Friday, November 28, 2008

Ghosts in the Libary?

Alter, Stephen (2007). The Phantom Isles. 210 pages. Grades 5-8.

Sixth-graders Courtney, Orion, and Ming sneak into the library late one night and find a book, The Compleat Necromancer, which contains an incantation, that will awaken the ghosts. Their adventure begins as soon as they recite the spell. They find that the books were donated by Hezekiah Osgood, a scientist, and they contain the ghosts he captured on the island of Prithvideep and imprisoned within his books! Their images move and speak, but they cannot leave their page. In addition to figuring out how to help free the ghosts, the children's teacher, Mrs. Hokum stirs up controversy by attempting to ban books she disapproves of and to shut down the library. The chapters alternate between the children's adventure and the story of the ghosts they discover.

Note to reader: You may find a ghost or two hidden within the pages of this book.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Do you have what it takes to win the Golly-whopper Games?

Feldman, Jody (2008). The Golly-Whopper Games. 308 pages. Grades 4-7.
Twelve-year-old Gil Goodson's life hasn't been the same since "the Incident," when his father was falsely accused of stealing money from his employer, the Golly Toy and Game Company (GTGC). The kids at school treat him horribly and can't seem to get over "the Incident." Gil believes that his only chance at a fresh start for him and his family is to compete and win the Golly-whopper Games sponsored by the GTGC. Gil and thousands of other children must solve word games, puzzles, and other stunts in order to win prizes, including a college scholarship. During the games, Gil must work with the other finalists as a team, as well as independently in order to get to the final four. Some of the puzzles and codes are tricky, but the contestants solve them in their own unique way. Readers can solve the word puzzles and codes along with Gil and the other contestants. A fun and humorous book about a boy who justs wants to live a normal life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Back in time -- London circa 1763

Buckley-Archer, Linda (2006). Gideon, the Cutpurse. 404 pages. Grades 5-8.

Peter has been looking forward to spending his twelfth-birthday with his father, who has had to postpone their plans twice already. When his birthday is put on hold for the third time, Peter has had enough. His father sends him to Derbyshire for the weekend with his au pair where he meets Kate and her large, but loving family. Peter imagined the weekend as being a horrible time in the country, but he couldn't be more wrong. During a trip to Kate's father's science lab, Peter and Kate stumble upon a time-travel machine, known as the anti-gravity machine, which transports them back to London c. 1763. At first, they are uncertain of where they are and what year it is, until they meet Gideon Seymour who aids them throughout their journey. In order to get back to their time period, they must rely on this stranger who knows where the anti-gravity machine is being held. While stuck in the London of 1763, the children meet King George and Princess Charlotte, as well as a few other historical figures. Find out if Peter and Kate make it back to 21st century London. The adventure continues with the sequel: The Time Thief.

And if the historical detail leaves you wanting to read more about the 18th century, try:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What would you do if someone you knew disappeared right before your eyes?

Dowd, Siobhan (2008). The London Eye Mystery. 322 pages. Grades 5-8.

During his visit to London, Salim's cousins, Ted and Kat take him to ride on the London Eye. While waiting in line, they are approached by a stranger who offers them one ticket for the ride. Ted and Kat suggest that Salim take the ticket, which turns out to be a mistake. They watch as Salim walks into the pod that will carry him around the wheel, but when it opens again Salim has vanished! Ted and Kat must work together to solve the mystery of Salim's disappearance.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Curl up with your little one and read a book about dads!

Dorros, Arthur. Papa and Me.
A boy spends the day with his father, who only speaks Spanish.

Holmberg, Bo R. A Day with Dad.
Tim's father lives in a different town. When he takes the train to visit Tim, they spend the entire day together, doing all of their favorite things

Warnes, Tim. Daddy Hug.
Animal dads and their little ones share lots of love and hugs.

Yaccarino, Dan. Every Friday.
Every Friday, a father and his child share a special tradition.

More books about dads:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Needham Elementary Students' Artwork on Display!

Visit the Children's Department to view artwork created by Needham elementary students!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A family of dolls and an unsolved mystery

Martin, Ann M. (2000). The Doll People. 256 pages. Grades 3-6.

Annabelle has been eight years old for one hundred years. How is that possible? She is a porcelain doll who has lived with her parents in a Victorian dollhouse, which belongs to Kate. But, when Kate's younger sister receives a modern plastic dollhouse complete with plastic dolls, the original Doll family is not too pleased. In addition, Annabell has discovered a journal belonging to her Aunt Sarah who disappeared almost 45 years earlier. Will she be able to solve the mystery behind her Aunt's disappearance? You'll have to read and find out.

Wonderful illustrations by Brian Selznick (illus. The Invention of Hugo Cabret) make The Doll People a delightful read!

If you've read The Doll People, there are two books that follow: The Meanest Doll in the World (2003) and Martin's most recent The Runaway Dolls (2008).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Three little pigs and a big bad wolf

Do your kids love the story of The Three Little Pigs?
Here are some more books that use these characters in a different way:

Kasza, Keiko. The Wolf's Chicken Stew.
The big bad wolf is always hungry. In this story he tries to fatten up a chicken before he makes his stew, but will his plan work?

Kulka, Joe. Wolf's Coming!
The animals all know that the wolf is on his way, but where is he going?

Sierra, Judy. Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf
B.B. Wolf is invited to a library storytime tea party! His friend crocodile tells him to always remember his manners. Will wolf prove to be a perfect guest?

And for a classic Three Little Pigs, try Paul Galdone's version.