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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Zita the Spacegirl, Book 1, Far from Home by Ben Hatke

syndetics-lcZita was just playing finders-keepers with her friend Joseph when they came across a giant hole with a meteoroid sitting at the bottom. However, when Zita went to explore, instead of finding a rock, she found a device with a giant red button. When she pressed it, Joseph is taken through a portal. Zita presses the button again to see if she can rescue him. Now, Zita is on a planet with a bunch of different aliens and has to try to save Joseph from the dangerous Scriptorians. How will she ever make everything right again?

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on September 15, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Graphic Novels, Picks by Laura B., Science Fiction

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

syndetics-lcEvery child in Urwald Forest knows you never ever wander off the path.  So imagine six-year-old Jinx’s terror when his stepfather abandons him there.  Will he be eaten by trolls?  Or torn apart by werewolves?  Or maybe a witch will cast a spell on him?  Luckily, he is found by a wizard named Simon who needs an assistant.  Life as a wizard’s apprentice isn’t glamorous.  There’s the cleaning and the fetching and the cats—all 27 of them, but Simon doesn’t seem dangerous, only very grumpy.  Simon even decides to teach Jinx a little magic.  The problem is even though Jinx knows four languages, can speak to trees, and reads people’s minds, he is absolutely hopeless at learning spells.  He can’t even move the tiniest pebble with his mind or learn a concealment spell.  It seems to Jinx that he must be completely lacking in magical ability.  So imagine Jinx’s surprise when Simon casts a spell on him, making him collapse on the floor while his magic floats through the air in a golden ball for Simon to capture in a bottle.  It turns out that Jinx did have magical ability– a special kind of forest magic that Simon has stolen for his own.  Now Jinx must find Simon’s sworn enemy to ask him for help.  Will Jinx be able to get his magic back or will he just make things worse?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By MPPL on September 8, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Saving Audie by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

syndetics-lcAudie is your average puppy: energetic, caring and devoted to his family. But he wasn’t always this way. He and 48 other pit bulls used to belong to the Bad Newz Kennels where they were used for dog fights. When the dog fights were discovered, most people believed that the dogs would be dangerous and might need to be put down. With the help of some caring people, they found that almost all of the dogs were safe, and soon they were able to leave and start their lives over. Even though Audie had a difficult life when he was young, he now lives with a loving family and spends his time training for competitions, helping train other dogs, and of course, playing! I liked this story because it shows that animals are capable of some amazing things, like surviving an abusive childhood and learning how to trust and get along with humans and other dogs again. If you like books about animals and the surprising things they can do, check this book out!

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

By lbos on September 1, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Non-fiction, Picks by Claire B

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

syndetics-lcA castle is almost always part of a fantasy story.  But in the book Tuesdays at the Castle, this castle has a mind of its own!  It can add new rooms, an entire wing, doors, archways, a secret passageway—whatever it thinks is best.  But most importantly, it protects the royal family and people who are loyal, especially Princess Celia.  People at the castle that bring harm to the family receive small, dingy rooms and can also be shut out of other rooms by the doors disappearing.  When the king, queen, and prince are attacked outside the castle and presumed dead, the remaining prince and two princesses, and the castle, discover who the evil people are and work hard to cleverly save the kingdom.

 

Book reviewed by Mary Lou H., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on August 25, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Lou H.

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, The Blue Death, and A Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson

syndetics-lcWant to read an action-packed historical fiction novel that is set in the 1850s? Then look no further! Follow Eel, a boy who spends his days searching for small treasures in the disgusting muck of the river Thames. As if his luck isn’t bad enough, bad guy Fisheye Bill Taylor is after him AND his neighbors are beginning to get sick and die of cholera, a horrible disease. Read this riveting book to discover if Eel can keep out of Fisheye’s way while he tries to help his friends and keep his secrets safe.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on August 18, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Amy S.

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

syndetics-lcZane’s dad died before he was born. Zane is a biracial child, and his mom makes contact with his dad’s grandmother in New Orleans. Zane is going to meet his great-grandmother for the first time, as he knows nothing about his dad’s family. After Zane and his dog Bandit arrive and meet Miss Trissy, Hurricane Katrina hits. There is no power, and Zane, Miss Trissy, and Bandit have to figure out how to get to higher ground before the waters flood Miss Trissy’s house. Zane, Bandit, and Miss Trissy get a ride in the church van, but Bandit is scared and jumps out. Zane jumps out after him and gets separated from Miss Trissy. Bandit goes all the way back to Miss Trissy’s house, and then Zane and Bandit are rescued by Malvina, a 12 year old girl just like Zane, and her guardian, an elderly musician named Tru. Will Zane, Bandit, Malvina, and Tru make it to higher ground? Will they find helpful or harmful people along the way? Read this engrossing book and find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on August 11, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W., Realistic Stories

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

syndetics-lcCupcakes are the best dessert. Just ask Foster McFee, upcoming television chef. At least she hopes to be when she grows up. However, it is hard to obtain your dream when you have to start over with your mom in a new town called Culpepper, which has some really interesting people living there. Soon the town encounters some unexpected events, and will have to support each other through some tough times if they want to survive. Foster is ready for the challenge, because sometimes things don’t go the way you plan, but you can always just keep on baking.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on August 4, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Laura B., Realistic Stories

Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger

syndetics-lcIn Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger, all Casper has to do to become president of the United States is buy a fake mustache and a fancy suit. Did I mention that the mustache once belonged to an evil villain and has mind-control powers? With this mustache, he convinces teachers and fast food restaurant employees to rob banks and do his bidding, and he’s convinced the whole world that he should be in charge! It seems nothing can stop Casper and his mustache from taking over the world…but there are two people who aren’t fooled. One is Lenny Flem Jr, Casper’s best friend, and the other is Jodie O’Rodeo, famous yodeling child TV star. Can they thwart the evil plan and bring the world back to normal? You’ll just have to read to find out! Tom Angleberger’s books are really fun to read, with adventure, mystery, and a lot of laughs along the way.

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

By lbos on July 28, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Claire B

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

syndetics-lcSophie’s childhood has always been unusual, which might be expected from someone who began her life life floating the ocean in a cello case.  She is adopted by Charles, a scholar who knows more about Shakespeare than about raising children.  When Sophie breaks the plates, they begin eating off books.  When Sophie has an idea, Charles encourages her to write it on the walls.  And when Sophie believes she can find her mother, Charles helps her look even though everyone else assures her that her mother died in a shipwreck.  Because as Charles says, “Never ignore a possible.”   Her search brings her to France, where she meets Matteo, a boy who lives on the rooftops of Paris.  Matteo introduces Sophie to climbing drainpipes, eating roast pigeon, and exploring the world from above.  It is up here that Sophie hears the cello music that may lead her home.

After reading about Sophie’s exploits, you will never think about life down on the ground in quite the same way. This book is for readers in fourth grade and up who love magical adventures, quirky characters, and happy endings.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on July 21, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Waiting For the Queen: A Novel of Early America by Joanna Higgins

syndetics-lcMeet Eugenie:  a teen from a noble family who must travel to a French settlement in America to escape possible execution in the midst of the French Revolution.  Meet Hannah:  a young Quaker girl who lives a simple life with her family. In Waiting For the Queen, by Joanna Higgins, these girls’ lives intersect when Hannah’s family is hired to wait on Eugenie and her fellow French aristocrats as they struggle to adapt to the rustic settlement. Eugenie suffers major culture shock when she discovers her new house is a shack instead of a palace, while Hannah has difficulty being forced to curtsy when her religion teaches that everyone is equal.  Read this riveting novel to find out how they try to adjust to their constantly changing lives.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on July 14, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Amy S.