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Staff Picks 4 Kids

What’s It Like to Climb Mount Everest, Blast Off into Space, Survive a Tornado and Other Extraordinary Stories by Jeff Belanger

Cover image for What it's like to climb Mount Everest, blast off into space, survive a tornado, and other extraordinary storiesPeople can do some pretty amazing things. Just ask Bethany Hamilton, Angus Cockney, Lieutenant Jeff Kraft, and many other people in this book. Each person tells their amazing story in this book as if they were talking to you. This book also gives each person their own chapter, which makes this a great book to start and stop reading. Read a chapter and put it down. You just learned about one person. To hear about these stories and many others, check out What It’s Like to Climb Mount Everest, Blast Off into Space, Survive a Tornado and Other Extraordinary Stories.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on December 15, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Laura B.

Have a Hot time, Hades! By Kate McMullan 

Cover image for Have a hot time, Hades!Everything you know about Greek mythology is wrong, at least according to Hades in this series by Kate McMullan. Zeus is a really myth-o-maniac, (that’s old Greek for liar). Well, it seems Zeus stretched the truth a little bit regarding what actually happened. Now, Hades is ready to set the record straight and make sure the world knows that he’s not really a bad guy.

In this installment, Hades tells the real story of how the Greek Gods came to power and defeated their father Cronus.  This version involves the first Olympics, a kick stone game, and the bucket o’ bolts. Throw in a couple of monsters and you get Hades’ side of the story.  Some of the other Greek Myths retold in the series include the stories of Pandora, Hercules, and Cupid.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on December 8, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 2-4, Picks by Keary B.

The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee by Laurie Cinotto

Cover image for The Itty Bitty Kitty CommitteeWhat’s not to love?  This book is full of cute photographs, useful tips for kitten care, and even advice letters from older cat Charlene Butterbean to her young charges.  Author Laurie Cinotto and her husband are foster parents for young kittens.  Six years ago, they adopted a fostered kitten named Charlene Butterbean.  When Charlene was about a year old, they tried fostering their first kitten.  Six years later, they have cared for nearly 200 kittens.  If you want a laugh, be sure to check out the kitten doing a Michael Jackson impression on page 57 or extreme naughtiness beginning on page 50.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on December 1, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Mary S.

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.