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Staff Picks 4 Kids

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 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

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

syndetics-lc The Underneath by Kathi Appelt is a wonderful book to read or to listen to!  Ranger the old hound dog has a sad, sad life.  Chained up and tormented by a hateful owner, he barely gets enough food, and he is very, very lonely underneath the old shack.  That is, until he is “adopted” by a stray cat who needs a safe place to have her kittens.  The affection and loyalty that grows in this unusual little family is heartwarming, and you cheer at their courage in the face of the bayou’s dangers and mysteries.    

Book read by Mary Ann S., Youth Services Assistant Department Head

By MPPL on March 30, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S.

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

syndetics-lc The Underneath by Kathi Appelt is a wonderful book to read or to listen to!  Ranger the old hound dog has a sad, sad life.  Chained up and tormented by a hateful owner, he barely gets enough food, and he is very, very lonely underneath the old shack.  That is, until he is “adopted” by a stray cat who needs a safe place to have her kittens.  The affection and loyalty that grows in this unusual little family is heartwarming, and you cheer at their courage in the face of the bayou’s dangers and mysteries.    

Book read by Mary Ann S., Youth Services Assistant Department Head

By MPPL on Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S.

Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements

syndetics-lc  If you like a good mystery, take a look at the clues in Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements, and see what you make of it. There’s more than one mystery going on in the tiny farm town of Plattsford, and Ted Hammond is in on all of them.  The only sixth-grader in the one-room, one-teacher school, Ted has always been a big fan of mysteries.  He reads at least three a week, and he doesn’t just read them.  He solves them, too. He stops half way through the book, takes notes on suspects and evidence, and works through the theories.  Eight times out of ten, he’s right.

It’s not surprising then that Ted notices the face in a second-floor window of the old Anderson place.  Only problem is, the Anderson moved away two years ago and the farmhouse has been abondoned and boarded up ever since.  He investigates, and what he finds is a homeless family – a mom and two kids in desperate need of shelter and secrecy ever since their dad was killed in Iraq.  What will Ted do?  Help the family and keep their secrecy?  Turn them in to the authorities as trespassers?  Ted makes some surprising choices that have some big, big consequences.

Book read by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on October 27, 2008 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Mary Ann S.

Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements

syndetics-lc  If you like a good mystery, take a look at the clues in Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements, and see what you make of it. There’s more than one mystery going on in the tiny farm town of Plattsford, and Ted Hammond is in on all of them.  The only sixth-grader in the one-room, one-teacher school, Ted has always been a big fan of mysteries.  He reads at least three a week, and he doesn’t just read them.  He solves them, too. He stops half way through the book, takes notes on suspects and evidence, and works through the theories.  Eight times out of ten, he’s right.

It’s not surprising then that Ted notices the face in a second-floor window of the old Anderson place.  Only problem is, the Anderson moved away two years ago and the farmhouse has been abondoned and boarded up ever since.  He investigates, and what he finds is a homeless family – a mom and two kids in desperate need of shelter and secrecy ever since their dad was killed in Iraq.  What will Ted do?  Help the family and keep their secrecy?  Turn them in to the authorities as trespassers?  Ted makes some surprising choices that have some big, big consequences.

Book read by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

syndetics-lcI read Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.  Are you stressed out about middle school?  Greg Heffley is, too — big time!  So take a look at his diary and maybe you’ll feel better.  At least you’ll know you’re not the only one trying to make sense out of middle school mayhem.  Serious and hilarious at the same time, he really tells it (and draws the cartoons) just like he sees it.  I liked it a lot!       

Book read by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on September 24, 2008 Categories: For Grades 2-4, For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Mary Ann S.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

syndetics-lcI read Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.  Are you stressed out about middle school?  Greg Heffley is, too — big time!  So take a look at his diary and maybe you’ll feel better.  At least you’ll know you’re not the only one trying to make sense out of middle school mayhem.  Serious and hilarious at the same time, he really tells it (and draws the cartoons) just like he sees it.  I liked it a lot!       

Book read by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

Larry: The King of Rock and Roll by Iris Dart

syndetics-lcYou’ll be surprised that the title character of Larry: The King of Rock and Roll by Iris Rainer Dart is not a person at all.  Larry is a dog who not only talks but can also sing.  Well, he becomes famous and kind of full of himself, and like lots of famous people, he has to make some tough decisions.  Is fame and fortune worth losing the love and cuddles he used to get from his human family?  Is it worth making all his dog-friends mad at him?  What would you do if you were Larry?  If you like funny stories about dogs and friends and rock-and-roll, you’ll get a kick out of this one.

Book reviewed by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on May 21, 2008 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S.

Larry: The King of Rock and Roll by Iris Dart

syndetics-lcYou’ll be surprised that the title character of Larry: The King of Rock and Roll by Iris Rainer Dart is not a person at all.  Larry is a dog who not only talks but can also sing.  Well, he becomes famous and kind of full of himself, and like lots of famous people, he has to make some tough decisions.  Is fame and fortune worth losing the love and cuddles he used to get from his human family?  Is it worth making all his dog-friends mad at him?  What would you do if you were Larry?  If you like funny stories about dogs and friends and rock-and-roll, you’ll get a kick out of this one.

Book reviewed by Mary Ann S., Assistant Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary Ann S.