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Recent Staff Reviews

Not sure what to read next? Check out what the staff at WPL have been reading. You might get some ideas! Click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

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Book Cover Words in the Dust
Trent Reedy

Zulaikha's name comes from an ancient Afghan poem in which a girl with her name is described as "the brightest star," but Zulaikha doesn't know any of that yet. All she knows is that she was born with a cleft lip and the children call her "donkey face," and her stepmother doesn't seem to like her very well. And she knows that she desperately wants to learn to read like her mother who was murdered. Reedy's story about Zulaikha is especially vivid, and his knowledge of details of a Muslim family's life comes from his tour as a soldier in Afghanistan in 2004. Fans of Deborah Ellis would like this. Highly recommended for girls 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Reedy
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (5/3/11)


Book Cover Tales from Outer Suburbia
Shaun Tan

Intriguing collection from the Australian who recently won the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize. It's hard to describe this book, which is a mix of story and poetry set in a quietly surreal landscape beautifully illustrated by the author. This would make a great discussion book for ages 12 or 13 through adult. Highly recommended.

WPL Call Number: Y Tan
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (4/27/11)


Book Cover Close to Famous
Joan Bauer

Foster McFee and her mother drive quickly out of Memphis and end up in a small town in West Virginia. Foster is used to starting at new schools and making friends. She cannot read but she bakes amazing desserts and has dreams of becoming a famous television baker. She memorizes recipes and impresses everyone with her baking skills. Now she has a unique opportunity to earn some money with her baked goods and learn to read before starting at her new school. How the townspeople come together and help Foster makes a great story. For ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bauer
Reviewer: Alice J.   (4/25/11)


Book Cover Far From Home
Ben Hatke

The brave and adventurous Zita finds herself on a strange planet after following her friend Joseph through an interdimensional portal. Upon her arrival Zita witnesses Joseph’s abduction by a bizarre tentacled creature and discovers that the very planet she finds herself on is doomed for destruction. Zita manages to assemble a rescue team consisting of a flute-playing inventor, a horse-sized rat, a robotic battle orb, and others determined to find her friend before it’s too late. This is a must-read comic for 3rd through 5th grade fans of Jeff Smith’s Bone and Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet.

WPL Call Number: J Comic HA
Reviewer: Elisa G.   (4/23/11)


Book Cover Takeshita Demons
Cristy Burne

Miku and her family have moved from Japan to London... and it seems they've been followed by malevolent spirits! First there's the sinister knock at the door that leaves Miku's little brother, Kazu, mysteriously ill. Then there's the freaky substitute teacher who might just be a child-eating demon. And then Kazu vanishes during a snowstorm. It's up to Miku and her best friend, Cait, to face down the spirits and rescue Kazu. This fantasy adventure is a true page-turner with lots of genuinely creepy bits, and the information about Japanese folklore is fascinating. Recommended for grades 3 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Burne
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (4/22/11)


Book Cover Sugar Changed the World
Marc Aronson

Sugar will never taste quite the same again after you read this page turning story which begins in New Guinea, 9000 BC. The authors have done an exciting and scholarly job telling the complex history of what our love (and addiction) for the "white gold" has set in motion: the good, the evil, the frivolous and the profound. Recommended for kids 6th grade and up and for grownups.

WPL Call Number: Y 641.3 AR
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (4/19/11)


Book Cover Camo Girl
Kekla Magoon

Ella has always felt out of place because she's the only black kid in her class. Worse, the class bully calls her "camo face" because of her patchy skin. Now Ella's only friend is Z, who is even more of an outcast than she is and truly depends on her. But when Bailey, a new boy -- a black boy! -- moves to town, he befriends Ella and shows her she has more allies than she thought. If Ella starts hanging out with the "normal" kids, will it mean betraying Z? The kids in this book have real problems -- Bailey and Z both have big secrets they're keeping -- but the story never gets too dark or heavy. Suggested for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Magoon
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (4/18/11)


Book Cover My Life as a Book
Janet Tashjian

Summer is Derek's favorite time of year - no school and no homework. He plans on really enjoying himself until his teacher tells the class that she will move up with them in the fall and has a summer reading list for them. Derek does not want to read and believes this will ruin his summer. While his best friend goes off on a long family vacation, Derek is enrolled in Learning Camp. He would much rather draw than read and actually finds a way to illustrate his vocabulary words and visualize the story. A family secret and new friends help Derek learn about himself. The illustrations in the book were done by the author's son. This will be popular with any reluctant reader. For ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Tashjian
Reviewer: Alice J.   (4/18/11)


Magic book The Dachshund
Karen Schweitzer

This much-needed book focuses on everyone's favorite long, low dogs. Find out about wiener dogs' history, personality, and physical traits. You'll also learn how to take care of your Dachshund (or any dog, for that matter). Whether you're a Dachshund owner, prospective owner, or just an enthusiast, you'll appreciate this nonfiction book, especially for its adorable pictures.

WPL Call Number: J636.7 SCH
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/16/11)


Book Cover Cosmic
Frank Cottrell Boyce

At 12, Liam Digby is always mistaken for an adult because he is so big. Since he loves his space video games, he decides secretly to enter a contest for the first kids in space. Each entry is for a child and parent so Liam applies as a dad and asks his friend Florida to pretend to be his daughter. The consequences of being a childish dad in a group of space trainees causes all kinds of problems for Liam as well as the others. His adventures aboard the rocket make this a very funny tale about space travel. For ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Cottrell Boyce
Reviewer: Alice J.   (4/11/11)


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