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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 Joshua Dread
Lee Bacon

Think your parents are embarrassing? Imagine having supervillains as parents! Joshua's parents are the Dread Duo, the Botanist and Dr. Dread. Joshua can barely get through the day without them trying to destroy the earth. Usually they're thwarted by Captain Justice. But when mysterious smoke creatures start whisking away supervillains, Joshua starts to worry about his parents. At the same time, he finds out he has his own super power. When the time comes, can Joshua save his parents? And whose side is Captain Justice really on? Fourth through sixth graders will enjoy this lively and humorous fantasy adventure.

WPL Call Number: J Bacon
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers
Chris Grabenstein

If you liked The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander, you'll like this book about another middle school fix-it artist. Riley and his friends are known at their school for defending kids from bullies and solving all manner of problems. When the town police chief and his son pick a fight with Riley, Riley does his best to stay away from them. But when a dog-napping and trouble at the local bank both point to the police chief's family, Riley knows he has to act. Riley's crew's problem-solving skills are impressive, and also hilarious. For kids in about fourth through seventh grades who like far-fetched but fun adventures.

WPL Call Number: J Grabenstein
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys
Julian Fellowes

Kindly Doc the bear lives a fulfilling life in the children's ward of the hospital. But when the playroom is remodeled, he's unceremoniously sent to the dump. There, he finds a new life with other lost and rejected toys. Despite their scroungy surroundings, the toys, each one with a distinct and appealing personality, have thrilling adventures. This would make a great family read-aloud, with appeal for kids who are Toy Story fans. Adults who enjoy Downton Abbey or Monarch of the Glen may enjoy finding out just what a children's book by Julian Fellowes is like.

WPL Call Number: J Fellowes
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover White Fur Flying
Patricia MacLachlan

Poetic and wise story about a family that rescues dogs, a bird and, once, even a boy. Beautifully written and realized, the book will appeal most to girls looking for GREAT dog stories, but everyone can and should read and enjoy it! White Fur Flying is written by the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall and is highly recommended.

WPL Call Number: J MacLachlan
Reviewer: Martha M.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover Bamboo People
Mitali Perkins

Fascinating story of modern Burma (Myanmar) from the perspective of 2 boys, one Burmese and one Karenni, caught in a war between the Burmese government and ethnic minorities. It is an adventure story, a war novel and a simply engrossing page turner. Bamboo People is on the 2014 Master List for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award.

WPL Call Number: Y Perkins
Reviewer: Martha M.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover 33 Minutes
Todd Hasak-Lowy

Skinny Sam Lewis tries to prepare for the fight his former best friend warns him about. The seventh graders are to meet on the playground after lunch. Sam tries to figure out why Morgan wants to do this when they used to be so close. Their friendship changed with middle school and the arrival of new friend Chris. While Morgan has become a star football player, Sam has his reputation as math geek, a math genius that nobody cares about. While Sam counts down the minutes before his impending doom, he also tells about their past. Typical middle school story will be popular with it's funny hero and simple drawings. For ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hasak-Lowy
Reviewer: Alice J.   (4/23/13)


Book Cover Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom + the Challenges of Bad Hair
C. C. Payne

Lula Bell Bonner is not popular. In fact her former best friend Kali Keele has made her the target of some mean bullying. Lula tries to develop tactics to avoid Kali's taunts but they always seem to backfire. She doesn't think the advice of her friend Alan, the science nerd, will help her become part of the in-crowd. Lula is lucky that she has her beloved grandmother Bernice to help her cope. Lula Bell is a talented musician. She hopes that the annual talent show will help her "shine her light." Unfortunately Kali's teasing at the audition keeps Lula from trying out. Then a death in her family shakes Lula's world even more. How Lula Bell learns to deal with her problems is real and hopeful. Sometimes this book is sad, but readers is grades 4 through 6 will relate to Lula Bell's situation.

WPL Call Number: J Payne
Reviewer: Kathleen O.   (4/16/13)


Book Cover Hold Fast
Blue Balliett

Eleven year old Early Pearl has to hold her family together when her father disappears from their Woodlawn apartment. The police are not helpful when the family's apartment is ransacked and the Pearls are taken to a homeless shelter. Hoping that their father, Dash, will find them, Early, her mother and younger brother are convinced that he is alive and looking for them. This is an eye-opener to the world of poverty and crime on the south side of Chicago. For ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Balliett
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/22/13)


Book Cover The Dogs of Winter
Bobbie Pyron

In the early 1990s, five-year-old Ivan is abandoned on the streets of Moscow. Frightened and bullied by the other street children, he finds better company and protection with a pack of stray dogs. Together, they brave two harsh winters in Moscow and slightly easier summers outside the city, scrounging food and begging for money. The dogs are Ivan's family, and a caring one, too, but how long can they stay together? Would Ivan be better off in an orphanage? Ivan's story, based on a real boy's experiences, is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and heartbreaking. Kids with a social conscience and dog lovers alike will be moved. For kids in grades 4-7.

WPL Call Number: Y Pyron
Reviewer: Janet P.   (3/13/13)


Book Cover The Fairy Ring, or, Elsie and Frances Fool the World
Mary Losure

Elsie was an artist; her little cousin Frances saw fairies. And what started out as a game, taking a trick photograph of a paper fairy in the woods behind their home, soon turned into a worldwide hoax that fooled even great minds like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. This is the true story of how a little fib grew into a whopper and how it changed Elsie and Frances's lives forever. It's also an interesting glimpse into special effects way before computers and Photoshop came along. For readers in grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J398.4 LO
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (3/10/13)


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