Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Mary S.

Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange 

Our Castle by the SeaBefore the war, Pet was just an ordinary 11-year-old living with her family.  But when Hitler’s bombers begin attacking the English coast, everything starts to fall apart.  Someone in her village is helping the Germans by sabotaging telephone lines and setting fire to buildings.  Since Pet’s mother is German, she is the most obvious suspect.  The tribunal finds her guilty of being a traitor and she is taken away to an internment camp.  Pet is determined to prove her innocence by finding other suspects such as her sister Mags who is keeping secrets or her neighbor Spooky Joe who is skulking around with binoculars and a notebook.  Who is the real spy?  Will Pet be able to find answers that will set her mother free? 

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head 

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor 

The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle This is Mason: 

Mammoth in size 

Always sweaty 

Super at dog care 

Outstanding friend 

Not good at reading and writing 

Not only is Mason big in size, he also seems to have a big amount of bad luck.  First, his grandpa dies, then his mom, and then fifteen months ago Benny Kilmartin, his best friend, turned up dead in the Buttle Family orchard.  Now Lieutenant Baird won’t stop asking questions because he believes Mason knows something he isn’t telling. Just when Mason thinks his luck is improving, his new friend Calvin disappears.  What is happening and will anyone believe Mason’s story?   

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head 

Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood

Lifeboat 12 book coverWhen Ken first hears the news that his parents are sending him to Canada, he thinks this is his stepmother’s way of finally getting rid of him. But once the bombs start to fall on his London home, and his family has to the spend their nights in the stinky, crowded bomb shelter, Canada doesn’t seem so bad. He is one of 90 children aboard the luxury ship. For the first time since the war started, he can eat as much as he wants, and there is a whole room full of brand-new toys to play with. At first, the children must wear their life vests at all times even when they sleep, but on the fifth day, the captain announces that they are out of danger. That same night, Ken is woken up by an explosion. The ship has been torpedoed!

What happens next is a miraculous story of survival spent aboard a crowded lifeboat with only 8 days of water, no shelter, and no compass for direction. Based on true events and real people, this novel in verse is a must read. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Best Buds Under Frogs by Leslie Patricelli

Best Buds Under Frogs book coverMaking friends at a new school is hard, and its even harder when you throw up on someone’s brand-new shoes during recess. Lily just wants to crawl into her imaginary turtle shell or better yet never ever go to school again.  But, luckily for her, she meets Darby, who doesn’t seem to care what other people think.  Lily and Darby form the Rizzlerunk Club with their own secret handshake, an invisible clubhouse, and candy bracelets. Everything is going great until Darby’s former best friend and original mean girl Jill returns.  Suddenly, Lily finds herself getting into trouble that she never could have imagined such as accidentally shaving off her eyebrows, thinking about shoplifting candy, and even secretly painting the school’s monkey bars.  Is it time to quit the Rizzlerunk Club or simply time to oust its newest member–Queenbee Jill?  With its hilarious hijinks and comical illustrations, this is a great read for 3rd and 4th graders.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley book coverBlue Montgomery comes from a cursed family. Some bad, some good, those curses define who they are. Blue can never win, and his father can never lose. Tumble Wilson is a hero in training but instead of saving anyone, she always seems to end up the damsel in distress. Once in awhile comes a special Red Moon that allows one Montgomery to be freed from his or her curse. As the time of the Red Moon approaches, Blue’s grandmother’s house is overflowing with Montgomerys. Will Blue be the one Montgomery to break his curse and will Tumble be able to help him thus fulfilling her destiny to become a hero?

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head