Wednesday, May 30, 2012


From Vivian, Children's Librarian at the Casa Verdugo Branch Library:

The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone
Louise (a.k.a. Thumbelina) is not your average sized seventh grader. Although small in size, she’s strong in character- thanks to her grandparents and best friends.  When she’s not around her loved ones, Louise has feelings that she can’t seem to understand.  Then, an intriguing letter from an admirer helps to distract her and discover her first crush.

Phoebe Stone’s main characters are simply charming.  The story is filled with laugh-out-loud situations, and Louise’s feelings for her first crush are humorous and memorable.  Although written in poetic prose, Ms. Stone handles Louise’s major issues, such as hopelessness, grief and memory loss delicately.  The Boy on Cinnamon Street is a moving story about the acceptance of loss.

Monday, May 28, 2012


How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston is all about Kacey Simon and how she was the queen bee, until her eyes got infected from her cool new contacts which made her trip and chipped her teeth.  Kacey's amazing weekend resulted with her getting braces AND glasses AND a lisp all in the same weekend. Her fall from queen of mean, giving what she thought was well meaning advice on her weekly school television broadcast, hits her hard and fast, especially when a former best friend tells her like it is.
For readers in 6th-8th grade who enjoy a fast paced rom-com.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Question Boy, a child dressed in a cape and a leotard with a Q on his chest, drives everyone crazy with all his questions. All he wants are answers! He doesn’t have a clue about what to ask or even what not to ask. He feels such a need to understand things that he has no control over it.

He lives in a neighborhood with numerous action heroes such as Oil Man, Paperboy, and Police Woman, but none of them can satisfy his need to know it all. Until one day he meets Little Miss Know-It-All in the park. He finally meets someone who will answer all his questions!!! But Little Miss Know-It-All not always have the right answers and what she doesn’t know she makes up.

 A very cute and funny story with great comic illustrations. Expressions on the characters are great. The book will help parents to talk about good ways to find answers either by researching in a children’s encyclopedia or nonfiction book. Question  Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All is written and illustrated by Peter Catalanoto. For ages 5-6.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

From Vivian the children's librarian at the Casa Verdugo Branch Library:

A Big Boy Now by Eileen Spinelli

A wonderful growing up story which highlights many of the activities that a young child accomplishes and feels good about such as, making one’s bed, pouring cereal into a bowl, and riding a bike without training wheels are just a few examples.  When an unexpected fall from the bike occurs, mother is very reassuring and mentions that even Daddies come to Mom for aid.  This kind of assurance helps to build and reaffirm one’s confidence.

Monday, May 21, 2012


A book review from Jennifer - Montrose Branch Children's Librarian
Judy Award Winner Book:  Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Set in an unforgiving Nordic landscape, Solveig and her two siblings await news from their father, a Viking king. While a war wages, he’s sent them deep inside a fiord with his most trusted advisors. Initially, it seems a safe place to brave the long, bitter winter. But when Norse warriors appear, sent by her father, Solveig wonders if something is amiss. With more mouths to feed, rations are fewer and tensions begin to rise.

Solveig, besides warranting protection, has little value to her father. She’s neither destined to bring wealth through marriage, nor inherit her father’s crown. So when her father’s skald, or storyteller, suggests an apprenticeship – she eagerly accepts. Solveig quickly discovers the power of stories, both real and imagined. And through her storytelling, helps distinguish friends from enemies.

A gripping tale about loyalty. For grades 5 – 8.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Adam Rex writes about the weirdest, most unbelievable things. But his books are funny. And interesting and entertaining. In fact, it will be hard for you to put down one of his books without finishing it first.

His latest book for kids, COLD CEREAL, is about a young boy named Scottish Play Doe. Yes, his middle name and last name form a common toy for toddlers involving a clay-like substance. So, he prefers to go by the name Scott and just not tell anyone the part about his middle name. He moves to a city where the main source of income is a cereal factory. But it's not just any cereal factory. Strange and mystical creatures reside inside and appeal to Scott to save him from the treachery within!

While this is in no way similar to his first children's book, The True Meaning of Smek Day, it will appeal to anyone who loved that book as much as me. For 5th grade and up.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


If you want to read a book where you can change the journey or the faith of the characters in a story, than this is the book for you! The book is about a group of young hikers who have decided to reach the very top of Mount Everest. However, while the reader is enjoying the great expedition, he/she is also going to be responsible in making choices about the directions that the group should take to reach to the top of the mountain. This means that a lot of logical and strategic thinking needs to be made in order to have a successful expedition for the young hikers.
This Choose Your Own Adventure book is full of interesting scenarios, graphs and pictures that will really make you feel as though you are actually on the expedition yourself. The only thing is that you might not get to feel the actual snow or the cold. However, your imagination will do that for you since it’s written very descriptively…

So lets begin our adventures...

Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Everest: You Decide How to Survive! by Bill Doyle and David Borgenicht.

For grades 5th-7th.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


From Jennifer, Children's Librarian at the Montrose Branch Library:

A Judy Award Honor Book:

Bird in a Box
by Andrea Pinkney

Have you ever wondered why footballmakes grown men cry? Or, why people riot at a soccer game? It’s because peopleplace their hopes, their dreams in sports teams and figures. Sports bringpeople together around a cause. In the 1930’s, that “cause” was Joe Louisbecoming the country’s next heavyweight boxing champion.

Pinkney’s “Bird in a Box” ties three coming-of-age stories together through boxing. Hibernia, the daughter of apreacher, dreams of becoming a famous jazz singer. Willie, an aspiring boxer,has his dream ripped away from him. Otis, a boxing fan, becomes orphaned in afreak accident. A charity concert at the local orphanage brings all three together. Before long, a friendship develops. It’s strengthened by a shared dream – to see Joe Louis, an African American boxer, take the heavyweight title. For African Americans of the time, Joe Louis represented more than a sports figure. He instilled hope and pride, which shows the reader that sports is more than “just a game.”

Not your average sports story. For grades 4 – 7.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


From Vivian, Children's Librarian at the Casa Verdugo Branch Library:

Betty Bunny Wants Everything by Michael B. Kaplan

Mother Rabbit allows each of her children to select one toy from the toy shop but things don’t go as planned.  Betty Bunny decides to fill a cart with toys and have a wild tantrum at the store.  Mother Rabbit doesn’t tolerate Betty’s behavior and takes her young one home without any toys.  Mother and Father Bunny must devise a plan to help their tantrum-throwing child make responsible choices about saving or spending money.  A nice story that introduces the importance of budgeting money and the value of modeling patience and understanding.

Saturday, May 05, 2012


Sammy is back with another thrilling mystery. She and her friends decide to take a shortcut through the town cemetery after trick-or-treating on Halloween and they run into "a beast". Scared witless, they run home. But instead of candy, they find their sack filled with two skulls.

Hmm... what did Sammy get her friends into this time?

Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls by Wendelin van Draanen is perfect for readers 6th-8th. You don't have to read this just during Halloween time though.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Castle Glower is an unusual castle. It's a magical castle. It can change rooms, add rooms and hallways depending on its mood. It always seems to know when there are changes within the household or special visitors are coming. Princess Celie loves the castle and its many quirks can map all its changes everyday.

When Princess Celie's parents, the King and Queen, are attacked en route to bring home her older brother from school, everyone assumes that they are dead and her oldest brother would become the king. But with no changes from the castle, that can mean only one thing. Her parents are still alive.

The castle loves Celie most of all and would do anything to protect her and do anything she asks. Can the castle help find her parents before the bad guys take over her kingdom? An unusual thrilling and humorous fantasy story where the castle comes alive. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George is for readers 4th - 6th.