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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Toby Alone by Timothée de Fombelle

Toby Alone Looking for a good adventure mixed with eco-friendly fantasy and a hero you’ll love to root for?  Then try Toby Alone by French author Timothée de Fombelle.   Thirteen-year-old Toby—a mere one and a half millimeters tall—is on the run from greedy developers who threaten the Great Oak Tree world that is home to him, his family, and his friends.  He’s clever and he’s resourceful, but he’s the only one who escapes exile to the lower branches.  Can he, all alone, expose the developers’ evil plan and save the Great Oak Tree world?  It’s a exciting story, and you’ll be cheering all the way for Toby as he meets this challenge head on! 

Book reviewed by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on October 3, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking RatIn Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, Emmy longs for the way things used to be, before her parents became rich.  Like when her parents actually liked to spend time with her.  Like when her parents actually cared about her.  Now, Mom and Dad almost act as if  they are under some sort of mean, ignore-our-daughter kind of spell.  Turns out, they ARE!  Watch out for the evil nanny and the despicable potions she concocts from magical rodents.  It’s up to Emmy to save the day — can she do it?  Try this book, especially if you like fantasy adventure and a plucky heroine.

Book reviewed by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on August 23, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S.

No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko

No Passengers Beyond This Point After Dad died, life became hard for the Tompkins. Then the day came when Mom could no longer even afford to keep their home. India, Finn, and Mouse would have to go and live with their Uncle Red. Despite their misgivings, the three set off on a plane to Denver, Colorado. But their plane lands in the strange town of Falling Bird instead. And what a mysterious place that is! Riding in a feather-covered taxi seems almost normal in Falling Bird. They have to decide whether to stay in Falling Bird or not, and when they decide to leave, they’re in real trouble! No Passengers Beyond This Point is an engaging mixture of realistic fiction and fantasy.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on June 20, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S., Realistic Stories

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

A Tale Dark and GrimmYou’ll recognize Hansel and Gretel as the heroes of A Tale Dark & Grimm, which is a collection of fractured fairy tales.  But it’s not just their familiar story.  They take you on a tour of nine other lesser know Grimm tales, too.  Be warned, however, and don’t expect all sweetness and light …no sir!  You’ll get big doses of gore, gruesomeness, and dark humor, along with the usual adventure.  If you don’t mind a little bit of horror in your “happily ever after,” you will like this book.

Book reviewed by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on May 24, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S.

Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka

Spaceheadz Attention those of you who have traveled with the Time Warp Trio! Attention any of you who suffered along with the class in the Math Curse! You may decide that Spaceheadz–the latest offering by Jon Scieszka–is not quite up to his best, but you will be the best judge.

Michael K, a newly arrived 5th grader, meets two other newcomers–Venus and TJ. Newcomers? I’ll say! TJ and Venus are aliens from another planet, and they’re here to make Spaceheadz out of 3.14  million + 1 earthlings or else they will turn off (whatever that means–doesn’t sound good, does it?) our whole planet! Are you willing to become one of the 3.14 miilion +1 and become a Spacehead? Maybe you won’t have a choice!  For more Spacehead adventures, check out the 2nd and 3rd books in the series.

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

 

By MPPL on March 7, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Loreen S.

The Wide-awake Princess by E.D. Baker

The Wide-awake Princess Did you know that Sleeping Beauty had a younger sister? Well, Wide-awake Princess by E.D. Baker is her story.  Instead of falling asleep like everyone else in the castle when Princess Gwendolyn, otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty, pricks her finger, Annie stayed awake.  It’s up to her to break the spell and save the day.  Only true-love’s kiss will wake Princess Gwendolyn. So, Annie sets of to find all the princes she can and bring them back to the castle in hopes that one of the kisses will lift the curse.  Along the way she’ll meet familiar characters from other fairy tales and maybe even find her own happily ever after.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist

By MPPL on February 21, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Keary B.

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

Igraine the BraveWhat’s a girl to do?  Your parents have accidentally turned themselves into pigs, your evil next-door neighbor is trying to steal your magic books, and your older brother’s magical cooking can only produce blue eggs and dry biscuits (yuck).  Go on a quest, of course.  Igraine sets off to find the giant hairs that will free her parents from their magical spell and save the day.   Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke is another great book from my favorite author!

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

 

By MPPL on November 16, 2010 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

The Cabinet of Wonders by Maria Rutkoski

The Cabinet of Wonders In The Cabinet of Wonders  by Maria Rutkoski, Petra goes on a quest to get back her father’s eyes from the cruel prince.  A magical mechanical spider and a gypsy boy help her along the way.  I enjoyed this fantasy that mixed magic and technology together.  Other fans of fantasy should enjoy this one, too.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist

 

By MPPL on September 27, 2010 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Keary B.

The Mud Fairy by Amy Young

Mud Fairy The Mud Fairy by Amy Young.  Did you ever want to be a fairy? Well it’s not as easy as you might think. Little Emmalina loved playing in the swamp with the frogs instead of doing something important like opening a flower to get her wings.  She felt like she wasn’t good at anything until she snuck off to the swamp to help the frogs with their new tadpoles. Would this help her earn her wings?

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

By MPPL on August 18, 2010 Categories: Fantasy, Picks by Barb M., Picture Books

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Magician's Elephant Imagine.  You are at a magic show.  The magician promises to produce a bouquet of lilies, but instead he makes an elephant fall through the ceiling—that elephant lands on a woman’s lap, crippling her legs.  And so begins The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.  Unfortunately, that is the most exciting part of the book.  Although I love Because of Winn Dixie and am a fan of anything involving elephants, I just couldn’t get into this book.  After the elephant falls on page 15, nothing much exciting happens until the book ends 200 pages later.  I give this book a thumbs down.  (For ages 8 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on March 17, 2010 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.