Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Ellie’s Story

Staff Pick: Ellie’s Story

Ellie's Story

Trained as a search-and-rescue dog since puppyhood, Ellie can track and find people who are physically lost, but it is her owners, widower Jakob and lonely Maya, who challenge her to find a way to save people who are lost in other ways.

When Ellie is old enough, she is taken away from her mother and littermates to be trained as a police search and rescue dog.  She must learn her basic commands, like “come” and “stay,” but she must also learn to do things like walk on unstable ground, crawl through tight places, hang from a harness, and find people on command by using her sense of smell.

Ellie tells her own story, so she doesn’t always know the same words we do to explain things, and she doesn’t always think the way people think.  For example, when she experiences grass for the first time, she thinks it is pricklier than her blanket, and she bites it to show it that she is in charge.  Ellie loves to fetch sticks, and that is how her trainer convinces her to go into the water…which she has not liked ever since her littermate shoved her head into the water bowl as a pup.

There are other dogs working with the police, too, but they do things like sniff out drugs, and Ellie doesn’t understand why they get praise when they don’t ever Find people, but she plays with them anyway. Once Ellie is grown, she works with a policeman named Jakob finding people, until the day that Jakob is wounded on the job.  Then Ellie begins to work with another police officer named Maya.  And although Ellie loves her work, she loves her people more, and always tries to make them happy by being a good dog and doing her work properly.  At the end of the story, the author gives factual information explaining some of the things Ellie experiences, including why she was chosen over other dogs to be a police dog, and how she was trained to do her job.

Recommended by: Doriene Smither – East Washington Branch

 

 

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Staff Pick: Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature

Staff Pick: Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature

Introduces readers to naturally repeating fractals while discussing what makes them unique, explaining how to move beyond familiar shapes in nature to recognize more intricate patterns.

Have you ever seen colorful computer fractal designs on a computer screen?  Did you know that we can find fractals in nature and even inside our bodies?  This outstanding book will tell you about and also show you photographs of mysterious patterns named fractals by the scientist Benoit Mandelbrot, who once was a curious boy fascinated by shapes and the connections between different ideas.  This book will open your eyes to the many fractals all around you.  Be prepared to be amazed!

Recommended by: Tamara Baumgartner – Wayne Branch

 

 

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Staff Pick: Poop Fountain!

Staff Pick: Poop Fountain!

Poop Fountain

Three friends spend Christmas day breaking into the town of Crickenburg’s antiquated sewage treatment plant in order to witness with their own eyes the soon-to-be-replaced “poopfountain.”

Who wouldn’t want to read a book called Poop Fountain? The title alone should peak your curiosity. Well, maybe if you are an 8 year old boy. Even though I was one once, what really drew me to this book was the author. Tom Angleberger is best known for his Origami Yoda series and like those, this one is presented as if the children in the story have written it themselves.

Three bored kids (Lyle, Marilla and Dave) want to do something exciting on Christmas Day. A busy day for others is a free one for them: Dave’s parents work all day at the Qwikpick gas station and convenience store; Marilla’s family exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve; and Dave is Jewish. Their small town of Crickenburg does not offer a lot of excitement, so the newly formed Qwikpick Adventure Society is hard pressed to find something worthy of their name. When they hear the town’s waste treatment plant will be closing down its poop fountain, they know they have found their goal. They will not only be the first kids to see it, but some of the last people to ever see it in operation.

They secretly plan their trip, mapping out their walking route across fields and over hills and pack enough snacks for the whole day. Marilla brings her new camera to capture important moments including a picture of all of them with the fountain.

What trip really goes as planned? With so much potential for messiness (not to mention the possibility of getting caught sneaking into the sewage plant), this is an adventure worth reading.

Recommended by: Will Smither – Decatur Branch

 

 

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Staff Pick: How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt

Staff Pick: How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt

How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt

Serpot, ruler of a land where women live free, without men, leads her Amazon warriors in battle against Prince Pedikhons of Egypt, who has come to see for himself if women can equal men, even in battle.

From a papyrus now in taters, comes the story of the Amazon queen, Serpot, who with her women warriors, defends her kingdom against a prince of Egypt.  Myth?  History?  Regardless, this book has it all:  spying, fighting, epiphanies, love.  Illustrations are placed side by side with actual Egyptian hieroglyphs from the scroll.  Notes at the back provide context, and additional information.  A book about strong, smart women, written by a strong, smart woman (Tamara Bower not only created the book but has worked on excavations around the world), this book is a treasure.

Recommended by: Daniell Wilkins – College Avenue Branch

 

 

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Staff Pick: My Favorite Animal Families

Staff Pick: My Favorite Animal Families

My Favorite Animal Families

Presents an extensively illustrated introduction to the family behavior of fourteen different species of animal.

Got animals?  Well, now you do….check out 14 amazing species as they interact with their  families in the wild.  Cool info about lions and cheetahs and bears (oh my!) and 70 gorgeous, candid photos captured by bestselling wildlife and nature photographer, Steve Bloom, are found in this entertaining, one-of-a-kind book! Pandas, orangutans, elephants, giraffes—take your pick.  If you like animals, this book is for YOU!

Recommended by: Tamara Baumgartner, Lawrence Branch Library

 

 

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