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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 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)


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)


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