Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 2-4

Purloining of Prince Oleomargerine by Mark Twain and Philip C. Stead

Cover image for The purloining of Prince OleomargarineHooray Mark Twain has a new book out! Well sort of, Mark Twain used to make up bedtime stories for his children and this story is based on the recently found notes he left for one of those stories. Those notes made it into the hands of Phillip Stead to turn into a completed story and Stead does a remarkable job of capturing Twain’s humor and voice.  Phillip’s wife, Caldecott winner Erin Stead, adds the perfect illustrations to bring the story to life in her classic style. This book is not like anything else out there right now and don’t miss reading it!

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson

Cover image for The youngest marcher : the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a young civil rights activistHere is a story of a real-life child hero—an African-American girl who went to jail to fight for Civil Rights when she was just 9 years old. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson describes how young Audrey was at the center of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama in the 1960’s. Her family knew Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Audrey would listen over the dinner table or at church to the adults talking about fighting for equal rights. Audrey was fired up and she wanted to help. The illustrations make this book appealing and accessible to young children to learn about history in a way that doesn’t feel too heavy or boring; it feels relatable. It makes Audrey seem like a girl you might know… and you can really appreciate how brave she was.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz

Cover image for Princess Cora and the crocodilePrincess Cora never gets to have any fun. Ever since she was born, her parents have been busy preparing her to become queen. This includes taking three baths a day, studying boring books on how to run a kingdom, and exercising so that she’ll be strong. She writes a letter to her fairy godmother, but instead of getting the furry, golden dog she wants, a box with a crocodile shows up. The plan is to have the crocodile pretend to be Princess Cora so that Cora can have a day to do whatever she wants. Outfitted in a pink dress and wearing a mop for a wig, the crocodile sort of convinces the nanny, King, and Queen that he’s Princess Cora. But when he gets too frustrated and ends up biting everyone, Princess Cora comes to their rescue and strikes a deal for more fun-filled days. Try this book if you enjoy the Princess in Black or Mercy Watson series.

Book reviewed by Dana F. Assistant Head of Youth Services

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa

Cover image for Yours sincerely, giraffeGiraffe is bored and looking for a friend, so he writes a letter for Pelican to deliver across the horizon. There Pelican finds Penguin, and a series of letters result, with some pretty funny misunderstandings when Giraffe decides to dress up as his new friend, Penguin, and visit him. Since Giraffe has never seen a penguin before, he makes all kinds of mistakes on the costume. This is a super funny titles that would also make a great read aloud to young children, classrooms, or families. Just remember to show the great illustrations that really bring the story to life.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins

Cover image for Margaret and the Moon : how Margaret Hamilton saved the first lunar landingMargaret Hamilton grew up wondering why more women weren’t deciding to be doctors or scientists. So, she decided to study hard. Margaret loved mathematics and learning about the universe. As she got older, she discovered computers and made the decision to program them. All of her hard work eventually led to her working for NASA! Margaret’s math skills were extremely important when NASA was planning the first trip to the moon. This is a great book to read if you enjoy math and science and want to learn more about how to use those in the future.

Book reviewed by Katharin B., Youth Outreach Liaison

Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

Cover image for Hilo. Book 1, The boy who crashed to EarthSuper powers? Check! Robots? Check? Aliens? Check! What else could you ask for in a graphic novel! The Hilo series has it all. D.J. and Gina find a mysterious boy, Hilo, who fell from the sky. Together the new friends help Hilo find out who he is and just what he might be capable of. Hilo will have to learn fast though since he wasn’t the only thing to fall to Earth! I loved reading about this modern boy super hero and the friendships he made.  Besides, who wouldn’t want to go to school with a super hero!

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 by Matthew Olshan

Cover image for A voyage in the clouds : the (mostly) true story of the first international flight by balloon in 1785This picture book for older readers is based on the day in 1785 when Dr. John Jeffries (an Englishman) and Jean-Pierre Blanchard (a Frenchman) set out to cross the English Channel in a hot air balloon. The two men did not always agree with each other, and the ride did not go entirely smoothly. In the middle of the flight, for example, the balloon began to fall! This book is hilarious and would make a fantastic classroom read aloud. I was laughing out loud before it even got to the part where they started urinating overboard to lighten their load!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Stick Dog by Tom Watson

Cover image for Stick DogHere’s a great series for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or anyone that likes funny chapter books with some illustrations! Stick Dog and his four friends – Stripes, Mutt, Poo-Poo and Karen – scheme to get some delicious looking hamburgers from a family at the park. Distractions and obstacles abound. Will clever Stick Dog find a way to feast? Don’t forget to check out Stick Dog’s other hilarious adventures! Not a dog person? Don’t worry there’s also Stick Cat!

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Helen Thayer’s Arctic Adventure: A Woman and a Dog Walk to the North Pole by Sally Senzell Isaacs

Cover image for Helen Thayer's Arctic adventure : a woman and a dog walk to the North PoleExperience the thrill of a real-life adventure in this non-fiction picture book. Follow the unbelievable story of Helen Thayer, an outdoorswoman who fulfilled her dream of being the first woman to hike solo from Canada to the magnetic North Pole with only a sled, supplies, a tent, a dog, and a radio. With no outside help and only her two feet as transportation, she and her dog, Charlie, traveled mile after mile for many days with the constant threat of cracking ice, dangerous polar bears, and killer weather. The detailed illustrations pull you into the story and make you think you are hiking with her!

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Weekends with Max and His Dad by Linda Urban

Cover image for Weekends with Max and his dadThis sweet beginner chapter book will make readers of all ages (including adults) have some real emotion. It is about a boy whose parents are divorced, and yet the word divorce is never even mentioned, because what it’s really about is the relationship between a boy and his dad—how they communicate, how they play together, and also how things are a little different now than they used to be. Each of the three chapters has a theme and a short story within the overall narrative arc. It’s amusing and lovable, without glossing over some of the issues, such as Max’s dislike for how his dad decorated his new room, but his hesitance to tell him because it would hurt his feelings. This is the first of three books in a new, engaging series!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator