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Staff Picks 4 Kids

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.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

HobbitWith the new movie coming out in December, I decided it was time to revisit The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The Hobbit was one of my favorite books as a child, and I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered.  It was.  The story begins with Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit.   (In case you were wondering, a hobbit looks like a human but is much smaller and has hairy feet.)  He is living a quiet, adventure-free life like hobbits are supposed to do.  Then one day Gandalf the Wizard shows up, followed by 13 dwarfs, and the trouble starts.  Bilbo is asked to join the group as their burglar.  His job will be to steal the gold from the terrible dragon, Smaug.  Along the way, Bilbo will face many hardships, including missing meals (did I mention that Hobbits really like to eat?), being chased by goblins, and getting lost in the forest.   Will Bilbo survive? And will he ever be the same?

Before Harry Potter, there was The Hobbit.  If you love fantasy, you won’t want to miss out on this fantastical tale.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on October 1, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks

MirrorscapeIn Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks, Mel lives in a world sort of like ours, except where he lives the five Mystery organizations control “pleasures”, or everything to do with the senses. That means you have to pay extra for your clothes to have color in them, or to eat food besides bread, water, and homegrown vegetables. Mel has lived in the country his whole life, drawing pictures in his spare time, until a famous artist asks him to come to the city and be one of his apprentices. It’s a dream come true…until he gets there. The head apprentice is jealous of Mel’s talent and the High Bailiff of the Fifth Mystery has got it in for him. Then he discovers a secret world inside of paintings where fantastical creatures, talking houses, and mines that seek inspiration (instead of minerals) exist. Mel and his friends find themselves in the middle of an epic battle between the Fifth Mystery and the people who want to keep pleasures affordable for everyone. This book celebrates art and creativity, and makes me want to start drawing. It also reminds me of another story with evil forces, a two-boy-and-one-girl trio of friends, and adventures that can’t seem to be avoided… Harry Potter, anyone?

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator

By bjones on July 23, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Claire B

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Liesl and PoLiesl and Po by Lauren Oliver. Since Liesl’s evil stepmother locked her in the attic, her days are all the same–boring and lonely.  Until one day Po, the ghost of a child, appears to her.  At the same time Will, the alchemist’s apprentice, makes a terrible mistake.  He accidentally delivers a box of powerful magic to Liesl’s house.  Thus, Liesl’s adventure begins as she escapes from the attic and must run from the people who want their magic back.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on July 2, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Tumtum & Nutmeg by Emily Bearn

Tumtum and NutmegDaring military campaigns!   Terrifying pirate encounters!  Inspiring prisoner rescues!  These are only a few of the exploits contained in Tumtum & Nutmeg:  Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn.  From this you might get the idea that Nutmeg and Tumtum are daring thrill seekers.  However, you couldn’t be further from the truth.  They are just two mice who wish to live a quiet existence in their comfortably furnished house.  Instead, mouse-sized adventure seems to follow them wherever they go.  If you are a fan of the Littles, the Borrowers, Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Two Bad Mice, and all things small, this book is for you.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on June 4, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Eleven-year-olds Hazel and Jack live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  They have been best friends since they were six years old.  Suddenly, one day Jack stops speaking to Hazel, and the next day he disappears.  His parents say he has gone to live with his elderly Aunt Bernice, but Hazel doesn’t believe them.  Why would Jack change overnight? And why hasn’t she ever heard of this aunt?  It turns out that fairytales can come true.  There is an enchanted woods in their neighborhood, and Jack has been taken by the Snow Queen.  Now Hazel must go on a perilous quest.  Will she reach Jack in time?  If you love fairytales and the Narnia series, you are sure to enjoy Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. 

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

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