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Youth Services Staff Picks

April 2014 Staff Picks 

Spring is here!  Hope you love Roald Dahl (and who doesn’t?) because he is a popular choice this month.  Enjoy some rhymes in honor National Poetry Month too!



Pirate Day   Small

   *Standing in the place of Veronica and Jenn is Captain Jack Sparrow. No he is not part of the Youth Services Team...yet.



Alyssa’s Pick:     

Adventures of IsabelThe Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash– E NAS


For grades 2 – 5; Published 1991


Synopsis: The feisty Isabel defeats giants, wishes, and other threatening creatures with ease in this hilarious poem.


Alyssa says:This book is the collision of a favorite poet (Ogden Nash) and a favorite illustrator (James Marshall).  Add to that a young heroine and an excellent message about facing fears, and this book is a sure win.  Enjoy The Adventures of Isabel this April as part of National Poetry Month or anytime for the sake of its own excellence.


Alyssa also suggests:

Uncle Switch: Looney Limericks by X.J. Kennedy – E KEN

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by Eugene Field – E FIE






 Debbie's Pick:  

Revolting RhymesRoald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl – J 821.914 DAH

For grades 1 – 3; published 2002

Synopsis: Roald Dahl retells his six favorite fairy tales. Find out what really happened to Cinderella, Goldilocks, the Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood. 

Debbie says
: “I guess you think you know this story.

You don’t. The real one’s much more gory.

The phony one, the one you know.

Was cooked up years and years ago,

And made to sound all soft and sappy

Just to keep the children happy.” I thought Mr. Dahl could say it best!


Debbie also suggests:

Poetry for Young People Edward Lear by Edward Lear – J 821 LEA

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales retold and illustrated by Marcia Williams – J 821 WIL 





Dia’s Pick:    

Toyland ExpressCan You See What I See? Toyland Express by Walter Wick – J 793.73 WIC


For grades 3 – 7; Published 2002


Summary:  Can You See What I See? Toyland Express is the eighth title in the bestselling search-and-find series, follows the life of a toy train from the workshop to the attic, only to be rescued at a yard sale and brought to life once again in a new home. As readers search for more than 250 hidden objects, they will also notice how the train takes on various transformations along its journey.

Dia says:
Children can find a new adventure at every stop while exploring the pages of the Toyland Express!

Dia also suggests:

I Spy: A Book of Picture Riddles by Jean Marzollo – J 793.73 MAR

I Spy A to Z by Walter Wick – J 793.73 WIC






Jenn's Pick:  

Make way for ducklingMake Way for Ducklingsby Robert McCloskey– J CALD MCC


For grades Pre-K – 2; Published 1941


  • Synopsis:  Mrs. Mallard was sure that the pond in the Boston Public Gardens would be a perfect place for her and her eight ducklings to live. The problem was how to get them there through the busy streets of Boston. But with a little help from the Boston police, Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack arive safely at their new home.


Jenn says: This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.  I love the story about the protective duck mom and her brood trying to find a nice pond to live in.  When I went to school in Boston a highlight was seeing the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Boston Public Gardens.


Jenn also suggests:

Just Ducks by Nicola Davies – E DAV

Ducks by Randy Cecil – E CEC







Kelsey F.'s Pick:  

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – J F Classics DAH


For grades 3 – 6; Published 2004


Synopsis: Each of five children lucky enough to discover an entry ticket into Mr. Willy Wonka's mysterious chocolate factory takes advantage of the situation in his own way.


 Kelsey says: This book is full of fun, adventure, and sweets.  Five lucky kids find golden tickets in chocolate bars and get to explore the wondrous, mysterious chocolate factory.  This is a classic story full of imagination that will keep the reader interested until the very end.     


Kelsey also suggests:

The BFG by Roald Dahl — J F DAH

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl — J F DAH






Kelsey S.’s Pick:  

Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Bookby Neil Gaiman – J NEWB GAI


For grades 5 – 8; Published 2008


Synopsis: After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .


Kelsey says: I love Neil Gaiman, but I put off reading this for a long time because it didn’t seem to be that interesting. As usual, I was wrong. It’s a perfect Neil Gaiman, comparable (at least I believe) to The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I have decided is one of his masterpieces. While it is a dark book and death permeates every page, it’s also beautifully told and fully realized, and completely deserves the Newberry it won.


Kelsey also suggests:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – J F Scary/Spooky GAI

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman – J F SciFi/Fantasy GAI







Ofilia’s Pick:    

Home of the BraveHome of the Brave by Katherine Applegate– J F APP


For grades 5 – 7; Published 2007


Synopsis:  Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner.


Ofilia says: Imagine having to leave your home, your parents and everything you know to live in a country where you barely speak the language and the culture is totally different than anything you’ve experienced. This is what Kek has to do in order to survive. This book is written in verse so the story is told in poems. The imagery is outstanding and the point of view so unique. Moving and at times sad, but ultimately uplifting, this is a story that will make you think about how other people live. Applegate won the Newbery Medal last year for The One and Only Ivan—another novel in verse.


Ofilia also suggests:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – J NEWB APP

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanha Lai – J F Way Back When LAI





Veronica’s Pick:    

MatildaMatilda by Roald Dahl– J F DAH


For grades 4 – 6; Published 2010


Synopsis:  Matilda is a genius. Unfortunately, her family treats her like a dolt. Her crooked car-salesman father and loud, bingo-obsessed mother think Matilda's only talent is as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in their miserable lives. But it's not long before the sweet and sensitive child decides to fight back. Faced with practical jokes of sheer brilliance, her parents don't stand a chance.


Veronica says: A story about a bright little girl who loves to read and learn new things but has to live with two grouchy parents who don’t share her enthusiasm towards learning. This book will be sure to spark conversation between you and your child. It is funny and very insightful. A book that lovers of reading will enjoy. 


Veronica also suggests:

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – J F DIC

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren – J F LIN          





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