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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Just a dad with a really big job

Cover of Lincoln in the Bardo: A No
A review of Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders

This prize-winning first novel from George Saunders bends the mind and history in a way that still has me reeling. Lincoln in the Bardo is set in the days following eleven-year-old Willie Lincoln's death in February of 1862, at a borrowed crypt in a Washington, DC cemetery filled with ghosts of all sizes and stripes, many of whom don't know they are dead, and all of whom are surprised when a very tall, very alive President Lincoln comes to visit. 

February 19, 2018

All the honors

Cover of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh
A review of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

Earning multiple awards including a Newbery Honor, a Caldecott Honor (for illustration), and Coretta Scott King Honors for writing and for illustration, Crown celebrates one black boy’s experience in the barber’s chair, and how that fresh cut can elevate both self-esteem and self-confidence. James’ realistic illustrations are dazzling, with bold painterly strokes of color, that capture subtle nuances of feeling, character and setting.

February 15, 2018

Find the extraordinary Newbery at the library in February

Cover of Hello Universe
A review of: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

This year's Newbery Award for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature goes to Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. Told from the shifting points of view of four kids, Hello, Universe is both an exciting and thoughtful, quiet and suspenseful. It's the story of a quiet kid that gets trapped in a well, and the three seemingly disparate kids that set out to find him. Infused with Filipino folklore, there is a lot to love in this story about courage, friendship, and childhood.

February 13, 2018

Alligators, Bears, and Chickens, Oh My!

Cover of Little Red Cat Who Ran Awa
A review of Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned his ABC's (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell

Grab your running shoes - we are off!  A little red cat sees an open front door, runs out, and the adventure begins.  He is chased by an alligator, then a bear and a chicken - in that order.  This nearly wordless book it so much fun on a couple of different levels.  Each page has a letter, both the upper and lower case, and a delightful picture the relates to the letter.  The reader has to figure out what word is being illustrated.  But your job is not done there, you also have to figure out the plot of the book.  Plot in an ABC book?  Yes, there is a definite story to this book.  There is

February 9, 2018

Go, gummy, go!

Cover of The Not-So-Secret Society:
A review of The Not-So-Secret Society: Tale of the Gummy by Matthew Daley

Books that involve gangs of problem solving kids, hijinks and hilarity are perennially popular at my house. I checked this new book out because it looked like it fit that bill, and boy did it ever. Wherever this series goes I will follow. Madison, Dylan, Emma, Aidan and Ava are twelve years old, classmates, and members of the Not-So-Secret Society.  

February 6, 2018

Perception is everything

Cover of Tess of the Road
A review of Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

I was so excited when I was offered a galley of Hartman's new novel set in the fantasy realm of Goredd first introduced in Seraphina. Here we meet Seraphina's half-sister Tess. Tess chafes at the role she's had to take on in her family and the restrictions placed on her as a female. She's bitter and angry and yes, she drinks too much to dull her frustrations. But she's chugging along with the goal of getting her sister settled in a good marriage.

January 30, 2018

Working for the whole

Cover of The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Ca
A review of The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Baseball’s Most Historic Record by John Eisenberg

I found this a very interesting read. I enjoyed both sections though of course I am more familiar with Ripken (my time period) than Gehrig so it was good to learn more and see him as more than the man speaking at Yankee Stadium at the end of his career. I think what really made the book work were the sections in between that looked at baseball streaks in general, a little history of statistics in baseball, and more importantly the people and their own feelings about their streaks.

January 29, 2018

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