Staff Selections Kids
As an accomplished graphic artist, Frank Viva knows how to communicate a lot with a little. Saturating the pages with five sophisticated colors and minimal, expressive shapes, and using a meditative, descriptive storyline, Viva creates the feeling of a bike ride. A shiny yellow road extends page by page from endpaper to endpaper and across the cover to create an endless, looping trail. Readers of all ages will enjoy journeys through town and country landscapes, picking out details as they move through this winning picture book.
The Bliss family run a bakery out of their home, and in addition to the regular muffins and cookies, Mr. and Mrs. Bliss have been known to bake items with recipes from an ancient family cookbook -- recipes that include magical ingredients for magical results. When the parents are called away on an emergency, twelve-year-old Rose is left to run the bakery on her own as well as looking after her little brother and sister. (Her older brother is too busy being cool.) Rose has been forbidden to use the magical cookbook -- but with her parents gone, what harm could it do to try a recipe or two? And then Lily arrives, claiming to be their aunt, ready to help out while Mom and Dad are gone. But Rose doesn't remember having a aunt, so who is Lily really? And what does she want from the Blisses? This charming book is a delight -- funny, magical and with a wonderful message about families pulling together in times of trouble.
Ursula, a young she-bear, has come to the Vaughn estate (“cottage” is a misnomer) to be Teddy’s governess. Ursula, Teddy and the animals living in the Enchanted Forest have the same abilities and lifestyle as humans and live in harmony with most. Tension is growing, however, between the Enchanted animals and a small faction of humans who wish to limit their freedoms. A plucky, smart and willful teacher, Ursula is determined to successfully nurture Teddy’s intellect, despite his conniving, self-centered, jealous nurse and ominous, mysterious unknowns lurking in and around the Vaughn mansion. Strange footsteps in the dark hallways, fleeting glances of blonde curls, a threatening ne'er do well out for money lurking on the path from town… Extraordinary language, fully-developed characters, a fantastic setting, and an exciting, unpredictable plot offering danger, politics, true love, justice and comeuppance make for an engaging page-turner. The spellbinding audio version, read aloud magnificently, is sure to please the whole family as the book comes magically to life.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia is an historical fiction novel from 1968. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are sent to Oakland, California to spend the summer with the mother who abandoned them and who they do not remember. They have visions of Hollywood and Disneyland, but their expectations are not even close to what they find when they get to Cecile’s house. She makes it clear that she did not want them and they are not to mess up her life. She spends her time writing poetry in the kitchen, which is off-limits to them. They spend their days at a community center run by the Black Panthers and eat carry-out food every night. This novel is powerful and even humorous at times. The sisters are distinct characters and each comes to grips with a world like nothing they have known before. They learn that love does not always look the way we expect.
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