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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 Goodreads.com; 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: 'No Such Thing As Dragons'

"No Such Thing As Dragons" by Philip Reeve

★★★★★ Ten-year-old Ansel, a mute boy, is sold by his father to Brock, a self-proclaimed dragon slayer who needs someone who will keep his secrets safe. They travel town to town on horseback searching for food and shelter in exchange for protecting villagers from dragons. In Drachenberg, his master accepts a quest to climb the steep mountain and rid the village...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Breaking Stalin's Nose'

"Breaking Stalin's Nose" by Eugene Yelchin

★★★★★ Ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik has prepared to become a member of the Soviet Young Pioneers since he was 6 years old.  Just as he is almost ready to realize his dream, his world and his family seemingly collapse, as he discovers that everything that he believed growing up in the Communist Soviet Union was a lie. This simply-told but powerful historical...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, newbery award winner, award-winning

Cover: 'Furthermore'

"Furthermore" by Tahereh Mafi

★★★★★ Ferenwood is a community of sharp, bright colors, predictable, common magic, and adventure. Unfortunately Alice Alexis Queensmeadow doesn’t quite fit in. She’s stark white except for her ginger colored eyes, she doesn’t appear to be very good at magic, and her hopes for an adventurous life have been smashed by the disastrous results from her Surrender...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Foxheart'

"Foxheart" by Claire Legrand

★★★★★ Quicksilver is not your ordinary heroine. Left on the steps of Saint Martta’s convent when she was three-years-old, presumably nameless, with an unusual mane of gray hair, she is continuously taunted with names like pig and witch. Saved by a kind yellow dog she names Fox, who becomes her partner, she steals in order to survive in the dangerous Star Lands...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'A Most Magical Girl'

"A Most Magical Girl" by Karen Foxlee

★★★★★ Suddenly thrust by her mother into the care of two unknown aunts who have an old, dusty magic shop full of broomsticks, wands, and magic potions, Annabel Grey is more than a little confused. Raised in Victorian England as a prim and proper young lady with a beautiful wardrobe and set of manners, this is nothing like the life she has known. While she is...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Littlest Bigfoot'

"The Littlest Bigfoot" by Jennifer Weiner

★★★★★ Off to her eighth boarding school, this one an Experimental Center in the woods proclaiming to respect everyone’s uniqueness, twelve-year-old Alice Mayfair knows instinctively that this new school will still be like all the others. Teased and bullied at her previous seven schools about “the Mane,” her big, wild, uncontrollable hair, her large body, her...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Secret of Dreadwillow Carse'

"Secret of Dreadwillow Carse" by Brian Farrey

★★★★ Two lives, a twelve-year-old princess named Jeniah and a peasant girl named Aon, are both deeply affected by Dreadwillow Carse, a dark, foreboding bog in the center of Emberfell that is said to hold all the community’s sadness. In preparation for her new role as queen, Jeniah learns that if monarchs dare enter Dreadwillow Carse their monarchy is doomed. Aon...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Nanette's Baguette'

"Nanette's Baguette" by Mo Willems

★★★★★ Nanette loves warm and wonderful baguettes. And today she gets the responsibility of going to the bakery by herself, without her mom. Nanette is set. Then, Nanette meets a pet. Does Nanette forget the baguette and become upset? Find out in this fun, tongue-twisting tale by the beloved author/illustrator Mo Willems. Willems' illustrations...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Valiant'

"Valiant" by Sarah Mc Guire

★★★★★ After her mother’s death, Saville’s father, who is a tailor more in love with his precious material than his family, moves them to a small, gloomy, dirty shop in the city of Reggen. Soon after, her father suffers what appears to be a massive stroke, leaving him bedridden and Saville with the responsibility for his care as well as their livelihood. Despising...

Audience: children | Genre: fantasy

Cover: 'The Executioner's Daughter'

"The Executioner's Daughter" by Jane Hardstaff

★★★★ Moss is the executioner’s daughter. That’s right; she lives in the Tower of London in England with her father who serves King Henry VIII, and lately they are way too busy with executions. Her job is to catch the severed heads in a basket after her father chops them off, a job she detests. She longs to escape and see more of the world beyond the castle...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Girl Who Drank the Moon'

"The Girl Who Drank the Moon" by Kelly Barnhill

★★★★★  Every year a newborn baby from the Protectorate is left in the nearby forest in an effort to appease the witch. Xan, the forest witch, doesn’t understand this tradition, but in order to rescue the infants she scoops them up and delivers them to adoptive families in the town on the other side of the forest.  When she rescues one special baby and...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, newbery award winner, award-winning

Cover: 'The Poet's Dog'

"The Poet's Dog" by Patricia MacLachlan

★★★★ Trapped in a bitter blizzard, two children, Flora and Nickel, are led to a safe, warm cabin by a dog named Teddy who speaks in a language they immediately understand. They find food and firewood to make a fire and share life stories while they plan how they can get word to the childrens' mother. Teddy knows instinctively how to rescue them, just like he was...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Eleven and Holding'

"Eleven and Holding" by Mary Penney

★★★★ Macy is not celebrating her upcoming birthday.  She’s determined not to turn twelve without her father.  Her father has been gone for months now and no one is telling her the truth about his disappearance.  Jack, her baby brother, is getting most of her mother’s attention, her beloved grandmother, Nana, has recently died and her shop has been...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

★★★★★ Taking place 19 years after the events of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Harry Potter and his wife, Ginny, are happily raising their kids James, Albus, and Lily. Harry, the head of Magical Law Enforcement, finds it hard to connect with Albus, who leaves for his first year at Hogwarts as the story begins. Over the next few years, Albus becomes an...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Ghosts'

"Ghosts" by Raina Telgemeier

★★★★ Cat and Maya's family moves to a new town in California for Maya's health; Maya has cystic fibrosis and the town's fog and mist from the ocean will help Maya breathe easier. Cat and Maya explore the town and meet Carlos along the way. Carlos is the town's young ghost tour guide. Ghosts?! In this town? Cat is terrified of all scary things, but Maya is eager...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, graphic novel

Cover: 'Little Blue Truck's Halloween'

"Little Blue Truck's Halloween" by Alice Schertle

★★★★★ Beep! Beep! Boo! Little Blue Truck is back just in time for Halloween. Little Blue Truck and his friend Toad are on their way to the barn for a Halloween party. While journeying to the barn, they encounter different farmyard animals in their Halloween costumes. When you lift the flap, the identity of the costumed animal is revealed. This book is recommended...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Airport Book'

"The Airport Book" by Lisa Brown

★★★★★ Join a young boy, his toddler sister, and their parents as they journey through a busy airport. From leaving the house to experiencing turbulence, and from boarding the plane to the baggage claim, the siblings take you through the entire process of going to the airport and flying on a plane. There is even a fun subplot about the sister's toy monkey and his...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The  Seventh Wish'

"The Seventh Wish" by Kate Messner

★★★★ Charlie Brennan reluctantly agrees to go ice fishing with a neighbor to earn money for a beautiful Irish dancing dress that she wants for an upcoming competition. The small first fish she catches is unusual with glowing green eyes, like emeralds, and it speaks and promises her a wish in exchange for its freedom. She is so shocked she doesn’t even know what...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth'

"The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth" by Ruby Roth

★★★★★ Are you a parent or family member looking for healthy, fun meals for your youngest family members? This fun, new cookbook is a great resource for anyone looking for healthy recipes that will tempt even the pickiest eaters. Not only are all recipes vegan, so they are allergy friendly and environmentally conscious, but the author did a great job of...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Grayling's Song'

"Grayling's Song" by Karen Cushman

★★★★ Grayling lives with her mother in a cottage in the woods and somewhat begrudgingly helps her tend the herb garden and prepare potions, tonics and remedies. Hannah, her mother, is known as a healer, helping people in exchange for whatever they can spare. But when their cottage burns, her mother is found firmly rooted to the ground like a tree. When her...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Some Kind of Happiness'

"Some Kind of Happiness" by Claire Legrand

★★★★★ Finley Hart is sad. She is sad and downhearted about a lot of things, including the fact that she is being forced by her parents to spend the summer at Hart House, with grandparents and cousins whom she has never even met, while her parents try to “work things out”. To escape, she retreats into the Everwood, a forest kingdom fantasy world that she is...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Flora and the Peacocks'

"Flora and the Peacocks" by Molly Idle

★★★★★ I loved this gorgeous lift-the-flap, wordless picture book and you will too. Flora from “Flora and the Penguin” and “Flora and the Flamingo” is back, this time making friends and fan-dancing with penguins. Not all goes well, however, in this give and take dance of friendship, but the stunning, surprise fold-out ending will leave you smiling. This beautiful...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, read-alouds

Cover: 'The Door By the Staircase'

"The Door By the Staircase" by Katherine Marsh, Kelly Murphy

★★★★★ Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes is miserable. She is so miserable that she attempts an escape up the small, sooty stovepipe from the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies, where, as an older child, there’s literally no chance of getting adopted, especially when the head mistress dislikes you. So when an old woman with a big nose, Madame Z, shows up to adopt her, she’s...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'The Girl in the Well Is Me'

"The Girl in the Well Is Me" by Karen Rivers

★★★★ Being the new kid in town, eleven-year-old Kammie Summer is perhaps just trying to impress the popular girls at her new school when she accepts their dare and ends up in a deep abandoned well. It’s wet, smelly, cold, dark and scary and it hurts being cramped in there with her arms and body wedged against the sides of the well. Where are her so called new "...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: realistic

Cover: 'The Wild Robot'

"The Wild Robot" by Peter Brown

★★★★★ Roz’s life begins in a peculiar way. Washed ashore in a crate on what appears to be a deserted island, she is the lone intact survivor of a sunken cargo ship. Charged by the island sun and literally jolted to life when a sea otter reaches through her crate and accidentally pushes a button on the back of her head, Roz, a robot, opens her eyes and introduces...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

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