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Staff Picks 4 Kids

What’s It Like to Climb Mount Everest, Blast Off into Space, Survive a Tornado and Other Extraordinary Stories by Jeff Belanger

Cover image for What it's like to climb Mount Everest, blast off into space, survive a tornado, and other extraordinary storiesPeople can do some pretty amazing things. Just ask Bethany Hamilton, Angus Cockney, Lieutenant Jeff Kraft, and many other people in this book. Each person tells their amazing story in this book as if they were talking to you. This book also gives each person their own chapter, which makes this a great book to start and stop reading. Read a chapter and put it down. You just learned about one person. To hear about these stories and many others, check out What It’s Like to Climb Mount Everest, Blast Off into Space, Survive a Tornado and Other Extraordinary Stories.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on December 15, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Laura B.

The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee by Laurie Cinotto

Cover image for The Itty Bitty Kitty CommitteeWhat’s not to love?  This book is full of cute photographs, useful tips for kitten care, and even advice letters from older cat Charlene Butterbean to her young charges.  Author Laurie Cinotto and her husband are foster parents for young kittens.  Six years ago, they adopted a fostered kitten named Charlene Butterbean.  When Charlene was about a year old, they tried fostering their first kitten.  Six years later, they have cared for nearly 200 kittens.  If you want a laugh, be sure to check out the kitten doing a Michael Jackson impression on page 57 or extreme naughtiness beginning on page 50.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on December 1, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Mary S.

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin

Cover image for The five lives of our cat ZookOona has a pretty good life. She lives with her brother, mother, and their quirky cat, Zook, in a cozy apartment, and she and her brother enjoy earning fried zucchini by dancing in front of a pizza place. When Zook becomes very ill and her mom begins to date again after the death of her father, Oona quickly realizes that keeping certain secrets is much harder than she first thought.  What are her secrets, and why must she keep them from her family and her mom’s new boyfriend? Read to find out!

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on November 17, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Amy S., Realistic Stories

Pie by Sarah Weeks

Cover image for PieWhat’s your favorite type of pie? No matter; whatever your favorite is, it would be available and free at PIE, Aunt Polly’s bakery. She just loved baking pies, and didn’t need the money, so her pies would all be free!

But then she died, and no one, not her sister, not her favorite niece, Alice, no one, had a copy of her famous pie crust recipe. Aunt Polly left the only known copy of it to her cat, Lardo!

How can someone leave a recipe to a cat? Good question. It’s a mystery, and Alice, with her friend, Charlie, is determined to find out!

(Another plus to this books are the 14 pie recipes, each one guaranteed to be delicious! Come to read the book; stay and try out a pie recipe!)

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on November 10, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Loreen S., Realistic Stories

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

Cover image for The secret hum of a daisyIf you’re looking for a heartfelt read, Tracy Holczer’s first novel, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, is beautifully written and emotionally charged.  Grace’s mom always had them moving in search of a “home”.  After her tragic death, 12 year old Grace is sent to live with the grandmother that she never knew.  Blaming her grandma for making her mom move away while she was pregnant with Grace, she decides to make grandma’s life miserable.

Through a scavenger hunt she believes her mom left for her and the help of new friends, Grace makes some surprising discoveries.  While she learns about her family history, she wonders if she will find the “home” her mom was seeking.  Can she forgive her grandma?  How will she cope with the overwhelming sadness?  Will she resume writing which was always her passion?

This is a tough book to put down!

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

By lbos on November 3, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

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.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell

Cover image for Josephine : the dazzling life of Josephine BakerIn the biography, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Patricia Hruby Powell’s rhythmic text and Christian Robinson’s bold illustrations give pizzazz to one African American entertainer’s extraordinary life and the era in which she lived. From rags in St. Louis to riches and fame in Paris, Josephine broke color barriers with her dancing, singing, and silly on-stage persona. You’ll be dazzled by the life of this intriguing performer, who also became a stunt pilot, had a pet leopard, and adopted 12 children from 10 different countries!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on October 14, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E.

Our Eleanor by Candace Fleming

Cover image for Our Eleanor : a scrapbook look at Eleanor Roosevelt's remarkable lifeWhat do you know about Eleanor Roosevelt?  Did you know that she was friends with Amelia Earhart and flew with her from Washington D.C. to Baltimore?  Eleanor even considered getting her own pilot’s license.  However, her husband, Franklin, vetoed the idea saying, “I know how Eleanor drives a car.  Imagine her flying an airplane!” (Eleanor was a terrible driver and once had as many as 3 car accidents on one journey.)

Did you know that she traveled at least 40,000 miles her first year in the White House?  She wanted to meet people firsthand and see the effects of the Great Depression.

Most importantly, Eleanor was a friend to the people.  She took a trip 2 1/2 miles underground to check the conditions of coal miners.  She visited the Puerto Rican slums and then urged the president to create a housing project there. She read aloud to orphan children and inspected their asylum.

These are just a few of the facts you will learn if you read Our Eleanor by Candace Fleming.  I promise you will be amazed by what you learn about this groundbreaking first lady.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By MPPL on October 7, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Mary S.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephen Pastis

Cover image for Mistakes were madeIf you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid or the Big Nate books, this book is right up your alley! Timmy Failure is a detective with a sidekick, Total (who is a lazy 1,500 pound polar bear). Timmy illustrates his stories (Total tried, but he does not draw as well as Timmy). This book is very funny, and there are more in this series if you like this first book. Fun fact: The author, Stephen Pastis, draws the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine” that appears in newspapers.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on September 29, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Anne W.

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