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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

syndetics-lcI read Hold Fast, the latest book by Blue Balliett, in just two days! So for the weekend I was completely immersed in the world of the Pearl family, taking delight in Blue Balliett’s beautiful writing. It’s no wonder that one of the themes of this book is rhythm… this author is so gifted at creating rhythms with her words. Like her other books, this one has a Chicago setting, and the majority of the scenes take place in a homeless shelter. There are definitely sad moments, but overall this book is full of hope, and it inspires warm, fuzzy feelings about family and what it is we call home.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on May 13, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Erin E.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

syndetics-lcIt would sure take a lot to be luckier than Miss Moses LoBeau (Mo for short). As a baby, she was found washed ashore during a hurricane by the Colonel who took her in.  Mo now helps the Colonel and Miss Lana run the café in the small southern town they call home.  Mystery comes knocking there when a detective shows up asking all kinds of questions about a murder. The Colonel seems to be the prime suspect with his mysterious past. Mo tries to solve the crime first but will her luck hold out? Bank robbers, race car drivers, and best friends could all become suspects. Parents and kids alike will love the quirky southern charm of Mo as she cracks the case in the Newbery honor title.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on May 6, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Keary B.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

syndetics-lcClara Wintermute disappears on her twelfth birthday. Her parents are devastated, after having lost her three siblings to cholera. Everyone suspects the puppet master Grisini who performed at her birthday party. When he too disappears, his assistants, orphans Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, are left to figure out what happened to Clara. A mysterious letter from a faraway land adds to the mystery:  a rich older woman wants to leave all of her money to Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. But what she wants in return could change their lives forever. This is a pretty complex story, but it is also very exciting. Fans of historical fantasy and mystery may want to give Splendors and Glooms a chance. It’s also a 2013 Newberry Honor!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

 

By lbos on April 15, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Claire B

Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

syndetics-lcFlorence thought her life was going to get better when she left the orphanage for her family’s ancestral home. She would have a younger cousin, James, to play with and her great aunt and uncle could look after her. However, her other cousin and ghost, Sophia, has a murderous plan for her cousin and brother. Not knowing who to turn to in her new surroundings, Florence must try to resist Sophia, but can she? Whether read or listened to, the Ghost of Crutchfield Hall is a great ghost story worthy of any camp fire storytelling.

 Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

 

By lbos on April 8, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Laura B.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath

syndetics-lcMadeline’s granola-eating, tie-dye wearing, hippie parents aren’t the most responsible adults, but now they have gotten themselves kidnapped by foxes and it’s up to Madeline to save them.  Luckily for her, she stumbles upon Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire!  The only clue to her parents’ whereabouts is a note on the fridge signed “The Enemy” and a file card written in secret code.  Every bunny knows that marmots are the best decoders.  Unfortunately, bunnies don’t like marmots.  They are annoying and never bring cake when they come to visit—how rude!!  Undeterred, Madeline and the bunnies bring The Marmot to the Olde Spaghetti Factory, where he is supposed to crack the code.  Just as it seems that they are about to get the first break in the case, The Marmot loses the card and can only remember one word “rubber.”   What does this mean and will it be enough to save Madeline’s parents?

This book will make you laugh out loud as you read about Mr. Bunny’s inventions (hopping roller skates) and Mrs. Bunny’s hobbies (lint art).  And you won’t want to miss the daring rescue—bunnies dressed as bloodhounds—need I say more?  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on April 1, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Mary S.

Remarkable by Lizzie Foley

syndetics-lcHow can you go wrong when the title of the book is Remarkable? I was really looking forward to reading Remarkable by Lizzie Foley, a fun story about a town where all the residents have something that makes them truly remarkable, except for one girl, Jane Doe.  Throw in a mystery, some pirates, and a sea monster and the story must be something remarkable right?  Well, not entirely.  It was definitely enjoyable and fun to read, but I wanted it to be more remarkable than it actually was.  How remarkable do you think it is?

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on March 18, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Keary B.

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

syndetics-lcFans of Lemony Snicket rejoice! He is back with the first book in a series about his strange childhood. When Lemony is 11, he goes to work as an apprentice for a detective. Their first job is to find a priceless sculpture that was stolen, but the mystery gets more complicated the more they find out. Lemony has to deal with a bully whose parents are the town police officers, a girl who seems like his friend, but keeps stealing from him, and a villain who seems to be behind it all. This book is written in the same style as the Series of Unfortunate Events, and is full of quirky humor and weird goings-on.  Just be prepared for a cliffhanger…don’t worry, there’s a sequel on the way!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

 

 

By lbos on March 4, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Claire B, Uncategorized

The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

syndetics-lcI read The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch in less than 24 hours. It was funny, exciting, engaging… and pretty strange. From the very first page, the author is talking directly to you, the reader. I was hooked right away. I think this will be a favorite among the 2013 Blue Stem nominees.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

By lbos on December 24, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Erin E.

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.

Swindle by Gordon Korman

SwindleSwindle by Gordon Korman. Although he’s a kid, Griffin is known as “the man with a plan.” After being swindled out of a valuable Babe Ruth baseball card, the sale of which could have solved his family’s money troubles, Griffin knows he needs a plan more than ever. Can he assemble a team of his clever friends–talented champions in their own right–to accomplish an even bigger swindle and get the card back to the rightful owner? I liked how the kids used their unique gifts in such creative ways and how they realized the value of doing their best, no matter how large or small a part they played.

Book reviewed by Jan P., Preschool/Childcare Liason

By bjones on August 6, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Jan P.