Lisa's Staff Picks:
It's a Book by Lane Smith
Playful and lighthearted with a subversive twist that is signature Lane Smith, IT’S A BOOK is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age. This satisfying, perfectly executed picture book has something to say to readers of all stripes and all ages.
Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd
Lynley Dodd's Slinky Malinki tells the story of a rascally cat who answers the call of the wild and finds himself in a whole heap of trouble. Full of wonderful creative language that doesn’t talk down to kids.
Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
"Good night, Gorilla," says the weary watchman to the gorilla on his nightly rounds at the zoo. The gorilla answers by quietly pickpocketing the guard's keys, stealthily trailing him, and unlocking the cages of every animal the oblivious fellow bids goodnight to. Caldecott-winning author/illustrator Peggy Rathmann relies more on the nuances of her jewel-toned pictures than on words to pace this giggly bedtime story, making it perfect for observant preschoolers.
Allison's Staff Picks:
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
A gentle tale of three baby owls reassures young children that Mommy will always come home. When three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, they can't help but wonder where she is. Stunning illustrations capture the worried owls as they wait--and the joyous flapping and bouncing and dancing that greet her return.
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Menolly longs to see a dragon, but even more, she wants to be a Harper - to sing, play, and write the tunes that come so naturally to her. To escape her father's edict of banishment from singing because she is a girl, Menolly runs away and seeks refuge in a cave. There she becomes friends with nine fire lizards, small relatives of the huge dragons, and teaches them to sing.
The Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton
Follow the five Berton children, Penny, Pamela, Peter, Patsy, and baby Paul (better-known as “The Pollywog”) as they discover and explore a vast, mysterious world of caverns and rivers hidden beneath a trapdoor in the floor of their clubhouse. In their subterranean adventures, they befriend the little green inhabitants called Ogs, share their worldly knowledge with them, and, at the same time, gain a little wisdom themselves.
Lori's Staff Picks:
The Minpins by Roald Dahl
Terrible monsters lurk in the forest, but if you climb up into the trees you may be lucky and meet some of the thousands of tiny Minpins who live there, too. The hollow trees are filled with their miniature homes--and they travel around the country on the backs of birds! "Vintage Dahl for reading aloud."--"Booklist." Full color.
5 Ancestors: Tiger by Jeff Stone
Twelve-year-old Fu and his temple brothers Malao, Seh, Hok, and Long were raised by their grandmaster. They think of their temple as their home and their fellow warrior monks as their family. Then one terrible night, the temple is destroyed. Fu and his brothers are the only survivors. Charged by their grandmaster to uncover the secrets of their past, the five flee into the countryside and go their separate ways. Book #1 follows Fu as he struggles to find out more and prove himself in the process.
Tamar's Staff Pick:
Help Me Mr. Mutt by Janet Stevens
Calling all dogs! Responding to disgruntled dogs nationwide, Mr. Mutt, Canine Counselor, has solutions to the most sticky dilemmas. But now Mr. Mutt is the one who needs help--quick! Through letters and newspaper clippings--and with plenty of their trademark humour--Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel give voice to despairing dogs everywhere.
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The one bright spot in her threadbare existence is her younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. Their mentally ill mother comes and goes until one day she disappears for good. The girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright new world of high school, clothes and boys. Now Carey must face the truth of a haunted past that hides many secrets, including the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman
Fifteen-year-old Nawra lives in Darfur, Sudan, in a camp for refugees displaced by the Janjaweed's trail of murder and destruction. Nawra cannot read or write, but when paired with an American donor, she dictates thank-you letters. K.C. is an American teenager who hates reading and writing but as Nawra pours grief and joy into her letters, she inspires K.C. to see beyond her own struggles. In this poetic tale of unlikely sisterhood, Whitman captures the friendship between two girls who teach each other compassion and share a remarkable bond that bridges two continents.
Maureens's Staff Pick:
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels. Luckily, 15 year old Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?
Wildwood by Colin Meloy
Prue McKeel's life is ordinary. That is, until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one's ever gone in--or at least returned to tell of it.
So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval-- A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.
Adventures With Barefoot Critters by Teagan White
Join an adorable cast of animal characters as they explore the alphabet through the seasons. From gathering honey in spring to building cozy campfires in fall, the friends make the most of each season, both enjoying the great outdoors and staying snug inside. Learning the alphabet is fun when adventuring with these critters, and children and adults alike will delight in Teagan White's sweet, nostalgic illustrations.
Christina's Staff Pick:
Cathedral by David Macaulay
This critically acclaimed book has been translated into a dozen languages and remains a classic of children's literature and a touchstone for budding architects. Cathedral's numerous awards include a prestigious Caldecott Honor and designation as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year for Macaulay's intricate pen-and-ink illustrations. Journey back to centuries long ago and visit the fictional people of twelfth-, thirteenth-, and fourteenth-century Europe whose dreams, like Cathedral, stand the test of time.
Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Her dad's got the mentality of a Teletubby (only not so developed). Her cat, Angus, is trying to eat the poodle next door. And her best friend thinks she looks like an alien -- just because she accidentally shaved off her eyebrows. Ergghhhlack. Still, add a little boy-stalking, teacher-baiting, and full-frontal snogging with a Sex God, and Georgia's year just might turn out to be the most fabbitty fab fab ever!
Ana's Staff Picks:
My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
"Should appeal to all rugged individualists who dream of escape to the forest."--The New York Times Book Review
Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods--all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
Three decades and more than one million copies later children still love hearing about the boy with the long name who fell down the well. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent's classic re-creation of an ancient Chinese folktale has hooked legions of children, teachers, and parents, who return, generation after generation, to learn about the danger of having such an honorable name as Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.
Tressa's Staff Pick
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. The demon-powered magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again. Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is not being truthful about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all. This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
A modern, magical twist on the Gothic Romance and Girl Detective genres, reviewers have praised the take-charge heroine and the spellbinding romance. Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met--a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. When disturbing events begin to occur, Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets--and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.
Christy's Staff Picks
Beautiful Oops by Barney Salzberg
Hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn't ruin a drawing--not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? It's the roaring mouth of an alligator! A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion "telescope"--each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder --celebrate the oops in life.
The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Vashti can’t draw - she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us. With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, Peter H. Reynolds entices even the stubbornly uncreative among us to make a mark - and follow where it takes us.
Brenna's Staff Picks
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. When her frozen slumber comes to an end fifty years too soon, she is thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies is set in a world in which everyone has an operation when they turn sixteen, making them supermodel beautiful. Big eyes, full lips, no one fat or skinny. You might think this is a good thing, but it’s not. Especially if you’re one of the Smokies, a bunch of radical teens who’ve decided they want to keep their own faces. (How anti-social of them.)