Recent Reads

Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel

By Chris Grabenstein (author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library)

The  Wonderland Motel is not so wonderful anymore. It’s first year in existence was great. That was before Walt Disney opened his theme park. Now the Wonderland Motel is in serious financial trouble. P.T. can’t imagine the motel being sold and no more free ice cream and room service. Fortunately it’s spring break and one of the guests, Gloria Ortiz, is a bored business whiz kid looking for a project. Together as they dream up some unusual tactics to save the motel they stumble on something from the past that adds trouble and danger to their plans.

A fun read. I personally would recommend anything written by Chris Grabenstein.

First of a series. Available in Book and CD.



My Weird School Fast Facts: Space, Humans and Farts

By Dan Gutman

This book is also by the same author as the Flashback Four series. He also writes My Weird School series and the Genius Files.

This series Fast Facts is a fun way to pick up about the world along with jokes and things to try.

This book covers all sorts of science topics such as the solar system, forces, animals and famous scientists. There is one  chapter called Fakes, Frauds and Fame which talks about how some people have posed as scientists in the past to promote something that wasn’t real, such as the Cardiff giant. The series also includes the books: “Geography”, “Sports”, and “Explorers, Presidents and Toilets”.




Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker

By Shelley Johannes

Beatrice is an upside down thinker, ready to take on the world.  To start the new school year she’s going to wear her ninja outfit and meet up with her best friend. Unfortunately, things with Operation Upside quickly go topsy-turvy as soon as she arrives. In the space of a day things just go from bad to worse but it doesn’t slow Beatrice down. She’s determined that Operation Upside continues.

Beatrice is a fun, spunky character,  who is always finding trouble.





Marty Pants: Do Not Open!

By Mark Parisi

Marty is an artist. He has the heart of an artist and can see things that others can’t see. He also has a very active imagination and a tendency to jump to conclusions without thinking things through.  So when he finds a note that says “An alien is observing you,” he just “knows” that it refers to his short-tempered teacher, Mr. McPhee. Thus begins Marty’s campaign to save the world.  I love the drawings. They are supposed to be Marty’s drawings. Since he can’t draw bikes, when he talks about riding his bike he draws a pogo stick instead. And I love how this story ends. It makes you think about your teachers and wonder who they are when they are not being a teacher!

First in a series.




Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

By Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow has more trials than the average kid. She was born cursed. She’s on the official cursed registry, in fact. When anything goes wrong in Jackelfax, she is the person they blame. The worst part of being a cursed child though, is that she will die at the stroke of midnight on her eleventh birthday. That was her fate until a strange man at the last minute with the Hunt of Smoke and Shadow on their heels, whisks her away  to the city of Nevermoore as a Wundrous Society candidate. She can only stay though, if she passes the trials – and one of them requires a special talent which is something she lacks. Has she only postponed the inevitable? Will her curse never end?

You will quickly get lost in this book. It is imaginative, action filled, and suspenseful.

I listened to the CD and looked for reasons to be in the car so I could hear more of the story. It’s currently my favorite book!

First in a series. Available in Book and CD.

Miss Marta


Honorable Mention

Last week you got to read all about our top 10 books of 2017.  We have done a top 10 for  a few years now and it is by far one of my favorite posts to share.  It is also the one I agonize over the most all year.  I LOVE (yes, all caps is warranted) telling people about new books.  I made the tough cuts and took my list from 22 down to 10.  I still wanted to tell you about the other books though!  I couldn’t help myself!  Therefore, I created my own honorable mention category.  These books could have easily been swapped out for others that made my list.  They are that good!  Read on to see what you *almost* missed!





Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

Book two in the newest series and everything from the storyline to the illustrations is exciting!




The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt

Amusing take on how a favorite past time came to be.





In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes

Perfect book to read with the birth to four age set to introduce fall.  Large illustrations and limited text really shows off the wonders of this season and builds the vocabulary of little ones.




After The Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat

Perfect social story to talk about overcoming fears and not letting a bad eggs-perience (Yep, I went there.  Sorry, not sorry!) keep you from having good ones!




Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

This hilarious tale of karma speaks loudly to the lesson that sharing is best!




Lockwood and Co, Book 5:  The Empty Grave by Jonathon Stroud

The final installment in a great fantasy series follows Lucy, Lockwood, George, Holly, and Kipps as they finally find the source of “the problem” that has caused ghosts to terrorize the countryside for decades.



Poor Louie by Tony Fucile

Louie’s life goes from easy breezy with his human parents to strange as two sets of things start showing up at his home and his human mom’s tummy keeps growing.  Will there still be a place in the house for Louie?


Miss Marta



#2 of 2017

Only 2 spots left in our countdown for the top 10 new titles in the children’s department!  Get caught up here if you have been missing out on our countdown.


Miss Christina


The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney

I love folk tales. I love Jerry Pinkney. This book does not disappoint. This version is simple enough for its target audience, has lots of sounds to incorporate, simple and beautifully rendered pictures and an ending that teaches a lesson. If you are not familiar with Jerry Pinkney’s books, I hope this one will encourage you to look for more. You will find this book in the folk tale/fairy tale non-fiction section, J 398.2 Bil.


Miss Sarah


You Don’t Want A Unicorn by Ame Dyckman

A lesson in being careful what you wish for.


Miss Teresa


The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket

The bad mood is portrayed by a multi-colored, frowning cloud that follows Curly, prompting her to pick up a stick and poke her little brother.  While this makes Curly happy, the nad mood transfers to her mother.  Snicket’s amusing tale continues as the bad mood and the stick travel throughout the town, ultimately setting things right.


Miss Marta


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This Young Adult read is so timely and important, not to mention just darn good! Starr is the only witness to the shooting of her best friend, Khalil (who is unarmed), at the hands of a police officer.  She is getting pressure from opposing sides, both police and people from her neighborhood, as people take to the streets bringing national attention to an unjust killing.  Everyone is asking what happened and only Starr is left to answer the questions.  Inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the social and political messages that pour out of this book hit readers hard.  It made me personally think about white privilege in ways I hadn’t before. This book is awesome for starting some good converstions about what racial biases there are in our country and community and how we are handling them.  I don’t want to stand on the soapbox too long about the political and social elements of this book because the writing itself is so amazing and the main character Starr is so well developed.  The mixed emotions and raw truth of what she is dealing with is beautifully brought to light.  I have yet to meet a teen or adult who read this book and didn’t love it.



Miss Janna


History’s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases and Puzzles From the Past by Kitson Jazynka

When this book came across my desk, I had to stop and read it from cover to cover in one sitting.  National Geographic has written some of my very favorite books for kids, and this was no exception.  Highlighting vanished cities, lost tribes, history’s most infamous heroes and villains, mystifying legends and other fascinating stories, this book is riveting!


#3 of 2017

You made it to our top 3 of 2017!  Check out our previous posts to see what other titles we loved this year.  In the meantime, the countdown goes on!


Miss Christina


Cubetto Playset

This Coding kit is just darn cute. It is also very easy to use. There is a mat you place on the floor for the Cubetto Robot to travel on and an interface board you put different directional arrows on to command the square wooden robot to move. The instruction guide, written like a story, introduces you to the different parts of the kit.  There is another book called Cubetto’s First Day. This book contains a travel story, directions to for moving the Cubetto, information and questions to ask.  It’s a fun introduction to coding!


Miss Sarah


Triangle by Mac Barnett

When you have a devious friend…


Miss Teresa


A Greyhound, A Groundhog by Emily Jenkins

Not only a tongue twister in words, but visually as well, as the greyhound and groundhog whirl and twirl around each other until they’re all tuckered out.  A great read-aloud!


Miss Marta


Charlie and Mouse by Laurel Snyder

This early reader book (which kicks off a series) took me back to my childhood.  Remember how you felt the first time you chuckled at the antics of Frog and Toad?  That feeling comes right back as Charlie and Mouse take you on adventures around their home and neighborhood.  From mysterious lumps under blankets and selling rocks to bedtime bananas, these two will have your little reader giggling.  Big pro to this book?  Just like some of the classic early readers it is broken down into 4 smaller stories for the reader so it won’t overwhelm beginning readers or toddlers just learning to sit through stories.


Miss Janna


Breathe, Mama, Breathe by Shonda Moralis

Bite-sized mindfulness for busy moms.  Each chapter is a page or two, bringing cheerful encouragement and food for thought.





#4 of 2017



Miss Christina



The Flashback Four: The Lincoln Project by Dan Gutman

Imagine you travel back in time  to have the adventure of your life. Would you do it?

Eccentric, rich Miss Z, proposed to 4 twelve year olds to do just that. As a test, one boy was sent back in time to see a basketball game—one where Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points. It was so engrossing that even though I’m not a sports person I had to look it up to see if it really happened. It did! (Not the time travel part, of course).  This book brought history to life in  the details that do not make it into the history books. Ranging from the more obvious of no electric outlets to charge smart phones that don’t function without the internet, and chamber pots and out houses in use instead of bathrooms to how dead horses were dealt with after a battle. The time travel story is full of adventure and mishaps that keep you reading to the end—an end that leaves you wondering what will happen next. I guess we will all just have to wait for the next book in the series to come out. A nice addition are the included photographs that help bring the history alive to the reader.


Miss Sarah



I Want To Be In A Scary Story by Sean Taylor


Little Monster wants to be in a scary story, but he doesn’t like how scary the reader makes it until he finds a way to do some scaring himself!


Miss Teresa



A Different Pond by Bao Phi

This is a beautiful tale of a father/son fishing trip that integrates the present family history and might just open your eyes about the immigrant experience.


Miss Marta


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli

Beautifully illustrated collective biography book about amazing women who may inspire your little rebel.  The bios are only a page a piece and provides a quote they are known for.  My own spirited seven-year old is in love with this book and it served as a great spring board into reading full biographies for pleasure.


Miss Janna



100 Backyard Activities by Colleen Kessler

Each page of this fun-filled book offers great experiments and explorations to get kids off the couch and outside.


Want to know which books made the #5 spot?  Click here.



#5 of 2017


Miss Christina



The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? Alice Mayfair knows exactly how that feels. She has been shipped off to seven different schools in seven years, never finding a friend.

She’s not the only one who doesn’t fit in. There is also Millie, she so badly wants to be a part of the No-Fur world to pursue her dreams but she can’t because she is a Bigfoot. Each strive to fit into the world they belong until they meet. There’s also Jeremy who also doesn’t fit in. He is determined to prove that Bigfoot really exists which threatens Millie’s world. This is an enchanting story that addresses a need to belong, and understanding others. It also leaves you wondering what the next  book will bring.


Miss Sarah



Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Adorable story about being yourself.


Miss Teresa



We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

Palacio’s previous novel Wonder (now a major motion picture) inspired the “Choose Kind” anti-bullying movement.  Now, in her picture book debut, the author presents Auggie’s story to the younger crowd and inspires all of us to see that each of us is a wonder.


Miss Marta



The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

Lolly and his mom don’t have much to celebrate this Christmas.  His brother was killed in a gang-related shooting and things are pretty bleak.  Until… Lolly is gifted two bags of Lego.  Lolly loves Lego, but he always uses the building instructions, so he faces a challenge of free building and using his imagination.  Now, using his own ideas to construct a Lego creation at the local community center is his safe zone as he fights against pressure to join a crew and find happiness after his loss.


Miss Janna



The Littlest Learners by Dawn Roginski

With two preschoolers at home, this book was a treat!  Showing how you can easily teach and incorporate core concepts in your toddler’s daily routine, this book offers the science on how children learn throughout their early childhood.


If you missed our last post featuring our #6 favorites of 2017, check it out!


#6 of 2017


Miss Christina


The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange

Twelve year old Henry—short for Henrietta has just moved to a new house. Hope House is supposed to be a new beginning for the family but instead things begin to fall apart. The father goes to another country for work, and the mother is locked in a room attended by a strange doctor. The book appears to be filled with ghosts, secret rooms and threats of insanity. This reads like a wonderful gothic story, but when you think of the time period and situation afterwards, you realize just how scary this really is. Fortunately this book has a happy, yet realistic ending. Beautifully and compellingly written. Set  in England after the 1st world war. This is Lucy Strange’s first book but I certainly look forward to her next!


Miss Sarah


Shelter by Celine Claire

Through a snowstorm kindness shines.


Miss Teresa


Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt

In this debut picture book, two children traveling home at the end of the day find themselves wondering the same questions about each other — why am I me and why are you you?  Why is everyone who they are…? And not someone else entirely?  Why Am I Me? is a lovely invitation to imagine a world where the is only one WE.  Beautifully illustrated by husband and wife team Sean QUalls and Selina Alko, this book is a must read.


Miss Marta


The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

This book was by far one of the best fantasy books I have read in a long time.  It filled a spot left by series like Harry Potter where there is rich, unique worldbuilding going on.  Ivy and her brother Seb are pulled into city beneath London to save their grandma and discover the magical powers very common objects possess… IF you are uncommon.  Candles make you invisible, Bells serve as sentinels, Belts make you fly, and toilet plungers… well… you don’t want to be on the wrong end of one.  You can read my full review of this book here OR you can take the chance that this just might be your new favorite series and grab it up on your next visit!


Miss Janna


The Wolf, The Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett

Never judge a book by it’s cover!  The drab colors are completely opposite this lively tale of a mouse and duck who find themselves “safe” in the belly of the wolf.  To keep their safe home they must defend the wolf who has eaten them with comedic results.  Jon Klassen’s art paired with the perfectly timed words of Mac Barnett are sure to make any kid in elementary school laugh out loud.