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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 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)


Book Cover After Ever After
Jordan Sonnenblick

Jeffrey's story continues from Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie except this time it is about him and not his older brother. Life after cancer is not easy for Jeffrey. The drugs and treatments affected his leg causing a limp as well as his brain, making math extremely difficult for him. As he starts eighth grade, his challenges include dealing with his best friend, a fellow cancer survivor, feeling abandoned by his brother and meeting a beautiful new classmate. Not having his older brother around makes it hard for Jeffrey to focus on his problems. An emotional story for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Sonnenblick
Reviewer: Alice J.   (1/25/11)


Book Cover Jake
Audrey Couloumbis

Jake's widowed mother falls on the ice and breaks her leg at the beginning of this funny and poignant story. Jake's grandfather, whom he doesn't know well, comes north to Baltimore to help care for him. The story unfolds with loving detail as Jake, Grandad Ned, and his dog, Max come to care about and for each other. This story will appeal to readers from 3rd to 5th grades.

WPL Call Number: J Couloumbis
Reviewer: Kathleen O.   (1/24/11)


Book Cover Cleopatra Rules!: The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen
Vicky Alvear Shecter

Who knew that Cleopatra was a brilliant and caring woman? This lively biography reveals that she became queen at seventeen and outsmarted many of her enemies. By trying to promote Egypt as a possible partner with Rome, she campaigned and charmed many foreigners, preventing wars. As the mother of four, she cared deeply about her children and risked her own life to save theirs. This is a fascinating and humorous look at one of the most powerful women who ever ruled. Filled with pictures of artifacts and fun facts, this is suitable for those 11 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y921 Cleopatra
Reviewer: Alice J.   (1/21/11)


Book Cover Revolver
Marcus Sedgwick

Sig and his family live in an isolated cabin in the Arctic. One day Sig finds his father frozen, dead on the ice. Soon after his sister and stepmother go out to find help, an imposing stranger shows up at the cabin, demanding that Sig give him his father's gold. Sig doesn't know anything about the gold. He realizes he's alone in the cabin with the stranger--and his father's revolver. Soon Sig can think of nothing but the revolver, but he's not sure if he will have the guts or the opportunity to use it. Will Sig escape the stranger's wrath? Will he use the revolver? And what about that gold? If you liked Hatchet or The White Darkness, you'll be riveted by this suspenseful and shivery tale. If you read Revolver in winter, be sure you have an extra blanket! This Printz Award Honor book is best for kids in about seventh grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Sedgwick
Reviewer: Janet P.   (1/19/11)


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