May 2009

These are the books the Children's Area staff reviewed in May 2009. Click on the "check the catalog" link to see if the book is available. If it isn't, ask a librarian to put it on hold for you.

Scroll past these book reviews to see an archive of all of the previous book reviews.

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Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library

Mary Rose, age 10, and Jo-Beth, age 7, are typical sisters. They argue, make-up and argue again. Jo-Beth thinks that Mary Rose has it made being the oldest sister. On the other hand Mary Rose thinks Jo-Beth gets away with too much, and always makes a big deal out of everything! At the beginning of the book, the girls' father is driving them to their Aunt Madge's house to stay while their mother prepares for childbirth. It is snowing hard and the car runs out of gas. Father leaves the girls with the instructions for them to stay in the car, but of course Jo-Beth has to go to the bathroom. They leave the car for what they think will be only moments as they head for the nearest building--the library. As they enter and start searching for the bathroom, the librarian, unaware that the girls are in there, locks the doors for the night. The girls soon realize that they are locked in the library! As they search for a way out, they hear strange noises coming from above. They argue about what to do and which way to go. They cautiously creep up the stairs to discover a body on the floor of the apartment up stairs. Then the fun begins! With the help of the librarian they discover all the secret treasures the library has to offer in the basement and on the third floor. The next day, their father finds them but they have to come up with a plan for all the secret treasures they have uncovered. This is a fun and good read.

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Run Away Home

This is the story of 11-year-old Sarah Crossman. The story takes place in Alabama where Sarah lives with her parents and her uncontrollable dog Buster. The year is 1888, and the Crossman's, an African American family, live on a small farm and are threatened by the white supremacist, Knights of the Southern Order. As if the family isn't discriminated against enough already, they end up taking in an Apache boy named Sky who Sarah witnesses escaping from a train that was taking him to a reservation. Although jealous of her parent's affections toward Sky in the beginning, Sarah ends up realizing that Sky is a special part of the family. Patricia McKissack, a Newberry Honor author, has written a moving story inspired by her black and Native American ancestors.

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Fancy Nancy and the Boy from Paris

When a boy from Paris joins Nancy's class at school, Nancy wants nothing more than to make him her nouveau ami! (That is French for new friend.) Nancy's complete love of all things Parisian, coupled with her outgoing personality, allow she and Robert to instantaneously (that is fancy for fast) become friends. While Nancy typically has quite the eye for detail, her excitement over having a new friend with such exotic origins, causes her to get a little bit carried away. A fun read for all those looking to spiff up their vocabulary and brush up on some basic French.

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The Willoughbys

The Willoughbys is an "old fashioned story" of four children and their loveless relationship with their inattentive parents. I know what you may be thinking, sounds horrible, right? Actually, if you bother to read it, you will find that it is, in fact, quite silly. Lowry’s dark humor leaves you snickering throughout the entire book. The four children, desirous of becoming orphans like all of the other interesting children in Classic Literature, send their parents off on a long holiday in hopes that they will somehow encounter their tragic demise. Conversely, the parents leave with plans of selling their house while they are gone and abandoning their loathsome children. There are a host of interesting characters that add to the story and ensure that, in the end, everybody gets what they deserve. A great read for those who enjoy the Lemony Snickett books.

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