Staff Picks

Librarian Assistant
Ryan, Pam Munoz
Scholastic Press, 2015

This is Pam Munoz Ryan’s new novel. She keeps getting better and better. Some time back when I read Esperanza Rising. I was moved by the message of hope that grew out it.  In this book, she tells the story of a harmonica, difficult times, 3 young people and their love and courage in the face of evil, all wrapped within a fairy tale. At first their lives are lived in different times and parts of the world where they learn to play a special harmonica. It brings them joy and direction during the darkest period in their lives. Ultimately, will the magic that has woven them together set those bound by it free? I found myself cheering for Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy, as they struggle to keep their families together and keep their promises.

Youth Services Librarian
The Loch Ness Punster. 43 Old Cemetery Road 7.
Klise, Kate
Houghton Mifflin, 2015

This installment of the Old Cemetery Road series features changes for the main characters. Twelve-year-old Seymour Hope has inherited a castle in Loch Ness, Scotland. He has also checked out a turtle from the library during the library’s summer Borrow-a-Pet program. Seymour’s father, Ignatius B. Grumply wants nothing to do with the castle in Scotland and refuses to go for a visit with Seymour. Ignatius stays home and tries to write more chapters of his next book, but is often visited by the ghost of his uncle, Ian Grumply. 

All of these situations lead to trouble: Seymour doesn’t know what to do with the castle, he loses the turtle he checked out from the library (which turns out to be worth $10,000), and the ghost of Ian Grumply is trying to get to the bottom of why Ignatius is always so grumpy!

Find out what happens to your favorite characters and meet some new characters in Book 7 of the Old Cemetery Road series, The Loch Ness Punster.

Youth Services Librarian
Ben Franklin’s Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of his First Invention
Rosenstock, Barb
Calkins Creek, 2014

I’ve been on a Ben Franklin kick lately.  And lucky for me, Rockford Public Library just ordered a few picture books all about the fascinating Mr. Franklin. Ben Franklin’s Big Splash tells the story of one of Franklin’s most interesting inventions – swim fins. Although swimming was not viewed as an acceptable hobby in the 1700s, Ben loved to swim. He swam with and studied aquatic life in the Charles River, and really wanted to glide just like the fish that populated the waterway. But how? The author of Ben Franklin’s Big Splash surmises that Franklin used the “scientific method” to develop a type of swim fins out of cork. By researching, hypothesizing, testing, analyzing, and repeating, Ben developed and perfected his fins - the first ever swim fins tested in water. Ben Franklin went on to invent, discover, and accomplish many, many more things, but author Barb Rosentock states that Ben would have been most proud about being inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968.
If you interested in Ben Franklin, arguably one of the greatest Americans who has ever lived, check out this picture book. It is fun and educational for kids and adults alike.  I will review another Ben Franklin book next month.  For ages 8 on up

Mary Poppins & Page Turner
Youth Services Pet Frogs
The Big Wide Mouthed Frog
Larranaga, Ana Martin
Walker Books Ltd 1999

First off the lily pad, Mary Hoppins, says she loved the illustrations for this book. “They show off the good side of Frog on every page!” Page Turner, the younger frog reviewer here at Main, had this to say, ”Eating is my favorite past-time”. So that’s two “thumbs up” for this funny story about a loud, boasting amphibian.