Staff Picks

Pete the Cat and his animal friends welcome Gus the Platypus, who discovers his own special talent.

 

 

 

Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.

When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education.

Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, one crazy summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them-an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia.

Winner of the2011 Coretta Scott King Author Award
Winner of the 2011 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
A 2011 Newbery Honor Book

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.

 

Things to know about Billy Miller:

    He's worried about 2nd grade

 

    He thinks bats are cool
    His little sister is annoying
    He had a spectacular accident this summer
    He doesn't like poetry much
    His dad makes really good cookies
    Ned is his best friend
    His mom likes rainy days
    He thinks Emma Sparks is a pain
    He can run really fast
    This is his year

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Oscar is the magician’s “hand” – a boy who works in the basement of the powerful magician’s shop by day and sneaks books out of his master’s library at night.  Every day is the same, and Oscar likes it that way.  He knows he’s different – he doesn’t remember where he came from and never knows what to say to the other villagers. He’d rather go to the woods and pick plants to grind into potions.
One day, things change.  Children get sick and the magician disappears, leaving Oscar in charge of the shop.  When a beast shows up and trashes the town, Oscar knows that there is big trouble.  If it weren’t for his new friend Callie, the healer’s apprentice, Oscar would hide in his bed and pull the covers over his head.
This story of magic, courage, friendship, healing and transformation is captivating.  Who could resist a tale with a Most Spectacular Goat? The characters are memorable, the messages subtle, and the storytelling holds till the end.  This would be a great family read-aloud.
Deb Andrews
February 2014

Pete the Cat is wearing his favorite shirt—the one with the four totally groovy buttons. But when one falls off, does Pete cry? Goodness, no! He just keeps on singing his song—after all, what could be groovier than three groovy buttons? Count down with Pete in this rocking new story from the creators of the bestselling Pete the Cat books.

 

Night 1: My life is perfect. / I have a bowl full of seeds, a cozy pile of wood shavings, and room to run. / I'm never leaving here. / Question: Who's the luckiest hamster in the world? / Answer: ME! Seymour the hamster has the perfect life. He has a spacious cage, a constant food supply, and a FuzzyBoy 360 exercise wheel that lets him run to his heart's content. Life could not be better. Or could it? When Pearl the cat tells Seymour of the goodies beyond the safe confines of his cage, he starts to think he's missing out. And out is the new in! It's only after Seymour is out of his cage that he begins to fully appreciate his safe and cozy home.

 

Turn the pages, lift the flaps, and see animals of all shapes and sizes bring the world of opposites to life. From slow snail to fast cheetah, heavy hippo to light butterfly, smooth frog to prickly porcupine, Petr Horácek’s brightly colored pop-up animals and interactive flaps make early learning irresistible and fun.

 

 

Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn't sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?

 

 

We all know the fairy tale about Rumpelstiltskin, right? He was the bad guy in that, but when we look at the classic story from “Rump’s” point of view we find a more interesting, well-intended and luckless character.  Rump (or Butt, as the village bullies like to call him), was born into a world of magic, where he discovers what just might be his destiny – to spin straw into gold.  That leads to all kinds of trouble, from greedy kings to troublesome pixies and smelly trolls.  Rump goes on a quest to follow his true destiny, and finds courage and friendship along the way.  But will he escape the curse that binds him to spinning gold? Find out in this great story for ages eight and up.  A great family read-aloud!

 

Inspired by the evil villains and innocent damsels of silent movies, Willems tells the tale of a hungry fox who invites a plump goose to dinner. As with the beloved Pigeon books, kids will be calling out the signature refrain and begging for repeated readings. The funny details in the full-color illustrations by three-time Caldecott Honoree Mo Willems will bring nonstop laughter to story time.

 

 

Even best friends can have a fight.
Chicken, Pig, and Cow have always gotten along well—until the day Girl builds a big city out of blocks. Thinking something is missing, Chicken makes a statue out of leaves. Now the city is perfect.
Pig loves zipping and zooming around the city. Chicken warns him to be careful, but Pig is having too much fun to listen. Then the inevitable happens: Pig zooms right into Chicken's statue, destroying it. Chicken is furious!
Pig's attempts to fix the statue only make matters worse. In the end, he demolishes the entire city. Realizing what a mess he's made, Pig hides while Chicken, Cow, and Dog rebuild the city. After a nap, Pig feels better and returns to apologize to his friends. They forgive him and invite him to join in.

Stick figures to the dark side only lead! To doodle like a Jedi you must learn! With this companion to the blockbuster bestselling Origami Yoda series, beloved author Tom Angleberger—with the help of the kids from McQuarrie Middle School—presents young Padawans with dozens of activities from the Star Wars universe. Padawans can learn how to fold R2-D2 and C-3PO, draw Jabba, and even build a fully functioning ChapStick rocket! Other Force-mastering activities include: “Kellen’s Guide to Cool Letters,” “Mike’s Complete Rules and Tips for Pencil Pod-Racing,” “Rhondella’s Tips for Photographing Origami,” and much more!

 

 

In his thirteenth year, Will Sparrow, liar and thief, becomes a runaway. On the road, he encounters a series of con artists—a pickpocket, a tooth puller, a pig trainer, a conjurer—and learns that others are more adept than he at lying and thieving. Then he reluctantly joins a traveling troupe of "oddities," including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl, holding himself apart from the "monsters" and resolving to be on guard against further deceptions. At last Will is forced to understand that appearances are misleading and that  he has been his own worst deceiver. The rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England is the colorful backdrop for Newbery medalist Cushman's new comic masterpiece.

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling phenomenon The Daring Book for Girls is an even more daring guide to everything from making a raft to learning how to play football to the art of the Japanese Tea ceremony. This second volume, with all new original material, promises to be even more of a daring adventure than the first. Girls will learn how to surf, get horseback riding tips, make a labyrinth, find out about April Fool’s Day history and pranks, how to organize a croquet tournament, find out about cowgirls, the Nobel Prize, being a detective and much more! Just as packed with creative and exciting material as the original, but twice as fun, this book will be beloved by all Daring fans everywhere!

The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like Don't try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.

It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

This playful picture book from Jan Thomas features a courageous cowboy who croons to his cows before bed—with just a few fearful interruptions.

Join the Brave Cowboy as he tries to sing his young calf pals to sleep on a dark, dark night—EEEEEEEK! IS THAT A HUGE HAIRY SPIDER OVER THERE? Oh, it’s just a flower? Well then, back to the lullaby.

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