Staff Picks

Here are some favorite books of the Children's staff
at Olathe Downtown and Olathe Indian Creek from the past year.

 

 
PICTURE BOOKS

BIG BUG  by Henry Cole

Introduce little ones to the concepts of scale and perspective with this picture book.  Lush illustrations, beginning and ending with a ladybug that appears very large and then very small, show objects as increasing or decreasing in size depending on the context.  (E Fiction)

BREATHE  by Scott Magoon

A young whale spends the day exploring shipwrecks, making new friends and swimming past glaciers while stopping to breathe every few pages.  This comforting and encouraging tale subtly reminds listeners and readers to slow down and breathe even when busy with fun activities.  (E Fiction)

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT  by Drew Daywalt

Poor Duncan just wants to color.  But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing:  His crayons have had enough!  They quit!  Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon.  Black wants to be used for more than just outlining.  Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.  What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?  Kids will be imagining their own humorous conversations with crayons and coloring a blue streak after sharing laughs in this book.  (E Fiction)

DINOSAUR KISSES  by David Ezra Stein

Dinah, a freshly hatched dinosaur, is quickly discovering all there is to do.  She tries stomping and chomping.  But when she sees a kiss and wants to try it, the results are decidedly mixed.  Get ready to guffaw with your little dinosaur lover!  (E Fiction)

THE FARMER’S AWAY! BAA! NEIGH!  by Anne Kennedy

This cheerful, humorous story of what the farm animals do while the farmer is away is told entirely through rhythmic, onomatopoeic animal sounds.  Little ones will love to help tell the story by pointing to each animal and saying what sound it makes, while older kids will appreciate the colorful and often hilarious illustrations of barnyard animals jet-skiing and ballroom dancing.  (E Fiction)

THE FIRST DRAWING  by Mordicai Gerstein

Imagine the world before drawing had been invented.  A young boy uses his imagination to take the reader on a journey to this time period in The First Drawing.  Constantly trying to show the people around him things that they cannot see, the boy finally devises a way to make them see what he sees through drawing.  The illustrations, featuring sketch-like outlines and acrylic paint, create texture and depth, drawing the reader into this story of art, imagination, and invention.  (E Fiction)

FLORA & THE PENGUIN  by Molly Idle

A beautiful wordless picture book that is sure to capture your imagination and heart.  Encourage young readers to lift flaps and create their own narrative as Flora and her penguin friend perform a skating duet.  (E Fiction)

HOW TO CHEER UP DAD  by Fred Koehler 

Little Dumbo’s dad is in a bad mood and not having a very good day.  The young elephant tries to cheer up dad, not realizing that he caused his dad’s bad mood in the first place.  Sure to entertain both children and parents!    (E Fiction)

KITTEN’S FIRST FULL MOON  by Kevin Henkes

Kitten is determined to reach the “little bowl of milk in the sky.”  Unfortunately, she does not realize that this bowl of milk is not actually a bowl of milk, but rather a full moon.  Both sweet and funny, Kitten’s story will appeal to anyone who has tried to reach what sometimes seems unreachable.  Henkes’ grayscale illustrations work well with the night setting, and they perfectly compliment the simple storyline.  (E Fiction)

MAGGI AND MILO  by Juli Brenning

Maggi is dressed in her new blue boots (waterproof!) and favorite dress (perfect!) and is off to hunt frogs accompanied by Milo, her dog.  Unfortunately, the frogs seem to be hiding from Maggi; but luckily, it turns out Milo is an expert frog finder.  This one is sure to be a favorite with the adventurer in your family.  (E Fiction)

MAPLE  by Lori Nichols

Maple, a joyous and nature-loving child, embraces the change of seasons through her friendship with her very own maple tree.  Then Maple becomes a big sister and everything seems to change. This book offers a wonderfully sweet take on having a new baby in the family.  The illustrations are delightfully warm and expressive.  (E Fiction)

THE ODD ONE OUT: A SPOTTING BOOK  by Britta Teckentrup

This is a fun seek-and-find book featuring many kinds of animals.  Rhyming verses challenge readers to spot the difference in the full page spread of repeating animal patterns.  For example, more than 50 pandas tumble across a page, all but one clutching a stick: "In among all of/ this hullaballoo, / which panda has lost/ its shoot of bamboo?”  Some pages are more challenging than others, but all are lots of fun!  (E Fiction)

PINKALICIOUS  by Victoria Kann

Pink, pink, pink.  More than anything, Pinkalicious loves pink—especially pink cupcakes.  Her parents warn her not to eat too many of them, but when Pinkalicious does . . . she turns pink!  What to do?  This sparkling picture book, filled with such favorites as pink bubble gum, pink peonies, pink cotton candy, and pink fairy princess dresses celebrates all things pink while showing that being yourself is best of all.  (E Fiction)

POOR DOREEN: A FISHY TALE  by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Poor Doreen?  Not in her opinion!  Doreen is off to visit her cousin and is thrilled to have help along the way.  A dragonfly on a hook?  What a lovely snack!  Snatched by a heron?  How considerate of him to escort her.  Optimistic Doreen will have kids and adults laughing out loud.  (E Fiction)

THE PRINCESS AND THE PIG  by Jonathan Emmett

When the baby princess and an ordinary pig are switched after birth (because, “it’s the sort of thing that happens all the time in books”), without a second thought the princess becomes a farmer’s daughter and the pig becomes royalty.  Readers familiar with Sleeping Beauty, The Prince and the Pauper, Puss and Boots and The Frog Prince will laugh at this outrageously funny twist on traditional fairy tales.  (E Fiction)

PRINCESSES ON THE RUN  by Smiljana Coh

Princess Antonia’s princess friends are never available for play dates and she is bored of all her fancy things.  So what’s a princess to do?  She runs away!  As all her friends join her on her adventure one by one, they begin to realize that things could be very, very different.  (E Fiction)

SECRET PIZZA PARTY  by Adam Rubin

Raccoon LOVES pizza!  Who doesn’t?  But no one will give him any.  This hilarious ode to pizza will fill your mouth with laughter…and then you may want to fill it with pizza.  Just watch out for pizza-thieving raccoons!    (E Fiction)

TELEPHONE  by Mac Barnett

When Mama Pigeon wants her son to come home, she asks a cardinal to deliver the message.  Instead, the cardinal passes the message along to the next bird on the wire.  The message moves along the wire with hilarious results.  Barnett has infused new life into an old party game, and Jen Corace’s illustrations enhance the simple text.  (E Fiction)

EASY READERS

DROP IT, ROCKET!  by Tad Hills

Rocket and the little yellow bird love to collect words for their word tree.  Rocket is good at collecting (and dropping) things to add to their tree, until he picks up a red boot.  He doesn’t want to drop the red boot, even when his friends offer him other things instead.  Only one thing will make Rocket drop the boot – a book!    (VER Reader)

FIX THIS MESS!  by Tedd Arnold

When Jake receives a package containing a robot, he is delighted.  He turns it on and instructs it to “fix this mess.”  Robug the robot does just that, and creates another mess!  Tedd Arnold’s hilarious illustrations add much to this early reader book.  (VER Reader)

SNOW BOW  by Harriet Ziefert

Is that bow in the snow?  Flip a page to discover word families featured alongside Japanese anime inspired illustrations.  Beginning readers will be taken from a single word, to a phrase, and then to a simple sentence.  The entire Flip-a-Word series, from Crab Cab to Wet Pet, is a great way to begin building a confident reader.  (VER Reader)

URGENCY EMERGENCY! BIG BAD WOLF  by Dosh Archer

Wolf is choking on something caught in his throat.  What could it be?  Or who??  Doctor Glenda, Nurse Percy, and the team at City Hospital save the day in this funny easy reader.  For more medical mayhem check out Urgency Emergency! Itsy Bitsy Spider.    (ER Reader)

CHAPTER BOOKS

BINK AND GOLLIE  by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Bink and Gollie may be different, but they are the best of friends.  “I especially love bright socks,” Bink says after buying a pair of bright striped socks.  Gollie, however, finds that “Some socks are more lovable than others.’”  Accompanying the text are detailed illustrations featuring bright colors with grayscale and outlined backgrounds.  These illustrations are the perfect complement to this warm yet funny book about true friendship.  (J Fiction)

THE GREAT GREENE HEIST  by Varian Johnson

Jackson Greene had been trained in the art of the con by his grandfather.  However, after the debacle that cost him his friendship with Gabby, he promises everyone that he is reformed.  His resolve is tested when he learns that the school bully, Keith Sinclair, is running for class president against Gabby.  It looks like Sinclair and his dad have bought off the principal and that Gabby will be defeated.  Jackson comes out of retirement to plan a brilliantly intricate high-tech caper to secure a fair election.  To carry out this job, Jackson assembles a crack team of fellow conspirators—intelligent, diverse, non-stereotypical students bonded by their desire to see that justice is done.  A smart and funny read with likable, nuanced characters.  (J Fiction)

LOOT: HOW TO STEAL A FORTUNE  by Jude Watson

We meet twelve-year-old March as his father, infamous burglar Alfie McQuinn, falls from a rooftop and uses his last dying breaths to say,  "Wait one month.  Find jewels.  Follow falls to day.  No!"  March quickly learns that his father meant Jules, not jewels, when he meets a twin sister he never knew he had.  The twins are then catapulted into a dangerous quest to complete their father’s unfinished heist.  Cursed moonstones, millions of dollars, acrobatics, and curious riddles all add to the incredible twists and turns that will keep any reader hooked.  (J Fiction)

THE LUCK UGLIES  by Paul Durham

Readers are first introduced to a magical, dark and twisted world full of treacherous streets and forgotten cemeteries.  This is Rye O’Chanter’s home of Village Drowning, and she is convinced that the monstrous Bog Noblins have returned.  With no one left to defend the village, Rye begins to search within legends of a secret society and uncovers a family connection.  Each chapter will pull you in until you are alongside Rye, travelling through forbidden tunnels, jumping along rooftops, and anxiously awaiting the sequel.  (J SciFi)

NINJA LIBRARIANS: THE ACCIDENTAL KEYHAND  by Jen Downey

Time travel.  Secret societies.  Sword-wielding librarians.  Wacky, eccentric families.  What’s not to love in this fast-paced, rollicking story that intertwines actual historical figures with the lybrarians—as they prefer to be called—of Petrarch’s Library?  These lybrarians can travel to any place and to any time in history where there is trouble.  When Dorrie and her older brother Marcus accidentally fall into this hidden place, she fervently hopes she will be able to fulfill her dreams of fighting injustice and making a difference.  However, she fears that they will be tried as spies and traitors to the cause of intellectual freedom.  Captivated readers will be anxiously awaiting another installment.  (J SciFi)

WONDER  by R.J. Palacio

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school.  Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.  Wonder, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others.  These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.  (J Fiction)

COMICS

AAAA!: A FOXTROT KIDS EDITION  by Bill Amend

FoxTrot has long been a favorite of all ages, but the comic strips in this edition have been chosen specifically with kids in mind.  The collection is a great introduction to the lives of the Fox family, who are as funny as ever.  Be prepared for requests for additional FoxTrot titles!  (J Graphic FOXTROT)

NONFICTION

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER  by Hope Vestergaard

"Trucks as far as eyes can see. . . . Which truck would you like to be?"  This marvelous collection of rhyming truck poems is sure to help vehicle-obsessed youngsters answer that question.  Each of the sixteen featured vehicles are given their own page and personality as they dig, doze, dump, and more.  Joyful illustrations, a multicultural cast of kids, and charming details will have children—and their grown-ups—shouting things like, “Look an excavator!” on every car ride.  (J 629.225)

EDWARD HOPPER PAINTS HIS WORLD  by Robert Burleigh

This simple biography profiles the life and work of American realist painter Edward Hopper from boyhood through the end of his life.  The illustrations by Wendell Minor beautifully capture the spirit of Hopper’s work and some of his most famous paintings.  This is a wonderful introduction to one of America’s greatest painters and a glimpse into the mind of an artist.    (J 759.13)

ERUPTION! VOLCANOES AND THE SCIENCE OF SAVING LIVES  by Elizabeth Rusch

More than a billion people live near enough to a volcano to be threatened by an eruption.  In this book kids will learn about the work of volcanologists and their efforts to predict eruptions and develop early warning systems in order to keep people safe.  Filled with photographs and true stories of eruptions, volcano lovers will be fascinated.  (J 363.3495)

FIRST BIG BOOK OF THE OCEAN  by Catherine D. Hughes

One of a series of beautiful reference books for young kids, this book pairs fascinating facts about ocean creatures that are familiar (such as the blue whale and the sea otter) and not-so-familiar (such as the lion’s mane jellyfish and stony coral) with amazing photographs from National Geographic.  Kids will love the photos, facts, and colorful layouts, and parents reading along will appreciate the helpful ocean maps and glossary.   (J 551.46)

FOUNDING MOTHERS: REMEMBERING THE LADIES  by Cokie Roberts

Did you ever wonder about what women did when men were fighting the Revolutionary War?  In this book you will learn about women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and others.  (J 920.72)

FROM MUD HUTS TO SKYSCRAPERS  by Christine Paxmann

Children will be engrossed by this journey through the history of architecture from the earliest human dwellings up to today’s futuristic buildings and soaring towers.  Chronologically arranged, this book features iconic buildings beautifully depicted in two-page spreads with intricate watercolor illustrations. Each drawing is accompanied by descriptions of the building’s design, construction and historical significance.  A detailed appendix includes a timeline, a world map indicating the location of each structure, and an extensive glossary.   (J 720)

MY POP-UP WORLD ATLAS  by Anita Ganeri

This bright, highly-detailed, fact-packed world atlas will entertain geography buffs or those who simply love books with lift-the-flaps, pop-ups, pull-tabs and pull-out booklets.  Countries, inhabitants and famous landmarks are introduced.  
(J 912)

THE PILOT AND THE LITTLE PRINCE: THE LIFE OF ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY  by Peter Sís

Airplanes were a new invention when Antoine was born, and he dreamed of flying.  Becoming a pilot provided many adventures for Antoine.  He charted new routes, delivered mail, and even crashed a few times.  He also thought about life while flying—and thus The Little Prince came into being.  Sís sprinkles bits of aviation and World War II history throughout Saint-Exupéry’s amazing story.  (J BIO SaintExu A.)

SPACE ENCYCLOPEDIA: A TOUR OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM AND BEYOND  by David A. Aguilar

Space Encyclopedia is jam-packed with the latest information on space and space exploration, presented in a colorful, kid-friendly format that will be familiar to fans of National Geographic Kids magazine.  It is an excellent book for kids to read alone or share with an adult; the whole family will appreciate the book’s accessible writing style and beautiful photographs and illustrations.  Add this one to your family’s bookshelf!  (J 523.1)

A SPLASH OF RED: THE LIFE AND ART OF HORACE PIPPIN  by Jen Bryant

“Pictures just come to my mind…and I tell my heart to go ahead.”  This is the story of Horace Pippin, who began drawing as a very young child.  At the age of three years old he created art on scratch paper using a piece of charcoal.  In this picture book biography, we learn about Pippin’s talent, his struggles, and his ability to overcome them.  The illustrations mirror Pippin’s sometimes folk-like artistic style and include quotes from the artist.  This is an inspirational story for anyone who loves something as much as Pippin loved creating art.  (J BIO Pippn H.)

THE STORY OF THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS  by Nate Frisch

If you would like to know more about the Kansas City Chiefs football team, look no further.  This book will give you lots of information on the history of the team.  You will learn about the owner, Lamar Hunt, who started the team in 1963.  There are lots of famous players that have played for the Chiefs over the years, and you will learn about them too.
(J 796.332)

TOTALLY COOL CREATIONS  by Sean Kenney

If the LEGO® enthusiast at your house doesn’t already have Sean Kenney’s LEGO®-building books Cool Cars and Trucks, Cool Robots, and Cool City, grab this all-in-one book instead!  This reprint from the renowned LEGO® artist includes those three previously-published books in a new paperback format plus twenty-one new instructions and model tips, and is bursting with inspiration to get any brick builder’s imagination going!  (J 688.725)

ULTIMATE BUGOPEDIA  by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich

This beautifully photographed book is the perfect gift for any budding entomologist.  It is jam-packed with fun facts and information about all kinds of bugs.  If you love creepy-crawlies—and even if you don’t—this book is a fascinating peek into the weird and wonderful world of bugs.  (J 595.7)

WOODWORKING: TECHNIQUES AND PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST-TIME WOODWORKER  by John Kelsey

Woodworking can be a lot of fun.  If you ever wanted to try a few woodworking projects, you might enjoy this book.  Most of the projects can be completed in a few hours and teach basic woodworking skills.   (J 684)

THE WORLD ALMANAC FOR KIDS 2014  by Emily Dolbear et al

Who says reference books can’t be fun?  The World Almanac for Kids is a perennial favorite among elementary-aged kiddos who pore over the full-color pages to learn about animals, U.S. presidents, movies, the environment, news headlines, sports, video games, money, and much more.  A fun read for curious kids that also doubles as a homework aid.  (J 031.02)

Updated 1/7/2015