Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Jan P.

The Wishing Spell (Land of Stories series #1) by Chris Colfer

Cover image for The wishing spell“…and they lived happily ever after.”  You may have wondered how so many people know that familiar fairy-tale ending, or even how so many people know the details of stories and characters from countless fairy tales passed down through the generations. From the time they were little, Conner and Alex Bailey loved hearing their parents and Grandma read fairy tales to them from a very special book called the Land of Stories. Since the cherished book had been in the family for years, it was presented to the twins just before their twelfth birthday. Curiously, one night the book made a dull humming sound and began to glow, which eventually lead the twins to discover that they could actually go into the book! Can you imagine their shock and excitement, encountering danger and delight as they wandered along, meeting the fairy tale characters face-to-face in the actual stories they knew by heart? Suddenly, the twins were swept up in a race against time to earn a single wish by collecting eight objects scattered throughout the magical fairy tale kingdoms in the Land of Stories. Will they crush the Evil Queen’s plan to use the last wish for herself when they know it is their only hope for returning home? Discover creative stories beyond the stories with some new twists for “happily ever after” endings as you read The Wishing Spell, the first adventure in the Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer.

Book reviewed by Jan P., Youth Services Department Patron Assistant

Swindle by Gordon Korman

SwindleSwindle by Gordon Korman. Although he’s a kid, Griffin is known as “the man with a plan.” After being swindled out of a valuable Babe Ruth baseball card, the sale of which could have solved his family’s money troubles, Griffin knows he needs a plan more than ever. Can he assemble a team of his clever friends–talented champions in their own right–to accomplish an even bigger swindle and get the card back to the rightful owner? I liked how the kids used their unique gifts in such creative ways and how they realized the value of doing their best, no matter how large or small a part they played.

Book reviewed by Jan P., Youth Services Department Patron Assistant

Easy as Pie by Cari Best

Easy as Pie Easy as Pie by Cari Best. Wearing his chef’s hat and apron and remembering tips from his favorite television cooking show, Jacob makes a fresh peach pie for his parents’ anniversary. But the family has anniversary dinner reservations! Will there be time for the pie to cool so they can eat it before they have to leave? Jacob tries to find a way that is “easy as pie” so the family can leave happy and on time!

Book reviewed by Jan P., Youth Services Department Patron Assistant


A Small White Scar by K. A. Nuzum

Small White Scar The cowboy’s shadow on the cover of the book helped me decide to read the Rebecca Caudill nominee A Small White Scar by K. A. Nuzum. Careful plans to ride away from his responsibilities on the farm toward the more exciting adventures of life as a professional rodeo cowboy become complicated when Will discovers his twin brother following him! Too far from home (and now with his brother in need of medical help), Will realizes he knows a lot, but he still has much to learn about having a life of independence.

Book reviewed by Jan Penner, Youth Services Department Patron Assistant

The Littlest Dinosaur by Michael Foreman

syndetics-lcI enjoyed reading The Littlest Dinosaur by Michael Foreman.  In this sweet story about a dinosaur who never grew any bigger than a bug, the Littlest Dinosaur learned that he could be brave.  Always afraid that he would be stepped on if he played with the other dinosaurs in the mud, he only watched the fun. He learned that the great big dinosaur never came to play either because he thought of himself as too big and clumsy. When the two of them had to figure out a way to rescue all the others from a sticky situation, they both began to see themselves in a new way–and each other as friends.

Book read by Jan P., Youth Services Department Patron Assistant

The Last Rider: The Final Days of the Pony Express by Jessica Gunderson

syndetics-lcThe Last Rider: The Final Days of the Pony Express by Jessica Gunderson is a great book.

Matt Edgars longs for his life the way it used to be when he lived in Kansas and helped his dad with the horses and the farm.  Since his dad had died, he and his Mom moved to San Francisco, but as he got older, he eagerly watched for ways to fill his life with new adventures.  When he saw a poster advertising for boys his age to become riders on horseback to carry the mail between San Francisco, California and St. Joseph, Missouri, he was thrilled to get a job as a Pony Express Rider.  He worked hard getting the mail delivered, with the added challenges of wild animals, dangerous snakes, and desert heat — even keeping ahead of someone who was setting fire to the Express stations!  Delivering President Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Address took seven days and seventeen hours — the fastest piece of mail delivered by the Pony Express riders.  If you like historical fiction, you’ll enjoy this story about the last days of the Pony Express, which helped make quick communication possible between the new Western States and the East before the telegraph was invented.

Book reviewed by Jan P., Youth Services Department Patron Assistant