your Octopus at Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Pages can be distributed throughout October in the Children’s (and Teen, and Adult) sections to bring some steampunk whimsy to your tables. There’s also the Steampunk Coloring and Activity Book, the Creative Haven Steampunk Designs Coloring Book, and the option to make your own coloring pages off of Google or with the help of a crafty coworker. These are great for having out the whole month and at the kid’s table at events.

Last but not least a review of a Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate story, my recommendation for a quick read for book groups or to curl up with while you binge on candy.

Title: The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar: An Alessandro Tarabotti Story
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate side story

Age/Audience: Teen/Adult

Genre/Style: Adventure, Short Story

Read If You Like: The Parasol Protectorate series, mysteries,


Ever wonder where Alexia got her sass? Search no further: in this short story originally published in the “Book of the Dead” anthology edited by Jared Smith we get our first full glimpse of Alexia’s father, the adventuring Alessandro Tarabotti.

When the Templars need a job done then expect it to be done quickly, discretely, and completely. When Mr. Tarabotti arrives in Egypt he knows these expectations and with the assistance of his trusted valet (and to the only level Mr. Tarabotti seems about to attempt, his friend) Mr. Floote he hopes to carry out his mission regarding a man and a mummy. However when an embalmed cat, an old ‘yoo-hoo’-ing acquaintance from England, and a blushing young Leticia Phinkerlington appear, things get unexpectedly complicated.

Bottom Line:

Great for a little read while waiting for trick-or-treaters.

Find It:

The Curious Case on Amazon

The Curious Case on Goodreads

Steampunk Coloring & Activity Book

Rainy weekend plan
Rainy weekend plan

Title: Steampunk Coloring and Activity Book
Author: Phoebe Longhi

Age/Audience: All

Genre/Style: Activity and coloring books

Read If You Like: Coloring, word search, 10 minute activities


Though aimed at youth this steam-themed paperback activity book appeals to anyone with a box of crayons at hand. Connect-the-dot images, word searches, and ‘complete the picture’ style pages are then paired with cooking recipes and riddles. This variety allows the thin volume to appeal to a wide audience, all with a combined steampunk/anime style.

Example page
Example coloring page

Bottom Line:

Great for a rainy day or travel activity for any age, artistic skill entirely optional.

Find It:


The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box

Creator: Directed By: Jonathan Newman, staring Michael Sheen and Aneurin Barnard

Media Type: Feature Film, 100 minutes

Audience: Children



It’s 1885, and Mariah Mundi is watching is young brother Felix run amuck in the British Museum while his father gives a lecture. When a severely wounded man suddenly appears demanding to see his father, Mariah knows something isn’t quite right. Mariah and Felix soon find themselves on the run when their parents go missing and the wounded man, Capt. Will Charity, may be their only hope of finding them. The search takes them to the Prince Regent Hotel off the coast of Scotland, where mystical spas heal the sick, for a price. A family-safe adventure based around a reimagining of the King Midas myth, this beautifully costumed film offers a lot for the eye but little for the imagination. A mix of mysticism, G-rated action, and terrible plot holes The Adventurer is best suited for young audiences with a flair for fashion. Additionally, the forced cliffhanger credit scene will likely only serve to frustrate older audiences.


Bottom Line: The only steam-powered device in the film is an over-sized elevator, despite elevators being in existence since the 1840s; grossly insufficient to carry the Steampunk label Netflix gives it.

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A Cat’s Steampunk Alphabet

Author: G. D. Falksen and Evelyn Kriete
Series: –

Age/Audience: Mixed audience, children will enjoy the variety of cats and non-traditional alphabet rhymes, adults will enjoy the throw back to turn-of-the-century English culture.

Genre/Style: Alphabet book

Read If You Like: Louis Wain style cats, rhymes, Victorian British satire



H is for hydraulic, I for iron, and J for jingo in this abecedary that has as much appeal for grown-ups as for young ones. Styled after Louis Wain’s illustrations the simple rhymes offer steampunk vocabulary (dirigible, gear, timepiece) paired with satire on Victorian culture (xenophobia, jingo, zenith). This short book offers a lot to all ages as a platform for discussion, an interpretation of illustration, and an introduction to all things steam.


Bottom Line: The perfect mix of cute and clever, a must read.

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Nook Book:

Steamduck Learns to Fly!

Author: Emilie P Bush and Illustrated by William Kevin Petty
Series: Coal City Stories

Age/Audience: children, early readers

Genre/Style: Prose rhyming picture book with intermediate level sentences

Read If You Like: Existential crisis in children’s literature, ducks, overcoming obstacles



Steamduck has always been happy floating around rivers and lakes, but when he sees a gaggle of geese fly over head he knows something is missing that makes it clear he isn’t a real duck. With the help of his tinker creator Otter, they begin investigating the best ways to get Steamduck up into the air. They try balloons and other ways, but nothing seems to get him off the ground. Finally, after several tries, the tinker has a surprise for Steamduck that shows him all rewards mean more when you truly earn them.


Bottom Line: Lovely simply colored illustrations paired with a heart-wrenchingly sweet story make this story a delight. However, it should be noted, the meter is very forced, but it does keep young and old readers focused.



Steampunk Alphabet

Author: Written & Illustrated by Nathanael Iwafa

Age/Audience: Children 4+

Genre/Style: Alphabet and rhyme book, art book

Read If You Like: Art books, easy rhymes, nonfiction children’s books, abecedary books



This chunky, thick-paged, brightly illustrated alphabet book has a little something for everyone. For early readers the playful rhymes describe a mix of reality and make-believe. Four line poems about A for Apple, F for Fish, P for Purse, and Z for Zipper match a bright original illustration for the steampunk adaptation of that item. For example, the Apple here is not a fruit, but a modified music box used as a listening device. Each poem is paired with a small prose description of the item in more detail. For adults the art is surely inspirational, and offer a great discussion and imagination starter with youngsters.


Bottom Line: Cute, bright, and highly imaginative Steampunk Alphabet offers a new spin on early rhyme readers and is approachable but far from boring.



Peak Inside:


Author: Kenneth Oppel
Series: Book one of the “Matt Cruse” books, followed by Skybreaker and Starclimber

Age/Audience: Middle readers , 5th – 8th grade

Genre/Style: Adventure

Read If You Like: Treasure Planet (film), high-sea adventures, pirates, quick reads


This steampunk-light novel is a page-to-page adventure. The book opens with 14 year-old Matt Cruse, the cabin boy on the Aurora, an airship lifted by hydrium – a gas lighter than hydrogen and able to carry a cruise-sized airship smoothly through the skies. The ship’s course is slightly diverted, though, when a damaged air-balloon is seen drifting in the sky. The crew of the Aurora rescues the balloon’s pilot, but he soon dies in their infirmary. Matt thinks little of it until one year later, when they take on the balloonist’s grand-daughter, Kate de Vries, as a first class passenger from Lion Gate City to Sydney, Australia. Kate is not onboard for a pleasure cruise, though. She is determined to finish her grandfather’s mission: to find a creature called “cloud cats” and restore her grandfather’s good name. Kate’s mission could prove problematic for Matt, as she has attempted to enlist him in helping her. Matt doesn’t need any trouble. Having been passed over for a promotion from cabin boy to sail maker he can’t afford any black marks on his record. But when the Aurora is forced to crash land on a remote island after damage she received in a pirate attack, it becomes harder for Matt to refuse Kate’s insistence to accompany her in her search of the island for the elusive cloud cats. The island, though, is small and unlucky- the Aurora isn’t the only shipwreck on the shores.


Bottom Line: Good for reluctant or romance/adventure dependent readers, too simple for advanced readers

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