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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt

Cover image for Rhyme schemerIf you liked Love That Dog, you’ll love Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt, another verse novel from the perspective of a boy who says he’s not crazy about poetry… but his cleverly-written stanzas tell us otherwise. Kevin rants about a bully at school, his complicated family, and just about everything that is going wrong in his life. One way he deals is by masquerading as a sort of poetry bandit, anonymously plastering the school with torn out pages of library books, on which he’s circled, blacked out, and doodled on the letters and words to compose a poem. If Kevin is found out, the kids would make him “King of the School,” but on the other hand he could also get himself suspended.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on June 1, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Erin E.

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.

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

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell

Cover image for Josephine : the dazzling life of Josephine BakerIn the biography, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Patricia Hruby Powell’s rhythmic text and Christian Robinson’s bold illustrations give pizzazz to one African American entertainer’s extraordinary life and the era in which she lived. From rags in St. Louis to riches and fame in Paris, Josephine broke color barriers with her dancing, singing, and silly on-stage persona. You’ll be dazzled by the life of this intriguing performer, who also became a stunt pilot, had a pet leopard, and adopted 12 children from 10 different countries!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on October 14, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E.

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu

syndetics-lcWhat if only one member of your family was allowed to go to school? In the illustrated memoir Little White Duck: A Childhood in China, Na Liu describes how she went to work with her mother so that her little sister could take the family’s place in school. This was because of the law in China allowing only one child per family. Learn more about Chinese history and folklore as you travel with Na on her adventures in this gorgeous graphic novel.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on July 7, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Graphic Novels, Picks by Erin E.

Fairy Tale Comics by Chris Duffy

syndetics-lcIf you liked Nursery Rhyme Comics, you’ll like Fairy Tale Comics even more! I was really impressed with the diversity of the artwork and the different takes on classic tales. Familiar stories were told in new and interesting ways, plus I read some tales I hadn’t heard before. Favorites include: Little Red Riding Hood by Gigi D.G., in which the lumberjack is a really buff lady, and The Boy Who Drew Cats by Luke Pearson, which made me LOL several times. It was a really fun collection!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on March 10, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Graphic Novels, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E.

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

syndetics-lcIn The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone, 6th-graders Jack and Ruthie take a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and fall in love with the Thorne Rooms, a collection of very detailed and beautiful miniature rooms. They also find magic, which takes them on quite an adventure. The plot of this book is sort of a mixture of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Indian in the Cupboard, and Chasing Vermeer. I would recommend it for 3-4th graders who liked those books.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on December 9, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E.

The Secret of Laurel Oaks by Lois Ruby

syndetics-lcThe Secret of Laurel Oaks by Lois Ruby is an intriguing mystery. I loved that this story and ghost are based on a real southern plantation that is said to be one of the most haunted places in America and a “real” ghost that is said to haunt the plantation. I didn’t find it particularly scary, but it was a very well-written and engrossing story. I would recommend this to children who enjoy ghost stories. But although it’s not particularly scary, it does allude to some serious topics within the issue of slavery.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on November 11, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Erin E.

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales by Lucy Cousins

syndetics-lcIf you’re looking for super-simplified versions of some best-known fairy tales, look no further than Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales by Lucy Cousins, the author of the Maisy series. The simplicity makes the pattern of each tale obvious, so that even very young children can begin to learn how to retell a story. Cousins’ signature artwork fits in perfectly with the text. Just be wary of a couple of the illustrations—that is, if you don’t want to see the big, bad wolf’s head separate from his body!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

 

 

 

 

By lbos on October 14, 2013 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

syndetics-lcGregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins is a quick and exciting read, and the ending definitely left me hanging so I might need to read the sequels. Fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, but I do like the idea of other worlds existing that we do not even know about. Gregor doesn’t see himself as a warrior in the beginning, but grows and changes as he faces numerous challenges in the Underland. Parts of the story were a little gross, other parts a little scary, and some parts sad. This would make a good discussion book because there is a lot of adventure, imagination, and many metaphorical themes.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on September 23, 2013 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E.