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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 Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in Winter
Amy Hansen

Interesting informational account of how creatures both familiar (like ants and ladybugs) and exotic spend their coldest months. Kids will enjoy reading about how the Arctic Woolly Bear Caterpillar becomes a kind of bugsicle in the winter! Illustrated with lots of colorful and attractive acrylic paintings. Fun for primary grades and up.

WPL Call Number: J595.7 HA
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (8/8/10)


Book Cover Mockingbird
Kathryn Erskine

10 year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's syndrome, suffers a traumatic experience when her brother is killed in a school shooting. She and her father struggle with the aftermath of this tragedy in this heart-rending novel. This is written as a first person narrative, from Caitlin's point of view, so readers experience her feelings and perceptions in a very direct way. For 5th and 6th graders.

WPL Call Number: J Erskine
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (8/4/10)


Book Cover The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular
Jimmy Gownley

This funny and sharp graphic novel brings back Amelia and her fellow students at Joe McCarthy Elementary School, whose motto is "weeding out the wrong elements since 1952." Amelia and her somewhat hapless friend Rhonda try out for cheerleading and, in general, experience the mob mentality that rules the hallways, classrooms, and cafeteria. This book is not at all earnest but has some great messages about courage and loyalty. Absorbing and clever for grades 4-6.

WPL Call Number: J Comic GO
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (8/4/10)


Book Cover Only One Year
Andrea Cheng

A Chinese-American family send their youngest child, a 2 year-old boy, to spend a year in China with his grandparents. His two older sisters are busy with school, and his parents are busy working, so this works well overall but not without some emotionally wrenching moments - especially at the end of the year, when he comes home and barely remembers his parents and sisters. This well-written family story also includes tales of the older girls' various friendships. Recommended for second and third graders.

WPL Call Number: J Cheng
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (8/3/10)


Book Cover The Red Pyramid
Rick Riordan

Anyone who was sad about the end of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series can take heart. Carter and Sadie Kane are here to fill the hole in your life. The siblings take turns narrating, at break-neck speed, their adventures after their father blows up the Rosetta Stone and disappears. Carter and Sadie discover their family has important connections to ancient Egyptian pharaohs and gods, and it's up to them to stop the evil god Set from plunging the world into chaos. Adventure lovers, budding Egyptologists, and Rick Riordan fans will love this book.

WPL Call Number: Y Riordan
Reviewer: Janet P.   (7/30/10)


Book Cover A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
Emily Horner

High schooler Cass has just lost her best friend, Julia. Their friends plan to perform the musical Julia wrote before she died -- Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad -- but Cass, not a theatre person herself, feels like she's on the fringes. When Heather, her middle school nemesis, is cast in the starring role, Cass can't take it anymore and sets out on a cross-country bike trip. This sensitive, sometimes painful, and often funny novel tracks Cass's journey toward self-discovery as she deals with grief over Julia and her evolving relationship with Heather. Highly recommended for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Horner
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/30/10)


Book Cover The Summer of Moonlight Secrets
Danette Haworth

Two lonely kids -- Allie Jo, who lives at the grand old Meriwether Hotel in Florida, and Chase, a guest -- become unlikely friends when they are drawn into an otherworldly mystery. Who is Tara, the strange, beautiful girl who swims with the manatees out in the springs? What has she run away from? Can her unbelievable story be true? Readers who enjoy the magical realism of such books as The Tail of Emily Windsnap will particularly enjoy this book. Suggested for grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Haworth
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/30/10)


Book Cover Sources of Light
Margaret McMullan

Sam and her mother move to Jackson, Mississippi after her father dies a hero in the Vietnam War. This is 1962 and the world is changing faster than this small southern town would like. Her mother's photographer friend gives Sam a camera and teaches her how to "see" things. As Sam witnesses racial injustice and violence, she realizes that her photos will tell the truth. An honest portrait of racial hatred for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y McMullan
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/29/10)


Book Cover Little Blog on the Prairie
Cathleen Davitt Bell

Gen's family is spending eight weeks at a family camp in Wyoming that reenacts life on the prairie in 1890. Not allowed any electronics, comfortable clothes, or modern conveniences, she struggles like the other teens to embrace this lifestyle. Gen does sneak in her new cell phone and secretly texts her best friends about this strange experience. Her friend publishes the blog which gains a huge following. How her family adjusts and adapts to one room living makes for a humorous story. For ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bell
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/27/10)


Book Cover The Grimm Legacy
Polly Shulman

Elizabeth's new after-school job at the library quickly proves to be anything but ordinary. Down in the basement is the mysterious Grimm Collection, which houses all sorts of magical fairy tale items, from the 12 dancing princesses' slippers to a flying carpet. Cool, right? Except that someone has been stealing objects from the Grimm Collection, people are going missing, and a giant bird is terrorizing the library staff! Elizabeth knows she has to help stop the thieves, but who can she trust? This light-hearted fantasy trips along at a merry pace and is full of humor and a bit of romance, too. The scenes with Snow White's stepmother's magic mirror are especially funny. Recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Shulman
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/23/10)


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