Staff Picks 4 Kids

Staff Picks 4 Kids Blog

Olive and the Backstage Ghost by Michelle Schusterman      

Olive and the Backstage Ghost by Michelle SchustermanAfter an unsuccessful audition, Olive runs into an old vaudeville theatre to escape the New York rain. In the comfort of the empty auditorium, Olive sings her heart out and receives the attention of the mysterious Maude Devore. Olive is immediately offered a part in Maude’s variety show, and she is impressed by the theatre and her new costars. She loves this new “family” especially since her mother has been strict with her. But…why does the food taste strange? And how can her fellow performers demonstrate such death-defying feats without getting hurt? Read this haunting tale to uncover the answers to these questions and more.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors

Wedgie & Gizmo book coverGizmo is a diabolical evil genius. He is also a guinea pig and the pet of Elliot. However, Gizmo calls him his faithful servant. Wedgie is the energetic corgi dog that belongs to Jasmine, Jackson, and their Mom. He also believes that he is a super hero and wears a cape around that Jasmine put on him. When Elliot’s dad marries Jasmine and Jackson’s mom, everyone must now live together. Wedgie loves having more humans to protect, but Gizmo would rather not have to live in Jasmine’s Barbie playhouse or with an arch nemesis like Wedgie. This funny chapter book is written in the same style as Jedi Academy and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but instead of humans’ point of view, it is told from Wedgie and Gizmo’s.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Mister Yes by Carmen Gil 

Mister Yes by Carmen GilAre you like Mister Yes, who says “Yes” to everything? Maybe the word “No” is not even part of your vocabulary? Like Mister Yes, will you eat a bowl of hummingbird poop and slug slime? When a sneaky salesman knocks on your door, do you say yes and  buy from him a tennis racket without any strings, or a broken telephone  you could use to talk only to yourself? Read this book to see if you are like Mister Yes, who had to learn the hard way that it’s not very nice to do mean things to others, just because he doesn’t want to use the word No. This could be a life-changing book for those of you who always say yes to those who ask you for a something. Maybe it’s time to learn it’s ok to sometimes say the small, yet powerful  word,  “No”.

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

The House of a Million Pets by Ann Hodgman

The House of a Million Pets by Ann Hodgman

Did your mom ever tell you that you couldn’t have a pet?  For me, it was a puppy.  No matter how many times I asked, the answer was always no.  Author Ann Hodgman decided that when she grew up, she would have as many pets as she wanted.  She would be the kind of mom that always said yes to pets.   At the time she wrote The House of a Million Pets, she had owned, rescued, or looked after cats, dogs, bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, fish, prairie dogs, pygmy mice, rats, a sugar glider, a snapping turtle, a bat, a frog, an owl, ducklings, moths, and all kinds of birds.  By reading this book, you will learn all sorts of useful facts such as sugar glider pee smells like Froot Loops, prairie dogs like to eat grapes, ducklings do not make good indoor pets, and a bathtub makes a good pond for a snapping turtle.  And most importantly, you should be able to convince your mom to get you a puppy because at least you aren’t asking for a wallaby like Ann Hodgman, the crazy pet lady.  This book is a must-read for animal lovers everywhere!

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? By Jory John

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back?Obviously, when you’re an elephant, scratching your own back can be difficult. In this story, an elephant goes to many different animals to try to find someone to scratch his back. He talks to a turtle, a crocodile, a hippo, a sloth, and other animals too. Some of them say they’ll help, but it’s hard to find the perfect animal to help scratch his back. There are some really funny twists and turns along the way. This would be a great story to read with preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Book reviewed by Katharin B., Youth Outreach Liaison

Greeting from Witness Protection by Jake Burt

Cover image for Greetings from witness protection!Nicki has been in foster care for a long time and seen all sorts of stuff, but when US Marshals show up and ask her to be part of the cover for a family entering witness protection, she’s shocked. The marshals know that the mob is looking for a family of three, not a family of four with a son and a daughter. So, all she has to do is pretend she’s always had a brother and the Trevors really are her parents. Easy right? Oh, she’s also got to be perfectly normal in everything. What could go wrong? Turns out plenty! There’s action, humor, and compelling characters to root for here.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Cover image for Ghost boysJerome is shot by a police officer who thinks he has a gun. Jerome’s ghost tells us the story of how it happened. Jerome is a brave boy trying to protect his sister and be safe in their dangerous neighborhood. He deals with bullies and sees drug dealers near his home regularly. Jerome decides to reach out to a new student at his school (which he normally would not do) and makes a real, actual friend. This story was heartbreaking, and so well told that I wanted to enter the book and help the characters myself.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

If My Moon Was Your Sun by Andreas Steinhöfel 

Cover image for If my moon was your sunThis book is about a kidnapping, but not the kind you might be imagining. You see, Max’s grandfather lives in a nursing home for people who have “lost their marbles,” as grandfather says. Grandfather hasn’t lost all his marbles, but he forgets things and people sometimes (we know this is dementia, but Max doesn’t). That’s why Max has to break grandfather out of the nursing home and take him to a place he’ll never forget. It isn’t Max’s fault that Miss Schneider sneaks out along with them and decides to follow them. Max knows this is his chance to help his grandfather, his favorite person, remember. Of course, now the police and caregivers and Max’s mom are out looking for them! This short book includes pictures and an audiobook with music to accompany the story. It was translated from German, and is a sweet, amusing story about family and a mini-adventure.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

Cover image for The secret sheriff of sixth gradeLife isn’t easy for Maverick. His mom struggles with drinking and a string of bad boyfriends. There are also money problems, and he gets picked on in school. Basically, nothing seems to be going right. So, Maverick decides to change things when he starts 6th grade. He’ll stand up to the bullies, and protect anyone smaller than him. Unfortunately, there’s only one person smaller then him in 6th grade, and generally when he intervenes, he makes things worse. This book can make you laugh one minute and cry the next.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Cover image for FrindleNick Allen has mastered the art of making school a more entertaining place to be, whether that involves transforming his classroom into a tropical island, or making sure there is no homework assigned by asking his trademarked, thought-provoking, time-wasting questions.  When asking one of these questions in Mrs. Granger’s 5th grade language arts class, he finds himself instead assigned a report about words and their origins!  He later devises a plan to create a word of his own: frindle.  Soon everyone is using Nick’s new word, despite fierce opposition by Mrs. Granger.  Who will win the war of the words?

Book reviewed by Caitlin B., Youth Services Assistant