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Staff Picks 4 Kids

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

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy SummerIn One Crazy Summer eleven year-old Delphine has been taking care of her younger sisters since her mother, Cecile, abandoned them seven years ago.  When her father sends the girls to spend the summer with Cecile in California, they are hoping for trips to Disneyland and a chance to get to know their mother.   At first, Cecile is too busy writing poetry to spend time with her daughters.  Then Cecile is arrested, and Delphine learns some surprising information that changes the way she thinks about her mother.
 
Although I enjoyed getting to know Delphine, the plot of the book moved rather slowly.  I would mainly recommend this title to die-hard historical fiction fans who are interested in learning more about the Civil Rights Movement.  

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on April 11, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

The Mysterious Howling In The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, Miss Penelope Lumley is the new governess at Ashton Place.  Penelope has never been a governess before, but she’s pretty sure it isn’t supposed to be like this. Do all children howl, chase squirrels, and try to climb bookcases? Maybe these children do because they had been raised by wolves until recently found by her employer! Penelope manages to teach the three children how to speak, dance, and hold their knife properly– just in time for the winter dance! But who sets a squirrel loose in the ballroom? Is someone trying to sabotage the children? And how did they come under the care of wild wolves in the first place?  (For grades 5 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on February 14, 2011 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Mary S.

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

Igraine the BraveWhat’s a girl to do?  Your parents have accidentally turned themselves into pigs, your evil next-door neighbor is trying to steal your magic books, and your older brother’s magical cooking can only produce blue eggs and dry biscuits (yuck).  Go on a quest, of course.  Igraine sets off to find the giant hairs that will free her parents from their magical spell and save the day.   Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke is another great book from my favorite author!

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

 

By MPPL on November 16, 2010 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Origami Yoda Are you looking for a good book to read now you’ve finished The Diary of a Wimpy Kid?  Look no further, Origami Yoda is here!  Origami Yoda is a finger puppet made by this really weird middle schooler named Dwight.  Dwight is the kind of nerd who wears the same t-shirt all month, wipes up spills in the cafeteria by scooting across the floor on his stomach, or only answers “purple” when you ask him a question.  The thing is Dwight’s paper puppet can predict the future and suggest the best way to handle a tricky situation.  There’s no way Dwight is that smart.  So is Origami Yoda magic?  The students of McQuarrie Middle School want to know so they start a case file to discover the truth.  Check out their stories and related cartoons by reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.
 
Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By MPPL on September 15, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Mary S.