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MADreads for Kids

Book reviews for children by library staff and guest contributors

Clucky Birthday!

Cover of I Got a Chicken for my Bir
A review of I Got a Chicken for my Birthday by Laura Gehl

Ana asked her Abuela Lola (3 times!) for tickets to the amusement park for her birthday, but all she got was a chicken. Lucky for Ana… it isn’t any ordinary chicken. Her chicken isn’t interested in normal chicken things like laying eggs or pecking at chicken feed. Oh no! This chicken has PLANS. It has a list. It has blueprints. It has a bulldozer. This hysterical story told in simple sentences, brilliant illustrations, and funny little side notes “Sorry, no time for cake!” will keep you and your little one giggling over and over.

February 22, 2019

Welcome back, Carmen Sandiego

Cover of Who in the World is Carmen
A review of Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego? by Rebecca Tinker

I loved playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? a computer game created in 1985 by the American software company Broderbund. The game was originally classified as a "mystery exploration" series but became one of the first edutainment programs used in schools. I was introduced to the game as a 5.25-inch floppy disc for the Apple II. It was used in the computer lab when I was a student, to teach kids how to install computer programs and to build typing and mouse skills. I credit most of my knowledge of geography and capital cities of the world to this excellent game. 

February 21, 2019

Old Sins Cast Long Shadows

Cover of Ghost Boys
A review of Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I liked Jewell Parker Rhodes' book Towers Falling. So it was with great anticipation that I picked up her newest, Ghost Boys. Ghost Boys confronts another difficult, and all too real issue in today's society.  Twelve-year old Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer while playing with a toy gun in a park near his house.  Now, as a ghost, Jerome sees the devastating aftermath of his killing on his family, his friend, and his community.  Jerome meets the ghost of Emmett Till and hundreds of other ghost boys roaming the earth as their tragic history keeps replaying.

February 6, 2019

Newbery Greatness

Cover of Merci Suarez Changes Gears
A review of Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

This year's Newbery Medal went to Merci Suarez Changes Gears, a snappy and emotional novel about a middle school, family, and how little life changes add up fast. Sixth grade is not off to a great start for Merci-- things she's always loved to do are no long "cool", friendships seem to suddenly come with all these unwritten rules, and her beloved grandfather is acting more and more confused.

February 1, 2019

Keeping the light on

Cover of Hello Lighthouse
A review of Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Sophie Blackall has won the Caldecott Medal for her incredible ode to lighthouses and the extraordinary lives of lighthouse keepers and their families. Blackall has illustrated such a broad range of books for children, including a board book featuring a GLBT family, the chapter book series, Ivy & Bean, and picture books about wild boars who go out to dinner, an

January 29, 2019

Snowed In

Cover of May B
A review May B by Caroline Starr Rose

If there is one thing the collective body of literature about frontier life has told us, it's that life on the prairie was rough stuff. In Caroline Starr Rose's riveting novel in verse, a lone little girl goes up against the Kansas grasslands, where being alone means being ALONE, and winter can come as early as it wants.

January 25, 2019

Life Among the Leaves

Cover of Everything You Need for a
A review of Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins

Everything You Need for a Treehouse (Chronicle Books, 2018) is for anyone who has ever dreamed of living in a treehouse (kid or adult, alike!) The lyrical text is a perfect match for the amazingly glorious illustrations of many different treehouses – from adventurous boat to glass castle. More poetic than practical – the story focuses on the importance of a big imagination, time, and space to explore (rather than the nuts and bolts of building & construction).  I bet you will start dreaming of your own amazing treehouse after reading this book!

January 11, 2019

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