Book Review

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Black Hound book cover: graphic novel cover featuring a girl with blue hair, large eyes, and a mouth open as if screaming or gasping. A white furry animal in next to her and both are above images of buildings. The black shadow behind them resembles a large black dog."I already knew that you're the kindest, bravest, most selfless little girl it's possible to be."

This graphic novel tells Hilda’s fantastic story through speech bubbles and moody panel images. Her “real” and imagined experiences blend and overlap as we follow blue-haired Hilda on her quest.  She and her dog, Twig, want to find and protect the misunderstood house elf, Tontu.  A wild, giant wolfhound is roaming through Trolberg and Hilda is influenced by the fear pervading her town.

But outsider Tontu leads Hilda through the hidden world, which humans don’t see.  Hilda then solves the wolf mystery and saves the day.  Hilda’s personality and actions reminds us what kind of a person to be in a bad situation.

Part of the Hildafolk series, this book is recommended for readers age 8 – 99 who wish there really were little folk living inside their walls.

Look for Hilda and the Black Hound in the Library.

Mary Jo, Kids World

The Worst Witch To the Rescue by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch to the Rescue book cover: blue background with a young girl in striped pants and black sweathshirt rides on broom holding a lantern in one hand while her cape billows around herAt Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, Mildred Hubble is always getting into trouble.

It's the beginning of the Summer Term and things have already gotten off to a rocky start for Mildred. Her cat, Tabby, gets stuck in a tree on their way to school and in pottery class, Mildred’s archenemy, Ethel, changes her bowl into hissing snakes! Miss Hardbottom, a very strict teacher at the Academy, is not amused and orders Mildred to her room. Along with her best friends, Maud and Enid, Mildred promises to behave, but when Ethel steals the homework for her project and presents it as her own, Mildred is can’t believe it!

Will Ethel completely ruin Mildred’s chances of becoming a witch? Or will Mildred find a way to save the day?

Find The Worst WItch to the Rescue in the Library

Bridget, Kids World

Dinosaur vs. School

Dinosaur vs School book cover: red t-rex looking dinosaur on a yellow alphabet background. Dinosaur is wearing a blue plaid jacket and is carrying a metal lunchbox“Dinosaur versus… glitter, glue and googly eyes! … Roar!  Sprinkle!  Roar!  Glue!”

Brawny Dinosaur confronts each first-day-of-school situation with his self-assured “ROAR!”  Bob Shea’s humorous mixed media artwork conveys the repeated anxiety and relief that we all feel as we conquer new situations.  In this sequel to Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, we follow Dinosaur through a new school day.  Each task is a “win!” as our protagonist makes friends, plays dress up, snacks and even braves the communal clean up.

This is a picture book that will appeal to kids ages 2 – 6, especially if they are just starting (or going back) to school.  Read it in a funny --- “RAWR!” --- dinosaur voice, and your young ones will demand to “read” it back to you!

Find Dinosaur vs. School and other dinosaur books in the Library.

Mary Jo, Kids World

"Hooray for Hat" by Brian Won

Hooray for hat! book cover: zebra, elephant, lion, turtle on parade with various hats on their heads"Elephant, Zebra, Turtle and Owl marched down the road to show Lion. Hooray for Hat!"

When Elephant wakes up, he is in a very, very, grumpy mood. The only thing that will make Elephant happy - a present! He discovers a very large, funny hat on his doorstep and decides to show all of his friends. Come along on the hat parade with Elephant and friends as they learn the importance of sharing!

Find Hooray for Hat in the Library

Bridget, Kids World

In New York by Marc Brown

In New York book cover:illustrated skyline of New York city fills top half, One strip of trucks, cards, and buses in the middle, Bottom stripe is apartment houses"One night when I was eight years old, my family boarded a train in Erie, Pennsylvania.  When we woke up, we were in New York City, the most exciting city I had ever seen...”

“I <3 New York!”  And you will want to plan your trip immediately after you finish this book.  Brown conveys his personal love for NYC and its unique sights, sounds and tastes with panoramic, detailed drawings of all the places you’ll want to see.  He also includes facts that will wow the adults in your tour group.  Did you know that there are 21 playgrounds in Central Park?  That the city’s Chinese takeout orders requires 100 million of those little paper boxes every year?

The text is engaging, sure to build your excitement about the trip.  Brown’s watercolors reveal the heights and depths of the sprawling city (think skyscrapers and subways).  Some illustrate its long history, endless food options, iconic landmarks and sites.  Best of all, his artwork shows the energy of NYC’s bustling street life and the cast of characters you will likely observe there.  The two page spreads invite close scrutiny; Browns’ beloved Arthur is easy to find (on one particular page), but can you spot the author and his dad in all of these famous NYC locations? And don’t miss the dozens of fun facts and highlights printed on the endpapers.

This is a picture book that would be most enjoyed by Kids World patrons ages 7 – 99, especially those that have visited or will soon be on their way to the Big Apple.  NYC resources are listed in the back of the book to help you plan your trip.  “Give my regards to Broadway!”

Find In New York in the Library.

Mary Jo, Kids World

Little Green Peas by Keith Baker

Little Green Peas book cover: title in rainbow colors, small green peas are playing an assortment of outside games"Blue boats, blue seas, blue flags...and little green peas."

If you enjoyed the books LMNO Peas and 1-2-3 Peas, also by Keith Bakers, then you will not want to miss this new book! Using vibrant illustrations, the little green peas take us on a colorful tour of the world around us. Perfect for little ones just learning about colors!

Find Little Green Peas in the Library

Bridget, Kids World

Another Day As Emily By Eileen Spinelli

Another Day as Emily book cover: brown haried girl on bicycle looks back and a much younger boy racing after her in a black cape"This is to let you know that the ice cream offer is off.  I’m really sorry.  I’ll be spending a lot of time alone now...”

Do you ever wish that you were someone else?  Maybe someone famous? 

Envious of her brother’s sudden fame as town hero, eleven-year-old Suzy extends her feelings of disconnection into an extreme identification with Emily Dickinson, the reculsive 19th century poet.  This novel in verse invites the reader inside Suzy’s head as she tries on being Emily instead of Suzy.  She enjoys the temporary solitude but is drawn back to becoming herself by her warm friends and family, the appeal of doing theater and an invitation to a Phillies game.  Suzy ultimately recognizes the simple gifts of her regular life as herself.

This book is a simple novel in verse and would be ideal for a third grade reader who enjoys realistic fiction or a reluctant reader who is ready for the transition to chapter books.

Find Another Day As Emily in the Library.

Mary Jo, Kids World

The Beatles by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

The Beatles book cover; the Bristish falg serves as backdrop as in the center in a white circle as illustrations of the four Beatles musicians“John was a rebel, but he still changed into his rocker's jeans at the bus stop so he wouldn't upset his aunty Mimi.”

Do you ever wonder what the big deal was about The Beatles?  If you don’t believe your grandparents, take a trip through the 1950s, 60s and 70s with this colorful picture book.  Starting with John and Paul's boyhood stories, it traces the formation, wild success and then the end of the Fab Four’s musical journey.  The two-page spreads offer vivid drawings overlaid with multiple cartoon boxes and panels, many revealing funny little insights about the boys' personalities or musical skills.  The chronological account also relates the Beatle’s storyline to dramatic, related world events --- rock and roll, hippies, the Vietnam War --- and how teenagers were becoming a distinct cultural group in Europe and America.

This book will appeal to kids whose parents make them listen to “oldies” in the car as well as to music fans and, er, … adults.

Find The Beatles in the Library

Find music recorded by the Beatles in the Library

Mary Jo, Kids World

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

Words with wings book cover: solid blue background, green school chair with 'desk arm', book resting open on desk items of fantasy coming out/in“The word fly
had set me free,
and I wondered,
Are there other words
that can carry me away?”

Have you ever gotten caught daydreaming, by your mom or your teacher? Gabriella’s thoughts and feelings flow like mini poems that tell her story,  Her Dad is gone, she and Mom have to move and she feels invisible at her new school.  Sensitive Gabby is a daydreamer; words constantly prompt memories and fantasies and submerge her there.  Her dreaminess helps her both escape and cope with all of the change that she is experiencing.

Gabby’s daydreaming problem is, predictably, identified as a skill by her teacher and she then feels free to express herself in writing.  Award-winning author Nikki Grimes conveys the power of words, memory and imagination in this sparse, accessible novel in verse.  Words with Wings would appeal to third through fifth graders, especially girls, who are dreamy, sensitive and/or experiencing family changes or new school adjustments.

Find Words with Wings in the Library

Find more of Nikki Grimes’ work in the Library

Mary Jo, Kids World

The Curse of Maleficent by Disney Press

The Curse of Maleficent book cover: Aurora (young girl with long hair) is bathed in a golden glow. Behind her in the shadows stands Maleficent (black cloak, turned away for her but watching out of corner of eye, staff in hand with a drak crystal on top)"One thing was certain, however. Maleficent was a hero in the Moors that night."

Easily one of the most majestically evil characters in any animated movie, Maleficent serves as the villain in Disney's movie adaption of Sleeping Beauty. Now we are told she was a hero when she was younger? What changes a hero into a monster?

Betrayal. A thirst for vengeance.

Does Maleficent's story truly end with her death as a huge black fire breathing dragon as is suggested in the climax of Disney's Sleeping Beauty?

Based upon the story in Disney's new movie, Maleficent, this chapter book contains beautiful color illustrations that invite you to step into a "once upon a time, in a far away kingdom," circle around the question of "what makes a monster?" and stay for a "happily ever after." (It is a fairy tale after all...)

But, in-between lies a wondrous world of magic fairies and dragons, and all the adventure a fourth, fifth, or sixth grade fairy tale fan could want.

Find The Curse of Maleficent in the Library.

Celeste, Kids World

Pages