MCPL logo

Marathon County Public Library

Skip Navigation

Staff Reviews: For Children

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books and DVDs for children! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.

Cover: 'Africa, Amazing Africa'

"Africa, Amazing Africa" by Atinuke, Mouni Feddag

★★★★★ The colorful Africa, Amazing Africa by Atinuke is a fun way to get familiar with African geography. Atinuke and Mouni Feddag present each African country with a short description and illustrations. Southern, eastern, western, central, and northern countries are grouped regionally with a hand-drawn map for reference. The wording is concise and...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'I Like This, You Like That'

"I Like This, You Like That" by Linda Ashman, Eve Coy

★★★★★ This sweet picture book teaches children that they can still be friends with someone even if they don’t agree on everything. Throughout the story, two young friends find they don’t seem to like any of the same things. One likes cold days and one likes hot days; one likes being messy and one likes being neat. Instead of being sad about it, though, they...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'Marshmallow Clouds'

"Marshmallow Clouds" by Ted Kooser, Connie Wanek, Richard Jones

★★★★★ A collaboration between distinguished poets Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek is definitely a book to be read and reread! These are gentle poems that have a calming effect. While these poems are short and use simple words, they also contain numerous similes and metaphors for readers to consider and enjoy. A harp is “a great golden moth.” A book’s a sandwich, a...

Audience: children | Genre: poetry, nonfiction

Cover: 'We Are Wolves'

"We Are Wolves" by Katrina Nannestad

★★★★ This work of historical fiction tells the story of three siblings in war-torn Germany, 1945. Officially, their country of East Prussia no longer exists. Forced from their homes and separated from their families, they hide from the Russian army in the woods, sometimes in deserted homes or barns. There is little food and, since the takeover happens in January...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Year We Learned to Fly'

"The Year We Learned to Fly" by Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael López

★★★★★ This is a beautiful picture book with gorgeous pictures and a wonderful and impactful message.  A young brother and sister are stuck inside their apartment when their grandmother shares with them words of wisdom to help them spark their imagination and help them deal with their emotions. When they get frustrated at being stuck inside, their...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'Stacey's Extraordinary Words'

"Stacey's Extraordinary Words" by Stacey Abrams, Kitt Thomas

★★★★★ This is a heartwarming story for all lovers of reading, about a little girl who loves to discover new words and loves how words help her express herself. When Stacey's teacher signs her and a fellow student up for a spelling bee, Stacey's knowledge and courage are put to the test. I absolutely adored this picture book and the lessons it'll teach the...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'New from Here'

"New from Here" by Kelly Yang

★★★★★ When COVID-19 hits Hong Kong, one family is forced to separate and span two countries in an effort to protect each other.  Based on the author’s own experience during the start of our current COVID-19 pandemic, the author tells the story of Knox and his siblings when they’re forced to travel from Hong Kong to California in a matter of days. Thinking...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Lost and Found Cat'

"Lost and Found Cat" by Doug Kuntz, Amy Shrodes, Sue Cornelison

★★★★★ This heartwarming and true story about the beloved cat of a refugee family is sure to tug on the heart strings of any reader.  Readers meet an Iraqi family who is forced to leave their home to the safety of another country. After a perilous journey through mountains, forests, and the Aegean Sea, the fluffy white cat called Kunkush is terrified at...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, picture book

Cover: 'Love in the Library'

"Love in the Library" by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Yas Imamura

★★★★★ This picture book has readers meet Tama and George, two Japanese Americans being held in a prison camp called Minidoka. Based on the true story of the author's family being held in a similar camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor, readers follow Tama as she struggles with the unjust and cruel conditions of the camp. Working in the camp's library, she meets...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'Friends Are Friends, Forever'

"Friends Are Friends, Forever" by Dane Liu, Lynn Scurfield

★★★★★ The beautiful cover of this new picture book instantly grabbed my attention, and I'm so glad, because this was a wonderful story about the power of friendship, the beauty of tradition, and a great celebration of the Lunar New Year. In this story we meet Dandan, who is moving away from her best friend Yueyue the next day. On their last night together, they...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'Bathe the Cat'

"Bathe the Cat" by Alice B. McGinty, David Roberts

★★★★★ This new picture book captured my attention by the bright cover and title that made clear it'd be an entertaining read (because every cat owner knows most of them definitely do not want to be bathed!) Inside, we meet a family who's just realized Grandma is on her way, and the house is a mess. Chaos ensues as chores are dished out, and when the cat sees a...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'The Goody'

"The Goody" by Lauren Child

★★★★ The Goody is a story about two siblings—one is always good and the other is always bad. They have even been labelled as good and bad by their parents. Then Chirton, the good one, starts questioning whether this is really fair. Why should he have to do all the chores while his sister Myrtle gets away with anything? Suddenly, Chirton is behaving badly while...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Little Kid, Big City!'

"Little Kid, Big City!" by Beth Beckman

★★★★★ If you could travel through London for a day, where would you go? Would you visit the London Zoo? Or peruse the toys at Hamleys? Don't forget to grab a bite to eat at Borough Market! In this fun and interactive new children's book, kids get to learn all about one of my favorite cities in a unique way. Kids can decide where they want to visit next...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Temple Alley Summer'

"Temple Alley Summer" by Sachiko Kashiwaba, Avery Fischer Udagawa

★★★★ A complex and satisfying mystery story set in Masuda City, Japan, Temple Alley Summer is part ghost story, part folk tale.Kazuhiro Sada lives at the site of an ancient temple. A long time ago, a small Buddha statue was shared among the houses on his street. People prayed to the statue to bring back those who had died, and their loved ones would return, but...

Audience: tweens | Genre: fiction, tweens

Cover: 'The Caiman'

"The Caiman" by María Eugenia Manrique, Ramón París, Amy Brill

★★★★★ People usually tell touching stories about dogs and cats or even birds—but an alligator?A caiman is a species of Central and South American reptile similar to an alligator. In Venezuela, José Faoro adopts an abandoned baby caiman, whose mother was probably taken by poachers. The little alligator grows up following Faoro around his jewelry and watch repair...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Night Walk'

"The Night Walk" by Marie Dorleans, Polly Lawson

★★★★★ A delightful picture book translated from French, The Night Walk is about a family that rises early to go on a long walk. They walk away from their town past fields, through the woods, by a lake, and up some rocky hills. Finally, we see what they walked all that way for: the sunrise.On the journey, descriptive words awaken all the senses—a shrieking train,...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Katie the Catsitter'

"Katie the Catsitter" by Colleen A.F. Venable

★★★★★ As a cat-loving owner of three awesome cats myself, I first picked up this graphic novel because of the cat theme that clearly shines through on the cover. Readers meet Katie, who's desperate to get out of New York City and join her best friends at summer camp. The only problem is, she has no money to pay for it, so she works hard to find as many jobs as...

Audience: tweens | Genre: graphic novel, fiction

Cover: 'They All Saw A Cat'

"They All Saw A Cat" by Brendan Wenzel

★★★★★ With all that is going on in the world today, it is important to remember that perspectives about what is going on can be different. This book is a great example of this. They All Saw A Cat shows the different perspective or view that each animal/character within the book has when looking at the same thing. Even the cat sees itself in a different way at the...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey'

"Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey" by Erin Entrada Kelly

★★★★★ Dadhead. Buster Keaton. Betty Bigmouth. Peppina. These words will have more meaning once you have read Marisol Rainey’s story. Marisol is a girl who likes to name things like trees and refrigerators. She has a best friend named Jada and an older brother named Oz. Jada, Oz, and practically everyone else are super good at climbing trees—like the one in the...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math'

"Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math" by Jeannine Atkins

★★★★★ Jeannine Atkins has another excellent book to follow Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. The women she focuses on this time include Katherine Johnson and Vera Rubin. Each poem is a small moment in the girls’ lives. I especially love the last lines of so many of the poems. They feel hopeful and end on an upward note. “She charts what’s known in...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: historical fiction, poetry

Cover: 'Little Wise Wolf'

"Little Wise Wolf" by Gijs van der Hammen, Hanneke Siemensma, Laura Watkinson

★★★★★ This is a beautiful story with a gentle lesson about friendship and learning. One day, Little Wise Wolf, who is deeply ensconced in his books and research, receives a summons from the king. He sets off on a long journey to the other side of the mountains, perhaps not as prepared as he should be. The hard day’s journey makes him lose confidence in his...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Those Darn Squirrels Fly South'

"Those Darn Squirrels Fly South" by Adam Rubin

★★★★★ Those Darn Squirrels Fly South is the third book in the children’s series of Those Darn Squirrels. In this delightful children’s book we once again find Mr. Fookwire feeling grumpy and lonely as his beloved birds fly south for the winter. He would normally have the neighborhood squirrels to keep him company but they have decided to follow the...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'Allergic'

"Allergic" by Megan Wagner Lloyd, Michelle Mee Nutter

★★★★ Allergic is a sweet, funny story about friendship and pets. Maggie has always wanted a pet and her parents have agreed that she can have a puppy, even with their fourth child on the way. But imagine Maggie’s disappointment when she finds out that she is severely allergic to anything with fur or feathers! She bravely tries out a fish, reptiles, and...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction