Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 2-4

Princess Pulverizer: Grilled Cheese and Dragons by Nancy Krulik

Princess Pulverizer Grilled Cheese and Dragons by Nancy Krulik book coverPrincess Serena isn’t afraid of anything or anyone. She is the bravest girl in all of Empiria (and possible the world). She swings from the rafters, smashes into tables, and accidentally breaks things. Since she is neither calm nor peaceful, Serena decides she needs a different name. The princess decides she should be called Princess Pulverizer. When she decides she would rather go to knight school, her father, King Alexander, tells her she must go on a quest. Knights need to be kind and selfless, and these have never been her strengths. In order to receive permission to attend knight school, she must perform eight good deeds. On her journey, she gets into some difficult situations and meets some new friends. This is a good series for someone who enjoys fantasy and is starting to read chapter books.

Book reviewed by Katharin B., Youth Outreach Liaison

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

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

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

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

Zoey & Sassafras: Dragon & Marshmallows by Asia Citro

Cover image for Dragons and marshmallowsZoey discovers a secret when her mom leaves on a work trip. She can see magical animals! So can her mom, who helps sick magical animals in the barn behind their house. Since her mom is away, Zoey steps in to help when a baby dragon shows up at the barn. Zoey uses the scientific method and runs an experiment to figure out what the dragon likes to eat, which includes marshmallows. This is the first in a new beginner chapter book series that combines science and mystery.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Absolutely Alfie and the Furry Purry Secret by Sally Warner

Cover image for Absolutely Alfie and the furry purry secretAbsolutely Alfie and the Furry Purry Secret by Sally Warner is the first book about Alfie, who is the younger sister to EllRay Jakes, which is another series for young chapter book readers. Alfie is a little nervous about starting 2nd grade, and not looking forward to her forced playdates with a neighbor girl, Hanni, who she has heard can be a bit bossy. The girls actually have fun together. Then Hanni’s family gets a bunch of kittens and they’re just giving them away! For free! Alfie can’t resist, even though there’s a family rule: no pets allowed. That’s because Alfie is allergic. But Alfie thinks the rule is wrong and she just knows she can handle taking care of a kitten on her own. She just has to keep it a secret. What could possibly go wrong?

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

My Pet Humanby Yasmine Surovec

Cover image for My pet humanGet inside the mind of a street-smart cat in this fun, beginning chapter book filled with black and white cartoon drawings. The cat, later named Oliver, knows the best places to find food and how to avoid getting caught by animal control. Oliver has friends—a rat, a dog, and another cat—but they all go home to their humans every night. Oliver is pretty sure he’s OK with this; anyway, he likes being “Mr. Independent.” However, when he smells something tasty coming from the house that a family has just moved into, Oliver decides to drop by…just for a little while. The “little human” girl falls immediately in love with him, so Oliver decides that if this arrangement is going to work, he will need to train the humans in the house. Does it work? Fans of funny animal stories like Stick Dog, Bad Kitty, and Diva and Flea will enjoy this book. For more, follow up with the sequel, My Pet Human Takes Center Stage.

 

Book reviewed by Dana F. Assistant Head of Youth Services

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