Staff Selections Kids

Carol

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night
Joyce Sidman, illus. by Rick Allen

Joyce Sidman takes us out after dark, without a flashlight, to examine nocturnal life in the woods.  Her evocative poems are accompanied by factual details at a level suitable for mid- to late-elementary students.
Printmaker Rick Allen provides more moonlit detail on Sidman’s subjects.  Multiple linoleum plates and hand tinting give the illustrations a rich complexity well-suited to the text.
 

Mary

There Is a Tribe of Kids
Lane Smith

When a “tribe of kids” strays off , casually incommoding one of their number, the plucky castaway launches on an expedition on his own.  Through his experiences in  the natural world, he learns the order of things.   Fitting in here, falling out of step there, a series of encounters carry him to his own kind of “kids”.   The humane message inferred throughout  this tongue-in-cheek romp is revealed in the conclusion:  it’s only natural to want to find your tribe.  Lane Smith is just the artist to convince you.

Tim

Mouseheart
Lisa Fiedler

Hopper is a mouse living with his sister and younger brother in a New York pet store.  When he escapes into the subway tunnels, he is completely lost until he's befriended by Prince Zucker, son of the emperor of the rat city of Atlantia.  But there is unrest in this too-good-to-be-true kingdom -- a rebellion is forming in the outlying tunnels, and Hopper is filled with questions:  Why don't the feral cats attack the rat city?  What is Hopper's connection to a strange prophecy the rebels hope for?  Is Zucker really a friend?  And what happened to Hopper's siblings -- did they make it out of the pet store?  This subterranean swashbuckler is an exciting adventure, and carries some important lessons about trust, morals, loyalty, courage and learning how to follow the advice of your own heart.  A very good book.

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

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
Jim Trelease

In the early 80s, Jim Trelease published his first handbook for parents, teachers, and all friends of children and books. Not only was it a smashing success, but it proved to be a read-aloud bible for many families and schools. In this new edition he summarizes the latest research about reading and shows that the place for daily read-aloud time has enormous results for reader’s lives.  This latest and Trelease’s his last edition, we get updated lists of recommended titles, plus the old nuggets he told us about before. This volume is a treasure that belongs in the hands of anyone who loves a good shared read.

Trelease steers you right in every category: wordless picture books, predictable books, early novels, full length novels, poetry and nonfiction.

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.