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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 Miss Annie
Frank Le Gall

In "Freedom!", the first volume of this new comic book series, Miss Annie the kitten is so proud to be growing up! She's great at keeping an eye on the house while her people are away (if she knocks over a few things in the process... oh well), and she's even made her first friend: a mouse! Now if she could only escape into the outdoors and do everything the big cats do! This extremely cute graphic novel will appeal to kitty fans as well as pet lovers of all stripes. Suggested for grades 2 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Comic LE
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (8/3/12)


Book Cover Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz
Eva Mozes Kor and Li Buccieri

This harrowing and heart-wrenching true story will open your eyes to more of the horrors of the Holocaust. Eva Kor and her twin sister were ten when the Nazis took their family from rural Romania to the Auschwitz death camp. The entire family was killed, except for the twins -- who were taken by Dr. Josef Mengele for his cruel medical experiments. Even as you weep for Eva and the other children of Auschwitz, you will be amazed by at her strength and determination to survive. A must-read for junior high readers on up.

WPL Call Number: Y940.53 KO
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (8/3/12)


Book Cover The Moon Over High Street
Natalie Babbitt

If someone offered you a million dollars, would you take it? Even if it meant leaving behind everything you know... even your dreams? That's the choice Joe is faced with when Mr. Boulderwall, rich inventor of the swervit, decides to make him heir to the swervit empire. This quiet, cozy book by the author of Tuck Everlasting will make you wonder what you'd change about your life if you could -- and what the cost might be. Suggested for readers in grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Babbitt
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (8/3/12)


Book Cover Close to Famous
Joan Bauer

Love Joan Bauer! She's got her wonderful down-on-their-luck scrappy heroines -- and Foster Akila McFee does not disappoint. Beautifully handled is Foster's inability to read at 12. So this is a worthy book for all those kids still struggling with reading past the 2nd grade. It is in Y fiction because of Foster's mom's boyfriend, who is abusive, though they are leaving him in the opening scene. One of the best parts of this book are the vivid, almost tactile, descriptions of each of Foster's fabulous cupcake masterpieces. Prepare for a great cupcake hunger by the end.

WPL Call Number: Y Bauer
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


Book Cover Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
Bil Wright

This book was great! I only wish it was longer. Carlos Duarte, a NYC high school student aspiring to become a make up artist to the stars, is a very compelling narrator with a pungent voice. How he works toward his dream and how he overcomes some of the many obstacles in his way makes for a really good read. This is LGBTQ literature whose main point is not a coming out; Carlos' sexuality is not the book's the main point. The real story is his daring and focus and determination in the face of tough odds.

WPL Call Number: Y Wright
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


Book Cover The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate

An incredible book. Moving, complex, beautifully written, elegiac and strong. Written from the perspective of a gorilla in a strip mall circus, based on a true story. The cover art is misleadingly cute; the writing is wonderfully muscular but NOT cute. Highly recommended by Gary Schmidt, Kathi Appelt, and Patricia MacLachlan. A cross over book -- adults will find a lot in the story for themselves. It reads in one sitting because each page has so few words (Gorillas don't babble.). Do yourself a favor and read this now. A Newbery contender.

WPL Call Number: J Applegate
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


Book Cover Caddy's World
Hilary McKay

This book is such a delight! It's a new offering in Hilary McKay's great series about the artistic Casson family. In this book we go back and catch Caddy (Cadmium) when she's 12 -- and her mom is giving birth to Permanent Rose. If you've never read this series, do yourself a favor and start with Saffy's Angel. There is nothing quite like McKay's writing about family.

WPL Call Number: J McKay
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/17/12)


Book Cover Summer of the Gypsy Moths
Sara Pennypacker

Beautiful, nuanced story of a granddaughter (whose flighty mother is always gone) and a foster child who capably run a beach cottage resort to hide their grandmother's sudden death. The girls' rapprochement and slowly growing attachment shadowed by the fear of the foster care system is lovely. The book shines with a deep yearning for family and maternal love. A GREAT debut in older fiction for Pennypacker who has written the Clementine and the Flat Stanley series books. She's a new and powerful voice in upper elementary fiction. Can't wait for her next entry in this category.

WPL Call Number: J Pennypacker
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/17/12)


Book Cover The Great Cake Mystery
Alexander McCall Smith

Fun and sweet story about how Precious Ramotswe first solves a mystery as a young school girl in Botswana. It is great to have a strong capable female African lead in a easy chapter book format; the only thing to compare is Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke. There is a shameless plug at the end for The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, but I would vote for LOTS more young Precious Ramotswe mysteries.

WPL Call Number: On Order
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/17/12)


Book Cover See You at Harry's
Jo Knowles

Fern feels invisible to her family while her older sister and brother face their own issues and her adorable younger brother, Charlie gets everyone's attention. While her parents try to increase business at their restaurant, Fern resents having to be responsible for Charlie. When tragedy strikes, Fern has to come to terms with her feelings. An emotional family story for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Knowles
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/12/12)


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