Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Keary B.

Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel

Cover image for A blind guide to StinkvilleImagine moving across the country and leaving your best friend when your Dad gets a new job. Now imagine doing all of that with a depressed mom who barely gets out of bed and an older brother who barely speaks to you. Oh, you are also blind and have albinoism. Sound rough? Well, Alice handles it all like a champion and proves along the way the difference between having a vision and having sight.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and John Jory

Cover image for The terrible twoIf you like funny books and are up for a good prank or two, then have I got the book for you, The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and John Jory. In it, Miles Murphy assumes he will be the school prankster when he moves to Yawnee Valley, “the cow capital of the United States, this side of the Mississippi, excluding a couple of towns that cheat.” Unfortunately, his new school already has a resident prankster. An epic prank war ensues to prove just who can pull the best prank and trick their principle, teachers, and classmates. My favorite prank involves cows, but don’t worry you don’t have to like cows to enjoy the hilarity of it all.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

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.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation by Tommy Greenwald

Cover image for Charlie Joe Jackson's guide to summer vacationIf you don’t already know who Charlie Joe Jackson is, the first thing he’ll tell you is how much he hates to read and the lengths he has gone to in the past to avoid reading, including bribing his best friend with ice cream sandwiches to read books for him. So how did he end up at a summer camp for kids who love to read? Well, in a moment of weakness, Charlie Joe agreed to go to Camp Rituhbukkee to make his parents happy. So now he is stuck away from most of his friends at camp for three weeks where most people don’t act anything like him. At least there is basketball, and for once Charlie Joe is the best player on the team! Fans of Origami Yoda, Big Nate, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will want to check out Charlie Joe Jackson.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

Have a Hot time, Hades! By Kate McMullan 

Cover image for Have a hot time, Hades!Everything you know about Greek mythology is wrong, at least according to Hades in this series by Kate McMullan. Zeus is a really myth-o-maniac, (that’s old Greek for liar). Well, it seems Zeus stretched the truth a little bit regarding what actually happened. Now, Hades is ready to set the record straight and make sure the world knows that he’s not really a bad guy.

In this installment, Hades tells the real story of how the Greek Gods came to power and defeated their father Cronus.  This version involves the first Olympics, a kick stone game, and the bucket o’ bolts. Throw in a couple of monsters and you get Hades’ side of the story.  Some of the other Greek Myths retold in the series include the stories of Pandora, Hercules, and Cupid.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger

Cover image for ZombiekinsIn Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger, fourth-grader Stanley Nudelman stops by his creepy neighbor Imavitch’s yard sale. There he ends up buying Zombiekins, a creepy stuffed animal that looks part bear, part bunny, and part zombie. After failing to read the directions, Stanley unknowingly unleashes Zombiekins at his school turning classmates into the undead. Nowhere in the school is safe from the plush terror! Stanley has to find a way to stop Zombiekins and turn his classmates back into less terrifying versions of themselves before it’s too late and all the teachers notice the school is full of zombies. Can he do it? Read this story that is equal parts funny and frightening to find out! You might also want to check out the cool black and white illustrations throughout the book.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook by Mary Amato

syndetics-lcMystery comes to Edgar Allen’s classroom when the class goldfish get stolen. The only clue is a poem left behind by the thief. Edgar Allan is convinced this is his chance to become a famous detective, but will someone else solve the crime first?  It doesn’t take long for the thief to strike again. As Edgar Allan gathers clues and observes his fellow classmates, he notices some surprising things. Is one of them really the thief? Or should he team up with a classmate to find the culprit? Read the book and find out!

This was also a 2014 Bluestem Award Nominee.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

Kickoff! by Tiki & Ronde Barber

syndetics-lcThe authors of Kickoff! are twins and former NFL players Tiki and Ronde Barber. Tiki was a running back for the New York Giants and three-time Pro Bowl selection. Ronde was a cornerback for the Tampa bay Buccaneers, four-time Pro Bowl selection, and Super Bowl winner.

This story is inspired by their childhood. The twins are starting Junior High and worried about the harder homework, making new friends, and not being in class with each other. But their biggest concern is making the football team. I bet they make the team since they did go on to be NFL players after all but read to book to hear more of their story!

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

syndetics-lcTeddy Fitzroy is the only kid who lives in FunJungle, the world’s largest zoo. Action at the zoo picks up when Henry the Hippo, and mascot of the park, dies. Teddy is convinced some one killed Henry, but no one at the park believes him. The only one who will listen is Summer, the daughter of the Texas millionaire who owns FunJungle. Together, they have to track down the hippo killer, even though no one really liked the hippo that was killed. Henry was a pretty mean hippo afterall so the list of suspects is pretty long. Someone doesn’t want Teddy to investigate and strange accidents start happening that put him in danger. Will Teddy and Summer be able to solve this whodunit before someone gets hurt?

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian

Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

syndetics-lcSiblings Evan and Jessie are both smart, just in different areas.  Evan is people smart and knows how to talk to others. His younger sister Jessie is math smart. So smart in fact that she’s skipping third grade and will be in the same grade as Evan. To make matters worse, Evan and Jessie will be in the same fourth grade class in the fall. This news starts the Lemonade War, a bet over which sibling will earn more money selling lemonade during the last week before school. Soon the competition heats up and the siblings use every trick in the book to try and win.  This is a great story about siblings and the competitions and friendships they can have.

This is also a 2014 Bluestem Award Nominee.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist Librarian