Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: For Grades 2-4

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman by Marc Tyler Nobleman

Cover image for Bill the boy wonder : the secret co-creator of BatmanBatman the superhero was a pretty secretive guy. If you’re a Batman fan, you probably already know this. But did you know that Batman’s creators had their own secrets? The story of Bill the Boy Wonder begins in the 1930s with a man named Bill Finger. Even though his parents wanted him to become a doctor, Bill’s true passion was in literature. One night Bill shared his story ideas with a Bob Kane, a cartoonist. Bob sketched the character of Batman and then went to Bill for suggestions. Bob took these new ideas to his boss, who agreed to publish Batman—but no credit was given to Bill, the person who had contributed the most to the story.

Batman grew in popularity, and Bill continued to write Batman stories in secret without being recognized. He worked long hours and earned the respect of his colleagues, but his name still was absent as a Batman writer. Did Bill ever get any credit—or money—for his role in Batman’s creation?

Bill the Boy Wonder is an interesting story even if you’re not a big Batman fan because it presents a viewpoint different from one many people have known. Maybe you can even relate to Bill’s story: Have you had someone take credit for work you’ve done or ideas you’ve shared? Did you stand up for yourself? What would you have done if you were Bill?

 

Dogs on Duty: Soldiers’ Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Cover image for Dogs on duty : soldiers' best friends on the battlefield and beyondThis book is very interesting as it talks about dogs who have been used by different parts of the military to protect soldiers. It gives information on specific dogs as well as in general. The book also talks about how the dogs and handlers are trained. There are lots of pictures! I had no idea how much dogs were used in the military before reading this book.

 

Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown

Cover image for Jedi AcademyRoan’s life is over. He is never going to leave Tatooine. He didn’t get accepted into the Pilot Academy like is father and big brother and is now going to have to go to plant school. However, that changes when he receives an acceptance letter to go to the Jedi Academy. Roan doesn’t think he is a jedi. He’s never done anything like a jedi before, but he decides to go. With the help of his new friends and his teachers, Roan is about to embark on a strange fun adventure at the Jedi Academy. Now, he just has to survive it. This book is part comic, part diary, and part chapter book. Fans of Origami Yoda and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will really like this book.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved by Diane Lang

Cover image for Vulture verses : love poems for the unlovedThis poetry book starts out with a boy deciding to write friendship notes to all his friends, especially those who probably would never get a note like vultures, moles, snakes, etc.  Each page is a note written in poetic form to a forgotten, somewhat disliked, animal or insect.  Underneath each poem is a fact or two about how the animal actually helps us or explains their important role in our lives.  Who knows…you may want to write  a friendship note too!

 

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

Cover image for Dory FantasmagoryIntroducing Dory, better known as Rascal. This six year old has an imagination like no other and it can drive her older brother and sister crazy. Luke and Violet think Dory acts like a baby and won’t play with her. To get her to shape up, they tell her a story about a pretend Mrs. Gobble Gracker coming to take her away unless she stops acting like a baby. However, their plan only kicks Dory’s imagination into overdrive.  Dory’s hilarious antics to escape capture by Mrs. Gobble Gracker include banana peels, a sleeping dart, one very special soup, and pretending to be a puppy, even at the doctor’s office.  Will Dory find a way to win her siblings attention in the end? Black and white drawings really bring Dory’s imagination to life in this excellent choice for new chapter book readers or family read-a-louds.