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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 Greetings from Nowhere
Barbara O'Connor

Set at the Sleepy Time Motel in the Smoky Mountains, this interesting story brings together several young characters. Kirby is being delivered to a reform school by his harried mother when their car breaks down and the motel is the closest place around; Willow's father wants to buy the motel from the elderly owner; and Loretta is looking for her birth mother after she receives a mysterious package in the mail. Recommended for kids in 5th or 6th grade and older, this is a 2012 Rebecca Caudill Award nominee.

WPL Call Number: J O'Connor
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (3/22/11)


Book Cover Half Brother
Kenneth Oppel

Ben's behavioral scientist father moves the family across the country (Canada) to start a new university sponsored research project. Teaching a baby chimpanzee to use sign language is a novel idea in 1973 and Ben is not sure he likes the idea. His mother brings the chimp home and explains that they are raising him as a member of the family. Only child Ben believes that this is his "brother" and not only names him but becomes Zan's favorite caretaker. Fearing the end of the project and what will happen to Zan, Ben argues with his father about what will be best for Zan's future. A different kind of family story for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Oppel
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/22/11)


Book Cover Saving Zasha
Randi Barrow

It's just after World War II in the Soviet countryside, where no one has seen a dog in years. Mikhail is very surprised when he meets a wounded stranger--with a beautiful German shepherd. The stranger dies, leaving Mikhail and his family with the dog, Zasha. Mikhail grows to love Zasha, but he has to keep her hidden, as anti-German sentiment is still strong. Little by little, Mikhail finds that his neighbors miss their dogs. But will he be able to reveal his secret pet? And will dogs ever return to Russia? Dog lovers and history buffs in about 4th-6th grade will enjoy this book.

WPL Call Number: Y Barrow
Reviewer: Janet P.   (3/21/11)


Book Cover Every Soul a Star
Wendy Mass

Ally's parents have spent ten years preparing this campground for the solar eclipse. Thousands of people will come to see and celebrate the actual event. Bree's scientist parents drag her along even though Bree would rather focus on her future modeling career. Jack is there because his teacher offered him a chance to help with a tour instead of attending summmer school for a failed science class. These unlikely friends discover a lot about their problems and their place in the world. For ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Mass
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/14/11)


Book Cover The Shadows
Jacqueline West

Exciting tale of a girl who moves into a big spooky house with her pre-occupied parents. She soon learns that there is something strange about the paintings in the house; with help from a pair of old spectacles, she is able to enter the landscapes of the paintings, but something dangerous is lurking within. The first in a projected series, this is recommended for boys and girls in grades 3 or 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J West
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (3/12/11)


Book Cover I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures
Carlyn Beccia

Can frog soup really cure a cold? Can spider webs cure a wound? In this book, you'll learn about all sorts of crazy-sounding folk cures for common ailments, from around the world and throughout history. Some of them actually work! Others...not so much. This entertaining and informative book is organized like a quiz so you can guess the effectiveness of each cure before learning the truth. Recommended for grades 3 and up.

WPL Call Number: J615.8 BE
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (3/9/11)


Book Cover Hero
Mike Lupica

Fans of Anthony Horowitz and James Patterson will enjoy this adventure/suspense thriller. 14 year-old Zach finds himself pulled into a web of dangerous international intrigue when his father (who works in a CIA-type role for the U.S. government) is killed under mysterious circumstances. The story ends in a way that promises a sequel. Recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Lupica
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (3/4/11)


Book Cover Hide and Seek
Katy Grant

Chase, age 14, is enjoying his new GPS, a gift from his father. He's excited to find a geocache, but he notices that it's been muggled and there's a strange message inside: "Help We ne," the message reads! Is it a joke? Is someone really in danger? If so, who? The whole thing feels a little scary. Chase decides to follow some clues and find out- in spite of danger to himself. A fast paced story that kids, especially boys, will like. Recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Grant
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (2/18/11)


Book Cover The PS Brothers
Maribeth Boelts

Don't be fooled by the comic artwork on the cover of this interesting book. It's about 2 sixth-grade boys who live in bleak circumstances and start a dog walking business (the "PS" stands for "pooper scooper") so they can buy a dog for protection. Some plot elements involve a parent in prison and a dog-fighting ring. Overall, it's a well-written and ultimately hopeful book for grades 4 and older (and also offers a welcome change from the middle-class suburban setting of so much realistic fiction for this age group).

WPL Call Number: J Boelts
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (2/12/11)


Book Cover Sky Sailors : True Stories of the Balloon Era
David Bristow

True stories about pioneers of ballooning. I never knew that, in 1897, a Swedish explorer tried to be the first to reach the North Pole, in a balloon equipped with sails. The chapter called "The Children Are Gone!" is about two rural Illinois children who accidentally took a terrifying overnight balloon flight in 1858. These accounts and many others make for absorbing reading for ages 10 and older. Illustrated with photographs and prints.

WPL Call Number: Y629.133 BR
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (2/4/11)


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