Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 4-6

How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin

Cover image for How to capture an invisible catInvisible Cats? Dogs that can talk? Villains chasing Nate and Delphine? In How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin, Nate and Delphine have to figure out how to shrink Nate’s cat, Proton, to his original size (Nate loves science and experimenting and made Proton the size of an elephant and invisible). The Red Death Tea Society (the villains) are trying to stop Nate and Delphine from shrinking Proton. Who will win? Read this book and find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and Other Haunted Places of the Midwest by Matt Chandler

Cover image for Bachelor's Grove Cemetery and other hauntings of the midwestImagine taking a walk in the woods and coming upon an old cemetery. It’s by a pond that is covered in algae and it looks as if no one has been there in a very long time. It’s quiet, but kind of creepy, and you think that maybe you are not alone. That is exactly what happens when you visit Bachelor’s Grove cemetery in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. This eerie cemetery supposedly has many ghosts and is just one location in this book. If cemeteries aren’t creepy enough, there are haunted houses, theaters, and even the Great Lakes. Do you believe in ghosts? Either way, this book has some fun information about the area where we live and is really fun to read.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Cover image for Echo : a novelThink of a piece of music.  In this song, there are three harmonies that come together to make the melody.  Each of these three children’s stories is one of those harmonies.

Friedrich lives in Nazi Germany.  All he wants is to be left alone to play music, but first he needs to rescue his father who has been arrested.  He must smuggle some money into the work camp to buy his father’s freedom.  On his way there, he is captured by Nazis.  Will he make it?

Mike and Frankie are brothers who live in an orphanage in Pennsylvannia during the Great Depression.  They think their luck has improved when they are adopted by a former concert pianist and taken to live in her mansion.  However, it turns out that Mrs. Sturbridge is only adopting them in order to get her inheritance.  When they try to run away, Mike falls as he is climbing out the bedroom window.   Will he make it?

Ivy’s parents manage a farm in South California.  The farm is owned by the Yamamotos, a Japanese family imprisoned in an internment camp.  Their neighbor Mr. Ward thinks the Yamamotos were spies.  He spray paints hateful words on the house and tears up the garden.  He even insists on being shown the contents of the Yamamoto’s house.  Instead of spy equipment, it turns out that the family is hiding musical instruments.  None of this matters, however, when Ivy’s family receives a telegram about her brother, a soldier in World War II.  Will her brother be okay?

All the children face challenges, but pulled by an invisible thread, their stories come together in an unexpected way.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

Cover image for Chasing secretsIn Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko, Lizzie’s father is a doctor and one of her favorite things to do is visit patients with him, even though that’s not something girls really do in 1900. She discovers a hidden dark side of the city of San Francisco where she lives, including rumors that the plague is there. Then the family’s Chinese cook goes missing just when Chinatown is quarantined, and Lizzie is determined to find him—he is part of her family after all. Ignoring the rules of race and class, Lizzie must put the pieces together in a heart-stopping race to save the people she loves. This book brought to life a time and place in America’s history that children may not know much about.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure by Mike Wolfe

Cover image for Kid pickers : how to turn junk into treasureHave you ever heard the saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” It basically means that the things you don’t want or like could be wanted by someone else. This book is all about that. Mike Wolfe is from the show, American Pickers, which airs on the History Channel. In this show, Mike goes around finding items that some people consider junk and he either buys them or is given them. He then cleans them up and sometime sells them. What this show doesn’t tell you is that Mike has been doing this since he was a kid. It started with old bikes, cigar boxes, and comic books, and it soon grew to more items. This book is great resource for learning how to pick items and will help you either begin a collection or start a new one. Mike explains places you can go to find items, how to research the item, and even how to re-purpose the item into something new. I especially liked reading about the repurposing of items. I also liked that each chapter ends with a kid picker and their collection. So check out this book to start your picking and have a fun summer doing an interesting activity outside.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Milo Speck, Accidental Agent by Linda Urban

Cover image for Milo Speck, accidental agentThis is the story of Milo Speck, a boy whose father travels a lot for work, and leaves him with Grandmother, a woman who is not actually his grandmother, and who makes him wear dorky clothes with squawking ducks on them. He’s emptying out the laundry machine one day when a sock pulls him in…suddenly he’s in a world called Ogregon, filled with, you guessed it, ogres! They are giant, not very smart, and obsessed with eating children. Milo is desperate for a way to escape, until he hears that his father might be trapped there as well. So he goes to rescue his father, and learns along the way about secret agents, turkeys that obey commands, the mysterious Dr. El, and something called a whatzit that promises to bring the ogres lots of kids to eat. This book is exciting and explores worlds very different from our own, but it should also make you laugh. If you’re looking for something magical with a sense of humor, check out this book!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P.J. Lynch

Cover image for The boy who fell off the Mayflower or John Howland's good fortuneThis longer non-fiction picture book immerses the reader in the early life of John Howland, an indentured servant who, in the year 1620, sailed across the ocean on the Mayflower with his master to become one of the first settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The incredibly rich illustrations and  first-person narrative detailing the unbelievable challenges he faced will easily capture your attention.  Who doesn’t enjoy a true tale of survival?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors

Cover image for The sasquatch escapeSummer in Buttonville is anything but exciting and Ben is about to spend the entire summer there with his grandfather. That means that the most exciting thing that will happen to Ben is having Saturday Pudding Days at the Senior Center. However, that changes when his grandfather’s cat brings home what looks like a baby dragon. With the help of Pearl, a girl from Buttonville, they take the baby dragon to the only veterinarian in town, Dr. Woo’s Worm Hospital. However, when they get there, Ben forgets to close the door and suddenly they find out a big, hairy, smelly sasquatch or bigfoot has escaped. Yep, you heard right, a sasquatch. It seems that there is more to Dr. Woo’s hospital since it is actually a hospital for imaginary animals. Now, Ben and Pearl must try to find the Sasquatch before Buttonville does. Luckily, Sasquatches like chocolate, but will Ben and Pearl be able to find the sasquatch before he destroys Buttonville and is discovered? If anything, Ben’s boring summer has just gotten a lot more interesting.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 Fact-Filled Maps! by Gabrielle Balkan

Cover image for The 50 states : explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps!This over-sized gem is so much more than an atlas. Each of the 50 states is featured and the beautifully illustrated pages include key facts about the states  and moments to remember from each state’s history. Inspiring people from all the states are included, some well-known, others that may be new to young readers. Did you know that the Jackson, MS Children’s Museum has a giant Scrabble Board or that there is a Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, NM? Take a picture book road trip through the United States with this fantastic book.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Cover image for The jumbiesAre you looking looking for a modern folk tale where ancient creatures with yellow glowing eyes hide in the forest?  If I perked your interest you will want to learn more about Jumbies, evil blood sucking spirits that steal the children of Trinidad.  In this exciting adventure, eleven-year old Corrine must protect her father and friends from Severine, a beautiful stranger with magical powers. This is a haunting fantasy you will not want to miss.

Book reviewed by Marsha D., Youth Services Assistant