Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Staff Picks

Parent Category of Picks

Noodleheads See the Future by Tedd Arnold

Noodleheads See the Future book coverWhen you ask someone to give you a hand, you don’t mean for them to cut their hand off and give it you, right? What about when someone tells you to listen up? Does that mean that you tilt your head so that your ear is listening to the sky? No, these are just sayings people use, but for Mac and Mac, Noodlehead brothers, they take these sayings literally. After all, there is nothing in their noodle heads. So, when their mom talks about dreaming of a garden, they decide they are going to make it happen. This way they can get cake too. How do they know that? Can they see the future or is it because their mom always makes cake for them when they help her. Now, they just have to figure out how to make a garden.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

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

I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein

I Am A Cat book coverA house cat named Simon declares to lion, tiger, and panther that he is also a cat, just like them. And well, the big cats don’t exactly agree. As the big cats explain what makes a cat a cat– having long whiskers and tails, sharp teeth and claws, and eyes that can see in the dark, Simon helpfully points out that he actually does have all those things… they’re just smaller. This book’s simple story structure and expressive artwork make it perfect for storytime!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Stella Diaz has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say book coverStella is a Mexican-American in 3rd grade, growing up in Arlington Heights (yes, our next door neighbor!). She loves marine animals, especially fish, but she has trouble speaking up in school and feeling like she belongs because sometimes she uses Spanish instead of English or doesn’t have the right pronunciation. She doesn’t even fit in with her family, where her Spanish isn’t quite good enough. A new kid, Stanley, joins her class and while she wants to be friends with him, she is too shy to ever talk to him. She also has to do an oral presentation in class, which terrifies her, but she gets help from her older brother, her best friend, and eventually Stanley, who she befriends at the Shedd Aquarium. Can she find the courage to speak up and find her place in the world? This is a story of friendship, bravery, and individuality with funny moments and great illustrations throughout.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre

Hope in the Holler book coverWavie and her mother haven’t always had a lot of money, but they’ve been happy together in their trailer home surrounded by thoughtful neighbors and friends. After her mother passes away and she is forced to live with a previously unknown (and unkind) aunt in rural “Convict Holler,” Wavie struggles to stay positive in this different new life. With the help of  some new friends, Wavie may just find a little hope along with some smiles going forward while trying to answer some puzzling questions about her family’s past. This title is recommended for those in 5th grade and up.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

Famous Fails! Mighty Mistakes, Mega Mishaps & How a Mess can Lead to Success by Crispin Boyer

Famous Fails! Mighty Mistakes, Mega Mishaps & How a Mess can Lead to Success by Crispin Boyer book coverA book filled with quirky failures and famous flops, this one takes on peculiar tragedies and hilarious calamities in areas like science, technology, food, entertainment and more. Do you know where the world’s tallest empty building is? And just why is this building mysteriously removed from some photographs? Don’t you want  to know about smelly movies, mysterious islands, chocolate French fries, and fortune cookies for dogs? And anyway, how does a dog get away with impersonating a lion….at a zoo? However, not all mistakes are disappointing. How did somebody come up with discoveries like microwave popcorn? Do you know how Noah McVicker invented Playdough? What’s the hype about the cursed baseball team and a goat? (They made a comeback, didn’t they?)

There is a “Lesson Learned” on almost every other page, and at times, a spark of encouragement spurts, “It could have been worse!” There’s also a game challenging the reader to find different mistakes that are purposely embedded in this book! Are you up for the challenge? Find out that some mistakes, mishaps and messes can turn out for the best. Remember, not all setbacks turn out to be failures!

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Annable Graham

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable book coverPeter and Ernesto are sloths that love looking at the sky from the top of their tree. Peter thinks there is nothing better than their tree and sky, but Ernesto wants to see more sky from all over the world. He decides to leave the tree and see the sky from the ocean, desert, forest, and more. When Ernesto leaves though, Peter is worried about his friend. He could get eaten by a bear! Should he try to find him? However, that means he would need to leave the tree and travel across scary bridges and dangerous ponds. With whales, monkeys, and parrots around to help, hopefully these 2 friends will find each other again in this fun graphic novel.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

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

The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surratt

The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surratt book coverThe Forever Tree is a true tale about the importance of a special tree, a specific tree, one that has captivated wilderness critters and children alike. It is a story about the fondness for the wonderful things around us, and the beauty of pulling community together.

 So here we find ourselves, in the middle of story, in the quiet of the forest…. And we can see that many of the surrounding woodland animals built their homes inside this magnificent tree, and children play around the tree for fun. They all made this tree a part of their special community. However, as many years passed by, the tree became unhealthy.  

Nobody wanted to see the tree go away, so the wilderness animals and families from all around got together and helped to save their beloved tree. They promised each other that their tree would “stand forever, strong and tall and proud”. See what happens when community shares a  belief  that something beautiful is always worth saving. From simple acts of love, something new and wonderful can always grow.

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke book coverJack knows his summer vacation is going to be rough. His mom has to work a second job, which means he has to take care of his sister, Maddy. Maddy is autistic and doesn’t speak. Well, Jack thought that Maddy didn’t speak until she asks Jack for a box of seeds a strange man is selling at the flea market. Jack doesn’t have any money, but then the man says he will do a trade. Jack is okay with that, but he didn’t realize the trade was a box of odd seeds for his mom’s car. The next day, they start working on their garden and the plants that start growing are not normal tomatoes or onions. Instead, there are little onion babies walking around and dangerous mud throwing green hand-like plants. One night, a dragon even appears, but he has a dangerous warning for Jack. This warning could mean upsetting Maddy and making his summer worse. This graphic novel is filled with fantastical plants and animals.

Book reviewed by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian