Staff Selections Kids

Mary

Ounce, Dice, Trice
Alastair Reid, illus. by Ben Shahn

In the tradition of A Hole Is to Dig, this charming New York Review publication explores the wilds of word usage, encouraging young readers and writers to play with words and enjoy the potential of language.  Ben Shahn’s character illustrations complement the individualist  sentiment of this book perfectly.

Tim

The Books of Umber: Happenstance Found
P. W. Catanese

There's a new thrill on every page of this book, with fantastic characters and narrow escapes and magical beings one after the other.  Happenstance, our young hero, has no memory of who he is or where he came from.  Taken under the wing of Lord Umber (adventurer, explorer, collector of rare and magical things), Hap comes to live with Umber in the "medieval" port city of Kurahaven.  But who is Hap?  And who is that hooded figure following him?  And who, really, is Lord Umber?  A fun, Indiana Jones-style adventure with an edge-of-your-seat climax that's sure to please the young action reader.  The second book of this new series is in paperback, while the third is still in hardcover -- so there's plenty more to read once you're hooked!

Victoria

Splendors and Glooms
Laura Amy Schlitz

In London in 1860 Clara, the only living child in a doctor’s grief-stricken family, convinces her parents to engage Grisini the puppet master and his two orphaned assistants, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, to entertain for her 12th birthday celebration.  When evil Grisini kidnaps Clara for ransom and disappears, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are left to survive on their own.   Tempted to the remote home of Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch who seeks to control them all for her own wicked needs, the two orphans summon all their pluck and wits to save themselves and Clara.  Splendors and Glooms is a melodramatic tale of mystery, magic and suspense perfect for 4th – 8th graders.