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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Dead End in NorveltGetting grounded for an entire summer was not Jack’s idea of a good time, but that’s what happens when he fires his dad’s WWII rifle by accident and cuts down all of his mother’s corn. (His dad made him cut down the corn!) Then his mother volunteers him to help his elderly neighbor with a strange task: writing obituaries for the Norvelt newspaper. Along the way, he dresses up as the Grim Reaper to check on an elderly resident, drives underage, has a run in with the Hells Angels, has quite a few nosebleeds, and learns that history is “the reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you’ve done in the past is so you don’t do it again.” Not to mention, he helps solve the mystery of why all the original residents of Norvelt keep dying. It’s a funny story with plenty of excitement and interesting characters. This year, Dead End in Norvelt won the Newbery Award! But just to warn you, this book talks about bloody noses and dead bodies.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator

By bjones on March 13, 2012 Categories: Award Winners, For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Claire B

Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein

Every Thing On ItIf you like Shel Silverstein (and who doesn’t!?!), you’ll love his new collection of poems called Every Thing On It. Though the author is no longer alive, members of his family were able to put together some of his work that had not yet been published. The poems and drawings are as hilarious and strange as his others. In the title poem, a boy imagines a hot dog with literally “everything on it.” The author seems to have an affinity for pelicans because there are quite a few poems about them.

Book reviewed by Erin E. Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By bjones on February 14, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E.

Trouble-maker by Andrew Clements

Trouble-makerSixth-grader Clay Hensley has been a trouble-maker in school since the middle of kindergarten, following right in his older brother’s footsteps. His most recent trip to the principal’s office involved a picture he drew in art class of a donkey with an amazing resemblance to Principal Kelling. When Clay’s older brother makes him promise to change his ways, Clay learns that it is much easier to get into trouble than it is to stay out of trouble. Trouble-maker is another great book you’ll love from favorite author Andrew Clements.

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

By MPPL on September 12, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Barb M., Realistic Stories

Super Chicken Nugget Boy and the Furious Fry by Josh Lewis

Super Chicken Nugget Boy and the Furious Fry In Super Chicken Nugget Boy and the Furious Fry by Josh Lewis, Fern faces a terrible bully at his new school and decides to do something about it. He invents a superhero to stand up to the bully, but when the plan goes astray, Fern gets turned into the superhero for real.  Is he stuck as a giant chicken nugget forever? Can he stop the bully?  You’ll have to read to find out!  Like any good superhero story, there’s plenty of action, a good dose of comedy, and even cartoon pictures on most pages. A good pick for boys seeking early chapter books.  Stay tuned for other adventures of Super Chicken Nugget boy, since this is the first in a series.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist

By MPPL on April 25, 2011 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Funny, Picks by Keary B.

The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Kimmel

syndetics-lc Moxie Roosevelt Kipper is a pretty ordinary girl with an extraordinary name.  In The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Kimmel, Moxie decides to reinvent herself when she starts at a new boarding school.  She uses many different personalities depending on the group of friends she encounters.  She is earthy and green for the environmental friends, cool when she is with her cool group, and sporty to fit in with the athletes.  It can get pretty confusing keeping track of these numerous personalities, so she writes all of her notes in a journal which may not be the best idea.  This is a funny and realistic book that may make you realize that it is easier to just be yourself!

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison


By MPPL on March 23, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Carol C., Realistic Stories

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 Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

The Mysterious Howling In The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, Miss Penelope Lumley is the new governess at Ashton Place.  Penelope has never been a governess before, but she’s pretty sure it isn’t supposed to be like this. Do all children howl, chase squirrels, and try to climb bookcases? Maybe these children do because they had been raised by wolves until recently found by her employer! Penelope manages to teach the three children how to speak, dance, and hold their knife properly– just in time for the winter dance! But who sets a squirrel loose in the ballroom? Is someone trying to sabotage the children? And how did they come under the care of wild wolves in the first place?  (For grades 5 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head


By MPPL on February 14, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Mary S.

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

Everything on a Waffle Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is about a little girl, Primrose, whose parents are lost at sea—everyone keeps telling Primrose that her parents are surely dead and trying to figure out what to do with her.  But she believes in her heart that they are still alive, which gets her through some tough times.  If this sounds like a serious book, let me tell you it is NOT!  This book is hilarious from start to finish.  Not just funny, but inspiring, touching, and in many ways wonderful—also, there is a lot of food, and the recipes are included.  You could call this realistic fiction—except that the things that happen probably wouldn’t really happen in a million years—but the way the story is told is so completely real and believable.  You’ll feel like you’ve lived in Coal Harbor with Primrose and her friends your whole life.


By MPPL on January 24, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Realistic Stories

Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang Are you a girl? Do you like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Then you need to read the Popularity Papers series!!!! It’s like every girl’s journal but even more hilarious, clever, and fancy, with lots of colorful drawings.  Plus, it’s got the coolest characters, the most embarrassing moments, and a great story about the best of friends.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator


By MPPL on December 27, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Erin E.

I Am Going! by Mo Willems

I Am Going! Piggie is going and Elephant does NOT want him to! But, Piggie is going any way.  “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?” asks Elephant.  Elephant begs Piggie to stay because who will he play ping-pong with in his silly hat if Piggie leaves? Does Piggie leave Elephant on his own? Grab Mo Willem’s I Am Going! to find out!


By MPPL on November 22, 2010 Categories: Early Readers, Funny