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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo

Cover image for Leroy Ninker saddles upIf you like Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series you will love this spin-off.  It stars Leroy Ninker, a wanna-be cowboy, who works at a drive-in theater.  When his co-worker mentions he has everything he needs to be a real cowboy except the horse he answers a want ad looking for a buyer of a horse “really cheap”. Well, it is love at first sight.  Of course, Leroy has no idea how to take care of a horse so the adventure begins.

Book reviewed by Barb M., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

By lbos on November 24, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Funny, Picks by Barb M.

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin

Cover image for The five lives of our cat ZookOona has a pretty good life. She lives with her brother, mother, and their quirky cat, Zook, in a cozy apartment, and she and her brother enjoy earning fried zucchini by dancing in front of a pizza place. When Zook becomes very ill and her mom begins to date again after the death of her father, Oona quickly realizes that keeping certain secrets is much harder than she first thought.  What are her secrets, and why must she keep them from her family and her mom’s new boyfriend? Read to find out!

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on November 17, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Amy S., Realistic Stories

Pie by Sarah Weeks

Cover image for PieWhat’s your favorite type of pie? No matter; whatever your favorite is, it would be available and free at PIE, Aunt Polly’s bakery. She just loved baking pies, and didn’t need the money, so her pies would all be free!

But then she died, and no one, not her sister, not her favorite niece, Alice, no one, had a copy of her famous pie crust recipe. Aunt Polly left the only known copy of it to her cat, Lardo!

How can someone leave a recipe to a cat? Good question. It’s a mystery, and Alice, with her friend, Charlie, is determined to find out!

(Another plus to this books are the 14 pie recipes, each one guaranteed to be delicious! Come to read the book; stay and try out a pie recipe!)

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on November 10, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S., Realistic Stories

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

Cover image for The secret hum of a daisyIf you’re looking for a heartfelt read, Tracy Holczer’s first novel, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, is beautifully written and emotionally charged.  Grace’s mom always had them moving in search of a “home”.  After her tragic death, 12 year old Grace is sent to live with the grandmother that she never knew.  Blaming her grandma for making her mom move away while she was pregnant with Grace, she decides to make grandma’s life miserable.

Through a scavenger hunt she believes her mom left for her and the help of new friends, Grace makes some surprising discoveries.  While she learns about her family history, she wonders if she will find the “home” her mom was seeking.  Can she forgive her grandma?  How will she cope with the overwhelming sadness?  Will she resume writing which was always her passion?

This is a tough book to put down!

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

By lbos on November 3, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger

Cover image for ZombiekinsIn Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger, fourth-grader Stanley Nudelman stops by his creepy neighbor Imavitch’s yard sale. There he ends up buying Zombiekins, a creepy stuffed animal that looks part bear, part bunny, and part zombie. After failing to read the directions, Stanley unknowingly unleashes Zombiekins at his school turning classmates into the undead. Nowhere in the school is safe from the plush terror! Stanley has to find a way to stop Zombiekins and turn his classmates back into less terrifying versions of themselves before it’s too late and all the teachers notice the school is full of zombies. Can he do it? Read this story that is equal parts funny and frightening to find out! You might also want to check out the cool black and white illustrations throughout the book.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on October 27, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Funny, Picks by Keary B.

Falling In by Francis O’Roark Dowell

Cover image for Falling inIf you liked A Tale Dark and Grimm, then you might like Falling In by Frances O’Roark Dowell. Isabelle Bean has never had real friends. She talks in riddles and always seems to be in her own world. One day, when she is in the nurse’s office at school, she falls into a closet and suddenly is transported to another world where children are hiding because an evil witch is after them. When she first falls into this world, the children think she is a witch too, because she wears red boots like a witch. However, soon Isabelle finds herself making friends and even meets a nice old lady that looks a lot like Isabelle’s mom, but how can that be? Isabelle is from a different world, right? Or maybe, there is more to this witch story than was originally thought.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on October 21, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Laura B.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell

Cover image for Josephine : the dazzling life of Josephine BakerIn the biography, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Patricia Hruby Powell’s rhythmic text and Christian Robinson’s bold illustrations give pizzazz to one African American entertainer’s extraordinary life and the era in which she lived. From rags in St. Louis to riches and fame in Paris, Josephine broke color barriers with her dancing, singing, and silly on-stage persona. You’ll be dazzled by the life of this intriguing performer, who also became a stunt pilot, had a pet leopard, and adopted 12 children from 10 different countries!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on October 14, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E.

Our Eleanor by Candace Fleming

Cover image for Our Eleanor : a scrapbook look at Eleanor Roosevelt's remarkable lifeWhat do you know about Eleanor Roosevelt?  Did you know that she was friends with Amelia Earhart and flew with her from Washington D.C. to Baltimore?  Eleanor even considered getting her own pilot’s license.  However, her husband, Franklin, vetoed the idea saying, “I know how Eleanor drives a car.  Imagine her flying an airplane!” (Eleanor was a terrible driver and once had as many as 3 car accidents on one journey.)

Did you know that she traveled at least 40,000 miles her first year in the White House?  She wanted to meet people firsthand and see the effects of the Great Depression.

Most importantly, Eleanor was a friend to the people.  She took a trip 2 1/2 miles underground to check the conditions of coal miners.  She visited the Puerto Rican slums and then urged the president to create a housing project there. She read aloud to orphan children and inspected their asylum.

These are just a few of the facts you will learn if you read Our Eleanor by Candace Fleming.  I promise you will be amazed by what you learn about this groundbreaking first lady.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By MPPL on October 7, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Mary S.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephen Pastis

Cover image for Mistakes were madeIf you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid or the Big Nate books, this book is right up your alley! Timmy Failure is a detective with a sidekick, Total (who is a lazy 1,500 pound polar bear). Timmy illustrates his stories (Total tried, but he does not draw as well as Timmy). This book is very funny, and there are more in this series if you like this first book. Fun fact: The author, Stephen Pastis, draws the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine” that appears in newspapers.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on September 29, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Anne W.

Almost Super by Marion Jensen

Cover image for Almost superRafter and Benny Bailey are about to learn their super powers. In their family, everyone gets a super power the year they turn 12 so they can battle the supervillains, the Johnsons. Except this year, their powers are duds. Even Juanita Johnson admits that her power isn’t so super. Despite the warnings of their parents, the three decide to work together to try and figure out what went wrong. Along the way, they learn more about each other’s families and about what it means to be super. This is a funny and exciting read that should appeal to chapter book readers who enjoy movies like The Incredibles.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator and Volunteen Coordinator

By lbos on September 22, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B