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MADreads for Kids

Book reviews for children by library staff and guest contributors

What's in the book?

Cover of Open this Little Book
A review of Open this Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier
Suzy Lee

If you and your little ones love books, Open This Little Book is the perfect choice. It's a story within a story, a book within a book -- and it's all a lot of fun! Madison native, Jesse Klausmeier, along with illustrator-extraordinaire Suzy Lee, have created an imaginative and exciting picture book that will have your kids asking to read it again and again. But what's inside the book? You'll have to check it out and find out for yourself!

Sep 15, 2023

The world is dangerous and mysterious

Cover of Big Tree
A review of Big Tree by Brian Selznick

And totally worth saving.  

Louise and Merwin are tiny sycamore seed siblings preparing to take flight from their mother's seed pouch when disaster strikes. The forest is on fire and creatures are fleeing the area. A stampede of dinosaurs knock over mama and her seed pouch bursts open. The two little seeds make their way into the terrifying world earlier than planned, sooner than they were prepared for, and without great prospects for finding a suitable place to put down roots.

Sep 11, 2023

Becoming buoyant

Cover of Starfish
A review of Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Eliana Elizabeth Montgomery-Hofstein
  That's my name,
  My bestie, Viv,
  and my parents call me
  Ellie or El.
  But most people call me Splash
  or some synonym for whale.
  Cannonball into a pool,
  drenching everyone,
  and wear a whale swimsuit
  to your Under the Sea birthday party
  when you're a chubby kid
  who grows up to be a fat tween
  and no one will let you live it down.

Sep 8, 2023

What's in a Name?

Cover of The Boy Who Tried to Shrin
A review of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran
Michelle Pereira

When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts at a new school, he feels anxious about introducing himself to new people with a long name and decides to shrink his name to "Zim." But between his new friend, Elly, seeing him for who he truly is and not giving up practicing skateboarding, he begins to gain confidence about himself and his full name. 

This uplifting story will inspire young readers to celebrate their authentic selves and learn that it's okay to take up space. 

Sep 1, 2023

Pintando un arcoíris / Painting a rainbow

Book Cover image
A review of ¿De qué color es un beso? by Rocio Bonilla

Cuando Mónica va en bicicleta, es más rápida que el viento, pero lo que más más más le gusta del mundo es pintar. Pinta muchas cosas con todos los colores, pero nunca ha pintado un beso. Pinta con cada color para ver cual sea mejor para pintar un beso, y descubre algo de color arcoíris. Perfecto para compartir con niños de 3-6 años, y seguir con un proyecto de arte.  


Aug 25, 2023

Menace under the surface

Cover of The Children of the Black
A review of The Children of the Black Glass by Anthony Peckham

Action, adventure, magic, mystery, plot twists, betrayal, redemption. Tell was only expecting to take his precious black glass, mined by his injured father, to the trading town of Halfway to get medicine and get back as quickly as he could. He didn’t count on his younger sister, Wren, sneaking along or the series of events embroiling them in a fierce wizard battle for control of Halfway. Tell and Wren make some strange alliances and some deadly foes. How the story resolves is anyone’s guess. The final page commands us to wait with a large “TO BE CONTINUED”.

Aug 18, 2023

Infographics galore

Cover of Friends Beyond Measure
A review of Friends Beyond Measure by Lalenda Fisher

Ana and Harwin are best friends. They thought the fun would last forever, brewing fairy tea, playing horse doctor, crafting, and jumping on a trampoline. Then Harwin tells Ana her family is moving away and the two friends aren't sure how their friendship will measure up going forward. Their ability to chart their friendship through timelines, bar graphs, and everything in between tells the story of how they maneuver through memories, feelings, the passing of time until the day Harwin leaves, and ultimately how they plan to stay in touch. 

Aug 4, 2023

Time for Bed!

Cover of Tickle My Ears
A review of Tickle My Ears by Jorg Muhle

It is bedtime and little rabbit has much to do to get ready for bed, so he needs the reader’s help.  Toddlers tap, clap, fluff (a pillow), and even give rabbit a kiss to help him through his bedtime ritual.  This is just one of the Little Rabbit series that is sure to be popular with young readers. Other titles in this interactive board book series are Bathtime for Little Rabbit, and Poor Little Rabbit

Aug 2, 2023

A library mystery

Mrs. Biddlebox book cover
Cover of Mrs. Biddlebox
A review of Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith
Marla Frazee

I recently got a question from someone with a library mystery - a picture book they were looking for about a woman who bakes away her sadness. It was kind of dark, with a house on a hill... but they couldn't remember the title!

This didn't ring any bells for me, but we have a great team with lots of combined experience with children's books, so I put out a call to crowd source the title and one of my colleagues came up with the answer: Mrs. Biddlebox, which does indeed have a dark swirly cover and the title page features a house on a hill. 

Jul 21, 2023


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