Staff Selections Kids

Carol

In the Wild
David Elliott, illus. by Holly Meade

Author David Elliott and illustrator Holly Meade move from the familiar territory of their previous book On the Farm to a world tour of animals.  Once again the poems and woodcuts are equally engaging.  This is a read-aloud suitable for home or classroom, aimed at four- to  seven-year-olds.  Some children will be aware that most of these animals are, sadly, endangered.  They may recognize the layers of meaning in the last poem.

Mary

Creekfinding
Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illus. by Claudia McGehee

Two great local picture book talents have collaborated, with outstanding results.  Caldecott-award winning author Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells the inspiring, true story of the search for, and recovery of, a lost creek.  Buried for years under cornfields in the Driftless Area in northeast Iowa, Brook Creek is brought back to life in the heart of a restored prairie by a man with a vision.  The process is beautifully illuminated with Claudia McGehee's bright scratchboard and watercolor illustrations. Adults will enjoy this one, too.

Tim

Magic Marks the Spot
Caroline Carlson

Magic Marks the Spot is the first book in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy, and is the funniest pirate adventure you will ever read.  Ever.  Young Hilary Westfield wants nothing more than to be a pirate, even though her father is Lord Admiral of the Navy and wants nothing more than to rid the seas of pirates forever.  When Hilary's application to TVNHLP is turned down because she's a girl (even though she can tie every knot and can tread water for 37 minutes!), she's forced to attend Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Girls instead.  But hope is not lost when Hilary spies a help wanted sign for crew members on a pirate ship!  Mayhem and hilarity ensues as Hilary, her governess, and a talking gargoyle take to the high seas for treasure, adventure and an even bigger mystery of missing gold and magic.  The perfect book for the young adventuress in your life.

Victoria

The Book of Dust
Philip Pullman

A riveting fantasy for teens and adults and a must-read for fans of The Golden Compass. La Belle Sauvage is Philip Pullman’s first book in a long anticipated trilogy, companion to His Dark Materials. Set a decade before The Golden Compass in the same parallel alternate world of Oxford, where each human is connected to a daemon (an animal manifestation of the soul), free thinking is at odds with oppressive religious rule. Lyra, the heroine of the original books, is only an infant. 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead, a local innkeeper’s son, is the compassionate, bold hero who meets baby Lyra and discovers her need for protection from impending forces of nature and mysterious, evil factions bent on doing her harm. With his canoe, La Belle Sauvage, as transport, Malcolm and a cranky but courageous kitchen-girl, 16-year-old Alice, intrepidly risk their lives to keep Lyra safe. Fans of His Dark Materials will devour La Belle Sauvage. Readers new to Pullman’s trilogies will find La Belle Sauvage a fascinating introduction to Lyra’s story and, along with Malcolm, begin to understand the significance of Lyra’s destiny.               

Barb

West of the Moon
Margi Preus

In this book, you may want to turn to the back material first to see a photograph of the author's great-great-grandparents. When she read her great-great-grandmother's diary from the mid- 1850s, she found inspiration for this book, which combines folklore, fantasy, adventure and the  emigrant experience. Her own family members had "America Fever" at that time as they experienced one challenge after another until they decided to board an immigrant ship and sail away to new opportunity in America.

 Astri, who is a 14-year-old girl who has lived with her little sister on their aunt and uncle's farm in Norway after their mother dies and their father leaves for America, finds that her circumstances change very dramatically.

Her aunt sells her to an evil goat herder to be his servant and her life becomes extremely harsh. Finding a way to reunite with her little sister and make a run for it proves to be an exciting and scaring adventure. With the evil goat herder in pursuit and armed with "troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and possibly a magic hairbrush, the girls race through forests, over mountains and in and out of folktales and dreams as they make their way east of the sun and west of the moon." You will root for them all the way.

Zoey

Roller Girl
Victoria Jamieson

Fans of Raina Telgemeier, take note! Roller Girl is the propulsive, fun new addition to a collection of graphic novels with empowered young women as their stars. Twelve-year-old Astrid is an aspiring Roller Derby enthusiast. When she signs up for summer junior Roller Derby camp, however, she has no idea what she’s in for. She’ll have to put in a lot of hard work and bruises if she wants to be like her idol, star Rainbow Brite.  With vivid illustrations and a sense of humor that will delight kids and adults alike, Victoria Jamieson has created a new classic of the genre. This story of growing up and learning how to be yourself and create a community at the same time, offers strong role models for kids 9 and up and adults too.

Sarah

Teacup
Rebecca Young, illus. by Matt Ottley

In Teacup, by Rebecca Young, with illustrations by Matt Ottley, a young boy sets off on a journey into the unknown, cast away in his boat on a glass-like sea.  Only as the story goes on does the reader learn that vague, dark forces may be behind his loss of home.  There are beauties in the seas he crosses, and dangers.  Even in the darkness he has hope, until he comes ashore to a surprising and deeply satisfying conclusion.  The story is simple, yet full of possibilities.  It is moving and timely.  The artwork is luminous.  A book to read to someone you love, it will provoke much discussion.  A simply stunning picture book for readers of any age.  One of the best of the year.