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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 Letters to Anyone and Everyone
Toon Tellegen

This is the book for you if you enjoy books of an epistolary nature - that is, a book about letter writing! Here are unique whimsical, dreamlike stories in which animals write letters to each other that will make you smile. They are most delightfully illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. This book can be read on many different levels so that kids from grades 2-5 can enjoy it. Letter writing has never been so much fun.

WPL Call Number: J Tellegen
Reviewer: Sue K.   (1/17/11)


Book Cover Pee Wee and Plush
Johanna Hurwitz

Pee Wee the guinea pig and Lexi the squirrel live in Central Park and are good friends. Pee Wee gets advice from Lexi to convince Plush to be his special friend by demonstrating to her that he can enjoy opera music like she does. They have a family together. They manage to learn how to cope with the winter cold (by hiding in a rain forest indoor habitat). A charming read for those in grades 2-4.

WPL Call Number: J Hurwitz
Reviewer: Sue K.   (1/17/11)


Magic book The Kneebone Boy
Ellen Potter

Since their mother mysteriously disappeared years ago, the three Hardscrabble children -- Lucia, Max, and silent Otto -- have led a boring, lonely life in their English town of Little Tunks. But when a mix-up leaves them stranded in London, they take the opportunity to track down their mum's Aunt Haddie and get some answers about their mother's whereabouts. Many surprises follow, including castles (one fake), a crazed taxidermist, a five-legged cat, and, of course, the mythic Kneebone Boy. This mysterious adventure has a gothic feel and will appeal to imaginative readers who don't mind a little darkness. Suggested for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Potter
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (1/6/11)


Book Cover Me and Rolly Maloo
Janet Wong

When Rolly, the most popular girl in fourth grade, asks Jenna for an answer on an important math test, Jenna is torn between doing what's right and wanting to please Rolly. This short chapter book is about more than peer pressure and cheating; overbearing parents and the politics of standardized testing are also issues in the story. Even so, kids will want to read this simply because Jenna is so likable and the plot is involving and interesting. Told as a mix of straight text, comics, and emails to Jenna's favorite teacher, this is recommended for grades 3-5. It also has potential for classroom or family discussion.

WPL Call Number: J Wong
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (1/5/11)


Book Cover Sharing Our Homeland: Palestinian and Jewish Children at Summer Peace Camp
Trish Marx

Inspiring true account of a summer camp where kids have fun as they learn about the broader goals of communication and understanding. It's told through the eyes of two young people, Alya (an Israeli Palestinian girl) and Yuval (an Israeli Jewish boy). The text includes some historical information about the Holy Land in the 20th century. There are lots of color photos as well as much to think about and discuss in this interesting book. For grades 3-6.

WPL Call Number: J956.04 MA
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (1/3/11)


Book Cover Driven: A Photobiography of Henry Ford
Don Mitchell

This new biography of Henry Ford has many photos and quotations from this leader of industry. From his early designs of a car for the average man to his creation of a factory where workers were treated well to produce quickly, Ford was an innovative but complex man. Many of his creative ideas were exceptional but others were destructive and dangerous. A fascinating look at a very intersting 20th century American.

WPL Call Number: J921 Ford
Reviewer: Alice J.   (12/28/10)


Book Cover A Tale Dark and Grimm
Adam Gidwitz

If you think you know your fairy tales, think again! In this darkly humorous mash-up, twins Hansel and Gretel encounter not only the usual house of sweets (and its cannibalistic inhabitant) but weave their way through other, less familiar Brothers Grimm stories as well. The narrator -- who breaks into the story at various times to issue warnings to sensitive readers -- spares not a gleefully gory detail; beheadings abound. My favorite episode was the one in which Hansel dresses up as the Devil's grandmother. While not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach), this quick-paced fantasy will appeal to many readers in grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Gidwitz
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (12/27/10)


Book Cover The Good, The Bad, and the Barbie
Tanya Lee Stone

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Barbie doll, her inventor, and the company that makes all the Barbie products is in this book. The history of the company is included with interviews from Barbie fans and haters. Many photographs show Barbie and all of her styles through the years. I found it fascinating and I think other Barbie doll owners and collectors will enjoy reading this as well.

WPL Call Number: Y688.7 ST
Reviewer: Alice J.   (12/26/10)


Book Cover Seeds of Change
Jen Johnson

Inspiring picture book biography of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who worked courageously to plant trees in her native land. In doing so, she battled big corporate interests and was imprisoned for a time. She was the first African woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize. The scratchboard/oil illustrations are vivid and beautiful.

WPL Call Number: J921 Maathai
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (12/21/10)


Book Cover Reckless
Lesley Choyce

A teen named Josh who loves riding his dirt bike in the woods accidentally runs into the local hermit who hates kids and their noisy bikes. Their initial hostility slowly develops into mutual understanding, but before long Josh finds himself in a dangerous, life-or-death situation. A short, quick read for 7th and 8th graders.

WPL Call Number: Y Choyce
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (12/14/10)


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