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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

syndetics-lcWhat a heap of trouble Donavon Curtis is in this time! Didn’t think things were going to turn out THAT bad, eh? Now what to do, and where to hide? However, by some incredible stroke of luck, Donovan is accepted into the well-admired Academy for Scholastic Distinction Gifted School. What everybody is wondering, though, is just HOW did he get in? Read this amazingly funny book, to “find out” what happens when Donavon Curtis is “found out!”

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on June 23, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Darice C., Realistic Stories

Zoobreak! By Gordon Korman

syndetics-lcCalling all young adventure seekers everywhere! This book is for every warmhearted, courageous, animal-loving human being! Zoobreak! the second book in a series by Gordon Korman, is about a group of kids trying to instill order and honesty back to their community. After Cleo, Savannah’s pet monkey, goes missing, Griffin and his talented friends believe they found Cleo at a local zoo. Seeing all the animals badly neglected and mistreated, these spirited youngsters whip up a daring plot to rescue them…ALL of them! But trouble arises taking care of these rambunctious critters and these daring young rebels need to find these animals a better home. What do you think will become of these zoo animals? Will the critter-napping  kids ever get caught? Or will they help to bring justice to the real animal thieves?

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on January 6, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Darice C.

The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo

Mozart Question Stories of the Holocaust can pull at your heart, and that is certainly true of The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo.  Even as a very young boy in post World War II Venice, Paoli Levi was drawn to play and study the violin.  He knew his parents would never approve though–but why?  Slowly, gently, he learns the reason that lay hidden for many years in his parents’ memories of their imprisonment in a concentration camp.  A story told through words and drawings, this book looks not only at the cruelty and sadness of war, but also at the healing power of music and family.  I recommend it to 4th through 7th graders who would like to read a heartfelt, sensitive book.

Review by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

When young journalist Lesley is sent to Venice to interview world-renowned violinist Paolo Levi, she is warned not to ask the forbidden “Mozart Question”. As she meets Paolo, it is the musician himself who decides to speak about his mysterious background. Paolo heartfully reveals the truth about his haunting past, and the journalist begins to see how one group of musicians were kept alive by playing their music. This story reveals the beauty of music to bring people together, and inspire the heart even through the most difficult times.

Review by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

By MPPL on August 11, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Darice C., Picks by Mary Ann S.

The Name of This Book is… Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

syndetics-lcAre you able to keep a secret? Perhaps a secret about your very best friend? Or a secret concerning an extraordinary discovery?  Or about how many Twinkies you really ate after dinner last night?  The Name of the Book Is… Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch is an amazing book is all about secret, potions, smells, hidden places and secret identities……  Is the dead magician Pietro really dead? What about those missing pages from that mysterious book? And why does Ms. Mauvais always wear gloves?  Follow Cass and Max-Ernst into the world of hidden rooms, creepy pyramids and a place that could happen even in your own hometown.


It’s a secret that will drive you mad…..


Shhh! Just keep the secret……


Book read by Darice Castino, Library Assistant

By MPPL on February 16, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Darice C.

Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne Du Prau

syndetics-lc  Sneaking around your house in the middle of the night can get you in trouble. You can’t see where you’re going, you bump into all kinds of things, and you sometimes find out you’re not all alone. That’s what you can expect in the Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau. Lina and Doon meet a roamer who comes to their town of Sparks. They are interested in a book he is selling, a strange book that is from their former city, Ember. Wanting to decipher its meaning, they return back to the dark city only to discover hidden secrets lurking. Can something valuable be down there? Unearth the mystery as you explore the final book in the City of Ember series.

Book read by Darice C., Library Assistant

By MPPL on November 17, 2008 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Darice C.

Learning to Fly by Sebastian Meschenmoser

syndetics-lc Learning to Fly by Sebastian Meschenmoser is a story about a penguin who wants to fly like the other birds.  He makes his way through the skies until someone tells him that penguins can’t fly. The penguin and a man spend a lot of time thinking up ideas to get him back into the air.  He studies how to fly, practices exercising, and invents a lot of ways to be like his feathered friends.  See what happens when you believe in yourself!

Book read by Darice C., Library Assistant

By MPPL on August 5, 2008 Categories: Picks by Darice C., Picture Books

The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Litchenheld

syndetics-lcDoes it seem like you try to do a lot of different things but can’t seem to do all of them very well? You can swim, but you are not the best. Maybe you play baseball, but not really well. Perhaps you can flip pancakes, catch bugs, even blow bubbles with juicy bubblegum, but still need a lot more practice. Well, I think that The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is just the book for you !  This is a simple yet clever picture book that teaches that we all are OK at a lot of things, and that it’s OK to not be perfect.  Just have fun doing whatever you do, and keep on trying your very best.  One day you will see that you are amazingly good at something, and it’s good to be OK at just about everything else.

Book reviewed by Darice C., Library Assistant

By MPPL on March 4, 2008 Categories: Picks by Darice C., Picture Books

Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach

Shakespeare's Secret In Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach, a sixth grade girl named Hero moves with her family into a Maryland house that has a secret of its own. Her school year begins with a bumpy start, but she makes friends with Danny Cordova, the cutest and most popular boy in the eighth grade.  Things take an interesting turn when Hero befriends her eccentric next door neighbor, Mrs. Roth, who reveals to her that a centuries-old million dollar diamond might be hidden in the girl’s house. The plot thickens as the search for the precious jewel unearths a link between the diamond’s original owner and a nobleman believed by some to be the original author of Shakespeare’s plays. This book is a great mystery!

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Library Assistant

By MPPL on November 20, 2007 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Darice C.

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

syndetics-lcCould you ever imagine yourself living in 14th century England, in a land oflords and bishops, knights and pilgrims, a  strange place eloquently landscaped with medieval castles and  cathedrals, small  towns  and….devastated by The Plague?  Avi’s mystery, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, begins with a 13 year-old boy who lives in a poor peasant village. Soon after his mother’s death, the evil village steward, John Aycliffe, falsely accuses the young orphan of stealing and even murder. Afraid and  alone, Crispin flees for his life, through the vast wilderness to a nearby town, where he meets a large, gruffy street jugglerwho calls himself “Bear.” Crispin, in fear for his own safety, reluctantly swears to become Bear’s servant. The mystery grows, as Crispin learns his friend is involved with an underground society and this digs them into a more dangerous plot.  Off they go together, anxiously in pursuit of freedom: Crispin, searching for his real identity, and Bear, defending his new friend and his own life as well. Terror at every corner, filled with complicated turns and twists, this adventure story is guaranteed to be a page turner for all ages.

Book reviewed by Darice C., Library Assistant

By MPPL on October 30, 2007 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Darice C.