Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Laura B.

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Cover image for Absolutely almostAlbie is not the smartest in his class or the best at sports or even the greatest artist. In fact, Albie is considered “almost.” When he gets his spelling test and doesn’t get an “A” on it, it’s “almost” an “A” to his Dad. The fact that his favorite book series is Captain Underpants and not the book, Johnny Tremaine, is an “almost” since his mom thinks he should be reading something harder. The same for all the other things he does. When his parents send Albie to a new school, he thinks that maybe he can finally be better than “almost,” but that’s before he meets the bullies in his class. However, then his parents hire a new babysitter for him after school named Calista.  Calista doesn’t think he is an “almost,” but rather that he is good and that he has talent. Sometimes, you just need to work really hard to make that talent shine. However, soon Calista is gone, the bullies are at school are starting to be meaner, and his parents just don’t understand him. Albie realizes that he needs to be the good kid Calista thinks he is, but can he do it?

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Apocalypse Bow Wow by James Proimos III

Cover image for Apocalypse bow wowBrownie and Apollo are dogs that love their home and the people that take care of them. The people know when to feed them, let them out of the house to do their business, and play with them. However, that changes one day when their people don’t come back and they start to get really hungry. In fact, it looks like there are no people around at all. Something has happened. Feeling really hungry and wanting to go outside, they decide to make the journey to see if they can find their people and food. On the way, they meet a police dog, a rat, and gasp, a cat along with others. They also find a grocery store with food, but still no people. Where have they gone? What will Brownie and Apollo do, especially since their group isn’t the only group of animals’ hungry and wanting food?

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Bugged: How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee

Cover image for Bugged : how insects changed historyThere are ten quintillion insects in the world and they have contributed to how this world has been shaped. For instance, did you know that the red color in some foods, drinks, and clothing is from crushed insects? Or that some bugs suck blood out of your body, eat dead people, or can make you very sick? This book will talk about all these gross things and more including how scientists used the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars movies to figure out how locusts fly in swarms. If you enjoyed the books, How They Croaked or Poop Happened, check this book out.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

Cover image for Listen, slowlyMai is ready for summer vacation in California. She plans to spend it on the beach with her best friend and maybe even talk to the guy she likes, but her parents have other ideas. Mai’s family is from Vietnam. Her grandmother left with her children after the Vietnam War. Her grandfather was never found after the war. Now, a detective thinks he has found some information on what happened to her grandfather and her grandmother wants to return to Vietnam for answers. Mai’s parents insist that Mai accompany her grandmother on the trip, which means no beach for Mai. Soon, Mai is in Vietnam, a place she considers hot, smelly, and with a lot of extended family. She doesn’t speak the language well and Vietnam is very different than California. It’s even worse when she finds out that her best friend in California is on the beach hanging with the guy she likes. If only the detective and grandmother could work something out. Then, she would get to go home, but that doesn’t seem likely. Now, she must try to find a balance between California life and Vietnam life, and maybe even try to give Vietnam and her extended family a chance.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and Other Haunted Places of the Midwest by Matt Chandler

Cover image for Bachelor's Grove Cemetery and other hauntings of the midwestImagine taking a walk in the woods and coming upon an old cemetery. It’s by a pond that is covered in algae and it looks as if no one has been there in a very long time. It’s quiet, but kind of creepy, and you think that maybe you are not alone. That is exactly what happens when you visit Bachelor’s Grove cemetery in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. This eerie cemetery supposedly has many ghosts and is just one location in this book. If cemeteries aren’t creepy enough, there are haunted houses, theaters, and even the Great Lakes. Do you believe in ghosts? Either way, this book has some fun information about the area where we live and is really fun to read.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure by Mike Wolfe

Cover image for Kid pickers : how to turn junk into treasureHave you ever heard the saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” It basically means that the things you don’t want or like could be wanted by someone else. This book is all about that. Mike Wolfe is from the show, American Pickers, which airs on the History Channel. In this show, Mike goes around finding items that some people consider junk and he either buys them or is given them. He then cleans them up and sometime sells them. What this show doesn’t tell you is that Mike has been doing this since he was a kid. It started with old bikes, cigar boxes, and comic books, and it soon grew to more items. This book is great resource for learning how to pick items and will help you either begin a collection or start a new one. Mike explains places you can go to find items, how to research the item, and even how to re-purpose the item into something new. I especially liked reading about the repurposing of items. I also liked that each chapter ends with a kid picker and their collection. So check out this book to start your picking and have a fun summer doing an interesting activity outside.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors

Cover image for The sasquatch escapeSummer in Buttonville is anything but exciting and Ben is about to spend the entire summer there with his grandfather. That means that the most exciting thing that will happen to Ben is having Saturday Pudding Days at the Senior Center. However, that changes when his grandfather’s cat brings home what looks like a baby dragon. With the help of Pearl, a girl from Buttonville, they take the baby dragon to the only veterinarian in town, Dr. Woo’s Worm Hospital. However, when they get there, Ben forgets to close the door and suddenly they find out a big, hairy, smelly sasquatch or bigfoot has escaped. Yep, you heard right, a sasquatch. It seems that there is more to Dr. Woo’s hospital since it is actually a hospital for imaginary animals. Now, Ben and Pearl must try to find the Sasquatch before Buttonville does. Luckily, Sasquatches like chocolate, but will Ben and Pearl be able to find the sasquatch before he destroys Buttonville and is discovered? If anything, Ben’s boring summer has just gotten a lot more interesting.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Robbers: True Stories of the World’s Most Notorious Thieves by Andreas Schroeder

Cover image for Robbers! : true stories of the world's most notorious thievesThis is a great book to read if you are looking for something that you can put down sometimes and then come back to it later, and that is because each chapter is about a different person and there are some great comic style pictures throughout the book. While this is a nonfiction book, it reads more like fiction. Have you ever heard of a thief who stole a painting and then, rather than sell it for money, held onto it or the illustrious career of Arthur Barry, the classiest thief in Manhattan? Well, if you are interested in these characters as well as bank robbers and others, check Robbers out. Warning: Do not attempt these feats in your lifetime, just read about them.

Book reviewed by Laura B. Youth Technology Librarian

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul

Cover image for Water is water : a book about the water cycleIn Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle, the illustrator, Jason Chin, emphasizes the importance of water and its ever changing and evolving forms using expressive full page illustrations. In these illustrations, we follow children as they experience water in all its forms including snow, rain, fog, running in a stream, and more. These vibrant illustrations include some fun surprises and also are exceptional in their depiction of human emotions. The accompanied text, written by Miranda Paul, adds even more to the book in its lyrical and simplistic poetic form. However, don’t let the simplistic text fool you; this book still contains information on the water cycle. Check out this beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book!

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Cover image for A snicker of magicMidnight Gulch is a magical place, or at least it used to be, but that was before the curse. Now, there is just a snicker of that magic hanging in Midnight Gulch, and unless they can end the curse, a snicker of magic is all that will remain. Felicity’s mama is cursed with a wandering heart, which means that whenever Felicity and her sister think they might have found a home, their mama packs up their van and moves them. This time, their mama has brought them back to her hometown, Midnight Gulch. After meeting a new friend, Jonah, and learning more about Midnight Gulch, Felicity wants to stay there and call the town her home. However, with her mama’s curse and the town’s curse, it looks like Felicity might be destined to wander with her mama. Can she find a way to end the curse on Midnight Gulch? Maybe her new friend Jonah can help or maybe they can get help from the mysterious Beedle who does good deeds around town for people.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian