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Staff Picks 4 Kids

Cities: Discover How They Work by Kathleen M. Reilly

Cover image for Cities : discover how they workDo you know how to get water to the top of a building? Or why potholes occur? If you’ve ever wondered how cities work, or enjoy real life applications of science, technology, engineering, and math, you’ll probably like this book. It explains why cities came about and how and why they work the way they do. Along the way, there are fun activities and experiments so you can get hands-on experience with things like building a skyscraper, making a battery, or simulating an earthquake to see what causes buildings to fall or stay standing.

I also liked learning about the history of cities, and seeing how we’ve made things better. For example, before flush toilets, you used to have to use a pot, which got dumped into the street and caused a lot of diseases; or how city planners work to help blind people know when to cross the street. Some signs make a loud beeping noise, like a chirping bird, when it’s time to cross. Others have a raised arrow you can feel with your fingers that vibrates and tells people when to cross and how much time they have. Pick up this book to learn even more interesting facts about cities, and try your hand at planning and building your own city!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Outreach Coordinator

By lbos on February 9, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Claire B

Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey

Cover image for Ruby Goldberg's bright ideaHey Scientists! Would you like a machine to do your chores for you? Ruby Goldberg is an inventor, and in Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey, she likes to invent Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist and an inventor of machines that had many steps to perform a simple task. When Ruby’s grandfather loses his dog, Tomato, Ruby wants to think of a way to help her grandfather to feel better. She decides to make a machine that will pick up the newspaper and put it on the table, and also fetch her grandfather’s slippers and place them by his favorite chair. Tomato used to do these things when he was alive, and Ruby’s grandpa misses Tomato very much.

If you would like to see a Rube Goldberg machine in action, check out the opening sequence of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Pee Wee invents a machine that wakes him up and makes his breakfast each morning. Another example is Wallace and Gromit, they also invent a machine to wake them up and feed them breakfast, which you can see in Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on February 2, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Picks by Anne W., Realistic Stories

Summoning the Pheonix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments by Emily Jiang –

Cover image for Summoning the Phoenix : poems and prose about Chinese musical instrumentsThis book is beautifully done and so interesting.  Each double page spread has a poem and illustration of a child playing a Chinese instrument. I had no idea there were so many different kinds.  The poems are very short and information about each instrument is given.

Book reviewed by Barb M., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

By lbos on January 26, 2015 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Non-fiction, Picks by Barb M.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Cover image for The London Eye mysteryThe London Eye is this big ferris wheel in London. Instead of seats, it has pods that a group of people ride around and you can see all of London from the top. Ted and Kat decide to take their cousin, Salim, on the London Eye before he leaves with his mom to live in America. However, when a stranger approaches them in the line and offers them a free ticket, they decide to let Salim have the ticket since they have both been on the London Eye before. When the ferris wheel stops and everybody gets off, Salim is nowhere in sight. While Aunt Gloria and Ted and Kat’s parents call the police for help, Ted and Kat try to solve the mystery on their own. Their only clue, Salim’s camera and the photos he took while they were together. Will this be enough to find Salim? Check out this great mystery to see what happens.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on January 19, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Mystery & Suspense, Picks by Laura B.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation by Tommy Greenwald

Cover image for Charlie Joe Jackson's guide to summer vacationIf you don’t already know who Charlie Joe Jackson is, the first thing he’ll tell you is how much he hates to read and the lengths he has gone to in the past to avoid reading, including bribing his best friend with ice cream sandwiches to read books for him. So how did he end up at a summer camp for kids who love to read? Well, in a moment of weakness, Charlie Joe agreed to go to Camp Rituhbukkee to make his parents happy. So now he is stuck away from most of his friends at camp for three weeks where most people don’t act anything like him. At least there is basketball, and for once Charlie Joe is the best player on the team! Fans of Origami Yoda, Big Nate, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will want to check out Charlie Joe Jackson.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on January 12, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Funny, Picks by Keary B., Realistic Stories

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Cover image for Bomb : the race to build and steal the world's most dangerous weaponThrills! As the USA and Soviet Union race to see who can build an atomic bomb first!

Chills! As double agent scientists work for the USA, and give away secrets as spies to the Soviet Union!

Surprises! As you learn of the many, many mistakes and accidents that occurred, costing many military men their lives – and almost costing our lives as well!

Sound good? It is! Give Bomb a try!

Book reviewed by Loreen S., Youth Services Assistant

By lbos on January 5, 2015 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Loreen S.

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

Cover image for The mark of the dragonflySince her father died, Piper has been dreaming of a way to buy herself an easier life.  When she finds an injured girl in the middle of a meteor storm, she thinks she has found her answer.   The girl, Anna, carries the Mark of the Dragonfly, which means she is under the protection of the king.  Piper thinks she will return Anna to her family, collect her reward, and begin her new life.  Things get more complicated when a scary man forces his way into Piper’s house and tries to kidnap Anna.  Piper and Anna begin a dangerous journey to find Anna’s family, during which they are stolen by slavers, discover magic, and even make some unexpected friends.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

By lbos on December 29, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 4-6, Picks by Mary S.

Pucks, Clubs, and Baseball Gloves: Reading and Writing Sports Poems compiled and annotated by Jill Kalz

Cover image for Pucks, clubs, and baseball gloves : reading and writing sports poemsLearn about the different types of poetry while enjoying poems about sports!  Each page is a different type of poem and at the bottom of the page it explains that particular poetic form. You might even want to try your hand at poetry.

Book reviewed by Barb M., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

By lbos on December 22, 2014 Categories: For Grades 2-4, Non-fiction, Picks by Barb M.

What’s It Like to Climb Mount Everest, Blast Off into Space, Survive a Tornado and Other Extraordinary Stories by Jeff Belanger

Cover image for What it's like to climb Mount Everest, blast off into space, survive a tornado, and other extraordinary storiesPeople can do some pretty amazing things. Just ask Bethany Hamilton, Angus Cockney, Lieutenant Jeff Kraft, and many other people in this book. Each person tells their amazing story in this book as if they were talking to you. This book also gives each person their own chapter, which makes this a great book to start and stop reading. Read a chapter and put it down. You just learned about one person. To hear about these stories and many others, check out What It’s Like to Climb Mount Everest, Blast Off into Space, Survive a Tornado and Other Extraordinary Stories.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

By lbos on December 15, 2014 Categories: For Grades 4-6, Non-fiction, Picks by Laura B.

Have a Hot time, Hades! By Kate McMullan 

Cover image for Have a hot time, Hades!Everything you know about Greek mythology is wrong, at least according to Hades in this series by Kate McMullan. Zeus is a really myth-o-maniac, (that’s old Greek for liar). Well, it seems Zeus stretched the truth a little bit regarding what actually happened. Now, Hades is ready to set the record straight and make sure the world knows that he’s not really a bad guy.

In this installment, Hades tells the real story of how the Greek Gods came to power and defeated their father Cronus.  This version involves the first Olympics, a kick stone game, and the bucket o’ bolts. Throw in a couple of monsters and you get Hades’ side of the story.  Some of the other Greek Myths retold in the series include the stories of Pandora, Hercules, and Cupid.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

By lbos on December 8, 2014 Categories: Fantasy, For Grades 2-4, Picks by Keary B.