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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli

syndetics-lcWhere I Live by Eileen Spinelli is a novel in poems written by a young girl, maybe about 9 years old. She writes about her house, her family, and most of all her best friend, Rose. She is devastated when her father loses his job and they have to move to Pittsburgh and live with Grandpa Joe. The poems vary in length and style, and some are much deeper than others. The pencil illustrations add to the story.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on July 22, 2013 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Picks by Erin E., Realistic Stories

Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

syndetics-lcVery lively narration brought this orphan story to life on the audiobook. A detective is trying to track down two boys that have run away to Venice to get away from their snooty aunt. The boys find shelter with other orphans who are cared for by the “Thief Lord,” who turns out to have a lot of secrets. The story is full of adventure, interesting characters, and a hint of magic.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on July 1, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Erin E.

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.

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner

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The Templeton Twins Have an Idea is the first book in a new series by Ellis Weiner, in which the Narrator tells the story of Professor Templeton, the famous inventor of such products as the Adjust-O-Matic Diving Board and the Battery-Operated Toothpick. He is also the father of 12-year-old twins, Abigail and John, who have recently lost their mother. When the family relocates to a new University, the Professor is met with accusations by a former student who claims that Mr. Templeton’s latest invention—the Personal One-Man Helicopter—was actually his idea. This conflict leads to (among other things): one injured Nanny, two kidnapped children, and several very complicated escape plans. How did this all happen? Read this hilarious adventure to find out!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By lbos on January 7, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Erin E.

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.

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

syndetics-lcIn the book Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer, each spread consists of a page of poems next to an illustrated page. Both the words and the pictures are sort of mirror images of each other (hence, the title of this book), and both are creatively done. Each pair of poems contains exactly the same lines, but the second one is the reverse of the first. My favorite is “Bears in the News” which shows the three bears discovering Goldilocks in their bed– from both the bears’ and Goldilocks’ points of view. It’s so simple, yet so brilliant!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

By lbos on December 17, 2012 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E., Picture Books

Big Wig: A Little History of Hair by Kathleen Krull

Big WigBig Wig: A Little History of Hair by Kathleen Krull presents hilarious anecdotes that trace the history of grooming and hairstyles around the world. For instance, did you know that the ancient Maya used boards to flatten and elongate babies’ heads, and then tied beads in front of their eyes to encourage them to cross? There are also several absurd ideas people have come up with for curing baldness. These humorous facts, combined with Peter Malone’s silly illustrations, make this book an interesting, fun, and easy read.

Book reviewed by Erin E. Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By bjones on June 18, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Erin E.

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

Rock and the RiverI listened to the audiobook of The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon and really enjoyed it. The story takes place in Chicago in the 1960’s. Thirteen-year-old Sam’s father is very involved in the Civil Rights Movement; the family has even had Dr. King over for dinner! Sam’s older brother and best friend, “Stick,” gets involved with the Black Panthers, a group that seems at odds with the non-violent protests that Stick and Sam have grown up with. After the assassination of Dr. King, things around the city start to heat up, and Sam gets more involved.

Book reviewed by Erin E. Youth Services Programming Coordinator

By bjones on May 14, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Erin E., Realistic Stories

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.

The Traitors’ Gate by Avi

Traitors' Gate John Huffam’s life in Victorian London gets dangerous when his family is thrown out of their home because of his father’s gambling debts. Now his father may go to prison, and John has to ask his rich old aunt for money,and get a job. When John encounters some strange characters—an orphan girl named “Sary the Sneak” and a man called “Inspector Copperfield”—he begins to question the real reasons for his father’s arrest. The Traitors’ Gate by Avi is an action-packed story full of twists, turns, and treachery. It will not only give you a real taste of Victorian times, but it’ll keep you guessing ‘til the end.

Book reviewed by Erin E. Youth Services Programming Coordinator

 

By MPPL on July 20, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Erin E.