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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen (2010 Mosaic title)

Notes From the Dog Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen. “You’re not as ugly as you think,” said Dylan’s first note from the dog.  Dylan’s a loner.  His goal for the summer is to talk to as few people as possible.  Then he meets Johanna, a cool, funny graduate student, and starts receiving notes from the dog.  Joanna’s plan is to have Dylan plant a garden for her.  Although his efforts at gardening fail rather spectacularly, his time with Johanna helps him learn to connect with people and even how to talk to the cute girl he likes.  This 2010 Mosaic title will make you both laugh and cry.  You’ll be so glad you met Dylan and his friend.  (For grades 4 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on June 29, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate In The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, it’s 1899 in Texas and 11-year-old Calpurnia is expected to knit socks and study the proper use of a hankie, but instead she’d rather be a scientist.  Together with her grandfather, she conducts scientific experiments and writes her observations in a notebook.  Her experiments lead to many surprises such as when sweet, woolly Petey the Caterpilllar turns into a giant (and frighteningly creepy) moth.  Wasn’t he supposed to be a beautiful butterfly?  Or when the Smithsonian Institute officially declares that she and her grandfather have discovered a new species of plant.  Whether she is cutting off her hair an inch at a time so her mother won’t notice or getting her brother in trouble for having a new girlfriend, tomboy Calpurnia is sure to make you smile.  (For grade 5 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on May 10, 2010 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Magician's Elephant Imagine.  You are at a magic show.  The magician promises to produce a bouquet of lilies, but instead he makes an elephant fall through the ceiling—that elephant lands on a woman’s lap, crippling her legs.  And so begins The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.  Unfortunately, that is the most exciting part of the book.  Although I love Because of Winn Dixie and am a fan of anything involving elephants, I just couldn’t get into this book.  After the elephant falls on page 15, nothing much exciting happens until the book ends 200 pages later.  I give this book a thumbs down.  (For ages 8 and up)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on March 17, 2010 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Things by Lenore Look

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Things  Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Things by Lenore Look.  From the moment you meet him, Alvin Ho makes you laugh out loud.  He’s afraid of everything.  This means he carries around a PDK (personal disaster kit) containing items such as garlic for scaring off vampires and masks for keeping away girls.  The problem is since he’s too scared to speak in school, a GIRL volunteered to be his desk buddy.  Even worse, she’s made “The Book on Alvin”–all about him!!  Now Alvin has decided he’s allergic to both school and girls.  What is he going to do?  I highly recommend this book.  The audio is great but so is the book with all its amusing illustrations.  Whatever format you choose, you are certain to love Alvin.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on October 19, 2009 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Funny, Picks by Mary S.

Accidentally Fabulous by Lisa Papdemetriou (a Candy Apple book)

Accidentally Fabulous Accidentally Fabulous by Lisa Papdemetriou.  Who’s the meanest girl at your school?  Imagine that person and multiply by 10.  Then you would have Fiona, the head of the most popular clique at Allington Academy.  Fiona is the kind of girl who cuts off your ponytail while you are asleep at a slumber party or pretends there are snakes in the shower so you run outside in only your towel.  Now she has new girl Amy Flowers in her sights.  (For 4th-6th graders)

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on August 17, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Savvy Savvy by Ingrid Law.  For most people, turning 13 might mean getting a cool present, but for Mibs, it means receiving her special power.  Being special can be fun, but it can also be scary.  Her brother Rocket’s power makes light bulbs explode, and her brother Fish can cause hurricanes.  To make matters worse, Mib’s father is in a terrible car accident right before her birthday.  Now Mibs desperately wants her power to be something that can save her father.  If you secretly wish you had a super power, this book is for you!
Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

 

By MPPL on July 6, 2009 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book Bod Owens is just like any other boy except he is being raised by ghosts, lives in a graveyard, and is being hunted by a vicious killer.  Okay, so he’s not quite like everyone else.  Bod’s unusual childhood lets him have thrilling adventures such as meeting the Indigo Man, being chased by ghouls, and learning to fade.  I was so excited when The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won the Newbery award.  Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and his new book does not disappoint!  If you like a good ghost story, this book is for you.  (For grades 5 and up)  

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head


By MPPL on April 27, 2009 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Mary S.

Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes

syndetics-lcI read Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes.  Imagine “haunting” a house and then becoming friends with the boy who lives there.  How do you admit what you’ve done?  I thought this story about friendship dragged in some places.  If you suffer from F.M.S. (fear of missing something), read this book.  Otherwise, try Olive’s Ocean instead. 

Book read by Mary S., Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on January 6, 2009 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S., Realistic Stories

Castle Corona by Sharon Creech

syndetics-lcI love princesses, and Sharon Creech is one of my favorite authors, so I was all set to love Castle Corona.  But I didn’t!   It is about a poor brother and sister who have found a stolen bag containing secrets that will affect the royal family.  Sounds interesting, right?  Wrong!  The characters were boring and so was the plot.  What did you think?  Click “comments” to tell us your opinion.

Book read by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By MPPL on September 29, 2008 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Babymouse: Rock Star by Jennifer Holm

syndetics-lc Jennifer Holm’s irrepressible cartoon mouse is back in Babymouse: Rock Star, and this time Babymouse wants to be, you guessed it, a rock star.  If not a big rock star, then maybe a flutist.  Nothing can hold her back (except possibly her lack of musical talent).  Will she be able to learn the notes in time to become the star of the concert?  Babymouse is fun, smart, and a great friend.  This is my first Babymouse book, but I am now a huge fan.  This graphic novel is a great stepping stone for readers who are ready to graduate from the Olivia books (by Ian Falconer) to chapter books.  Hope you have as much fun hanging out with Babymouse as I did!

Review submitted by Mary S., Head of Youth Services

By MPPL on January 15, 2008 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Funny, Graphic Novels, Picks by Mary S.