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Recent Staff Reviews

Not sure what to read next? Check out what the staff at WPL have been reading. You might get some ideas! Click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

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Book Cover The Dogs of Winter
Bobbie Pyron

In the early 1990s, five-year-old Ivan is abandoned on the streets of Moscow. Frightened and bullied by the other street children, he finds better company and protection with a pack of stray dogs. Together, they brave two harsh winters in Moscow and slightly easier summers outside the city, scrounging food and begging for money. The dogs are Ivan's family, and a caring one, too, but how long can they stay together? Would Ivan be better off in an orphanage? Ivan's story, based on a real boy's experiences, is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and heartbreaking. Kids with a social conscience and dog lovers alike will be moved. For kids in grades 4-7.

WPL Call Number: Y Pyron
Reviewer: Janet P.   (3/13/13)


Book Cover The Fairy Ring, or, Elsie and Frances Fool the World
Mary Losure

Elsie was an artist; her little cousin Frances saw fairies. And what started out as a game, taking a trick photograph of a paper fairy in the woods behind their home, soon turned into a worldwide hoax that fooled even great minds like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. This is the true story of how a little fib grew into a whopper and how it changed Elsie and Frances's lives forever. It's also an interesting glimpse into special effects way before computers and Photoshop came along. For readers in grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J398.4 LO
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (3/10/13)


Book Cover Choke
Diana Lopez

Middle schooler Windy desperately wants to join the popular crowd but feels her dorky best friend, Elena, is keeping her out. When cool new student Nina befriends her, Windy thinks it is her chance to change. Nina asks Windy and others to become "breath sisters" by playing the Choking game. At first Windy does not realize the danger involved but soon feels that she does not want to be involved. How Windy reacts to this dangerous behavior gives us an opportunity to think about ourselves and others. For ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Lopez
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/8/13)


Book Cover On the Day I Died
Candace Fleming

Out late driving one fall night, Mike winds up in a cemetery for teenagers. He comes face-to-face with a group of ghosts who all want to tell him how they died. Some of the teens, who lived in time periods from the 1850s to today, died sad deaths. For instance, Gina died in a school fire. Others got what they deserved--Scott's desire to get into a good college overcame his common sense when he trespassed in an abandoned insane asylum. And still others died in weird ways, like David, who was attacked by mail-order Insta-Pets. Most of the death stories are influenced by real historical events, and the Chicago setting makes the book just that much creepier. For readers with a dark sense of humor, grades 6-8.

WPL Call Number: Y Fleming
Reviewer: Janet P.   (3/7/13)


Book Cover Three Times Lucky
Sheila Turnage

This is a mystery for anybody who enjoys trying to solve a crime and guess the outcome. Eleven year old Mo LoBeau was found floating in the river as a baby after a hurricane. Friendly people in this small North Carolina town took her in and raised her as their own. While appreciating the family life she has, Mo has always wondered about her real mother and frequently sends messages in bottles hoping that some day an answer will appear. The murder of an unlikeable resident worries everyone as a detective is sent to investigate. The result is an unexpected answer to all the questions from the townspeople. An unpredictable story for ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Turnage
Reviewer: Alice J.   (2/27/13)


Book Cover Trash
Andy Mulligan

Raphael and Gardo are dirt poor, scavenging what little of value they can from the garbage dump they and their families call home. Then they find a purse full of pesos -- their lucky day! But when the cops come looking for it, the boys realize far more is at stake than a few thousand pesos. It's up to Raphael and Gardo, joined by their friend Rat, to solve a mystery involving missing persons, corruption, and even murder. As well as being exciting read, this page-turner will make readers think about the difficulties of life in Third World countries, which is so different from our experience in Wilmette.

WPL Call Number: Y Mulligan
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (2/27/13)


Book Cover Will Sparrow's Road
Karen Cushman

The latest from Karen Cushman and the only book she's written with a boy as the main character, Will Sparrow's Road is a lot of fun to read. Will wanders the Elizabethan market fairs, not knowing that he's looking for a real family to join. Cushman adds lots of colorful characters and one wonderful pig. If you are a historical fiction fan, this one's for you.

WPL Call Number: J Cushman
Reviewer: Martha M.   (2/25/13)


Book Cover My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer
Jennifer Gennari

A satisfying story of one girl's special summer. June, age 12, really hopes to win a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair Pie Contest. She and her mom have been happy running a marina where they sell pies and other food. June and her good friend, Luke, enjoy swimming and hunting blueberries together. Life has seemed perfect until Mom's friend, Eva, moves in and June learns that they intend to get married. Many in the community are very critical of these marriage plans. It is all very upsetting for June, who agonizes over who she wants to be and how to be loyal and loving to her mom and Eva. Recommended for girls 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Gennari
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (2/19/13)


Book Cover Wild River
P. J. Petersen

Twelve year old Ryan is quiet and likes video games. His older brother, Tanner, is outgoing and good at everything- especially sports. Ryan gets talked into going on a camping trip with Tanner, never dreaming that a disaster will force him to do things he never thought he could. A fast paced easy read. Recommended for 4th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Petersen
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (2/5/13)


Book Cover After Eli
Rebecca Rupp

Three years after his brother was killed in Iraq, Daniel functions by keeping a notebook on how others have died. As his parents are lost in their grief, there is no one to console him. This summer he befriends a beautiful new girl as well as the school outcast. Refelecting on all that Eli has taught him and these new friendships help Daniel cope with the loss of his family as it was. A great story on dealing with death for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Rupp
Reviewer: Alice J.   (1/17/13)


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