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Kids' Corner

Staff Reviews: For Children

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books and DVDs for children! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.


Cover: 'The Executioner's Daughter'

"The Executioner's Daughter" by Jane Hardstaff

★★★★ Moss is the executioner’s daughter. That’s right; she lives in the Tower of London in England with her father who serves King Henry VIII, and lately they are way too busy with executions. Her job is to catch the severed heads in a basket after her father chops them off, a job she detests. She longs to escape and see more of the world beyond the castle...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Girl Who Drank the Moon'

"The Girl Who Drank the Moon" by Kelly Barnhill

★★★★★  Every year a newborn baby from the Protectorate is left in the nearby forest in an effort to appease the witch. Xan, the forest witch, doesn’t understand this tradition, but in order to rescue the infants she scoops them up and delivers them to adoptive families in the town on the other side of the forest.  When she rescues one special baby and...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Newbery Award Winner, Award-Winning

Cover: 'The Poet's Dog'

"The Poet's Dog" by Patricia MacLachlan

★★★★ Trapped in a bitter blizzard, two children, Flora and Nickel, are led to a safe, warm cabin by a dog named Teddy who speaks in a language they immediately understand. They find food and firewood to make a fire and share life stories while they plan how they can get word to the childrens' mother. Teddy knows instinctively how to rescue them, just like he was...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Eleven and Holding'

"Eleven and Holding" by Mary Penney

★★★★ Macy is not celebrating her upcoming birthday.  She’s determined not to turn twelve without her father.  Her father has been gone for months now and no one is telling her the truth about his disappearance.  Jack, her baby brother, is getting most of her mother’s attention, her beloved grandmother, Nana, has recently died and her shop has been...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

★★★★★ Taking place 19 years after the events of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Harry Potter and his wife, Ginny, are happily raising their kids James, Albus, and Lily. Harry, the head of Magical Law Enforcement, finds it hard to connect with Albus, who leaves for his first year at Hogwarts as the story begins. Over the next few years, Albus becomes an...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Ghosts'

"Ghosts" by Raina Telgemeier

★★★★ Cat and Maya's family moves to a new town in California for Maya's health; Maya has cystic fibrosis and the town's fog and mist from the ocean will help Maya breathe easier. Cat and Maya explore the town and meet Carlos along the way. Carlos is the town's young ghost tour guide. Ghosts?! In this town? Cat is terrified of all scary things, but Maya is eager...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel

Cover: 'Little Blue Truck's Halloween'

"Little Blue Truck's Halloween" by Alice Schertle

★★★★★ Beep! Beep! Boo! Little Blue Truck is back just in time for Halloween. Little Blue Truck and his friend Toad are on their way to the barn for a Halloween party. While journeying to the barn, they encounter different farmyard animals in their Halloween costumes. When you lift the flap, the identity of the costumed animal is revealed. This book is recommended...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Airport Book'

"The Airport Book" by Lisa Brown

★★★★★ Join a young boy, his toddler sister, and their parents as they journey through a busy airport. From leaving the house to experiencing turbulence, and from boarding the plane to the baggage claim, the siblings take you through the entire process of going to the airport and flying on a plane. There is even a fun subplot about the sister's toy monkey and his...

Audience: Children | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'The  Seventh Wish'

"The Seventh Wish" by Kate Messner

★★★★ Charlie Brennan reluctantly agrees to go ice fishing with a neighbor to earn money for a beautiful Irish dancing dress that she wants for an upcoming competition. The small first fish she catches is unusual with glowing green eyes, like emeralds, and it speaks and promises her a wish in exchange for its freedom. She is so shocked she doesn’t even know what...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth'

"The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth" by Ruby Roth

★★★★★ Are you a parent or family member looking for healthy, fun meals for your youngest family members? This fun, new cookbook is a great resource for anyone looking for healthy recipes that will tempt even the pickiest eaters. Not only are all recipes vegan, so they are allergy friendly and environmentally conscious, but the author did a great job of...

Audience: Children | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

Cover: 'Grayling's Song'

"Grayling's Song" by Karen Cushman

★★★★ Grayling lives with her mother in a cottage in the woods and somewhat begrudgingly helps her tend the herb garden and prepare potions, tonics and remedies. Hannah, her mother, is known as a healer, helping people in exchange for whatever they can spare. But when their cottage burns, her mother is found firmly rooted to the ground like a tree. When her...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Some Kind of Happiness'

"Some Kind of Happiness" by Claire Legrand

★★★★★ Finley Hart is sad. She is sad and downhearted about a lot of things, including the fact that she is being forced by her parents to spend the summer at Hart House, with grandparents and cousins whom she has never even met, while her parents try to “work things out”. To escape, she retreats into the Everwood, a forest kingdom fantasy world that she is...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Flora and the Peacocks'

"Flora and the Peacocks" by Molly Idle

★★★★★ I loved this gorgeous lift-the-flap, wordless picture book and you will too. Flora from “Flora and the Penguin” and “Flora and the Flamingo” is back, this time making friends and fan-dancing with penguins. Not all goes well, however, in this give and take dance of friendship, but the stunning, surprise fold-out ending will leave you smiling. This beautiful...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book, Read-Alouds

Cover: 'The Door By the Staircase'

"The Door By the Staircase" by Katherine Marsh, Kelly Murphy

★★★★★ Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes is miserable. She is so miserable that she attempts an escape up the small, sooty stovepipe from the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies, where, as an older child, there’s literally no chance of getting adopted, especially when the head mistress dislikes you. So when an old woman with a big nose, Madame Z, shows up to adopt her, she’s...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Girl in the Well Is Me'

"The Girl in the Well Is Me" by Karen Rivers

★★★★ Being the new kid in town, eleven-year-old Kammie Summer is perhaps just trying to impress the popular girls at her new school when she accepts their dare and ends up in a deep abandoned well. It’s wet, smelly, cold, dark and scary and it hurts being cramped in there with her arms and body wedged against the sides of the well. Where are her so called new "...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Realistic

Cover: 'The Wild Robot'

"The Wild Robot" by Peter Brown

★★★★★ Roz’s life begins in a peculiar way. Washed ashore in a crate on what appears to be a deserted island, she is the lone intact survivor of a sunken cargo ship. Charged by the island sun and literally jolted to life when a sea otter reaches through her crate and accidentally pushes a button on the back of her head, Roz, a robot, opens her eyes and introduces...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'North Woods Girl'

"North Woods Girl" by Aimee Bissonette

★★★★★ In an age of computers, smartphones and tablets, it can sometimes be difficult to draw kids' attention away from such devices and get them outside. The young, unnamed protagonist in "North Woods Girl" eschews such technological temptations in favor of exploring the great outdoors with her rustic, nature-loving grandmother, who lives deep within the north...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book

Cover: 'Maybe a Fox'

"Maybe a Fox" by Kathi Appelt, Alison McGhee

★★★★★ On an ordinary wintry school day like so many others, while sisters twelve-year-old Sylvie and eleven-year-old Jules are waiting for the school bus, Sylvie runs into the woods and disappears. Why would she go? They were forbidden to go on this path leading to the Slip, a small geological formation in which the river bed disappears into an open cavern and...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land'

"Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land" by John Coy

★★★★★ This beautiful, heart-warming children’s book gave me goosebumps. The photographs portray a multitude of immigrants who came to America from many different countries. In simple, almost lyrical text it imparts the great sacrifices that the previous generation made, not only to bring their family to a new country, but to survive and provide new opportunities...

Audience: Children | Genre: Nonfiction, History

Cover: 'The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle'

"The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle" by Janet Fox

★★★★★ Amid warnings from the train stationmaster about Rookskill Castle in Scotland being peculiar, haunted, with grinding and screeching noises and rumors of kids disappearing, the Bateson children, Katherine (Kat), Robbie, Amelie, and Peter, an American boy, proceed to the castle anyway. Actually, what choice do they have? They’re kids who are sent to this...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'The Land of Forgotten Girls'

"The Land of Forgotten Girls" by Erin Entrada Kelly

★★★★★ Living in the shadow of her sister Amelia’s ghost, and carefully trying not to destroy the spirit of her younger sister, ever-resourceful Soledad tries desperately to give her something to believe in, even though it may be untrue. Living in almost unbearable conditions in Louisiana with their new, evil stepmother after their father deserts them soon after...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear'

"Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear" by Lindsay Mattick, Sophie Blackall

★★★★★ This is the heartwarming story of the real life "Winnie the Pooh." I really enjoyed how the author told the story in two parts and also included real journal entries and photographs from WWI. In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian on his way to care for horses in World War I, happened upon a lost baby bear at a train station. For some reason,...

Audience: Children | Genre: Caldecott Award Winner, Nonfiction, Picture Book, Read-Alouds

Cover: 'Withering-by-Sea'

"Withering-by-Sea" by Judith Rossell

★★★★★ Stella is an eleven-year-old orphan living with her three aunts in a boring, seaside mansion, the Hotel Majestic, where elderly people come to partake of the healthful waters. Her life suddenly becomes way too interesting when she witnesses a murder and finds herself on the run from the evil professor/magician Starke and his gang of men who desperately want...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Dogtag Summer'

"Dogtag Summer" by Elizabeth Partridge

★★★★ Tracey (Tuyet) is “con lai”, half breed; she has been told that she has the face of the enemy. Half Vietnamese and half American, her father was an American soldier serving in Vietnam. Adopted by an American family in California, she is not sure where or how she fits in. With the help of her best friend Stargazer she begins searching. When they discover an...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Wrinkled Crown'

"The Wrinkled Crown" by Anne Nesbet

★★★★ Linny’s twelfth birthday is fast approaching and she’s being watched and protected even more than usual, lest she fall victim to an ancient curse. She is forbidden to touch a lourka instrument, but the call of music and the lourka is so irresistible that she secretly builds one. When she is compelled to play it on the eve of her birthday, her best friend...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

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