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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Cover image for Rain reignIn Ann M. Martin’s newest novel entitled Rain Reign, we meet 5th grader Rose Howard who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. This beautiful novel is told through her voice.  Rose is obsessed with homonyms (which are words that sound alike but are spelled differently; like the title of this book Rain Reign).

No one seems to understand her…not her teachers, the kids at school, or even her own father!  They don’t get her obsession with homonyms, prime numbers, and following rules.  This makes school and home quite a struggle.

When her town is hit by a super storm, Rose’s world is turned upside down.  The power is out, schools are closed, her already stressed father loses his job, and the search for her missing dog, Rain, pushes her way out of her comfort zone.

From sadness to joy, this book takes you on a rewarding adventure filled with emotion and allows the reader to see things from the very different viewpoint of someone on the Autism spectrum.

I recommend this book for 4th-6th graders who enjoy a heartfelt read.

Book reviewed by Carol C.., Elementary School Liaison

By lbos on April 6, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

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.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Cover image for Greenglass HouseIt’s the middle of winter at Greenglass House, a smuggler’s inn on the side of a steep hill.  The only way up is a creaky old cable car or a long hike up the stairs.  The house used to belong to the famous smuggler Doc Holliday, who disappeared mysteriously some years ago.   Twelve-year old Milo thinks he will spend a relaxing vacation snowed in with just the owners (his parents), because who would want to stay at the hotel at this time of year?  Wrong!  Guests begin arriving out of nowhere, each one with their own secret agenda, turning Milo’s quiet holiday into chaos. Strange things begin to happen.  Milo finds a mysterious nautical map.  Who does it belong to and where does it lead?   Then items begin disappearing from the guests’ rooms.  Now it is up to Milo and his friend Meddy to follow the clues to find the thief and discover the secrets of the Greenglass House.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on March 23, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Mary S.

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Cover image for Zane and the hurricane : a story of KatrinaTwelve year old Zane Dupree and his dog, Bandy, travel to New Orleans to meet his deceased father’s grandmother, Miss Trissy.  While there, Zane finds himself trying to survive Hurricane Katrina all by himself. This book is full of suspenseful events as he experiences the physical effects of the storm as well as how it brought out the best and worst in the people affected by the storm.  If you like suspenseful realistic or historical fiction you will love this book.

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

By lbos on March 16, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Barb M., Realistic Stories

Hide and Seek by Katy Grant

Cover image for Hide and seekIf you want to read a thrilling adventure that involves geocaching, Hide and Seek by Katy Grant is the one to read! Chase likes to ride his bike and look for treasures with his GPS. He finds a cache one day that has a mysterious note in it from someone who needs help. Chase investigates and finds 2 hungry boys who may have been kidnapped. Will Chase get kidnapped too? Will he be able to rescue them all? Read the story to find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on March 9, 2015 Categories: Adventure, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Cover image for The crossoverIn The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, narrator Josh Bell delivers a dynamic play-by-play of the basketball season and his middle school turmoil through poems that evoke a hip-hop vibe while telling a heartfelt tale of basketball, brotherhood, and so much more. Josh is the only middle-schooler around who can dunk, his twin brother Jordan has a mean three-point shot, and together they’re a well-oiled machine—both on and off the court. But when Jordan gets a girlfriend, Josh finds their relationship suddenly changing—and he doesn’t like it. A fast read that will hook you from the warm up and deliver an emotional punch before the final buzzer, this book is a slam dunk.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on March 2, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E., Realistic Stories

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.

Eglantine:  A Paranormal Adventure by Catherine Jinks    

Cover image for Eglantine : [a paranormal adventure]Allie (short for Alithea) is a girl in need of some good luck. She thought she was having good luck when her family moved into a bigger house complete with her own bedroom.  But her luck abruptly changes when her brother, Bethan, now refuses to sleep in his own room due to the creepy writing that appears on his walls.   Allie would do anything to get her room to herself again…even try to confront a possible ghost. What do the mysterious words mean? Will Allie ever get her bedroom back? The book’s events take place on another continent, so you will be introduced to names and phrases that are uniquely Australian.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on February 16, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Amy S.

Cities: Discover How They Work by Kathleen M. Reilly

Cover image for Cities : discover how they workDo you know how to get water to the top of a building? Or why potholes occur? If you’ve ever wondered how cities work, or enjoy real life applications of science, technology, engineering, and math, you’ll probably like this book. It explains why cities came about and how and why they work the way they do. Along the way, there are fun activities and experiments so you can get hands-on experience with things like building a skyscraper, making a battery, or simulating an earthquake to see what causes buildings to fall or stay standing.

I also liked learning about the history of cities, and seeing how we’ve made things better. For example, before flush toilets, you used to have to use a pot, which got dumped into the street and caused a lot of diseases; or how city planners work to help blind people know when to cross the street. Some signs make a loud beeping noise, like a chirping bird, when it’s time to cross. Others have a raised arrow you can feel with your fingers that vibrates and tells people when to cross and how much time they have. Pick up this book to learn even more interesting facts about cities, and try your hand at planning and building your own city!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on February 9, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Claire B

Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey

Cover image for Ruby Goldberg's bright ideaHey Scientists! Would you like a machine to do your chores for you? Ruby Goldberg is an inventor, and in Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey, she likes to invent Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist and an inventor of machines that had many steps to perform a simple task. When Ruby’s grandfather loses his dog, Tomato, Ruby wants to think of a way to help her grandfather to feel better. She decides to make a machine that will pick up the newspaper and put it on the table, and also fetch her grandfather’s slippers and place them by his favorite chair. Tomato used to do these things when he was alive, and Ruby’s grandpa misses Tomato very much.

If you would like to see a Rube Goldberg machine in action, check out the opening sequence of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Pee Wee invents a machine that wakes him up and makes his breakfast each morning. Another example is Wallace and Gromit, they also invent a machine to wake them up and feed them breakfast, which you can see in Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on February 2, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W., Realistic Stories