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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

What does it mean to be brave?

Cover of Braver Than Brave
A review of Braver Than Brave by Janet Sumber Johnson
Eunji Jung

Wanda's big brother is the bravest kid she knows, but when her turn comes to match his feats of bravery, things are a lot harder than she though. The monkey bars don't agree with her, the giant hill he biked down is a LOT bigger now, and forget about going to camp. 

When Wanda's friends cajole her to join them on the Coaster of Doom, she is relieved that she is till too short to ride. She wants to be brave though, so she spends all practicing. She bikes and sleds down hills, tiptoes into the dark basement, and even tries out a climbing wall with a look of determination. 

Jun 11, 2024

Deserving of every accolade

Cover of The Will of the Many
A review of The Will of the Many by James Islington

I've been hearing great things about The Will of the Many for a while - which made me more reluctant to read it. I have this kind of reverse metric when it comes to buzzy books. If too many people are raving about a book, how good can it really be? That and it's a chonker of a book (639 pages!) had me on pause. I finally gave in when one more person, who likes many of the same things I do, gave it a rave. And now I'm both glad I waited and kicking myself for waiting so long.

Jun 10, 2024

An ode to the couch

Cover of The Truth About the Couch
A review of The Truth About the Couch by Adam Rubin

I don't know where picture book authors get their ideas from. But I can tell you that if you asked me for what I might want to write about, the couch, is probably one of the last things I would have come up with. Luckily for everyone, Adam Rubin thinks a bit differently than me.

Jun 7, 2024

Listen to the whispers

Cover of The Whispers: A Novel
A review of The Whispers: A Novel by Ashley Audrain

The "whispers" refer to the voices you hear urging you to follow your gut instinct. Sometimes it's large scale. Should I take that job? Move to that city? Buy a house? Have a child? Sometimes it's smaller. Should I go to that party? Trust that person? Walk down that dark road?  

Jun 6, 2024

Adding to the collection

Too Good to Miss photo
Too Good to Miss for June 2024

Every month there are new titles purchased for the Too Good to Miss collections at our libraries. If you're not familiar with TGTM (as we call it here in library-world), it's a special collection of popular books that are truly too good to miss. Some are new and popular titles, others are older titles that might not have had as much media attention as a bestseller or celebrity book club selection but are still great reads that deserve another look.

Jun 4, 2024

Can't keep this to myself

Cover of I Keep My Exoskeltons to M
A review of I Keep My Exoskeltons to Myself by Marisa Crane

"The kid is born with two shadows"

In spare, poetic language Marisa Crane draws you in from the first sentence and then holds your heart in their hands until the last page. They explore what it means to parent under the figurative shadows of loss and grief and the literal shadows imposed on their characters by a totalitarian government in this dystopian debut.

Jun 3, 2024

They're coming. Get Ready!

Cover of Cicada Symphony
A review of Cicada Symphony by Sue Fliess
Gareth Lucas

Are you anxiously awaiting the cicada hatching of monumental proportions this late spring? This librarian is! And so is her incredibly curious, question-asking 4 year old. Where do cicadas come from? Why do they make that noise? Do they bite? (No!). This beautifully illustrated, whimsically rhyming book is full of all the answers. With informative pictures of cicadas in all their forms, this book will walk small readers through their full life cycle, explain how helpful they are to their ecosystem, and dispel some fears that a massive hoard of bugs may bring.

May 30, 2024

What do you call a dog, a seagull, a squirrel, some bison and a couple of raccoons?

Cover of The Eyes and the Impossibl
A review of The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers
Shawn Harris

I call them winners! 

No joke, this book is sensational and worthy of all the accolades. Recipient of the 2024 Newbery Award given to the author of the most distinguished children's book of the previous year, The Eyes and the Impossible is funny, smart and unusual. I loved it.

May 28, 2024

A case of the What Ifs

Cover of Lila Greer, Teacher of the
A review of Lila Greer, Teacher of the Year by Andrea Beaty
David Roberts

In the newest picture book in Andrea Beaty's Questioneers series, we finally get the story of Lila Greer, who we know as the Grade Two teacher from previous books. 

We first see Lila as a baby with a curl on her head, one that "fills her with dread", and as she grows older the What Ifs still get her: 

"They made her heart race. Put knots in her stomach. A frown on her face."

May 24, 2024


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