Below are staff reviews of select new books in the Youth Services Department.
For a list of all the new and forthcoming Youth books, click here.
New Book Reviews
Reading Level: Ages 3 - 6
The thing that makes Percy the happiest is balloons. Unfortunately, because he is a porcupine, balloons also tend to make him the saddest as well. How can a little porcupine possibly play with a balloon without popping it?
On dragons' seventh birthdays, they get to breathe fire. But Crispin's seventh birthday doesn't go the way he thinks it will... as he takes a deep breath to light his birthday candles, whipped cream comes out, not fire! Every time Crispin tries to breathe fire, something completely wrong comes out!
Will Crispin ever be able to breathe fire like a normal dragon?
Sylvia Spivens always said no to spinach. (I can empathize.) But when he class gardening project lands her with the spinach seeds... she doesn't have a choice! No one will trade seeds with her. She is stuck with spinach.
But when Sylvia's spinach begins to sprout and grow, she stops disliking it so much. Taking care of the plant is fun! Then Sylvia's teacher suggests everyone try eating what they have grown. Will Sylvia try her spinach?
A good book about encouraging new things couched in a great story about growing plants!
Sunny Acres Farm is a happy, beautiful, friendly place, until Grumpy Goat arrives. He is grumpy and unfriendly - none of the animals on the farm can even get close to him, let alone become friends! All Grumpy Goat wants to do is eat and eat and eat and eat and eat... and as he does so, he makes a huge mess on the farm - kicking down fences & being mean to the other animals. Then, he sees something special in the field, and everything changes. What does Grumpy Goat see?
A beautifully illustrated and wonderful story about the power of friendship - and stopping to smell the flowers.
After Violet packs her bags for vacation in sunny, beautiful, warm Florida, she prepares a bag for her dog, Pooch. He can't go on vacation to Florida with her -- no dogs allowed -- so he is going to Grandpa's farm to play in the snow. Nothing could possibly go wrong -- except that Violet accidentally takes Pooch's bag with her!
Worried that Pooch's vacation is ruined without his Fluffy Cat, his favorite red ball, and his food, Violet frantically calls Grandpa. Will everything be okay?
This would be a great read for a beginning reader looking for something a little bit more complex than books from our JP collection.
Grades 7 & Up
Sophie's mother runs a sanctuary for bonobo chimpanzees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Africa. While visiting from America for a few weeks, Sophie rescues a bonobo from a man in the markets of Kinshasa. Otto, the badly abused bonobo, quickly bonds with Sophie, but she knows she must leave him soon to return to her father in the United States.
When the Congolese president is assassinated, and armed revolution breaks out across the entire country, Sophie's status as U.S. citizen means she can safely be extracted and returned to her home in the States... but it also means she must leave her Congolese friends at the sanctuary... and she must leave Otto.
Forced into a UN rescue van against her will, to be returned home, Sophie makes a daring decision and jumps from the van to return and care for Otto. A dangerous choice... especially when the sanctuary is attacked. Sophie and Otto miraculously escape into the gated bonobo enclosure while everyone else there is brutally murdered. Sophie and Otto must survive both the wilds of the jungle enclosure and the wild anger of revolutionaries trying to destroy the country.
Gripping and beautifully written, this powerful novel about survival in the face of many types of danger may redefine your definitions of human and animal.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
Truth can be much stranger than fiction and fiction based on truth can make a great story. Inspired by the life of Ivan Mishukov, Ivan Andreovich is a five-year-old boy who was orphaned in post-Soviet Russia, left on the streets to fend for himself, and adopted by a pack of wild dogs.
Life for street children is a battle to survive. Hunger, cold, roving gangs of both adults and older children make survival tenuous. Ivan finds his place with a family of dogs. Ivan and the dogs share what food they have and provide warmth and protection for each other. But more than that, the dogs love Ivan as he loves them. Ivan becomes more and more like his dog family. While humans can be uncaring or cruel, it is the dogs who show the most "humanity."
Ultimately, Ivan Andreovich , like the real Ivan, is rescued.
Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10
Daniel, who hates all things sports, is taken to the Leisure World Holiday Complex, a family sports camp, by his father for autumn break. While trying to avoid another of his father's drunken episodes, Daniel bikes to a lake where he meets a girl named Lexi, who has a slight black eye and seems to be at the camp alone. Each time they meet she has more and worsening injuries, and, as he spends more time with her, Daniel begins to develop weird wounds of his own. What is happening and how can he help both of them before he has to leave at the end of the week?
Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10
The biggest consequence of The Event (other than billions of people being killed at once) is that ghosts have become an everyday part of life. Veronica is used to her father's ghost showing up each morning at the kitchen table silently reading the same paper, drinking the same cup of coffee and smiling at the area by the sink right before he vanishes. Walking to school each morning means seeing a murdered girl show up on the creepy teacher's doorstep, and the ghost of an old woman hobbling down to get her mail. Then one February morning the ghost of a teenaged boy shows up in Veronica's bathroom, more ghosts start popping up all over town, and the creepy teacher starts paying a lot of attention to Veronica.