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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 Summer Before
Ann M. Martin

Are you a kid who's enjoyed the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels? Are you an adult who enjoyed the original Baby-Sitters Club books? Then this book is for you. As the Baby-Sitters Club books get re-released, Ann M. Martin has written a prequel. The summer before the club starts, Stacey is getting ready to move away from New York City, while Mary Anne, Kristy, and Claudia are having growing pains in Stoneybrook. All of them, of course, are babysitting. Find out how the four girls come together in this sweet story that kids in about third grade and up (and older fans) will enjoy.

WPL Call Number: J Martin
Reviewer: Janet P.   (9/8/10)


Book Cover Crunch
Leslie Connor

When a fuel shortage leaves Dewey's parents stranded hundreds of miles away, he and his siblings have to "be the parents" themselves! For Dewey, this means running the family's bike repair business -- which, thanks to nobody driving cars, is busier than ever. It's exciting, but the lines are getting longer and longer, and then bike parts start disappearing from the shop. How can Dewey keep pretending he's got everything under control? This gently humorous family story touches on issues of conservation without being overly political. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Connor
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (9/1/10)


Book Cover The Julian Game
Adele Griffin

Raye has been socially invisible ever since she arrived at her rich, all-girls prep school. Then queen bee Ella Parker takes Raye under her wing. Ella's mean even to her friends, but if you've made her angry -- WATCH OUT. Raye, eager to make it onto the social scene, agrees to use Facebook to help Ella get revenge on Julian, a boy who dissed her. But things get complicated when Raye falls for Julian and Julian falls right back. Now Ella is out for revenge on Raye! Will Raye turn the game back around on Ella? This well-written novel presents a familiar "mean girl" scenario in the age of cyberbullying. Suggested for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Griffin
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (9/1/10)


Book Cover Zombiekins
Kevin Bolger

Stanley Nudelman doesn't realize what he's in for when he buys a strange stuffed animal at a yard sale. Before long, it's obvious that the toy is a zombie who's bent on taking over Stanley's school. This mix of humor and horror has lots of funny pictures, and will appeal to second and third graders. Adults will get a kick out of it, too, especially the description of Ms. Mellow's kindergarten classroom, where the kids' non-gender-specific role-playing is hilarious.

WPL Call Number: J Bolger
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (8/24/10)


Book Cover Cloud Tea Monkeys
Mal Peet

In a small village near the Himalayas, a girl and her mother work at a tea plantation run by a cruel overseer. When the girl's mother falls ill, she can no longer work, and there's no money for a doctor. Help comes in a magical and surprising way in this modern fairy tale based on an ancient legend. Beautifully illustrated by Juan Wijngaard, this would be great as a family or classroom read aloud. For grades 2-4.

WPL Call Number: J Peet
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (8/24/10)


Book Cover House of Dolls
Francesca Lia Block

3 distinctive, old-fashioned dolls (Wildflower, Rock Star, and Miss Selene) find their lives deliberately upset by the lonely little girl who owns them. Block, author of many prize-winning YA books, has written an original and wistful story. The charming illustrations are by Barbara McClintock. Recommended for thoughtful 2d and 3d grade girls.

WPL Call Number: J Block
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (8/20/10)


Book Cover Hamster and Cheese
Colleen A. F. Venable

Because of his bad eyesight, Mr. Venezi has labeled the cages in his pet shop wrong--hamsters are called koalas, the snake is called a llama, and the chinchilla is called a moose. Also, Mr. Venezi doesn't see who keeps taking his sandwich. Sasspants the Guinea Pig does some fancy detective work to catch the sandwich thief. Readers in about second and third grade will like this funny graphic novel that requires keen observation skills.

WPL Call Number: J Comic VE
Reviewer: Janet P.   (8/16/10)


Book Cover Ship Breaker
Paolo Bacigalupi

In this post-apocalyptic novel of sunken cities and spent fossil fuels, Nailer is a ship breaker, scavenging old ships for metal and other precious resources. It's hard and dangerous work, with no light at the end of the tunnel. Then, after a massive hurricane, Nailer encounters the most unusual -- and valuable -- scavenge of his life: Nita, a girl who claims to be the daughter of a powerful corporate executive. The pay-off could be a whole new life for Nailer, but only if he and Nita can escape the greedy, bloodthirsty scavengers chasing them -- the worst of whom is Nailer's own father! An interesting science fiction adventure suggested for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bacigalupi
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (8/14/10)


Book Cover The Cardturner: A Novel About a King, a Queen, and a Joker
Louis Sachar

Great Uncle Lester Trapp is rich, cranky, and going blind. He is a brilliant bridge player, but he can't see the cards anymore. Alton Richard's parents volunteer his services as a cardturner for his "favorite uncle." Alton doesn't know anything about bridge and Uncle Lester has no patience, but they both persevere. Gradually Alton takes a real interest in the game and begins to play with beguiling Toni Castaneda. Piercing the fog of a number of family secrets, the pair undertake a final homage to Uncle Lester and his game. Louis Sachar, the author of Holes, is at the top of his form in Cardturner. Readers from 7th grade through high school should enjoy this book -- even if they don't like cards.

WPL Call Number: Y Sachar
Reviewer: Kathleen O.   (8/13/10)


Book Cover The Carbon Diaries 2017
Saci Lloyd

It's two years after Laura Brown's first appearance, in The Carbon Diaries 2015. Laura's now at university in London, and things have gotten worse--the UK is still rationing energy use, there's flooding in London, and the government is cracking down hard on protesters. Laura and her band, the Dirty Angels, tour Europe, but rioting in France stops them. Witnessing a water war and a refugee crisis, Laura and her friends must decide just how far they'll go to fight for justice. If you liked the first book in the series or Life as We Knew It, and you're in seventh grade or older, you'll dig this book about the not-too-distant future gone crazy.

WPL Call Number: Y Lloyd
Reviewer: Janet P.   (8/11/10)


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