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Kids' Corner

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.


'Vincent Paints His House' by Tedd Arnold

"Vincent Paints His House" by Tedd Arnold

★★★★★ This book transports us to Vincent's house on the day he decides to paint it. This book pays homage to the artist himself, Vincent van Gogh. As Vincent begins painting his house he encounters various animals who also live on his house that have differing opinions as to which color to paint it. Not only are all the colors of the rainbow mentioned as options...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book, Read-Alouds

'What Is Punk?' by Eric Morse, Anny Yi

"What Is Punk?" by Eric Morse, Anny Yi

★★★★★ Did you grow up listening to Punk music and wish to share it with your kids or reminisce about it? "What Is Punk" covers the rise of the Punk movement, the various bands associated with it, and its fashion. Experience this book in all its glory as you learn all about the Ramones to The Slits to the Descendents in a fun story that rhymes and is illustrated...

Audience: Children | Genre: Nonfiction

'The Girl Who Could Not Dream' by Sarah Beth Durst

"The Girl Who Could Not Dream" by Sarah Beth Durst

★★★★ Imagine catching dreams, distilling them, pouring them into bottles and selling them to people searching for certain types of dreams. This is what Sophie’s parents do somewhat secretly in the lower level of their bookstore. Sophie, however, is not allowed to dream because when she does her dreams become real. Her octopus-like pet, Monster, came into her...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction, Action Adventure

'You Can't See the Elephants' by Susan Kreller, Elizabeth Gaffney

"You Can't See the Elephants" by Susan Kreller, Elizabeth Gaffney

★★★★★ Since her mother died, her grief-stricken father has been sending thirteen-year-old Mascha to her grandparent’s house for the summer in Clinton, a small town where nothing exciting ever happens. She wanders around town with her earbuds in, lonely and bored, until she meets Julia and Max who are the only kids who seem to want to talk to her. As she gets to...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'A Nearer Moon' by Melanie Crowder

"A Nearer Moon" by Melanie Crowder

★★★★ Luna and Willow live in a village where houses are raised on stilts. They have heard stories about creatures living under the water and the time before the river had a dam, when the clean water flowed freely, and the mucky, slick swamp didn’t exist. When Luna and Willow venture out in their flat boat, and Luna ignores her mother’s silly rules and goes below...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'The Emotions' Survival Guide' by Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger

"The Emotions' Survival Guide" by Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger

★★★★★ Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger from Disney/Pixar's "Inside Out" are here to help children ages 8-12 navigate their feelings. The book covers ways to deal with sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and ways to find happiness in all situations. It gives ideas of things to do when feeling sad, ways to calm down when feeling angry, and how to deal with change....

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Nonfiction

'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition' by J. K. Rowling, Jim Kay

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition" by J. K. Rowling, Jim Kay

★★★★★ For fans of the Harry Potter series, this beautiful new release of the first book in the beloved series is a must read! With full color illustrations at least every few pages, this is a new, fantastic way to read the book that brought us the magical world J.K. Rowling created. Perfect for devoted fans, this version is also great for those looking for a more...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

'The Wolf Wilder' by Katherine Rundell

"The Wolf Wilder" by Katherine Rundell

★★★★★ Feodora and her mother, Marina live in the bitterly cold Russian wilderness with wolves. They are known as wolf wilders, whose job it is to teach “domesticated” wolves, formerly kept as pets by the rich, how to be wild again. When the mean, wolf-hating General Rakov burns their house and captures her mother, Feo sets off with her three half-wild wolves and...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'My Diary from the Edge of the World' by Jodi Lynn Anderson

"My Diary from the Edge of the World" by Jodi Lynn Anderson

★★★★★ Gracie Lockwood lives in Cliffden, Maine, an ordinary enough sounding city, but it is anything but ordinary. Her world is populated with flying dragons, sasquatches, giants, mermaids, witches and angels. Gracie loves her home, but when the dreaded Dark Cloud begins hanging around, apparently in search of her sickly brother Sam, her family flees in a...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

'All I Want for Christmas Is You' by Mariah Carey, Colleen Madden

"All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, Colleen Madden

★★★★★ If you love Mariah Carey's hit Christmas song "All I Want for Christmas Is You," this picture book is for you! The words in the picture book are from Carey's song, so you can sing the lyrics or simply read them. The illustrations tell the story of a little Mariah wishing and hoping for a puppy from Santa Claus. Follow Mariah on a snowy, Christmas journey to...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Read-Alouds

'Listen to the Moon' by Michael Morpurgo

"Listen to the Moon" by Michael Morpurgo

★★★★★ Skipping school while out fishing with his father near the island of St. Helen's, Alfie and his father discover a half-starved, injured young girl who is barely alive on the small uninhabited island. Where she came from is a mystery since she is not speaking. His family cares for her, names her Lucy, and as their relationship grows and she becomes a part of...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'The Blackthorn Key' by Kevin Sands

"The Blackthorn Key" by Kevin Sands

★★★★★ An orphan, Christopher Rowe feels lucky to be chosen as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn, a great and kind apothecary. In order to keep recipes for his medicines and potions secret, his master uses complex codes and puzzles which Christopher is being taught to decipher. But when his master is brutally killed and a strange cult appears to be...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

'The Thing About Jellyfish' by Ali Benjamin

"The Thing About Jellyfish" by Ali Benjamin

★★★★★ It doesn’t make sense. How could it happen? She’s sick of hearing people say “some things just happen.” It isn’t really a reason. For a scientific thinker like seventh-grader Suzy Swanson, there has to be an explanation. Franny Jackson, her twelve year-old best friend, was an excellent swimmer, so how could she have just drowned? Bit by bit, through many...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat' by Emily Jenkins, Sophie Blackall

"A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat" by Emily Jenkins, Sophie Blackall

★★★★★ This is one of the best picture books that I have read in a long time! Just as the title suggests, the book follows one recipe for Blackberry Fool through different centuries and families. The recipe is generally made the same in each family, however, the technology used and family preparing the recipe are vastly different. Historically this book shows...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book, Historical Fiction

'A Curious Tale of the In-Between' by Lauren DeStefano

"A Curious Tale of the In-Between" by Lauren DeStefano

★★★★ Pram Bellamy lives with her two aunts in a home for the elderly which they manage. Her mother died under strange circumstances in childbirth, and all she was told about her father is that he was a sailor. She’s been homeschooled and has no friends except for a ghost named Felix near the pond. As far as she knows she has always been able to see and talk to...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'Ice Dogs' by Terry Lynn Johnson

"Ice Dogs" by Terry Lynn Johnson

★★★★★ "Ice Dogs" is a very well written adventure book for tweens. The story is told from 14 year-old Victoria Secord's point of view, and follows her adventure of being lost in the Alaskan Wilderness. Victoria has grown up in Alaska and has been around dogsled racers most of her life. Following the death of her dad she takes to the races. While out on a run she...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Action Adventure

'The Nonsense Show' by Eric Carle

"The Nonsense Show" by Eric Carle

★★★★ It’s a fun, upside-down world in this new picture book that's full of nonsense by Eric Carle. A boy is pulled from a hat by a rabbit magician, a bird is living in an aquarium and a fish in a cage, a human baby is in a kangaroo's pouch, mice are catching cats, a man is living in a dog house and more. It’s all of course in good fun. With classic, colorful,...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Read-Alouds, Picture Book

'Seven Dead Pirates' by Linda Bailey

"Seven Dead Pirates" by Linda Bailey

★★★★ “Libertalia. You!” Lewis can’t stop thinking about the two words that his dying Great-Granddad, whispered urgently into his ear. What do they mean? What’s even stranger is that his parents don’t even know. He guesses it may be connected somehow to Shornoway, his Great-Grandad’s sea-side, historic home. To honor the requirements of his Great-Grandad’s will,...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'The Fog Diver' by Joel N. Ross

"The Fog Diver" by Joel N. Ross

★★★★ Thirteen-year-old Chess lives with his fellow crewmates and friends in the lower mountain slums above the deadly gray fog that has surrounded earth for hundreds of years. He is a tether boy on a raft used for diving into the fog and scavenging in the ruins below for items they can sell or eat. Chess is one of the few people who appears to suffer no ill...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'I'm Trying to Love Spiders' by Bethany Barton

"I'm Trying to Love Spiders" by Bethany Barton

★★★★★ For the record, I do not like spiders. However, I am trying to pass on a better view of them to my daughter. This book is very helpful for any young reader who would like to unmask the mystery of these sometimes creepy insects. The writing is simple so that anyone can learn about spiders in a fun way. Not only that, but the illustrations do a great job to...

Audience: Children | Genre: Nonfiction

'Thank You and Good Night' by Patrick McDonnell

"Thank You and Good Night" by Patrick McDonnell

★★★★ In this sleepy-time picture book, Maggie and her rabbit, Clement are getting ready for bed when Jean and his friend Alan arrive in pajamas. And of course it’s time for a wonderful, surprise pajama party complete with bed jumping, chicken dancing, funny-face contest, hide-and-seek, yoga, food and finally sleep. Maggie reads everyone bed-time stories for...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book

'Crenshaw' by Katherine Applegate

"Crenshaw" by Katherine Applegate

★★★★★ Crenshaw is a humongous, black and white cat who surfs, does tricks, takes bubble baths, speaks words of wisdom and appears when Jackson needs him most. Crenshaw is also imaginary. Jackson, who is almost in fifth grade, is beginning to see all the signs, even though his parents don’t really talk about it. Often there is no food, his parents aren’t able to...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction

'How to Speak Dolphin' by Ginny Rorby

"How to Speak Dolphin" by Ginny Rorby

★★★★ Lily and her busy stepfather are mourning the recent death of Lily’s mother, leaving Lily with most of the responsibility for caring for her severely autistic 4-year-old stepbrother Adam. Through a visit to Dolphin Inlet, they discover Adam’s affinity and seeming ability to communicate with dolphins and hear about a dolphin therapy program for disabled...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Differing Abilities

'Fuzzy Mud' by Louis Sachar

"Fuzzy Mud" by Louis Sachar

★★★★ Walking to and from school together for fifth-grader Tamaya and seventh-grader Marshall is a normal occurrence; walking through the woods is not. No one is supposed to walk through the woods, so when Marshall claims it’s a shortcut and the school bully, Chad shows up, hits Marshall and threatens Tamaya, she throws some of the unnatural, weird-looking fuzzy...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'Little Author in the BIg Woods: A BIography of Laura Ingalls Wilder' by Yona Zeldis McDonough, Jennifer Thermes

"Little Author in the BIg Woods: A BIography of Laura Ingalls Wilder" by Yona Zeldis McDonough, Jennifer Thermes

★★★★★ This new children's biography of perhaps Wisconsin’s most well known and loved author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, is a great addition for all her fans. Written in a plain, simple style it includes most of the facts we know about her and her family. The illustrations by Yona Zeldis McDonough are simple, warm and homey, reminiscent of the illustrations by Garth...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography And Memoir

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