New Book Reviews for Kids

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

Little Chicken's Big Day

by Jerry and Katie Davis

Reading Level: Ages 3+

Cluck, cluck, cluck. Do this, Little Chicken, do that, Little Chicken. Come here! Brush your teeth! Get dressed! Little Chicken is sick of being told what to do!! But uh oh…

Big Chicken?

Where are you?

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More books by Jerry and Katie Davis

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners Subjects: Animals--Talking, Don't Miss These, Family, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books

Suki the Very Loud Bunny

by Carmela D'Amico

Reading Level: Ages 4-7

Bunnies are supposed to be nice and quiet, nibbling clover and grass, and staying out of the mud and dirt. Suki loves to SHOUT and YELL and play in the mud. One day, Suki leaves her burrow and gets lost… will her loud voice be able to reach her mother’s ears?

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Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Don't Miss These, Family, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books

The Zombie Who Visited New Orleans

by Steve Brezenoff

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 3

Catalina and her class are on a field trip to New Orleans when odd things start to happen everywhere they go. Is someone working voodoo against them? Who is responsible for all the accidents?

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More books by Steven Brezenoff

Reading Level: 1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Mysteries, Supernatural Location: J Fiction


by Philana Marie Boles

Reading Level: Grades 7+

Ann Michelle has a quiet life, living with her grandma, going to school, hanging with her friends, listening to hip hop music and lusting after the artists. Everything changes when Rachel, who insists everyone call her Raq to acknowledge the rock star that she is, crashes into Ann Michelle’s life. Raq is everything Ann Michelle isn’t – she’s sassy, loud, confident, boisterous, and (according to Ann Michelle’s grandma) dangerous. But Ann Michelle likes the person Raq brings out of her, and one night, she sneaks out to go to a concert with her new friend. True to her rock star lifestyle, Raq scores the girls backstage passes, and soon Ann Michelle finds herself face to face with her favorite hip hop artist, Piper. Ann Michelle introduces herself to him as Glitz, and with that first simple lie, her personality whirlwinds into a sexy, confident, bold girl. When Piper and his entourage invite Raq and Glitz to the recording studio with them, the old Ann Michelle’s propriety and adherence to rules are squashed. Before she realizes it, the girls are on their way to New York City with Piper and his crew to record a big demo, which Raq hopes she will push her way onto. The further she gets from home, the more Glitz realizes the mistake she’s made.

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More books by Philana Marie Boles

Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Girls, Chick Lit, Friends, Realistic Fiction, Relationships Location: JY Fiction

Me and My Dragon

by David Biedrzycki

Reading Level: Ages 4-7

You might think that a dog or a cat is the perfect pet, but you would be wrong. The perfect pet is a dragon. Read this funny book about how to find, train, and have fun with a dragon that’s just right for you!

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More books by David Biedrzycki

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Books for Boys, Don't Miss These, Family, Fantasy, Friends, Humor, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books

Queen of the Falls

by Chris Van Allsburg

Reading Level: Grades K-3

Retirement isn’t for everyone – especially not sixty-two year old Annie Edson Taylor. Schoolteaching in the late 1800s was not a high paying job, and after retirement, Annie needed a way to earn some money so she could live out the rest of her days in comfort and happiness. She knew that stuntmen and daredevils often made good money from their bravado, and so she decided to become the first person ever to go over Niagara Falls… in a barrel. Chris Van Allsburg’s typical old-timey illustrations are a perfect pairing with this biography.

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More books by Chris Van Allsburg

Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Biographies Location: J Non-Fiction

The Last Little Blue Envelope

by Maureen Johnson

Reading Level: Grades 8+

When 17-year-old Ginny's eccentric aunt died she sent her niece $1,000 and some numbered envelopes  with the instruction that Ginny fly to Europe by herself and follow the directions in the envelopes, never opening the next envelope until the tasks in the previous envelope were completed.

WARNING: If you have not read 13 Little Blue Envelopes read no more!

It was a summer Ginny would never forget. She worked her way through twelve of the envelopes before her backpack (which held the thirteenth envelope) was stolen in Greece. Resigning herself to never finishing the adventure, Ginny returns home to New York.

Months later she receives an e-mail from someone she doesn't know. The e-mail contains the first page of the thirteenth letter. When she answers the e-mail, the sender tells her the rest of the e-mail contains clues to another of her aunt's paintings. Clues that only Ginny can solve. The sender will not share the instructions in the letter unless Ginny agrees to accompany him on the hunt for the pieces of the work, sell the painting and split the proceeds with him 50/50.

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More books by Maureen Johnson

Other foreign adventures include:

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles and

Getting the Boot by Peggy Guthart Strauss

Reading Level: 8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Books for Girls, Chick Lit, In Other Lands, Rebus Location: JY Fiction

The Water Wars

by Cameron Stracher

Reading Level: Grade 6-8

Vera is too young to remember a time she wasn't thirsty. Since the polar ice caps melted and the rivers dried up, there is very little fresh water left. Almost all the northern hemisphere's fresh water is controlled by the Empire of Canada and the Republic of Minnesota. Vera lives in the Republic of Illinowa where she is lucky to get a drink a day.

One day Vera meets Kai a boy with a wonderful, powerful secret. When Kai is suddenly, violently kidnapped, Vera and her older brother Wil naively set out to save him. As they encounter dangerous water pirates, the People's Environmental Army and the sinister organization Bluewater, it becomes clear that the brother and sister probably won't even be able to save themselves.

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More books by Cameron Stracher

Other tales of environmental disaster include:

The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner and

The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Dystopias, Science Fiction, Survival Location: JY Fiction

Fatty Legs: A True Story

by Cristy Jordan-Fenton

Reading Level: Grades 3-6

Be careful what you wish for.

After her older half-sister reads her part of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland but refuses to tell why Alice followed the rabbit down the hole, nine-year-old Olemaun nags her parents to send her to the school of the white outsiders. Even though her father warns her that they will cut her hair, give her a new name and not allow her to speak their language , Olemaun so desperately wants to read that she persists until she gets her way.

Once in the clutches of the dark-cloaked nuns, Olemaun realizes what a horrible mistake she has made. Somehow she must hold onto who she is until she can finally return to her people.

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More books by Christy Jordan-Fenton

More narratives of Indian boarding schools include:

Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell and

Indian School: Teaching the White Man's Way by Michael Cooper

Reading Level: 3rd Grade,4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade Subjects: Biographies, Books for Girls, Non-Fiction Location: J Non-Fiction

Calli Be Gold

by Michele Weber Hurwitz

Reading Level: Grades 4-6

Quiet Calli Gold feels out of place in her family of achievers. Her older brother Alex is the star of his school's basketball team. Her older sister Becca is an ice skater. The family calender is loaded with post-it notes, blue for Alex's games and practices, pink for Becca. Calli's color is yellow. There only two yellow post-its up for the whole month, appointments for the dentist and a haircut.

Calli's parents are sure if Calli would just be willing to try she would find her place to shine. Calli HAS tried. So far she has tried and failed gymnastics, ballet, soccer, baton twirling, violin and origami. Now her father has signed her up for acting.

Can Calli ever be appreciated for who she is in this high octane family?

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More books by Michele Weber Hurwitz

For other stories of a kid feeling out of place in their family try::

Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer Holm

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne and

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Reading Level: 4th Grade,5th Grade,6th Grade Subjects: Books for Girls, Family, Friends, Misfits, Realistic Fiction, School Location: J Fiction