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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 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)


Book Cover Snook Alone
Marilyn Nelson

Beautifully illustrated story of a rat terrier named Snook who lives with a monk on a small island. They have a peaceful and interesting daily routine until a bad storm hits and suddenly the monk isn't there any more...The writing is as lovely as the paintings in this book that children (ages 6 or 7 and up)and adults will enjoy.

WPL Call Number: J Nelson
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (4/1/11)


Book Cover One Square Inch
Claudia Mills

When 11 year-old Cooper, along with his widowed mother and younger sister, visits his grandfather in New Jersey for a few weeks, it becomes obvious that his mother's habit of sleeping too much is part of a deeper problem. When they return home to Colorado, she gets help for her depression, but soon her moods go too far in the other direction. Life in a household affected by bipolar disorder is sensitively described in this ultimately hopeful novel for 4th-6th graders. The social stigma of mental illness and the family dynamics that stem from keeping secrets seem especially real and touching.

WPL Call Number: J Mills
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (3/30/11)


Book Cover The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman
Ben H. Winters

Nobody knows anything about mousy Ms. Finkleman until Bethesda Fielding uncovers her music teacher's secret past--Ms. Finkleman was Little Miss Mystery, the wild singer in an early '90s punk-rock band. Once she's outed, Ms. Finkleman is pressured into organizing a rock show for the annual Choral Corral. But planning the show really falls to Bethesda and spaced-out rocker Tenny Boyer. Bethesda starts to wonder if Ms. Finkleman isn't hiding even more secrets. This is a totally rockin' school story that will appeal to readers in about third through sixth grade.

WPL Call Number: J Winters
Reviewer: Janet P.   (3/25/11)


Book Cover Faith, Hope, and Ivy June
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Ivy June, from rural Kentucky, participates in a student exchange program to spend two weeks in Lexington with wealthy Catherine Combs's family after which Catherine is to spend two weeks in the mountains with Ivy June. Both girls learn how similar yet different their lives are. While Ivy June notices she doesn't have the right shoes to wear in the city, Catherine can't figure out how she'll wash her hair daily without the convenience of indoor plumbing. Both girls learn the importance of family while losing their preconceived ideas about others. For ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Naylor
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/23/11)


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