Sunday, March 6, 2011

Staff picks under my umbrella

It may still be precipitating, but at least it's warmer out! Nothing says (almost) spring to me like stomping in puddles and then reading a new favorite book while my feet dry. Here are our latest staff picks.

Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem
Bookseller: Jose-Luis
Genre: fantasy, humor
Suggested reading level: ages 10 up

Mellie believed in "small persons with wings" as a kid, earning her the nickname "Fairy Fat." For years she abandons whimsy, Roald Dahl, and fairies altogether, thinking magic can never be real. But when her family moves into an inn, guess what it's infested with? Don't call them fairies; they might turn you into a frog! This is a hilarious book that keeps getting weirder and better with every chapter.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Bookseller: Michelle
Genre: realistic fiction, humor, environmentalism; mystery
Suggested reading level: ages 9 up

Florida is chock full of weird characters and mysteries. It starts when new kid Roy sees a strange barefoot boy running from the school bus - chasing him leads Roy to discover sparkly painted snakes, the dangers of flapjacks, and how to handle all kinds of bullies. Look for Hiaasen's other books, Flush and Scat.

Harvey by Herve Bouchard
Bookseller: Shara
Genre: graphic novel
Suggested reading level: ages 12 up

Following a toothpick race down Rue Tremblay, Harvey and his brother come home to find their father has suffered a fatal heart attack. With its combination of poignant prose, muted colors, and generous use of white space, this book offers a subtle and heartbreaking glimpse of a boy's experience of loss.

Nate the Great by Marjorie Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont
Bookseller: Teresa
Genre: early reader, mystery
Suggested reading level: ages 5 to 7

Do you like pancakes? Do you like solving mysteries? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then this is the book for you! In this story, Nate the Great has a very important case. He needs to help his friend Annie find the missing picture of her dog, Fang. Can you help him gather clues and solve this mystery?

Sad Stories of the Death of Kings by Barry Gifford
Bookseller: Shara
Genre: short stories, realism
Suggested reading level: ages 16 up

Set in 1950s Chicago, this collection of stark short stories brings together the grit of post-war city living with the disillusionment that so often accompanies coming of age tales. Still, Gifford manages to include just the ring amount of surprise and delight to make the harsh realism bearable.

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
Bookseller: Jose-Luis
Genre: realistic fiction, LGTBQ
Suggested reading level: ages 12 up

Born biologically female, high school student Grady has taken the bold step to be himself and live as a male. He knew it was going to be difficult, but he never imagined the wide variety of reactions he receives. Grady misses his best friend, Evie, who is now friends with the biggest bully in the school. And will his mother ever accept his new identity?

Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater
Bookseller: Michelle
Genre: fiction, humor
Suggested reading level: ages 9 up

Don't let this black and white cover deceive you: this book is weird beyond weird! Victor is left home alone and so stays up late watching the late news shows (he's a big fan of Walter Cronkite) - until he sees human-sized lizards playing music on TV. The lizard coincidences pile up until a man with many names and a chicken under his hat becomes Victor's guide, though he inspires more questions than he answers...

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