Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Fantasy

The Wishing Spell (Land of Stories series #1) by Chris Colfer

Cover image for The wishing spell“…and they lived happily ever after.”  You may have wondered how so many people know that familiar fairy-tale ending, or even how so many people know the details of stories and characters from countless fairy tales passed down through the generations. From the time they were little, Conner and Alex Bailey loved hearing their parents and Grandma read fairy tales to them from a very special book called the Land of Stories. Since the cherished book had been in the family for years, it was presented to the twins just before their twelfth birthday. Curiously, one night the book made a dull humming sound and began to glow, which eventually lead the twins to discover that they could actually go into the book! Can you imagine their shock and excitement, encountering danger and delight as they wandered along, meeting the fairy tale characters face-to-face in the actual stories they knew by heart? Suddenly, the twins were swept up in a race against time to earn a single wish by collecting eight objects scattered throughout the magical fairy tale kingdoms in the Land of Stories. Will they crush the Evil Queen’s plan to use the last wish for herself when they know it is their only hope for returning home? Discover creative stories beyond the stories with some new twists for “happily ever after” endings as you read The Wishing Spell, the first adventure in the Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer.

Book reviewed by Jan P., Youth Services Department Patron Assistant

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Cover image for The girl who drank the moonEvery year the villagers in the Protectorate sacrifice a baby to the “evil” witch of the forest.  And every year, this witch (who isn’t evil at all) wonders why these crazy people abandon their babies.  Before the child can be torn to bits by wild animals, the witch, whose name is Xan, rescues it and delivers it to a deserving family on the other side of the forest.  This continues until one year Xan accidentally feeds the baby moonlight which turns the ordinary child into an extraordinary child filled with dangerous magic.  This means Xan must raise the child, whom she names Luna, herself.  For a while she is able to bind Luna’s magic but as Luna’s thirteenth birthday approaches her magic begins to return with dangerous results.  And what about Luna’s biological mother?  Maybe she didn’t abandon her baby as Xan first thought.  What will happen when Luna gets her magic back?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Milo Speck, Accidental Agent by Linda Urban

Cover image for Milo Speck, accidental agentThis is the story of Milo Speck, a boy whose father travels a lot for work, and leaves him with Grandmother, a woman who is not actually his grandmother, and who makes him wear dorky clothes with squawking ducks on them. He’s emptying out the laundry machine one day when a sock pulls him in…suddenly he’s in a world called Ogregon, filled with, you guessed it, ogres! They are giant, not very smart, and obsessed with eating children. Milo is desperate for a way to escape, until he hears that his father might be trapped there as well. So he goes to rescue his father, and learns along the way about secret agents, turkeys that obey commands, the mysterious Dr. El, and something called a whatzit that promises to bring the ogres lots of kids to eat. This book is exciting and explores worlds very different from our own, but it should also make you laugh. If you’re looking for something magical with a sense of humor, check out this book!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors

Cover image for The sasquatch escapeSummer in Buttonville is anything but exciting and Ben is about to spend the entire summer there with his grandfather. That means that the most exciting thing that will happen to Ben is having Saturday Pudding Days at the Senior Center. However, that changes when his grandfather’s cat brings home what looks like a baby dragon. With the help of Pearl, a girl from Buttonville, they take the baby dragon to the only veterinarian in town, Dr. Woo’s Worm Hospital. However, when they get there, Ben forgets to close the door and suddenly they find out a big, hairy, smelly sasquatch or bigfoot has escaped. Yep, you heard right, a sasquatch. It seems that there is more to Dr. Woo’s hospital since it is actually a hospital for imaginary animals. Now, Ben and Pearl must try to find the Sasquatch before Buttonville does. Luckily, Sasquatches like chocolate, but will Ben and Pearl be able to find the sasquatch before he destroys Buttonville and is discovered? If anything, Ben’s boring summer has just gotten a lot more interesting.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Cover image for A snicker of magicMidnight Gulch is a magical place, or at least it used to be, but that was before the curse. Now, there is just a snicker of that magic hanging in Midnight Gulch, and unless they can end the curse, a snicker of magic is all that will remain. Felicity’s mama is cursed with a wandering heart, which means that whenever Felicity and her sister think they might have found a home, their mama packs up their van and moves them. This time, their mama has brought them back to her hometown, Midnight Gulch. After meeting a new friend, Jonah, and learning more about Midnight Gulch, Felicity wants to stay there and call the town her home. However, with her mama’s curse and the town’s curse, it looks like Felicity might be destined to wander with her mama. Can she find a way to end the curse on Midnight Gulch? Maybe her new friend Jonah can help or maybe they can get help from the mysterious Beedle who does good deeds around town for people.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Cover image for Tuesdays at the castleI really loved this book.  It is about a royal family who live in a magical castle. This castle is constantly changing based on what it feels is needed.  If it likes you,  your room might grow and get very nice but if it doesn’t like you, get ready for an uncomfortable stay.  This castle even picks who will be king.  When the King and Queen go missing while picking up the eldest son from Wizardry school, a neighboring Prince wants to take over the castle.  Cecilia and her brother Rolf are left to figure things out as the Castle gives them clues. This is the first book of three in this series.

 

ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan

Cover image for Echo : a novelA midwife prophecy sets the stage for a quest that spans over four historical settings. Each of the stories introduces the reader to new characters facing challenges and a mysterious harmonica that allows us to share in their love for the beauty of music.  After all the stories have ended, they will continue to ECHO in your mind and heart.

Book reviewed by Marsha D., Youth Services Assistant

Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson

Cover image for Boys of blurCharlie’s family has just moved back to the town his father and step-father are from. It is where football is a way of life and boys chase rabbits through the sugar cane for fun. There’s something different about this town. It starts when Charlie’s cousin takes him out at night, and they see a man wearing a silver helmet and carrying a sword who is accompanied by a panther. Then there’s the awful smell that usually makes people unnaturally angry all of a sudden. Charlie is trying to move past the pain his father caused in the past, and adjust to a new happier life in a different place, but the secrets of the town are too much to ignore. He and his cousin find themselves right in the middle of a war between good and evil that threatens everyone in their town. This book has zombies and other fantastical elements, but paints a realistic place you can clearly imagine. It is a fast and exciting read that should appeal to readers in 4th-6th grade, especially those who like adventures and fantasy.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

The Last Apprentice:  Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney     

Cover image for Revenge of the witchTom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, has the disturbing ability to sense ghosts and other beasties that go bump in the night. He’d rather not have this “gift, but it is something from which he can’t escape.  When Tom reluctantly begins an apprenticeship with the Spook, a person who rids the County of harmful beings like boggarts and witches, he thinks he might be in over his head. With mortal danger lurking behind every dark corner, Tom struggles to conquer his fear while protecting those he cares about. This book is only for those brave enough to stomach truly scary tales. Are you brave enough?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Programming Assistant

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister by Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand, and Emma Trevayne

Cover image for The cabinet of curiosities : 36 tales brief & sinisterWithin a collection of short stories, especially with a variety of authors, there will always be some hits and some misses…but most of these 36 tales were hits! Some were more memorable than others, but all of them were entertaining, just the right amount of creepy, and well-written. Some would be fun to read aloud. I loved how the stories were divided into themed sections, such as “Cake,” “Luck,” and “Fairy Tales.” You could read them all, or just a few!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator