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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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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)


Book Cover Mamba Point
Kurtis Scaletta

Linus has just moved to the African country of Liberia with his diplomat dad and the rest of his family. Linus, who has a history of being a "scaredy-cat", keeps seeing black mambas, an unusual but deadly kind of snake, everywhere he goes. Is the black mamba Linus's kaseng, or spirit animal? Suddenly, Linus finds himself taking all kinds of risks -- down to keeping a black mamba in his laundry hamper! This realistic story has lots of interesting details about being an American living in a foreign country. Suggested for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Scaletta
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (12/5/10)


Book Cover The Daughters
Joanna Philbin

Do you enjoy reading about the lives of the rich and privileged but hate reading about the cattiness that often goes with them? Do you lust after Prada shoes but find that reading The Clique gives you a massive headache? Then The Daughters is for you! Best friends Lizzie, Carina, and Hudson all have rich and famous parents. These girls have it all--expensive clothes, fabulous homes, great vacations, and an exclusive school. But unlike the Clique and their ilk, these girls are refreshingly nice to each other. That's not to say they don't have their problems. Bookish Lizzie has always felt like the ugly duckling to her supermodel mother. After a photographer discovers her quirky looks, Lizzie finds her face, labeled the New Pretty, splashed all over fashion magazines. Lizzie loves the confidence she feels in front of the camera. But can she handle the pressures of being the latest fashion It Girl? With the support of her good friends, she'll make it through. For chick-lit lovers in grades 6-9. Written by the daughter of Regis Philbin, who knows a thing or two about having a famous parent.

WPL Call Number: Y Philbin
Reviewer: Janet P.   (11/29/10)


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