The Madman of Piney Woods by Newbery medal winner, Christopher Paul Curtis, is his newest book. Set in the early 1900’s it is told by two boys, Benji and Red, in alternating chapters. They don’t know each other at first because they live in different towns. Benji dreams of becoming a newspaper reporter and Red considers himself a scientist. What they do share are adventures in the woods and stories about a shadowy figure who lives there. Later, they come to learn some history that helps them understand the strange behavior of their kin. Even though their lives on the surface are different, each boy learns about the extreme hardships their families endured to start new lives in a promising new land, Canada. I recommend this book to 6th-8th graders who enjoy mystery and history.
Sixth-graders Megan, Cassidy, Emma and Jess don’t have much in common; they aren’t even all friends with one another. Megan loves fashion and hanging out at the mall. Cassidy enjoys playing sports, especially hockey. Emma loves reading. Jess is super smart and loves living on a farm. One day after yoga, their moms decide to start a mother-daughter book club. None of the four girls is excited about going and reading the classic, Little Women.
Throughout the year, each of the girls faces some of the challenges that come with middle school: a stolen journal which reveals a secret crush, a disastrous play performance, trouble on a sports team, and trying hard to fit in no matter who gets hurt. As the year progresses, the girls find themselves more excited about book club and using wisdom they find in the book to help them get through sixth grade. Find out what happens to the girls and their mothers in The Mother-Daughter Book Club the first book in the Mother Daughter Book Club series.
They’re baaack! Our favorite undead couple from the sweet book Zombie in Love, Mortimer and Mildred, return in a new picture book, Zombie in Love 2 +1. The creepy two-some are now blessed with a baby. But the couple is worried. Their little baby Sonny is not turning out to be like his parents. Sonny won’t eat skunks, mud, or strained brains, and his teeth are coming in instead of falling out! Like any good parents, Mortimer and Mildred take Sonny to the doctor. Will the doctor pronounce Sonny to be a healthy baby boy, or a monster like his folks? This book makes a perfect sequel to Zombie in Love, a book
I enjoy reading to early elementary-aged children for Valentine’s Day (and Halloween!)
This staff pick review is a return of Mary Hoppins and joining her is her cousin Page Turner from Youth Services. This month they have chosen a story with a good lesson for all young tadpoles. Mary says, “I loved this book because the little frog is brave and strong and full of adventure as she plays.” Page says, “This book was such a comfort to me because Mama Frog is always there waiting for the return of her little one.