Tag Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Ida, Always

Ida, Always

A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion, based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York’s Central Park Zoo.

“Based on real story, “Ida, Always” is a short and beautiful picture book about two polar bears, Ida and Gus, beloved by many and remembered for their loss. When Ida falls ill and is only expected to live a while longer, both friends find ways to mourn and eventually cope with this eventuality. Though it is difficult to move past loss, “Ida, Always” reminds us that even the little things that surround our daily lives can help us overcome the low points in life. For Gus, the busy sounds and fantastic smells that surround New York City’s Central Park Zoo, the place Ida was happy to call home, are enough to bring him peace.

Facing the topic death and the fear that comes with it is never easy, but Caron Levis and Charles Santoso bring a work of art to a world of literature often filled with minced words and abstract art. Rather than solemn, sullen, and aggressively thoughtful, Santoso paints a world so colorful and awe inspiring that it seems to stand in opposition to Levis’s heart wrenching story. This contrast only brings more impact to the overall story; rather than feuding, these two aspects help strike home the book’s moral and conclusion—so long as you remember to look for it, there is a beauty in the world that can make our darkest days bearable. For old and young alike, this title is a must and a boon for those struggling with their own losses.”

Recommended by Joseph Lutholtz – infoZone Library

Staff Pick: Everybody Loves Bacon

Everybody Loves Bacon

Everyone loves Bacon but letting his fame go to his head may prove more dangerous than he thought

“Everyone loves Bacon. And Bacon knows it. He’s got the fame and fans. What else does he need? The other meats feel left out. He forgets his old friends, leaving them behind for the fame. Bacon has it good until… Everyone loves bacon. This is just a down right fun and silly story. Kids will enjoy the fun story and pictures. Adults will laugh out loud at the subtle humor. (My favorite line is when the Canadian Bacon says “What about me, eh?!”) A great family read-aloud!”

Recommended by Mary Luzader – Eagle Library


Staff Pick: I’m a Little Black Girl

I'm a Little Black Girl


I’m a Little Black Girl! introduces adorable Mia, who wakes with her hair “just-a-going every which-a-ways!” With her abundant energy and joy leading the way, readers follow Mia as she plays with her friends who are all shades, shapes and sizes. There’s tall Kia, Keisha the reader, Charlotte her best friend, Dina Rose-Marie the artist, Imani the dancer, Anna who loves sports, Ruby the singer, and honey-haired Tracy. Mia finds that “Pretty” is within herself and her friends, and being pretty is way beyond what the mirror shows.

“Mia loves everything about herself, from the way her hair stands all over her head first thing in the morning, to the crazy dances she does on the way to breakfast. She’s a pretty little black girl and she loves it. She enjoys her friends who come in all shapes, sizes and shades of brown. Together they are a group of girls who like having fun but they’re also kind to each other by always using good manners and spreading love all around. They have big dreams and will one day show the world what they’re made of.”

Recommended by Claudine Polley – Fountain Square Library

Staff Pick: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast

Lady Pancakes & Sir French Toast

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship–until they discover that there’s only one drop of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast!

A children’s picture book chronicling the hilarious and bumbling competition between Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast as they race each other through the fridge to reach the last of the maple syrup. This picture book has everything needed for a fun story time for parents and kids of all ages. In this rhyming and comical tale, two leftover foods find their competitive spirit when they race through the fridge on their way to secure that last drop of maple syrup. Along the way, they run into various food related obstacles and fellow friend (and some foe) foods as they make their way through the terrain of the fridge. This story is a great lesson in friendship while also showcasing food groups and words for children to become familiar with. Josh Funk weaves an imaginative tale using food as props and scenery to create a realistic world for his two main characters. Children’s sense of imagination will love all of his little details such as the Broccoli Forest and Potato Mash Mountain. Kearney’s illustrations make the fridge world all that more fun for readers to enjoy. This story will make you laugh and want to read it again and again. I recommend this title for anyone who enjoys such stories as ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ and ‘The Book with No Pictures’. Keep an eye out for Funk’s next stories; I’m sure they will be just as wonderful as this one!

Recommended by Maggie – Warren Library

Staff Pick: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

When a sandwich goes missing, it seems that a bear is the unlikely culprit.

Every thief needs a scapegoat. In The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, the thief constructs an elaborate tale that explains what happened to the missing sandwich. The actual klepto, a little dog, is revealed as the narrator at the end of the book. The dog spins an elaborate tale of a wondrous journey from the forest to the city park where he stumbles upon this irresistible treat. This story is sure to win the hearts of adults and children. It has beautiful illustrations that depict the fantastic tale spun by the dog. It definitely is an irresistible tale, just like its subject, the prized sandwich. If you have ever had a dog steal your food you will definitely get a good chuckle at this story.

Recommended by Lindsay Haddix – Nora Branch Library

Staff Pick: Little Red Gliding Hood

Little Red Gliding Hood

Little Red is an excellent ice skater, but she will need a good partner for the skating pairs competition and the only one available is a certain Wolf, who needs new skates as badly as Little Red does.

Little Red Gliding Hood laces up her worn-in, worn-out ice skates and “swizzles, twizzles, spins, and waltzes” across the river through the enchanted forest to Grandma’s House.  On the way, she spots a banner announcing a Pairs Skating Competition- and the Prize….Brand-New Ice Skates!  Oh slippery slush, all she needs is a partner! Goldilocks and Baby Bear, the Dish and the Spoon, Tortoise and the Hare… everyone has a partner! EXCEPT: The Big Bad Wolf!  Oh, slippery slush, will Little Red Gliding Hood find a partner in someone who usually wants to eat her?  Can you sort out the mixed up nursery rhymes and fairytales to name the winner of the pairs competition?    Watch the competition in Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar with pictures by Troy Cummings.

Recommended by Patty Wallace – East 38th Street Branch Library

Staff Pick: Polar Bear’s Underwear

Polar Bear's Underwear

Polar Bear has lost his underwear and he asks his friend, Mouse, to help him find it.

Poor Polar Bear has lost his underwear. If only Polar Bear could remember what they look like…maybe Mouse can help. We follow our two friends as they see a variety of underpants. Due to the magic of cutouts on the pages, we see the underwear first followed by the owners on the following page. Each animal wears appropriately themed underpants, but none belong to Polar Bear. The story is full of wonderful bright colors and delightful surprises. A simple background only helps bring out the vibrant illustrations in this funny book that will surely make little ones giggle.

Recommended by Carol Segal – Glendale Branch Library

Staff Pick: Go to School Little Monster

Go to School Little Monster

Little Monster is nervous about his first day of school, but his teacher Mr. Drool and the other monsters put him at ease.

This book is about Little Monster’s first day of school. He meets other monsters and one monster, Fang, who has really big teeth and draws scary pictures. Fang draws a picture of a huge dinosaur with Little Monster in it’s jaws. He is only pretending and wants to be friends. Little Monster’s teacher, Mr. Drool, helps little Monster feel comfortable in classroom, on the playground and at lunch. I think children and teachers, especially, will enjoy this book because of the story, the rhyming and the great watercolor illustrations. I really enjoyed it.

Recommended by Carol Segal – Glendale Branch Library

Staff Pick: Big, Bigger, Biggest

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Introduces young children to the language of comparison, synonyms, and antonyms, and features pictures of animals in all shapes and sizes.

Big, Bigger, Biggest! by Nancy Coffelt introduces readers to adjectives, comparatives, and synonyms with the help of all kinds of fun animals friends. Readers can learn a heap, a slew, a ton of new colorful words like immense or viscous. This book makes for a great read-aloud and discussion starter. And who knows, you might just find a new favorite word.

Recommended by Mary Wirt – Pike Branch Library


Staff Pick: Little Eliot, Big City

Little Eliot, Big City

Elliot the little elephant has a hard time with a lot of things in the city he loves until he meets Mouse, who is even smaller–and hungrier.

In a big city that isn’t properly sized for a little elephant, Elliot does his best to live his quiet life amidst the hustle and bustle that surrounds him. When he finds a problem that is impossible to overcome on his own, he find that even the littlest things can help make his life a little easier and a lot more fun.

This heartwarming tale of friendship and personal growth, in spite of one’s natural disadvantages, is a title that is certain to engage readers of every age and background. While children will love the adorable and relatable character of Elliot the little elephant, adults will enjoy the book’s beautifully illustrated pages, filled with artwork reminiscent of Depression Era artists such as Thomas Benton, Edward Hopper and Diego Rivera. Due to his vertical disadvantages, Elliot’s tale is one that could be especially inspiring to anyone with a physical disability or complication, showing that any obstacle that might stand in their way can be overcome with a little help.

As the first book by author and illustrator, Mike Curato, this book is a promising start to what will soon become a new juvenile series—the sequel, “Little Elliot Big Family,” is slated to hit the shelves in October of this year.

—Recommended by Joseph Lutholtz, infoZone – The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Branch Library