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Staff Picks 4 Kids

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.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

Mighty Miss MaloneThe Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. The Malones of Gary, Indiana have a motto.  “We are a family on a journey to a place called Wonderful.”  Unfortunately, it is the Great Depression, and it seems to be taking awhile to get there.  Twelve-year-old Deza (otherwise known at the Mighty Miss Malone) is the smartest child in her class, but her father is unemployed, and the family must eat buggy oatmeal or go hungry.  First, her father leaves to find work.  Then when her mother loses her job as a maid, the family packs up and sets off to find him.  Deza’s journey is filled with adventures, which include riding the rails, staying in a homeless camp, and going to a night club to hear her brother sing.  Throughout it all, Deza  keeps her sense of humor and her belief that someday her family will be reunited and find their way to Wonderful.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on July 16, 2012 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Liesl and PoLiesl and Po by Lauren Oliver. Since Liesl’s evil stepmother locked her in the attic, her days are all the same–boring and lonely.  Until one day Po, the ghost of a child, appears to her.  At the same time Will, the alchemist’s apprentice, makes a terrible mistake.  He accidentally delivers a box of powerful magic to Liesl’s house.  Thus, Liesl’s adventure begins as she escapes from the attic and must run from the people who want their magic back.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on July 2, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Tumtum & Nutmeg by Emily Bearn

Tumtum and NutmegDaring military campaigns!   Terrifying pirate encounters!  Inspiring prisoner rescues!  These are only a few of the exploits contained in Tumtum & Nutmeg:  Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn.  From this you might get the idea that Nutmeg and Tumtum are daring thrill seekers.  However, you couldn’t be further from the truth.  They are just two mice who wish to live a quiet existence in their comfortably furnished house.  Instead, mouse-sized adventure seems to follow them wherever they go.  If you are a fan of the Littles, the Borrowers, Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Two Bad Mice, and all things small, this book is for you.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

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

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Eleven-year-olds Hazel and Jack live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  They have been best friends since they were six years old.  Suddenly, one day Jack stops speaking to Hazel, and the next day he disappears.  His parents say he has gone to live with his elderly Aunt Bernice, but Hazel doesn’t believe them.  Why would Jack change overnight? And why hasn’t she ever heard of this aunt?  It turns out that fairytales can come true.  There is an enchanted woods in their neighborhood, and Jack has been taken by the Snow Queen.  Now Hazel must go on a perilous quest.  Will she reach Jack in time?  If you love fairytales and the Narnia series, you are sure to enjoy Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. 

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

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

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Skulduggery PleasantImagine never having to go to school or do homework again!  Instead you can send a copy of yourself to school while you learn magic and save the world.  Of course, there are just a few little drawbacks — danger, death, or at least severe bodily harm.  This is the life of 12-year-old Stephanie Edgely, aka Valkerie Kane, as described in Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy.  Upon the death of her favorite uncle, Stephanie learns that she is descended from a long line of magical beings called the Ancients.  Now she must join the witty, funny (and extremely confident) skeleton detective, Skulduggery Pleasant in order to stop the evil Faceless Ones from completing their plan for world domination.   Equal parts funny and creepy, once you start reading this book, you won’t be able stop!  This is a great book for grades 5 and up. 
 
Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By bjones on January 11, 2012 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

Turtle in Paradise“Everyone thinks children are sweet as Necco Wafers, but I’ve lived long enough to know the truth:  kids are rotten,” says 11-year-old Turtle in Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm.  It is 1935.  Turtle’s mom is a live-in housekeeper, so she has had plenty of experience with mean kids like the ones who set her cat’s tail on fire.  Turtle’s opinion of kids seems unlikely to change after she is sent to live with her aunt, uncle, and three cousins in their crowded house in Key West, Florida.  But before she knows what has happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of her “shell” as she hangs with the Diaper Gang and looks for buried pirate treasure.  Turtle is smart, feisty, and lots of fun.  I hope you enjoy her adventures as much as I did. 

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on August 8, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories