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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

syndetics-lcCreel is in an awful situation. Her parents became ill and died leaving her and her brother to live with her poor aunt and uncle.  Her brother can work but Creel is seen as a burden to the family, so her aunt hatches a plan to sacrifice her to the local dragon in hopes that a knight will come save the damsel in distress and marry her.  Of course, her aunt’s family would benefit financially from this marriage. Well this isn’t your typical fairytale. The dragon doesn’t want to fight and gives Creel a pair of slippers if she will keep the knight away from the cave.  What she doesn’t know is that these slippers have magical powers to control the dragons. Read this book to find out what happens when the slippers get into the wrong hands. Can Creel help the young knight save the Kingdom from certain war?

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

By lbos on January 27, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Barb M.

Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

syndetics-lcEleven year old Cady has lived in the orphanage with Miss Mallory since she was a baby.  Although Miss Mallory has a “Talent” for finding new homes for orphans, she does not seem to be able to find a place for Cady.  While Cady waits, she utilizes her Talent to bake cakes, hoping one day to bake a cake for her own adoption day.  Cady’s adventures intertwine with a family of children searching for their own Talents, a runaway balloonist, a missing dinosaur bone, and even a Talent thief until her story looks like a tangle of knots, but it may not be as tangled as it seems.  How this story unwinds will surprise you.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on January 20, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

syndetics-lcIn The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone, 6th-graders Jack and Ruthie take a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and fall in love with the Thorne Rooms, a collection of very detailed and beautiful miniature rooms. They also find magic, which takes them on quite an adventure. The plot of this book is sort of a mixture of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Indian in the Cupboard, and Chasing Vermeer. I would recommend it for 3-4th graders who liked those books.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on December 9, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E.

Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes

syndetics-lcIn the compelling fantasy, Darkbeast, Keara is a confident girl who lives in a world where her Darkbeast, Caw, is a constant companion.  When her twelfth nameday arrives, Keara runs away from her village rather than be forced to kill Caw, which is required by law. The dreaded Inquisitors hunt them as they race through strange towns to find safety. Keara finds a temporary safe haven with a mysterious group of actors called The Travelers, but it’s only a matter of time until the Inquisitors discover the two.  Will Keara and Caw ever be able to sleep safely again? Find out in Darkbeast! This fantastical tale is continued in Darkbeast:  Rebellion and is highly recommended for those who are fans of the His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Programming Assistant

By lbos on December 2, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Amy S.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

syndetics-lcGregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins is a quick and exciting read, and the ending definitely left me hanging so I might need to read the sequels. Fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, but I do like the idea of other worlds existing that we do not even know about. Gregor doesn’t see himself as a warrior in the beginning, but grows and changes as he faces numerous challenges in the Underland. Parts of the story were a little gross, other parts a little scary, and some parts sad. This would make a good discussion book because there is a lot of adventure, imagination, and many metaphorical themes.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on September 23, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

syndetics-lcClara Wintermute disappears on her twelfth birthday. Her parents are devastated, after having lost her three siblings to cholera. Everyone suspects the puppet master Grisini who performed at her birthday party. When he too disappears, his assistants, orphans Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, are left to figure out what happened to Clara. A mysterious letter from a faraway land adds to the mystery:  a rich older woman wants to leave all of her money to Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. But what she wants in return could change their lives forever. This is a pretty complex story, but it is also very exciting. Fans of historical fantasy and mystery may want to give Splendors and Glooms a chance. It’s also a 2013 Newberry Honor!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator


By lbos on April 15, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Claire B

The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin

syndetics-lcHave you ever had to babysit someone who wants constant attention? Dean is really bored and doesn’t understand why his stepsister Sunni must constantly work on her art project in the Blackhope Tower when they could be somewhere much cooler. However, Sunni is interested in the Renaissance painting she is looking at; that is until Dean suddenly disappears into the painting. Sunni and her friend Blaise must go in the painting after Dean to save him. Can the trio survive the paintings labyrinths, monsters, and pirates? Will they ever get out of the painting or are they stuck in there forever? Read The Blackhope Enigma to see what happens!

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on February 18, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Laura B.

Behind the Gates: Book One in the Tomorrow Girls series by Eva Gray

syndetics-lcDo you ever think about the future? Well what if that future world isn’t so great?  The Tomorrow Girls series takes place in a not so distant future just like that.  Two girls, Maddie and Louisa, from Chicago get sent away to a boarding school for safety. The girls pretend to be twins so both can attend the school. Just when it looks like Maddie and Louisa will get caught, it turns out they have bigger problems. Their school is secretly a training camp for the enemy.  The girls run away with their roommates, Evelyn and Rosie, and try to make it back to Chicago. This is a suspense filled dystopian series where each of the four books is from a different girl’s point of view.  Give this series a try if you are too young for the Hunger Games or if you have already read them and want something new.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on February 4, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Keary B., Science Fiction

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

syndetics-lcThe Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Alex and Aaron, identical twins, have spent all of their 13 years together in the land of Quill, but that was ending today. Quillerans are expected to conform unquestioningly to all the rules; all creativity and independence are totally not tolerated. Not “tolerated”? At 13 years of age, every child is labeled as “Wanted” (destined for higher education and a possible future leadership position), “Necessary” (deemed needed for less important positions, a worker), or “Unwanted” (not considered worthy to even live and so is condemned to death). Aaron has always met the community’s expectations and is announced as one of the celebrated Wanteds. But Alex, who has been caught drawing a few times, is consigned to go to the Death Farm and the Lake of Burning Oil. What horrors await Alex as he approaches the heavy iron gates of the Death Farm? And how will Aaron manage without him?

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on December 20, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

syndetics-lcWant a good read-alike for Ella Enchanted? Look no further.  This book has it all—an evil curse, a brave soldier, and twelve beautiful princesses. Every night the princesses are locked in their rooms. Yet, every morning they are discovered to be exhausted and to have worn out their dancing shoes. Where are the princesses going, and will they be able to escape before the kingdom is destroyed?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on December 3, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.