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Staff Picks 4 Kids

ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan

Cover image for Echo : a novelA midwife prophecy sets the stage for a quest that spans over four historical settings. Each of the stories introduces the reader to new characters facing challenges and a mysterious harmonica that allows us to share in their love for the beauty of music.  After all the stories have ended, they will continue to ECHO in your mind and heart.

Book reviewed by Marsha D., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on July 6, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Marsha D.

Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson

Cover image for Boys of blurCharlie’s family has just moved back to the town his father and step-father are from. It is where football is a way of life and boys chase rabbits through the sugar cane for fun. There’s something different about this town. It starts when Charlie’s cousin takes him out at night, and they see a man wearing a silver helmet and carrying a sword who is accompanied by a panther. Then there’s the awful smell that usually makes people unnaturally angry all of a sudden. Charlie is trying to move past the pain his father caused in the past, and adjust to a new happier life in a different place, but the secrets of the town are too much to ignore. He and his cousin find themselves right in the middle of a war between good and evil that threatens everyone in their town. This book has zombies and other fantastical elements, but paints a realistic place you can clearly imagine. It is a fast and exciting read that should appeal to readers in 4th-6th grade, especially those who like adventures and fantasy.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on May 11, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B

The Last Apprentice:  Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney     

Cover image for Revenge of the witchTom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, has the disturbing ability to sense ghosts and other beasties that go bump in the night. He’d rather not have this “gift, but it is something from which he can’t escape.  When Tom reluctantly begins an apprenticeship with the Spook, a person who rids the County of harmful beings like boggarts and witches, he thinks he might be in over his head. With mortal danger lurking behind every dark corner, Tom struggles to conquer his fear while protecting those he cares about. This book is only for those brave enough to stomach truly scary tales. Are you brave enough?

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on April 27, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Amy S.

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister by Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand, and Emma Trevayne

Cover image for The cabinet of curiosities : 36 tales brief & sinisterWithin a collection of short stories, especially with a variety of authors, there will always be some hits and some misses…but most of these 36 tales were hits! Some were more memorable than others, but all of them were entertaining, just the right amount of creepy, and well-written. Some would be fun to read aloud. I loved how the stories were divided into themed sections, such as “Cake,” “Luck,” and “Fairy Tales.” You could read them all, or just a few!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on March 30, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E.

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

Cover image for The abominablesThis is the delightful story of a young child who accompanies her father on trip in the Himalayas looking for rare and unknown plants. While there, young Lady Agatha is kidnapped by a large Yeti (abominable) because he needed someone to care for his young family.  We learn all about these creatures and how they are helped when civilization starts to invade their peaceful existence. This is the author’s final book and she had a wonderful gift of storytelling.

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

By lbos on February 23, 2015 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Barb M.

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

Cover image for The mark of the dragonflySince her father died, Piper has been dreaming of a way to buy herself an easier life.  When she finds an injured girl in the middle of a meteor storm, she thinks she has found her answer.   The girl, Anna, carries the Mark of the Dragonfly, which means she is under the protection of the king.  Piper thinks she will return Anna to her family, collect her reward, and begin her new life.  Things get more complicated when a scary man forces his way into Piper’s house and tries to kidnap Anna.  Piper and Anna begin a dangerous journey to find Anna’s family, during which they are stolen by slavers, discover magic, and even make some unexpected friends.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on December 29, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

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.

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.

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

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.