Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Carbonel the King of the Cats

Staff Pick: Carbonel the King of the Cats

Carbonel King of the Cats

Rosemary’s plan to clean houses during her summer break and surprise her mother with the money she earns hits a snag when an old lady at the market talks her into buying a second-rate broom and a cat she can’t even afford to keep.

Inquisitive and adventurous children, talking cats, and flying rocking chairs and brooms = an endearing jFiction comfort series, which also includes The Kingdom of Carbonel (2009); and Carbonel and Calidor (2009). Yes, magic and witchcraft are involved. Author Barbara Sleigh (1906-1982) worked for the BBC Children’s Hour, so it’s not surprising that meanness is vanquished in this New York Review Children’s Collection trio. The illustrations are charming in this 1955 book that was reissued in 2004 and in the sequels that the New York Review Collection added five years later.

Recommended by: Diane Palguta, College Avenue Branch

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Staff Pick: Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

Staff Pick: Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

Lincoln's Grave Robbers

Describes how a counterfeiting ring plotted to ransom Lincoln’s body to secure the release of their imprisoned ringleader, and how a fledging Secret Service and an undercover agent conducted a daring election-night sting operation.

Counterfeiting, the Secret Service, and Abraham Lincoln.  Though seeming to have little in common, the connection between these three led to an incredible chain of events in 1875.  When master counterfeiter Benjamin Boyd  is arrested, members of the counterfeiting ring conspire to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln from his resting place and ransom his body for money and demand Boyd freed from prison.  With Secret Service on their heels, the conspirators unknowingly allow a double agent in on the plot, who kept the Secret Service updated every step of the way and ultimately helped bring about the downfall of the conspirators.

            Based on true events, Sheinkin has created a thrilling and suspenseful true crime account for  children that reveals much about the counterfeiting problems that plagued the later part of the 19th century.  Even more, children will be fascinated by the crime-fighting methods of that time, and will be drawn in  by the action and liveliness of the plot.   With just the right amount off factual information woven into the story, readers will find themselves on a rollicking historical ride that won’t stop until the thrilling conclusion.  A must-read for children!  

Recommended by: Emily Chandler, Lawrence Library

 

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Staff Pick: Double Identity

Staff Pick: Double Identity

Double Identity

Thirteen-year-old Bethany’s parents have always been overprotective, but when they suddenly drop out of sight with no explanation, leaving her with an aunt she never knew existed, Bethany uncovers shocking secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2009-2010, 6-8 Nominee.

“Bethany’s near perfect world is shattered just prior to her thirteenth birthday.  Her parents flee their home and drive to a strange town arriving in the middle of the night.  They abandon Bethany with an aunt she never even knew existed.  Dad tells her he will call when he can, but she is not to contact them.  Bethany overhears him tell Aunt Myrlie, “She doesn’t know about Elizabeth”.  “Who is Elizabeth?” Beth wonders.  To add to the mystery the townspeople who meet Bethany react like they have seen a ghost.  Eventually Bethany learns she looks identical to this Elizabeth, right down to the seven freckles on her nose.  As she struggles to unravel the mystery of her past, she discovers a strange man is stalking her and asking questions about her father.  This gripping science fiction story will keep you in suspense until the very end.”

Recommended by: Linda Tegmeyer, Brightwood Library

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Staff Pick: Doll Bones

Staff Pick: Doll Bones

Doll Bones

Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.

“A simple coin stamped with the image of an angel doesn’t really have super powers but somehow this little talisman brings together four students from a performing arts magnet middle school in a magical way. The Broadway musical, “The Big River,” an adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, is the backdrop for this delightful novel. Bette is grieving over the death of her mother, her sister has gone away to college and her father is so involved in his new nightclub he’s never home. Joe is a bully; angry at his absent father, trying to be a loving and supportive son to his divorced mother, while preying on weaker kids at school. Andy is small for his age, plays the violin and is the victim of Joe’s abuse. Viv is Andy’s twin sister, an accomplished pianist, trying to grow up with severe asthma and transitioning from being home-schooled back to a regular classroom. Ilene Cooper takes these diverse personalities and weaves their stories into an engrossing story about finding friendship in unexpected places.”

Recommended by: Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch Library

The Mysterious Benedict Society Web Comic Used With Permission:

Unshelved strip for 6/7/2013

@bookblrb: Three friends go on a quest to bury a doll made of the bones of a girl whose ghost threatens to make them miserable.

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Staff Pick: Angel in My Pocket

Staff Pick: Angel in My Pocket

Angel in My Pocket

When seventh-grader Bette finds an angel coin she puts it in her pocket and forgets it but soon the mysterious and kind Gabby moves into her building and helps her face her major losses, and then the coin connects her with three classmates who all find new ways to believe in themselves.

A simple coin stamped with the image of an angel doesn’t really have super powers but somehow this little talisman brings together four students from a performing arts magnet middle school in a magical way. The Broadway musical, “The Big River,” an adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, is the backdrop for this delightful novel. Bette is grieving over the death of her mother, her sister has gone away to college and her father is so involved in his new nightclub he’s never home. Joe is a bully; angry at his absent father, trying to be a loving and supportive son to his divorced mother, while preying on weaker kids at school. Andy is small for his age, plays the violin and is the victim of Joe’s abuse. Viv is Andy’s twin sister, an accomplished pianist, trying to grow up with severe asthma and transitioning from being home-schooled back to a regular classroom. Ilene Cooper takes these diverse personalities and weaves their stories into an engrossing story about finding friendship in unexpected places.

Recommended by: Roberta Ash, Eagle Branch Library

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