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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Dead End in NorveltIn Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, Jack ends up getting grounded for an ENTIRE SUMMER through no fault of his own—he couldn’t have known that rifle was loaded, and his dad actually told him to cut down his mom’s corn plants. Instead of playing baseball with his best friend, he ends up helping his crazy elderly neighbor write obituaries as the oldest residents of their town die one after the other.  Oh, and he gets nosebleeds about every other page—especially when he sees dead bodies (yes, he sees more than one!).  This is a very, very funny and sometimes slightly ghoulish story about a kid who, like it or not, learns a little about life—and death.


By bjones on October 22, 2012 Categories: Award Winners, For Grades 4-6, Funny, Realistic Stories

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

Trouble with ChickensThe Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin. J.J. Tully, a retired search-and-rescue dog, hopes to enjoy a peaceful afternoon. But instead, he is called to the aid of Moosh, a worried mother hen, and her chicks, Dirt and Sugar, who need help tracking down some missing members of the family!  It seems that the missing chicks have been chicknapped by Vince the Funnel, but who knows what will happen when Tully plans a rescue mission!  Cartoon illustrations only add to the fun making this fast-paced mystery a good choice for beginner chapter book readers. Also makes a great family read aloud!

 Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist

By bjones on September 24, 2012 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Keary B.

Pie by Sarah Weeks

PieAfter Polly Portman’s unexpected death, the town of Ipswitch discovers a major loss to the community–her award winning pies!  Polly’s crust recipe was secret.  According to her will, the recipe for the crust is left to her disagreeable cat Lardo. Her niece Alice inherits the cat and a lot of trouble. Suddenly, the entire town is in an uproar when its residents find out that replacing Aunt Polly’s claim to fame is not as “easy as pie.” When Lardo is cat-napped, Alice and her friend Charlie take matters in their own hands as they try to figure out who is after the recipe. Not only will you love reading Pie, but Sarah Weeks shares fourteen pie recipes she has gathered from all over the country.  This book is a sweet treat you will not want to miss.

Book reviewed by Marsha D., Youth Services Assistant

By bjones on August 28, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Marsha D.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not ReadingCharlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald. Charlie Joe does NOT like reading, in fact he will do practically anything to get out of reading. So how will Charlie Joe finish his big year-end project when his best friend won’t read his books for him anymore?  Not to worry, Charlie Joe comes up with a crazy scheme that will keep him safe from reading, for now at least.  Complete with tips about reading and how to avoid it! Recommended for fans of Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or anyone who enjoys a good laugh.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist

By bjones on July 9, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Keary B.

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.