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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

syndetics-lcHoly Bagumba, do you know what happens when a poor unsuspecting squirrel is sucked up by a super-duper vacuum cleaner and has to be given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?  A superhero squirrel named Ulysses is born.

Mission 1:  Find food.  Being a superhero is hungry work.

Mission 2:  Find a place to live.  Flora, the girl who saved him, seems nice.

Mission 3:  Save the world.

Dangers are everywhere:  Flora’s mom wants to kill him.  A man attacks him with a knife.  And when he tries to fly, he lands smack into the door and gives himself a head injury.

Will Ulysses recover from his head wound?  Will he be able to accomplish heroic deeds?  And most importantly, will he be able to finish his poetry (He’s a writer as well as a superhero)?

Part comic strip, part novel, this story is a hoot!!   I defy you to stop laughing as you see Ulysses get his feet stuck in the waitress’ beehive hairdo or read his love poem to a donut.  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on March 31, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

syndetics-lcEleven year old Cady has lived in the orphanage with Miss Mallory since she was a baby.  Although Miss Mallory has a “Talent” for finding new homes for orphans, she does not seem to be able to find a place for Cady.  While Cady waits, she utilizes her Talent to bake cakes, hoping one day to bake a cake for her own adoption day.  Cady’s adventures intertwine with a family of children searching for their own Talents, a runaway balloonist, a missing dinosaur bone, and even a Talent thief until her story looks like a tangle of knots, but it may not be as tangled as it seems.  How this story unwinds will surprise you.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on January 20, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

syndetics-lcIn one short week, Early loses her father, her home, and her whole way of life. Her family is forced to stay in a homeless shelter while Sum, a stay-at home mom, looks for work. Early refuses to believe that her father abandoned his family and sets out to uncover the truth. Her detecting leads to unexpected twists and turns as she discovers what may be the answer to a years-old diamond theft mystery.  Will Early be able to find her father and save her family?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on December 16, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Mary S.

As Simple as It Seems by Sarah Weeks

syndetics-lcWhat would you do if you discovered everything you thought you knew about yourself was a lie? Feisty Verbena Colter gets mad. Then she goes supernatural. Since she doesn’t like who she is, she pretends she is a ghost. When she meets Pooch, a boy from New York City, she tricks him into believing she is the spirit of a drowned girl. This quickly complicates their budding friendship. Did you know that ghosts can only eat white food, get wrinkled when they are wet, and can only fly when they are well rested? The lies keep coming as Verbena struggles to stop Pooch from learning the truth. Then one day Verbena and Pooch get themselves into a mess and need her ghostly powers to save them. What will a very human girl do to save her friend?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on November 4, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

The One and Only Ivan by Kathy Applegate

syndetics-lcIt’s not easy being a gorilla.  Just ask Ivan, who lives at the Big Top Mall.  He once roamed the jungle.  Now he lives in a small cage where he drinks Pepsi, eats old apples, and watches reruns on TV.   The good things in his life are Bob the stray dog, Stella the performing elephant, and his art.  Most days Ivan likes to draw.  His drawings sell for $20 each in the gift shop.  But when he gets tired of drawing, he eats the crayons.

Ivan thinks he will live in the mall for the rest of his life.  Then one day Ruby arrives.  Ruby is an elephant, kidnapped from the wild and brought to the mall to do circus tricks.  The problem is she is just a baby and doesn’t know how to perform.  Suddenly, Ivan sees his life differently.  He has someone to protect and a purpose—finding a new home for Ruby and himself.  Will he be able to use his art to make it happen?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on April 22, 2013 Categories: Award Winners, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

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.

The Skull in the Rock by Lee Berger and Marc Aronson

syndetics-lc“Dad, I’ve found a fossil.”  These words led to one of the most important archaeological discoveries in history.  In 2008, nine-year Matthew and his father Professor Lee Berger discovered two-million-year-old fossilized bones belonging to a young male and a female.  The Skull in the Rock details their find and its impact on what we know about human evolution.  To make sure that everyone who reads the book can take part in the adventure, the authors continue to cover new discoveries on the website www.scimania.org.  Even if science isn’t your thing, this book is a fascinating read.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

 

By lbos on February 11, 2013 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Mary S.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

syndetics-lcWant a good read-alike for Ella Enchanted? Look no further.  This book has it all—an evil curse, a brave soldier, and twelve beautiful princesses. Every night the princesses are locked in their rooms. Yet, every morning they are discovered to be exhausted and to have worn out their dancing shoes. Where are the princesses going, and will they be able to escape before the kingdom is destroyed?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on December 3, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff

Thing About GeorgieThe Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff. The thing about Georgie is he is short, really short–in fact, he is a dwarf.  This was okay when Georgie was an only child, but now his parents are having another baby.  How long, Georgie wonders, before Baby Godzilla (as Georgie likes to call his sibling-to-be) is taller than he is?  If that wasn’t bad enough, Georgie has been cast as Abraham Lincoln, the tallest president, in the school play.  Oh, and did I mention that his best friend is no longer talking to him?  Life does not seem to be going his way.  But the thing about Georgie is, there is a lot more to him than just one thing.  In the end, he will surprise you.  I loved this book and hope you will also love learning all the things about Georgie. 

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on November 5, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

HobbitWith the new movie coming out in December, I decided it was time to revisit The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The Hobbit was one of my favorite books as a child, and I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered.  It was.  The story begins with Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit.   (In case you were wondering, a hobbit looks like a human but is much smaller and has hairy feet.)  He is living a quiet, adventure-free life like hobbits are supposed to do.  Then one day Gandalf the Wizard shows up, followed by 13 dwarfs, and the trouble starts.  Bilbo is asked to join the group as their burglar.  His job will be to steal the gold from the terrible dragon, Smaug.  Along the way, Bilbo will face many hardships, including missing meals (did I mention that Hobbits really like to eat?), being chased by goblins, and getting lost in the forest.   Will Bilbo survive? And will he ever be the same?

Before Harry Potter, there was The Hobbit.  If you love fantasy, you won’t want to miss out on this fantastical tale.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on October 1, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.