Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Short Stories

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

Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Madness & Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Death and Dementia

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Gris Grimly is the perfect illustrator for Edgar Allan Poe’s dark and creepy stories. The pictures range from somewhat silly to very grotesque, but they always perfect in bringing the words to life. And how wonderful Poe is with words! His terrifying tales are meant for reading aloud. Listeners are sure to get chills from the classics “The Tell-Tale Heart” in Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Death and Dementia and “Black Cat” in Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Madness.  Both books are totally twisted!

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Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters by Patricia McKissack

syndetics-lcGather ‘round the front porch for the sights, sounds, and tastes of a summer evening in the South, with “whippoorwills, lightning bugs, homemade peach ice cream,” and a “porch lie” or two. The amusing tellers and tales told in Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters by Patricia McKissack are cleverly larger-than-life, with the right amount of mystery to keep you wondering just who you should believe.  The charming (or is it scheming?) Pete Bruce flatters a baker out of a coconut cream pie and a pint of milk.  Mingo Cass may or may not have a 100-dollar bill in his pocket.  And Mr. Cake Norris wakes up dead one day–again.  These and other tricksters, slicksters, and outlaws seem to be winking, or maybe poking fun, at us foolish readers.  But, as wise Aunt Gran slyly told Frank and Jesse James, some folk believe these stories, some don’t.  You decide for yourself.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Program Coordinator