Tuesday, March 31, 2015


 Tuesday, March 31, the Central Library will be closing at 6 p.m. for an adult author visit.  All our other branches will be opened at their regularly scheduled hours of operation.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  The Children's Room staff. 

Monday, March 30, 2015


Want to solve a good mystery? Do you have what it takes to be a good detective? Well, join Max and Larry to find out what happened to the little girl named Daisy. Max Monroe is a smart young boy in The Magic Box. When Max’s mother dies and his father becomes increasing busy at work, Max goes to stay with his grandfather, Harry.  Upon arriving at his grandfather’s house Max begins to hear crying from behind the house. When he goes after the sound he stumbles upon a small house behind the bushes with a sign reading “The Monroe Detective Agency.”  Max’s excitement fills the air as he rushes to his grandfather to learn more about the old wooden detective house. To his surprise, Max meets his grandfather's brother, Larry, the ghost. Yes, you read correctly-- a ghost.
As soon as Max comes to the understanding that Larry is really a ghost, his grandfather tells him to spend time with Larry.  Max and Larry take a look around the old wooden detective house when they get a phone call for detective work.  Both Max and Larry must work together to find out what happened to Daisy, the girl who disappeared from her own birthday party.

The Magic Box is the first book in The Ghost and Max Monroe series by L.M. Falcone.  Those that love detective stories will also love this humorous, early chapter book. The pages have very minimal black and white illustrations.

For grades 2 and up.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Cece was a regular kid, living a carefree life with her parents and siblings until she is diagnosed with meningitis when she is four. After spending a long time at the hospital, Cece finally gets to go home, but things are not the same. Two weeks after going home, Cece finds out that she hadn't been able to hear anything since she got sick. Her parents take her to a doctor, and she gets a hearing aid, but her hearing is far from being normal. When she starts kindergarten, Cece goes to a school with other kids like her. She loves her teacher Dorn, who teaches her how to understand what people are saying by reading their lips. But when Cece starts first grade, she has to go to school with other kids. She also gets a brand-new hearing aid, the new and powerful Phonic Ear, which helps her hear better but is really big and she has to wear it like a backpack, which makes Cece self-conscious and afraid that everyone will think she is not cool because she has a hearing aid. But Cece does make some friends - some better than others - and on one occasion has everyone in the class thinking that the Phonic Ear is really cool! The Phonic Ear gives Cece a superpower - she can hear everything her teachers are doing when they are not in the room, so Cece imagines herself as the powerful superhero El Deafo, which helps her deal with the challenges of fitting in despite her challenges.

El Deafo is the story of writer Cece Bell's childhood, written in a graphic novel format. It is a story of a girl trying to have a normal life despite the bulky hearing aid that she is forced to carry with her at school. With cute, quirky drawings, Cece shows us what her childhood was like - going to school, trying to make friends who didn't treat her differently, and her first crush. This book makes it really easy for readers to put themselves in the shoes of someone who has different abilities. Like Cece's friends, some of us may not know what it is like to not be able to hear without aid. If we had to speak to someone who is deaf, we might not automatically know that we should not turn away or cover our mouths when we speak so that the person can read our lips.

Finally, what makes this book great is that it is not a sad story made to make us feel bad or sorry for the main character. Although what happened to Cece was bad and unfair, she was able to lead a good childhood and grow up to be a writer who could tell everyone about her experience. El Deafo is a great choice for readers grades 4 and up.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Princess Magnolia is beautiful, well-mannered, prim, and proper.  She lives in a castle where the rooms are well organized and just about spotless.  When Duchess Wigtower pays an unexpected visit to the castle she senses that Princess Magnolia is flawed in some way.  She is determined to discover what it is.  During Wigtower's visit, something is amiss near Princess Magnolia's castle.  The goats are in danger!  But never fear, 'Princess in Black' is near. She'll fend off anyone or anything in order to keep the land safe.  

The Princess in Black is courageous and fearless and will protect Princess Magnolia's land.  Will the two ever meet?
Shannon and Dean Hale join forces to create an adventurous chapter book for children ages 7-9.  Fun characters and light humor make this an enjoyable read.

Monday, March 23, 2015


A review by Theresa from the Children's Room: 

For most people the fourth grade isn’t a major roadblock, reading, times tables and cursive writing have all been mastered. The social aspects are mostly easily navigated. However for Lucy in Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel what should have been the biggest day of the year, the one that would guarantee her position as the coolest girl in the fourth grade instead ends up plummeting her down to the dork table in the cafeteria.

It was the day that she and her best friend Becky were to kiss the boys they liked at recess on the playground with their class looking on, but sadly for Lucy when it came time to do it all she could muster was the briefest of pecks while Becky’s smooch was worthy of an Oscar. Overnight Lucy found herself with a green finger from a supposed diamond ring, hated by the boy she kissed, dumped by her best friend because of her new lack of social status, big sister to a baby born with Down’s Syndrome, ignored and unloved by parents who are preoccupied by the new arrival and eating lunch with a group of what she considers to be the school losers. Lucy’s trials and how she ultimately deals them are what makes this a solid and honest story that even a boy might like. 

For grades 4-7.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Everyone in Greg's family loves math and lives for math.  The only math thing he gets is pie not pi and he has to deal with daily grilling and teasing from his family for his lack of mathematical apptitude.  Greg loves writing but he has to hide this from his family because they just don't get why his world doesn't involve math, too.  

All is coming to a head now that Gregory wants to go to a writing camp with his best Friend, Kelly, because she is moving away but in order to go, he has to pass his math class and enter the City Math, a long family tradition.  The camp, the contest; all lies as part of his plan but the lies keep piling up and he will have to come up with something fast or else.  
For readers in 4th-8th grade.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


In Janet and Jake Tashjian's latest mother/son team effort calle EINSTEIN THE CLASS HAMSTER AND THE VERY REAL GAME SHOW, Ms. Moreno's class is off to compete on a televised game show with another elementary school. Along for the ride are Einstein, the class hamster, and his classroom comrades Ned, Bonnie and Marlon. The show is ready to go when the school principal decides it's a good idea to bring out Twinkle, the pet python! Well this sends the regular game show host flying out the door in fear, and it's Einstein's turn to shine - or is it? Pretty good follow up to the first Einstein book, and will entertain many beginning chapter book readers. For 2nd - 5th grades.


Monday, March 16, 2015


Life is not easy for ten-year-old Ada, living with her mean mother and younger brother in London at the eve of the Second World War. Born with a bad foot, Ada never learned to walk right, which made her mother ashamed of her. Ada is not allowed to go outside, or talk to anyone, and barely gets enough food from her mother. But Ada is a fighter, and takes care of her younger brother and tries to survive to the best of her ability. When the war starts, children are evacuated to the English countryside, away from major cities that might get bombed by the Germans, and Ada and her brother finally get away from their mother to live with a lady named Susan. Although Susan never wanted children, she takes care of the two children, and Ada's life truly begins, and it includes learning to ride a horse, making a friend, and even catching a spy. But what happens when the war ends?

The War that Saved my Life is a beautiful, sad, and heartwarming tale about a girl faced with the worst circumstances who decides to fight for her life. It is also a book about love and family, and the way that both can be found in unexpected places. Ada is a wonderful character to read about, because even though she is hurt, she is brave enough to take care of herself and find her voice.

Although this is mostly the story of Ada and her brother, it is also a historical fiction book. The descriptions of daily life in the English countryside at the beginning of the war are fascinating to read about. Ada and her brother Jamie have to live with a stranger, just as many children had to do to get away from the danger of large cities. And besides that, they have to live on food rations and stand in long lines to get any food at all. They have to look for suspicious activity and report it, and even take care of wounded soldiers. But all that seems bearable with caring people around them as the village comes together to help each other.

This is a book you won't want to put down until you get to its bittersweet conclusion. Fans of The Book Thief will especially enjoy this book.

For readers in 5th-8th grade.

Friday, March 13, 2015


A Snicker of Magic is all that's left behind in a town called Midnight Gulch after a curse has been put on the town many many years ago.  Felicity, hoping with the help of her friend, Jonah, the town Beedle, will bring a little joy and magic to everyone, especially to her own mother, who is cursed with a wandering heart.   Natalie Lloyd has written a beautiful story of longing, friendship and magic all wrapped up in some delicious ice cream and words. 

For readers who really enjoy the magic of reading from 5th-6th grades. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Ollie is told by the FBI to lie low since his last treasure hunt blew up all over the news and some really bad guys went after him and his friend, Moxie.  Now he's going to lay low with a bunch of super competative scouts on an island off the coast of Boston but  he's already starting off on the wrong foot without realizing it and the Park Ranger wants to enlist him in finding a 200 year old pirate treasure "privately".  It's not going to be an easy 2 weeks that's for sure.  He just wanted to stay off the radar, but the games, real or not, are drawing him in. Hopefully  he will survive this scouting trip.  

Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting:  A 14-Day Mystery by Erin Dionne is a fast paced adventure for 6th-8th grade readers.

Monday, March 09, 2015


Living in the mountains can be very lonely experience for a twelve-year old when you don’t have a friend. In Francis O”Roark Dowell’s Anybody Shining the reader is introduced to Aire Mae Sparks who right away shares her complaints about the available children who might be friend material that live in her North Carolina mountains…” These mountains are near to spilling over with children, and none of them is worth two cents. They are all too old or too young or just plain disappointing.” While she does have brothers and sisters, they all have friends of their own to occupy their time. 

To solve her problem Aire starts writing to a cousin that she’s never met, the daughter of her mother’s sister who left the mountains to marry a doctor and live in the city. The letters go unanswered but that does not deter their writer who details her summer in the mountains that suddenly is full of new children and a bit of local excitement. A natural born storyteller, Aire gives the reader an intimate glimpse of life in rural North Carolina in the 1920s.

For 5th and  up. 

Friday, March 06, 2015


I can’t deny that I have a weakness for humorous, metafictional, crowd-pleasing read alouds with stunning illustrations. B.J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures only meets 3 out of the 4 criteria, but what it does with those 3 is more than enough to compensate. Have you ever paused to consider: what is a picture book without pictures? 

This one, at least, is hilarious. Filled with hijinks, nonsensical words like BLORK and BLUURF, and declarations that the reader (that’s you, by the way) is a self-taught robot monkey reading in a robot monkey voice, this book presents itself as a gift to young children to savor the written word at the expense of its (often adult) readers. The premise that readers must say aloud every single word without exception is hardly unexplored territory, but this book is truly masterfully attuned to its young audience. By the time it finishes explaining “how books work” it is already eliciting giggles; the kids are in on the joke. 

Now imagine their reaction when you’re forced to admit that your only friend is a hippo named BooBooButt. 

Though there aren’t any pictures (see: book title) typography goes a long way to provide visual interest and subtext. It’s a great book both to teach print awareness (understanding that words have meanings) to pre-readers and to cultivate an appreciation for the written word, particularly in young readers who are transitioning to books without illustrations and possibly feeling daunted by the prospect.

For another book featuring the funny things readers can't help but say, see We Are In a Book! by Mo Willems.

Monday, March 02, 2015


Two hilarious graphic novels (comic books) which somehow got missed: Sidekicks by Dan Santat  and Mr. Pants: It's Go Time! by Scott McCormick and R. H. Lazzell.  
Mr. Pants and his siblings are cats but his mom is human and once you can suspend that belief, the can story begin. Mr. Pants is not very nice and he always wants things his way. He tries to manipulate his family members to go along with his way of thinking.  Hmmm... sound like any family members you know?

For readers in 2nd and up.

Sidekicks is Dan Santat's  full color graphic novel about a human superhero who is the town superhero but he's off his game due to a bad allergic reaction during a capture and decides maybe he needs a sidekick to help him out. His house pets go into overdrive to come up with ways to get ready for the audition but they soon discover his old sidekick, the cat, is still alive and secretly working his own form of vigilante justice in the dark alleys. This is graphic novel is colorful, action packed and a whole lot of wacky fun.  

For readers in 4th and up.


The second book in the Sixties Trilogy, Revolution by Deborah Wiles is set in 1964 during Freedom Summer in a small town in Mississippi. The story is told by twelve-year-old Sunny who not only narrates what is going on in her family but also the story of what is happening in her town. Both her personal life and that of her town are being invaded. Her dad has recently remarried a woman with two children and the town is the site of college students working to register the black vote and to integrate public venues.

It is a troubling time on all fronts and like the previous volume (Countdown) this one also includes many photographs, song lyrics, and quotes from the period. To extend the story the author has included many film clips from the period that can be found on http://ow.ly/vBGTc. This is an important story that will linger long after the book is closed.

For readers in grades 5 through 8.