5 Books!

Introducing a new feature–5 Books!   Five books on a featured topic, with a short synopsis and link to the book in the catalog.  5 Books–One Old, One New, One Popular with Kids, One Well-Reviewed, and One Favorite. (But you’ll have to guess which is which)!

If you have a topic you’d like to see, just reply to this post (or any future 5 Books! post), or send us a message with a suggestion.  We’ll see what we can do!

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5 Books Featuring…Families!
(Because November is Family Stories month)

These five books are fiction, appropriate for readers from grades three to five.  These are also all great read-alouds for slightly younger listeners.  And, of course, families.

Birdsall, Jeanne.  The Penderwickspenderwicks
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.
The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will–won’t they? One thing’s for sure: THIS will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.

Estes, Eleanor.  The MoffatsMoffats
Meet the Moffats. There is Sylvie, the oldest, the cleverest, and-most days at least-the responsible one; Joey, who though only twelve is the man of the house…sometimes; Janey, who has a terrific upside-down way of looking at the world; and Rufus, who may be the littlest but always gets in the biggest trouble.
For sixty years this classic novel about a family struggling to get along in the early part of the century has charmed readers with its warmth and gentle humor.  Even the most ordinary Moffat day is packed with extraordinary fun! Only a Moffat could get locked in a bread box all afternoon, or dance with a dog in front of the whole town, or hitch a ride on a boxcar during kindergarten recess. And only a Moffat could turn mistakes and mischief into hilarious one-of-a-kind adventure.  From their hilarious Halloween hijinks to their touching concerns about coal on a winter evening, the adventures of Sylvie, Joe, Jane, and Rufus Moffat remind us of what family is really all about.

Glaser, Karina Yan.  The Vanderbeekers of 141st Streetvanderbeekers
The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. Twins Isa and Jessie, along with siblings Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney (ranging from ages four-and-three-quarters to 12), plus a dog, a cat, a bunny, and their parents all love their home. Unfortunately, cantankerous landlord Mr. Biederman refuses to renew the lease. They have the five days before Christmas to change his mind or they will have to move out of the only home they have ever known. It’s practically another member of the family. From the moment they find out, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.  The Boys Start the War/The Girls Get Evenboys start the war girls get even
Just when the Hatford brothers were expecting three boys to move into the house across the river, where their best friends, the Bensons, used to live, the Malloys arrive instead. Wally and his brothers decide to make Caroline and her sisters so miserable that they’ll want to go back to Ohio, but they haven’t counted on the ingenuity of the girls.
From dead fish to dead bodies, floating cakes to floating heads, the pranks and tricks continue–first by the boys, then the girls–until someone is taken prisoner! Will the Malloys leave West Virginia? Will the Bensons come back? Trust the four Hatford boys and the three Malloy girls to do anything to get one up on each other in this fun-filled war of the wits.
Watch for the continuing chronicles of the Hatfords and the Malloys.

Spalding, Esta.  Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts!Fitzgerald-Trouts
Kim Fitzgerald-Trout took to driving with ease–as most children would if their parents would ever let them try. She had to. After all, she and her siblings live in a car.
Technically, the Fitzgerald-Trout children are stepsiblings, but family is family.  Kim, Kimo, Pippa, and Toby live in a parked car on an unnamed tropical island, a setting that comes alive with its lush beaches and to-be-avoided forest filled with poisonous iguanas.  They take care of themselves. They sleep in their car, bathe in the ocean, eat fish they catch and fruit they pick, and can drive anywhere they need to go–to the school, the laundromat, or the drive-in. If they put their minds to it, the Fitzgerald-Trouts can do anything. Even, they hope, find a real home.

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So there you have it!  5 Family Stories! 

But, you ask, what about the Quigleys? The Melendys? The Fletchers? The Quimbys and the Stanleys and the Aldens and the Hatchers and the Lotterys?  The All-of-a-Kind family? The Pain and the Great One?  There are quite a few other famous families in books for kids…

So apparently, I can’t stop there; it’s so difficult to limit a list when it comes to books!  So here are five MORE for your reading pleasure…

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5 Books Featuring Early Chapter Books Families:

This second set of five books are also fiction, and are in our Purple Dot Section of Early Chapter Books, for 2nd & 3rd grade readers moving up from Early Readers.

Atinuke.  Anna Hibiscusanna hibiscus
Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa, in a city of lagoons and bridges . . . skyscrapers and shanty towns. Her mother is from Canada, her father from Africa, and she has twin baby brothers, Double and Trouble. Anna and her whole family in a wonderful house where there is always somebody to laugh and play with. Anna Hibiscus loves to splash in the sea with her cousins and have parties with her aunties. But more than anything else in the world, Anna Hibiscus would love to see snow.
Featuring a warm, loving multi-generational family relationships and daily life in modern, urban Africa. Great as a classroom or family read-aloud, it illustrates the commonality of cultures and experiences and inspires discussion.

Blume, Judy.  Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great Onesoupy saturdays pain and great one
MEET THE PAIN: My sister’s name is Abigail. I call her The Great One because she thinks she’s so great. Who cares if she’s in third grade and I’m just in first?
MEET THE GREAT ONE: My brother’s name is Jacob Edward, but everyone calls him Jake. Everyone but me. I call him The Pain because that’s what he is. He’s a first-grade pain. I’ll always know exactly what he’s thinking. That’s just the way it is.
When an eight-year-old girl and her six-year-old brother take turns describing each other, it’s no surprise that “The Pain” and “The Great One” are the nicknames that emerge. As this duo debates whom Mom and Dad love most, their competition becomes increasingly humorous–because when it comes to family affection, there’s no such thing as win or lose.

Friedman, Laurie.  Mallory on the Movemallory on the move
When eight-and-a-half-year-old Mallory McDonald’s parents tell her that they are moving, she’s mad–really mad! It’s not fair! How can they make her move away from Mary Ann, her best friend in the whole wide world? Who will she paint her toenails with, tell secrets to, and make scrapbooks with? When Mallory arrives at her new house on Wish Pond Road, things are terrible. Her room is too small and the girl next door is mean. But Joey lives next door, too. Even though he doesn’t paint his toes, he tells jokes, helps teach her cat to do tricks, and shows her how to skateboard. Mallory’s having so much fun she forgets the pact she made with Mary Ann never to make friends with a boy next door. But, when Mary Ann comes to visit, what will Mallory do? Will she have to choose between her best friend and her new friend?
Mallory is a lively, appealing character with a penchant for jokes, which are scattered throughout. The first-person narrative, written in short, descriptive sentences, makes this series both accessible and entertaining for young readers.

Hanlon, Abby.  Dory Fantasmagorydory fantsmagory
As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices–including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, moving into the closet, and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.
With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.

Kelly, Jacqueline.  Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vetskunked calpurnia tate
The year is 1901, and Calpurnia lives in a big white house in Texas with her mother, father, grandfather, and six brothers. Living with so many brothers can bring excitement and, at times, trouble. High jinks ensue when Cal’s younger brother Travis discovers an abandoned baby skunk.  Soft-hearted Travis can’t help but bring him home and take care of him. Stinky, as Travis names him, settles in pretty well. But when Travis discovers Stinky’s litter-mate, Winky, who is in need of some help, things get complicated around the Tate house. One skunk is a piece of cake; two is just asking for trouble. Will Travis and Callie be able to keep the critters away from Mother’s careful eyes–and nose?
Written with simplicity, grace, and humor, the story is accessible to the many young readers looking for large type and wide-spaced lines.

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And that’s where we stop…before we get to Charlie & Lola, Max & Ruby, Amanda & Oliver…the fun never stops!

As always, if you would like suggestions for 5 books (more or less!) come into the library and ask one of our librarians.  We are always happy to help!








November Book Display: Family Stories!

Did you know that November is Family Stories month?

There are quite a few famous families of children’s books…from the Marches to the Penderwick sisters; the Hardy boys to the Hatcher brothers; and all the families in between.

Who is your favorite literary family?  The Melendys?  The Fitzgeralds? The Moffats?  The Murrays?  Check out our November is Family Stories display and see if your favorites are there!  In the meantime, enjoy our first November newsletter, featuring some much-loved families in a booklists, as well as a craft from the pioneer Ingalls sisters and a craft that has made it into quite a few children’s books.  (Even if I couldn’t find a specific one…)

monthly newsletter nov 13 families

Happy Reading!


Booklist: Favorite Fictional Families!

Family Stories!

Did you know that November is Family Stories month?  So grab a book and celebrate with one of your favorite fictional families!  If you don’t know any fictional families, how about trying one of the families listed below. Most of these titles are the first of a series (or at least two books) about the characters.

Birdseye, Jeanne. Rosalind, Skye, Jane & Batty Penderwick
These four sisters are best friends, which is a very good thing when they spend the summer together on an estate with only two rabbits and a very interesting boy as company!  This modern story has an old-fashioned feel, and you’ll want to be friends with all four sisters. Start with The Penderwicks.

Blume, Judy. Peter and Fudge Hatcher.
Poor Peter! He has to have the most active and imaginative brother in the world.  Whether they’re going out to eat or eyeing family pets at home, these brothers will make you laugh out loud!  Start with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

Cresswell, Helen.  The Bagthorpes
Talk about a crazy family!  Jack is the only ordinary child, surrounded by talented siblings, a genius cousin, over-achieving parents, eccentric grandparents and one sympathetic uncle. And yet, they all gather for weekly meetings and dinners…even if they do manage to do things like burn the house down.  Very humorous and very, very British. Start with Ordinary Jack.

Fitgerald, John.  Sweyn, Tom &  J.D. Jenkins
Tom is known as “The Great Brain” in Adenville, Utah. That’s not so much because he’s brilliant as that he’s the biggest conman—or con kid—in town. J. D. looks up to his brother, even as he’s caught up in his schemes.  Start with The Great Brain.

Langton, Jane. Eleanor, Eddy & Georgie Hall
Eddy and Eleanor start off this series, with their younger step-cousin/adopted sister Georgie joining them in the second book. The Halls live in Concord, Massachusetts, in a huge house, where strange things happen. The siblings bond as they deal with unexpected and magical adventures.  Start with either The Diamond in the Window or The Fledgling.

Law, Ingrid.  The Beaumont Family
Every member of the Beaumont family is keeping a secret from the world. On the day of their thirteenth birthday, each new teen develops a “savvy”, a special unique power that grows and develops with them. It can be something easy like storing sound in a container, or something big and hard to control like channeling electricity.  But whatever power they have, all the Beaumonts work together to protect and help each other. Read Savvy for Mib’s story, or Scumble for her cousin Logan’s.

L’Engle, Madeleine. John, Vicky, Suzy & Rob Austin
With a famous doctor for a father, and a former opera singer for a mother, these thoughtful, intelligent, (and sometimes annoying–to each other) siblings stick up for each other through thick and thin, while enjoying adventures at home and when they journey around the country. Start with Meet the Austins.

L’Engle, Madeleine. Meg, Sandy, Dennys & Charles Wallace Murray
Their father vanished a year ago. Their mother is a famous scientist. Twins Sandy and Dennys share a twin bond, but oldest sister Meg and youngest brother Charles Wallace are the ones who are connected. Start with A Wrinkle in Time.  And don’t be surprised if some of the Austins pop up in later books!

Martin, Ann.  Abigail, Bainbridge, Callandra, Dagwood, Eberhard, Faustine, Gardenia, Hannah, Ira, & Janthina Rosso
With those names, you think they don’t have a problem? These ten siblings are named by a system their mother invented. They always have someone to play with, but the one thing they don’t have is a pet. When they move to a new home with lots of room, these kids band together to find one and convince their parents to keep it. Start with Ten Kids, No Pets.

Mason, Simon.  Will &  Lucy Quigley (and Mum &  Dad)
These lighthearted (but stubborn) British siblings have their own take on how things should be done, and how they’re going to do it. Mum and Dad even get their own adventures in each title!  Start with The Quigleys.

McKay, Hilary.  Caddy, Indigo, Rose & Saffy Casson
The Cassons are an eccentric, engaging British family. Their artist parents named their children for colors. Saffron, however, learns at the start of the series that she is actually an adopted cousin. When their grandfather dies and leaves Saffy an angel, she searches for it. Unforgettable characters come alive in often deeply humorous and always absorbing events to be treasured. Start with Saffy’s Angel, but each sibling has their own book.

McKay, Hilary.  Ruth, Naomi, Rachel & Phoebe Conroy
The Conroys don’t have a television or pet, or vacations. They do like to read though. When their parents inherit money, they ship the four sisters off to Big Grandma’s house, where lots of chores and horribly long walks await them. At first it seems as though Big Grandma is determined to put a stop to any fun…she won’t even let them read!. But the girls find interesting ways to entertain themselves, and start having adventures and mishaps as usual… Start with The Exiles.

Naylor, Phyllis. The Hatfield Boys & The Malloy Girls
The Hatfields have always been best friends with the Benson boys, who live across the river from their house. But when the Bensons move to Georgia, the Malloys move into their house. Now, instead of boys, there are three sisters living in their best friends’ house.  From sinking cakes to floating heads, dead fish to rabid sisters, it’s war! Start with The Boys Start the War/The Girls Get Even.

Ransom, The Walker &  the Blackett Families
Boats, pirates, camping and sailing! The Swallows crew are four siblings—John, Susan, Titty and Roger Walker, while the Amazon is piloted by two sisters—Nancy and Peggy Blackett.  When the two families meet, adventure is on the horizon! Start with Swallows and Amazons.

Robinson, Barbara. The Horrible Herdmans
Take one family of kids that lie, cheat, curse, steal and generally wreak havoc on the general public, but especially on the other kids at Woodrow K. Wilson Elementary School. Mary and her friends are all afraid of Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie and Gladys Herdman; but as it turns out, the Herdmans have something to share with the whole town. Start with either The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever or The Worst Best School Year Ever.

Snyder, Zilpha. David, Janie, Blair & Esther Stanley and Amanda Randall
The Stanley children have met their match in stepsister Amanda. Amanda’s not sure she wants siblings, even though it’s clear that Jeff and Molly are going to be married. It’s up to David to make sure that his younger brother and sisters are ready to face the adventures they’ll be encountering!  Start with The Headless Cupid.  (And check out our “Old Favorite” entry for another book in this series: The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case.)

If you have a brother or sister, or a bunch of them, or none at all…these books are a great way to spend an afternoon.  And they’re all good read-alouds for families!  Most of these titles are also on CD, so they’re great for family car trips.