Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 2-4

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst

Cover image for Lulu's mysterious missionHave your parents ever gone on vacation without you?!? In Lulu’s Mysterious Mission, Lulu’s parents have decided to leave her home with “the best babysitter in town—maybe the world—,” Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinksy. Lulu doesn’t agree with any of this, so she comes up with several plans to try to get rid of the stern babysitter. Nothing seems to work, and it’s not until Lulu tries to blackmail Ms. Solinsky that she learns this trained professional babysitter is also a retired spy—code name Triple S—and Lulu’s dream is to be a spy when she grows up. Luckily for her, Triple S agrees to teach Lulu tricks of the trade as long as Lulu is obedient and keeps the spy training a secret. Can Lulu follow through with the deal? And what will happen when her parents finally return from their vacation?

Book reviewed by Dana F., Assistant Head of Youth Services

How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin

Cover image for How to capture an invisible catInvisible Cats? Dogs that can talk? Villains chasing Nate and Delphine? In How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin, Nate and Delphine have to figure out how to shrink Nate’s cat, Proton, to his original size (Nate loves science and experimenting and made Proton the size of an elephant and invisible). The Red Death Tea Society (the villains) are trying to stop Nate and Delphine from shrinking Proton. Who will win? Read this book and find out!

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

Cover image for Big red lollipopThis wonderful picture book tells the story of Pakistani sisters and their first experience with a birthday party invitation. When oldest sister Rabina receives her first invitation to a birthday party, her younger sister begs to go along and the girls’ mother insists that Rabina take her sister to the party.  This, of course, has the disastrous results that Rabina believes it will. This book so perfectly illustrates the universal challenges of sibling relationships right to the sweet and surprising end.  Big Red Lollipop is a delight.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P.J. Lynch

Cover image for The boy who fell off the Mayflower or John Howland's good fortuneThis longer non-fiction picture book immerses the reader in the early life of John Howland, an indentured servant who, in the year 1620, sailed across the ocean on the Mayflower with his master to become one of the first settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The incredibly rich illustrations and  first-person narrative detailing the unbelievable challenges he faced will easily capture your attention.  Who doesn’t enjoy a true tale of survival?

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond

Cover image for Out of the woods : a true story of an unforgettable eventOut of the Woods, by Rebecca Bond, is an amazing story. It is a true tale written about an event that took place during the childhood of the author’s grandfather. Living in the deep woods of Ontario, Canada, five-year-old Antonio grew up in his family’s hotel. It was surrounded by thick forest of trees. It was also surrounded by numerous wild animals, like foxes, bobcats, deer, bears, and even more. A lot of people lodged there, including lumberjacks (people who cut down trees), fisherman, and hunters. Then one day, because of a tragic event, something amazing happened. I have never heard of such an incredible thing! Open this good book to read about an unforgettable experience. I wish I could have been there!

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 Fact-Filled Maps! by Gabrielle Balkan

Cover image for The 50 states : explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps!This over-sized gem is so much more than an atlas. Each of the 50 states is featured and the beautifully illustrated pages include key facts about the states  and moments to remember from each state’s history. Inspiring people from all the states are included, some well-known, others that may be new to young readers. Did you know that the Jackson, MS Children’s Museum has a giant Scrabble Board or that there is a Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, NM? Take a picture book road trip through the United States with this fantastic book.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess

Cover image for Enormous smallness : a story of E. E. CummingsThis sweet picture book biography tells the story of poet E.E. Cummings.  Edward Estlin Cummings grew up in Cambridge, MA and had an idyllic childhood, perfect for inspiring creativity and poetry.  Edward saw beauty in his surroundings and with support from his teachers and family, he created poems at a young age and continued creating poetry his whole life. This beautifully illustrated biography takes the reader through the life of E.E. Cummings and intersperses his poems throughout the book.  It is a lovely book to read for anyone looking to see the beauty around them.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix

Cover image for Shooting at the stars : the Christmas truce of 1914During the First World War, enemy soldiers were often camped out in trenches, with only a hundred feet of “No Man’s Land” between them. A virtual miracle occurred one Christmas Eve, when soldiers on both sides came out of their trenches singing “Silent Night” and shaking each other’s hands. The strangers ceased fighting while they exchanged personal items and even struck up a game of football with an old biscuit tin. History comes to life in this amazing story, told through vivid illustrations and a letter from a young soldier to his mother back home. Shooting at the Stars and other Picture Books for Older Readers are not only useful for the classroom, but they are just plain fun and fascinating to read.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

Cover image for Viva FridaEver wish you could see inside the mind of an artist? Award winning author and illustrator, Yuyi Morales does just that with her book Viva Frida. Photographs and illustrations rich with texture and details take readers into the imagination of Frida Kahlo. Simple text floats on the pages in English and Spanish giving you a glimpse of her creativity and dreams. This book is a fantastic introduction to the artist and will definitely inspire further investigation into the life and art of Frida Kahlo.

Book reviewed by Youth Services Intern.

The New Small Person by Lauren Child

Cover image for The new small personLife is good when you are an only child! That is until a small person arrives at your house. This is a great picture book about the struggles of adjusting to a younger sibling. In the end the siblings become great friends.