Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Dana F.

Five-Minute True Stories: Animal BFFs by Aubre Andrus

Cover image for Five-minute true stories : animal BFFsYou don’t usually see a 500-pound lion and an 11-pound dachshund playing together, cuddling, or licking each other’s faces. In Animal BFFs, readers are introduced to Bonedigger the lion and Milo the wiener dog, as well as eleven other unlikely animal friendships. Each story is meant to be read in about five minutes, and there are large photographs on nearly every page. There is even a pair from Chicago: Riff Ratt the rat and Osiris the dog. They are such good friends that sometimes Riff Ratt crawls into Osiris’ mouth! Some of the other BFFs include Gerald the giraffe and Eddie the goat; a lion-tiger-bear trio named Leo, Shere Khan, and Baloo; Miwa-chan the Japanese monkey and Uribo the wild piglet; and a cat named Morris and his best horse friend Champy. The stories tell readers how the animals became best friends, what they like to do together, and why their friendship is so rare. At the heart of each story is the fact that friends can come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors—which is true for animals and people!

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

Let’s Count Goats! by Mem Fox

Cover image for Let's count goats!The Library has many picture books about counting, but Let’s Count Goats is the only one to feature an airport goat, three pilot goats wearing goggles, and a fireman goat! This playful rhyming book is silly and colorful, with pictures done by Jan Thomas, author of the also-funny books Rhyming Dust Bunnies and Can You Make a Scary Face. Not only can you practice counting with this book, but you can also try to guess which goats could be real and which ones could not. A soccer goat? What about a mountain goat? Check out this book—you’ll want to read it a number of times!

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

The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers

Cover image for The girl in the well is meEleven-year-old Kammie only wanted to be friends with the popular girls. When they say she has to pass an initiation to join their club, Kammie agrees and lets them cut off her hair. Next, she follows their demands to stand on top of some boards that cover a well, and she falls through. The girls try half-heartedly to help her, but then they run off. As it grows darker, Kammie doesn’t know whether they have gone to get help or if she’ll die alone in the well. Cold, hungry, thirsty, and scared, Kammie begins to imagine that a French-speaking coyote, goats, and all kinds of creepy-crawlies are in the well with her. During this time Kammie also reflects on her past: her dad, who is in prison for stealing money from a fund to help children with cancer; her older brother Robby, who used to be nice until he turned 14 and her former home and friends before moving to “Nowheresville, Texas.”

If you like stories about trying to fit in and finding your true friends—and with a little bit of suspense—check out The Girl in the Well is Me.

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

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

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?

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