Albie is not the smartest in his class or the best at sports or even the greatest artist. In fact, Albie is considered “almost.” When he gets his spelling test and doesn’t get an “A” on it, it’s “almost” an “A” to his Dad. The fact that his favorite book series is Captain Underpants and not the book, Johnny Tremaine, is an “almost” since his mom thinks he should be reading something harder. The same for all the other things he does. When his parents send Albie to a new school, he thinks that maybe he can finally be better than “almost,” but that’s before he meets the bullies in his class. However, then his parents hire a new babysitter for him after school named Calista. Calista doesn’t think he is an “almost,” but rather that he is good and that he has talent. Sometimes, you just need to work really hard to make that talent shine. However, soon Calista is gone, the bullies are at school are starting to be meaner, and his parents just don’t understand him. Albie realizes that he needs to be the good kid Calista thinks he is, but can he do it?
Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian
Many people think that Narwhal are imaginary creatures. Actually, like Belugas, they are a part of the whale family. Narwhal have a horn like a unicorn, but it is more like a tusk or a tooth.
In Ben Clanton’s first book in his Narwhal and Jelly series, Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!, readers are introduced to Narwhal and his new friend, Jelly Fish. Together with their other underwater friends, they form a pod (that’s what a group of Narwhal is called), have parties, create imaginative stories, and eat yummy waffles. With a lot of fun illustrations and brief text, beginner chapter book readers will enjoy this new series while learning a little bit about Narwhal, fact and fiction.
Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison
This novel-in-verse follows Nick, a boy who LOVES soccer and has a crush on April, a girl at his school. When a double-whammy comes up in his life in the form of his parents deciding to separate (with his mom moving away) and an emergency stay in the hospital, Nick struggles with staying calm and facing his fears. Nick wants things to be like they were before, but that isn’t an option anymore. If you enjoy lightning-fast reads that take place in a school setting, this one’s for you!
Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant
It all begins with a dog. A poor peasant couple leaves their baby daughter with only a dog for a babysitter. When they return, they find the dog covered in blood. Crazy with grief, they kill the dog only to find their daughter safe and sound in her crib. Years later, their daughter Jeanne sees the ghost of this dog, and Saint Gwenforte, the one and only canine saint is born. Seeing ghosts is not popular with the church so Jeanne has to go on the run so she won’t be burned at the stake. On her journey she meets Jacob, a Jewish boy who can heal any wound, and William, a young monk with supernatural strength. You will laugh your way through the children’s adventures as they defeat a deadly farting dragon (it turns out he’s just allergic to cheese), convince evil knights to cover themselves in poop, and generally avoid being martyred.
Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head
In each of these short comic stories, recess plays a part. This book features stories by some of the best graphic novel writers today: Gene Luen Yang, Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier, and more! You’ll hear stories about familiar characters, like Babymouse, Betty from Lunch Lady, and George and Harold from Captain Underpants. You’ll also meet people like Daryl, who wants to join the Super-Secret Ninja Club but needs to prove his skills first, and Jiminy Sprinkles, a cupcake who faces off against the vitamin-fortified Green Gang. Along the way you’ll find fun activities like a comic character mashup and instructions for drawing different characters.
Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian