STAFF PICKS

Here are some favorite books of the Children's staff
at the Downtown Library and Indian Creek Library from the past year.

 



PICTURE BOOKS

THE BEAR'S SONG  by Benjamin Chaud

Papa Bear chases Little Bear who chases an elusive bee from the forest to the city and finally onto the stage of a full opera house for a surprising, sweet climax.  Children will enjoy searching for Little Bear hidden among the details of full-page illustrations.  (E Fiction)

THE DAY THE CRAYONS CAME HOME  by Drew Daywalt

The Crayons are back!  Or at least they’re trying to get back home.  In this companion book to The Day the Crayons Quit, Dylan receives a stack of postcards in the mail from the crayons that he lost, forgot, broke or neglected.  Each of them has a woeful tale of being run through the clothes dryer, left by a pool, sat on, eaten by a dog, etc.  It’s not easy being a crayon!  All of them just want to come back home to the crayon box.  If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll love this one too!  (E Fiction)

EVERYBODY SLEEPS (BUT NOT FRED)  by Josh Schneider.

Everybody sleeps, but not Fred; he has far too much to do instead of sleeping.  He has to break the world shouting record and test his horn collection, amongst other things.  The pictures help to illustrate the story of the animal friends getting dragged into Fred’s adventures and deepen the story’s entertainment value.  (E Fiction)

FLASHLIGHT  by Lizi Boyd

Shine a light on both fear of the dark and the magical nocturnal world in this wordless picture book.  A child investigates the world outside of his tent using his flashlight to bring hidden plants and animals into view.  Bold art-quality illustrations and cut-outs reveal new details with each viewing.  (E Fiction)

HAVE YOU SEEN MY MONSTER?  by Steve Light

This book follows a little girl looking for her monster at the fair.  Each page you search for the monster.  Sometimes he’s hiding in plain sight and sometimes you really have to search for him.  In addition to looking for the monster, readers are given a shape to find on each page  (E Fiction)

HERE COMES THE TOOTH FAIRY CAT  by Deborah Underwood

Cat has lost a tooth but is disappointed that he doesn’t get to meet the Tooth Fairy.  After trying to trick her with a tooth from a comb, Cat is given the opportunity to meet the Tooth Fairy, but first, he must help with a few deliveries!  (E Fiction)

I WISH YOU MORE  by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This cheery book of endless good wishes reads like a touching greeting card.  The lyrical quality of word play and juxtaposition of opposites make for a fun read-aloud.  Perfect for new parents, rites of passage or simply a tender expression of love.  (E Fiction)

IF YOU PLANT A SEED  by Kadir Nelson

Three simple yet meaningful sentences accompany colorful, detailed illustrations in Nelson’s If You Plant a Seed.  Nelson’s illustrations, created with oil on canvas, bring the text to life, emphasizing the importance of treating all living things with kindness.  This lesson is shown through the story of a rabbit and a mouse who nurture their garden and watch the seeds they plant grow into fruits and vegetables.  When birds appear to request some of their newly grown food, the rabbit and mouse quickly learn the importance of planting one of the most important seeds of all, a “seed of kindness.”  (E Fiction)

INTERSTELLAR CINDERELLA  by Deborah Underwood

In this retelling of the classic tale, Cinderella makes it to the Prince’s Royal Space Parade with a little help from a robotic mouse and her fairy godrobot.  Instead of dancing and falling in love, Cinderella is more interested in using her sonic socket wrench to repair the Prince’s broken spaceship!  Smooth, flowing rhymes and futuristic illustrations are sure to inspire a new generation of Cinderella wannabes!  (E Fiction)

THE LION AND THE BIRD  by Marianne Dubuc

One autumn day a lion discovers a wounded bird in his garden.  After patching him up, the two become fast friends over the course of the cold winter.  But when spring returns, will the little bird stay with the lion or leave to rejoin his flock?  This quiet, gentle story of friendship will warm the heart.  (E Fiction)

MISS HAZELTINE’S HOME FOR SHY AND FEARFUL CATS  by Alicia Potter

Shy and fearful cats come from all over to stay at Miss Hazeltine’s.  She takes in scared and timid cats and teaches them lessons in being brave.  When Miss Hazeltine goes missing, the cats put their lessons to the test when they venture out to find her.  Birgitta Sif skillfully captures the emotions of the cats with their expressions and body language, providing additional humor and warmth to this charming tale of a cat lover and her cats.  (E Fiction)

THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK  by Jon Stone

Is there a monster at the end of this book?  Each turn of the page presents “lovable, furry old Grover” trying to keep the reader from turning the page to find out.  Tying pages together and building a brick wall are two ways Grover tries to keep the reader from turning pages.  Grover’s expressive interaction with the reader will inspire many repeat readings of this humorous picture book featuring an ending with a fun twist.  (E Fiction)

ONE WORD FROM SOPHIA  by Jim Averbeck

Sophia has one true desire for her birthday, and that is to have a pet giraffe.  Unfortunately, there are four people standing in her way: her mom (a judge), her dad (a businessman), her uncle (a politician), and her grand-mama (very strict).  Sophia caters her request to each family member, but is turned down every time.  Will a simple “please” save the day?  (E Fiction)

PEPPER & POE  by Frann Preston-Cannon

Pepper is a family cat upon whom attention and affection are lavished.  Then something happened that Pepper did not like:  Poe, a bouncy kitten, invaded Pepper’s life.  It went from bad to worse.  Suddenly Poe is in trouble and Pepper comes to the rescue.  Wonderfully feline illustrations will amuse readers and listeners a like.  (E Fiction)

RHINOS DON’T EAT PANCAKES  by Anna Kemp

When a big purple rhinoceros saunters through the kitchen and eats Daisy’s pancake, she sounds the alarm, but her parents don’t listen—they never do. The rhino makes himself at home, and Daisy befriends him.  One day the pancakes run out.  Daisy explains that the rhino ate them.  Her parents laugh…until they all visit the zoo and spot a MISSING PURPLE RHINO sign.  Now what to do?  (E Fiction)

SPECIAL DELIVERY  by Philip C. Stead

Sadie is on a quirky and entertaining adventure to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine “who lives almost completely alone and could really use the company.”  A surprise ending reveals that Aunt Josephine might not actually live alone thanks to Sadie!  (E Fiction)

THIS MOOSE BELONGS TO ME  by Oliver Jeffers

A young boy named Wilfred owns a moose named Marcel, or so he thinks.  Wilfred soon learns that Marcel does not always follow the proper rules of behaving like a pet and that, just maybe, he isn’t Wilfred’s pet after all…  (E Fiction)

WAITING  by Kevin Henkes

“There were five of them.  And they were waiting…” begins Henkes’ newest picture book.  Five toys, a pig with an umbrella, a spotted owl, a bear, a puppy, and a “rabbit with stars,” sit on a windowsill, waiting.  They wait for things from rain to snow, or in the rabbit’s case, not for “anything in particular.”  Henkes’ soft, muted illustrations reveal the emotions expressed by the toys as they wait, and in the end, receive a special surprise that they did not realize had been waiting for them.  (E Fiction)

WHERE’S THE PAIR?  by Britta Teckentrup

Love animals?  Love puzzles?  Ready for a challenge?  This book is for you!  Each spread features a different group of animals for you to find the matching pair.  Some pages will make you look very closely but the rhyming text will offer a clue.  Charming illustrations with touches of whimsy add to the fun.  (E Fiction)

YOU CAN DO IT, BERT!  by Ole Konnecke

Meet Bert the bird!  There he is, standing on a branch, ready to take the plunge.  Is he ready?  Will he do it?  He takes a running start, jumps off, and – well, you’ll have to read to book to find out what happens.  (E Fiction)
 

EASY READERS

BALLET CAT: THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET  by Bob Shea

Ballet Cat is a prima donna.  Her friend Sparkles suggests that they play many things, all of which Ballet Cat rules out because they don’t include ballet moves.  The only thing Ballet Cat wants to play is ballet.  Sparkles reveals with some trepidation that she doesn’t always want to play ballet.  The happy resolution is that Ballet Cat loves Sparkles more than ballet.  (ER Reader)

DIGGER AND DAISY GO TO THE DOCTOR  by Judy Young

Little Digger doesn’t feel well and his sister Daisy says he must go to the doctor.  Digger assumes the worst (a shot that hurts!), but Daisy urges him to be brave.  She even does everything the doctor asks Digger to do to prove it won’t hurt.  At the end the tables are turned on Daisy when the doctor says Digger just has a cold but Daisy needs a shot.  (VER Reader)

I REALLY LIKE SLOP!  by Mo Willems

Piggie really wants Gerald to try some of her ”yummy, yummy slop.”  But will Gerald try something that attracts flies and looks and smells unappetizing to him?  Picky eaters will be sure to relate!  Trying new things can be scary, but even if Gerald doesn’t really like slop, he really likes Piggie.  Bravery and friendship win out in the end in this latest Elephant and Piggie story.  (VER Reader)

SPARK  by Kallie George

Spark is a small dragon with a hot problem:  he can’t control his fiery breath!  He tries.  He practices.  He achieves hilarious and disastrous results.  His father promises that it will get better, and in the end, Spark succeeds mightily.  (ER Reader)
 

CHAPTER BOOKS

BINNY FOR SHORT  by Hilary McKay

Binny’s life changed forever when her father died.  First her family had to move to a small apartment, then her beloved dog, Max, was given away by “horrible Aunt Violet.”  When Aunt Violet dies and leaves Binny’s family her house by the seaside, life changes again.  Binny and her family begin to settle into their new life, even as Binny continues to search for Max, becomes frenemies with the boy next door, and worries that Aunt Violet may be haunting their house.  (J Fiction)

BUCKLE AND SQUASH: THE PERILOUS PRINCESS PLOT  by Sarah Courtauld

It may not be a customary beginning for a princess story to commence with a vivid description of mud: “squelchy, squishy, gurgling, sticky, endless, mud-colored mud.”  And not particularly traditional to find two independent, very different sisters reluctantly cleaning their goat’s pen in the “Middle of Nowhere, in a forgotten corner of the kingdom, which was called the Forgotten Corner of the Kingdom deep in the realm of Squerb.”  An unconventional beginning to be sure, but the story that follows is filled with enough adventure, villainy, handsome princes and “Toothy, Vicious, and Flatulent Dragons” to satisfy fairy tale fans.  Comical illustrations perfectly compliment the humorous text.  (J Sci Fi)

EVA’S TREETOP FESTIVAL  by Rebecca Elliott

The first in a new series called “Owl Diaries.”  A sweet story told from an owl’s point of view as she attends school (at night time of course) and has fun with her friends.  The colorful illustrations and diary style will appeal to young girls.  (J Fiction)

LISTEN, SLOWLY  by Thanhha Lai

Thanhha Lai’s Listen, Slowly is the story of a girl named Mai and her adjustment from a life of familiarity to the unfamiliar during the summer she spends with her grandmother in Vietnam.  Mai’s grandmother has longed for many, many years to find out what happened to Mai’s grandfather, who went missing during the Vietnam War.  Through their journey, Mai not only grows a connection with the country of Vietnam, but also strengthens her connection with her grandmother.  (J Fiction)

LULU AND THE DUCK IN THE PARK  by Hilary McKay

An excellent story for children making the transition to chapter books, and the first in a gentle series with an African-American heroine.  Lulu and her cousin Mellie try to sneak a duck egg into school with comedic results.  (J Animal)

PRINCESS PISTACHIO  by Marie-Louise Gay

Another new series for budding princesses!  When Pistachio Shoelace receives a package containing a gold crown and a card stating “Happy Birthday, my little princess,” she concludes that she is a real princess and assumes the role.  Hilarity ensues, then high drama, before her grandfather calls to ask her if she liked his present (he forgot to sign the card!).  Pistachio must now reconcile with her little sister.  It ends happily with the promise of the next installment.  (J Fiction)

THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE  by Jonathan Stroud

The first book in the scary “Lockwood & Co.” series introduces readers to a London beset by spirits, most of them unfriendly and vengeful.  Only young people with psychic abilities can see and thus successfully fight these ghosts.  While many psychic detective agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, Lockwood & Co. is the only one free of any adult supervision.  Plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle joins this small agency, and along with charismatic Anthony Lockwood and bookish George, prepares to take on the deadly spirits in one of the most haunted houses in England.  (Scary J Fiction)

STAR WARS: THE ADVENTURES OF LUKE SKYWALKER, JEDI KNIGHT  by Tony DiTerlizzi

There is sure to be Star Wars mayhem this winter so be sure to grab this illustrated novel that captures the original trilogy in brilliant fashion.  Striking illustrations from Ralph McQuarrie, Academy Award winning conceptual designer, will guide you through each Jabba the Hutt “Mwah! Ha! Ha!” and lightsaber battle.  This retelling is a fantastic introduction to the Star Wars universe or a must read for the aficionado.  (J Sci Fi)

TUCK EVERLASTING  by Natalie Babbitt

The Tuck family accidently drank out of a magical spring 70 years ago and haven’t aged a day since.  Winnie Foster stumbles upon their secret and is taken on a wild adventure.  Only question is, will Winnie drink from the spring and become immortal too?  (J Fiction)

THE WAY HOME LOOKS NOW  by Wendy Wan Long Shang

Twelve-year-old Peter Lee and his family are baseball lovers who bond over back lot games and talk of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  But when tragedy strikes, the family flies apart and baseball no longer seems to matter.  Is that true?  Peter wonders if just maybe the game they love can pull them together and bring them back, safe at home.  (J Fiction)
 

COMICS

PHOEBE AND HER UNICORN  by Dana Simpson

The first in a new series of graphic novels.  Readers will laugh when they hear that the name of Phoebe’s unicorn friend is “Marigold Heavenly Nostrils.”  More laughs will come at the dialogue and interactions of the two unlikely friends.  (J Graphic)

ROLLER GIRL  by Victoria Jamieson

Astrid has this summer, the one before junior high begins, all planned out because she and her best friend Nicole are about to become tough derby skaters at day camp!  However, Nicole signs up for dance camp instead and Astrid is not a very good skater.  Follow Astrid as she navigates new friendships, a ton of bruises, and the pressures of competition in this vibrant graphic novel.  (J Graphic)
 

NONFICTION

BIG MAGIC FOR LITTLE HANDS: 25 ASTOUNDING ILLUSIONS FOR YOUNG MAGICIANS  by Joshua Jay

A must have for any budding magician, this book is filled with illusions that children can master.  Most tricks require little prep time or supplies, but are guaranteed to command applause.  Learn how to levitate your uncle, vanish a teacup, and conquer your stage fright by following the retro illustrations and kid-friendly guides.  (J 793.8)

BROWN GIRL DREAMING  by Jacqueline Woodson

This gripping memoir by award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson pulls readers – children and adults alike – into the turbulent, often confusing world of the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Using compelling, powerful free verse to tell her own story, Woodson captures the universal experience of growing up unsure of one’s gifts and place in the world.  (J Bio Woodson)

CHOP CHOP: THE KIDS GUIDE TO COOKING REAL FOOD WITH YOUR FAMILY  by Sally Sampson

Cooking at home with your family can be lots of fun.  Give it a try with the recipes in Chop Chop. You’ll love making healthy food that tastes great.  (J 641.5973)

CREATURE FEATURES  by Steve Jenkins

In this book we get a look at 25 unique looking animals and get an explanation as to why they look the way they do.  For example, why does the bearded seal have those long whiskers?  Those whiskers help him feel the sea floor and find things to eat!  Colorful illustrations and fun facts make this book a great read.  (J 571.31)

THE DEATH OF THE HAT: A BRIEF HISTORY OF POETRY IN 50 OBJECTS  selected by Paul Janeczko

This diverting anthology showcases poetry about everyday objects written about throughout the ages.  Janeczko’s selections span the early middle ages to contemporary times.  Chris Raschka’s lovely watercolor illustrations compliment the selected poetry.  The author includes thorough and informative facts about historical literary eras and writing styles through the ages.  He notes that, “poets of one age continue to write into the next.”  This book successfully integrates history and poetic literature in a seamless, entertaining fashion.  It has been suggested for children, grades 3 and up, but older children and adults may also enjoy and be edified by this book.  (J 808.81 Death)

KID PRESIDENT’S GUIDE TO BEING AWESOME  by Brad Montague

“#68: Be kind.  It’s not always easy, but it’s always important.”  Viral video star Kid President, otherwise known as Robby Novak, provides one hundred tips on becoming awesome in this fantastic display of positivity.  Sprinkled alongside the tips are pep talks, interviews with people like Beyoncé, and quirky illustrations that will leave your family feeling inspired.  (J 158.3)

OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY: A TREASURY OF NURSERY RHYMES  collected by Elizabeth Hammill

This visually rich collection of nursery rhymes from around the world features artwork by more than 70 celebrated children’s book illustrators, including such favorites as Eric Carle, Mo Willems, Jon Klassen, Jerry Pinkney and many more.  A great way to introduce little ones to the wonderful world of nursery rhymes.  (Parent J 398.8 Over)

PARROTS OVER PUERTO RICO  by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

“Iguaca!  Iguaca!” is the sound made by Puerto Rican parrots, which thrived on the island of Puerto Rico for many years.  However, by the year 1975 they were on the verge of becoming extinct, with only thirteen parrots left on the island.  Parrots Over Puerto Rico is the story of the changes in the population of parrots on the island as related to the history of Puerto Rico itself.  Intricate collage illustrations bring to life the story of Puerto Rico and the journey of the vivid green and blue parrots that call the island home, as they become close to extinction and later reach a promising new growth in numbers.  (J 598.71)

SHOOTING AT THE STARS: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914  by John Hendrix

Told from the perspective of a young British soldier, this picture book brings to life the true story of an unforgettable Christmas Truce between enemy soldiers during World War I.  An author’s note at the end includes historical information about this true Christmas miracle.  “Regardless of their uniforms, the men on both sides…were frightened, weary, and freezing.  And for one bright Christmas Day, they chose to value their shared humanity over their patriotic duty.”  (J 940.4)

13 SCULPTURES CHILDREN SHOULD KNOW  by Angela Wenzel

This book takes a close look at thirteen of the world's most fascinating sculptures, including works by Michelangelo, Rodin, and Niki de Saint Phalle, and other works from around the world. The sculptors used wood, stone, metal and plastic to create their works of art.  (J 730)

TREASURE HUNTER'S HANDBOOK  by Liza Gardner Walsh

For every child who has ever rummaged through trash looking for treasure, panned streams for gold, or searched for precious gold and gems, this is the book for you.  Filled with safe, handy tips for inquisitive adventure seekers, this book includes decryption codes, geocaching (the latest treasure-hunting craze) and metal detecting techniques.  This book is sure to satisfy the practical kid who enjoys examination, exploration, and good old-fashioned adventure.  (J 622.19)

TROMBONE SHORTY  by Troy Andrews  

Real life musician Troy Andrews, nicknamed “Trombone Shorty,” recalls his childhood immersed in the music of his Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.  From the story of how he found a trombone at the age of four and thus got his nickname to the improbable opportunity of being called up on stage to play with Bo Diddley, Andrews shares his inspiring story as an encouragement to all who are passionate about their own big dreams.  Bryan Collier’s artwork mirrors the text with exuberant rhythm.  (J 788.9)

 

Updated 12/2/2015