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

THE APPLE ORCHARD RIDDLE  by Margaret McNamara

Mr. Tiffin and his students are going to an apple orchard, and Mr. Tiffin has a special riddle for his students to solve:  “Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside.”  Young readers will discover the answer to the puzzle, take a tour of an apple orchard, and pick up a windfall of apple facts along the way.  Crisp and delicious!  (E Fiction)

BALL  by Mary Sullivan

This one-word book—yes, ball—perfectly captures a dog’s obsession with a beloved toy.  With each page, joy is renewed or crushed, illustrating the range of the dog’s feelings throughout his ball-centric day.  A delightful book for dog lovers.  (E Fiction)

COUNT THE MONKEYS  by Mac Barnett

Hey kids!  Let’s get ready to count the monkeys!  Sadly, monkeys are few and far between in this picture book, having been scared away by a variety of characters, including one king cobra, two mongooses (or is that mongeese?), three crocodiles, and so on.  Luckily, kids (and adults) will still enjoy the hilarity.  (E Fiction)

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT  by Drew Daywalt

When Duncan gets ready to color, he finds a stack of letters from his crayons.  The crayons share their frustrations one by one.  Red feels overworked.  Yellow and Orange are no longer speaking to each other because they each think they should be the true color of the sun.  Blue has been used so much that it’s short and stubby, and Pink complains that it doesn’t get used enough.  Duncan finds a creative solution to make all his crayons happy once again.  (E Fiction)

DC SUPER HEROES STORYBOOK COLLECTION

This book doesn’t need any super powers or a cape to fly off the shelf—no one can resist this colorful book starring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.  The pictures and stories are geared toward a crowd that loves the look of the graphic novel but needs a simpler story and text.  If you are looking for a fun “comic book” read that isn’t edgy, just filled with action and adventure, this is it.  (E Fiction)

DO YOU KNOW WHICH ONES WILL GROW?  by Susan A. Shea

“If a cub grows and becomes a bear, can a stool grow and become a chair?”  The entertaining question and answer format of this book will elicit a delighted response from preschoolers, who will indeed be able to tell you which ones will grow.  (E Fiction)

I’M BORED  by Michael Ian Black

What could possibly be worse than being a bored kid?  How about being a bored potato?  This is the perfect story for any child who has ever uttered the words, “I’m bored!”  (E Fiction)

THE MONSTERS’ MONSTER  by Patrick McDonnell

Once upon a time, there were three little rascals who thought they were the BIGGEST, BADDEST monsters around.  Then along came an even BIGGER monster who changed their minds.  And all it took was two little words.  (E Fiction)

MUSTACHE BABY  by Bridget Heos

Baby Billy has been born with a mustache!  His family waits to see if the mustache is a “good guy” or “bad guy” addition to his little face.  This tongue-in-cheek look at baby facial hair and how it influences Billy is sure to delight expectant parents, young siblings, grandparents, and just about anyone else who picks up this book.  (E Fiction)

MY DAD IS BIG AND STRONG, BUT…  by Coralie Saudo

In this playful bedtime story a little boy tries to get his father to go to sleep.  This humorous reversal of roles could become a bedtime favorite.  (E Fiction)

NO GHOST UNDER MY BED  by Guido Van Genechten

When a little penguin named Jake becomes afraid of strange noises, he calls for his father to check out the situation, and when everything from the curtains to the wardrobe and toy box has been checked, Jake feels comforted that all of the ghosts are gone and prepares to sleep.  (E Fiction)

SOPHIE’S SQUASH  by Pat Zietlow Miller

Everyone needs a best friend.  Sophie’s best friend is Bernice, and she just happens to be a squash.  Sophie and Bernice play together, go to the library together, and even visit the farmer’s market.  Bernice makes the perfect friend.  But what happens when your best friend starts to get soft and splotchy and begins to rot?  This is an entertaining and sweet story about an unlikely friendship.  (E Fiction)

THIS IS NOT MY HAT  by Jon Klassen

When a little fish steals a hat from a big fish, he is sure he will get away with it.  But will he really?  (E Fiction)

UNICORN THINKS HE’S PRETTY GREAT  by Bob Shea

Goat thinks he is pretty cool…until Unicorn shows up.  How do you compete with a one-horned flying creature who can make it rain cupcakes?  This funny book shows how each of us is special in our very own ways.  (E Fiction)

WOLF WON’T BITE  by Emily Gravett

A long-suffering circus wolf is shot from a cannon, ridden like a horse, and  forced to jump through hoops by three little ringmaster pigs, but he draws the line when a dubious magic trick requires him to be sawed in half.  Before things become too outrageous, the wolf manages to “turn the tables” on the pigs in a hilarious twist of events.  (E Fiction)
 

EASY READERS

ANNIE AND SIMON  by Catharine O’Neill

The four short chapters in this early reader each tell a story about Annie and her patient big brother, Simon.  Whether hunting for loons in a canoe or watching for falling stars, the obviously strong bond between the siblings is delightful.  (ER Reader)

I’M A FROG!  by Mo Willems

Piggie has decided he’s a frog, and Gerald the Elephant is confused and distressed.  How could this happen to Piggie?  What if it happened to Gerald?  Horrors!  Then Gerald turns the tables on Piggie.  Mo Willems makes pretending into a laugh-out-loud concept.  (VER Reader)

THE LITTLE BRUTE FAMILY  by Russell Hoban

A delightful—and hilarious—classic returns!  The Brutes are not a very happy family; who would be if they ate stick and stone stew?  A lack of civility and manners is part of their lives, until the day that Baby Brute finds something nice and brings it home.  That nice feeling changes everything.  (ER Reader)

THE MEANEST BIRTHDAY GIRL  by Josh Schneider

What birthday gift would you get for someone who’s mean to you?  Dana receives a surprise gift from Anthony, a boy she treats particularly badly.  The wonderful present provides Dana with an important lesson.  This is one hilarious beginning chapter book.  (ER Reader)
 

CHAPTER BOOKS

AL CAPONE DOES MY HOMEWORK  by Gennifer Choldenko

Moose Flanagan’s life is complicated:  in addition to having a sister with special needs (and special talents) and a father who works at the famed Alcatraz prison, Moose and his family actually live on Alcatraz Island!  In this third installment in the Alcatraz trilogy, troubling things are happening—someone is giving anonymous gifts, friends are acting strangely, and Moose’s sister Natalie is accused of setting a fire.  On top of that, Moose’s dad has been promoted to Associate Warden, making him a target for some of Alcatraz’s violent guests.  Can Moose help clear Natalie’s name, look out for his dad, and expose the secrets swirling on the island?  Historical facts are interwoven with a page-turning mystery that can be read on its own or as the finale to an excellent trilogy.  (J Fiction)

CLEMENTINE AND THE SPRING TRIP  by Sara Pennypacker

Clementine is back again in her sixth book.  Once again she faces many challenges.  The third graders are going on a field trip with the fourth graders, and the fourth graders have rules about no eating sounds.  “No crunching, no smacking, no snicking.  No slurping, no gulping…”  How will Clementine be able to eat her lunch without making her usual eating sounds?  And what is that horrible smell coming from Bus Seven?  They won’t have to ride that bus on their field trip, will they?  Join Clementine on another adventure that will be sure to make you laugh.  (J Fiction)

OBI, GERBIL ON A SCHOOL TRIP!  by M.C. Delaney

In this third set of adventures, Obi the gerbil gets accidently zipped into her owner’s backpack and carted off to school.  In this new and somewhat frightening world, the precocious (and literate!) little rodent must carefully navigate, avoiding students, teachers, and especially other classroom pets who suspect her of being a spy for the principal!  (J Fiction)

PIE  by Sarah Weeks

Better wrap this book up in an apron and throw in a rolling pin as well!  Alice’s Aunt Polly makes the best pie in town—maybe even in the country.  When Polly dies unexpectedly, Alice finds that she has inherited her Aunt’s cat, Lardo, and Lardo has inherited Aunt Polly’s super-secret pie dough recipe.  Everyone is looking for that recipe, and Alice must find it and protect Lardo, too.  Readers will find this a delicious adventure/mystery, and the recipes included in the book will make anyone want to try their own hand at baking.  (J Fiction)

TIMMY FAILURE:  MISTAKES WERE MADE!  by Stephan Pastis

Meet Timmy Failure, the president and CEO of the self-proclaimed “best detective agency in town.”  Following in the footsteps of great kid sleuths such as Harriet the Spy and Encyclopedia Brown, Timmy is always willing to offer his investigative expertise to the community at large—even if his fellow students, teachers, and his own mother don’t recognize the importance of surveillance over homework.  Whether he’s investigating the disappearance of a Segway or the suspicious death of a hamster, Timmy will scrutinize every witness and probe every clue until the case is cracked.  (J Mystery)
 

COMICS

JEDI ACADEMY  by Jeffrey Brown

Being a student at a boarding school for Jedi would be awesome, right?  For Roan Novachez, the answer is “yes and no.”  Through a mix of diary entries, comics, and other fun artifacts, follow Roan as he navigates one of the weirdest (and funniest) middle schools in the galaxy.  (J Graphic STARWARS)
 

NONFICTION

THE ART OF STONE SKIPPING AND OTHER FUN OLD-TIME GAMES  by J.J. Ferrer

Yes, it is actually possible to play a game without a computer, iPad, Xbox, Wii, smart phone... .  This book includes clear instructions on a variety of timeless games, including hopscotch, marbles, jacks, rummy, solitaire, Duck Duck Goose, Red Rover, and many others.  So unplug and have a little old-fashioned fun.  (J 790.1)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER  by Francisco Pittau

Lift the flaps of this oversized, interactive book to reveal beautiful drawings of—and fun facts about—birds from around the world.  Kids will recognize some familiar birds (chickens, penguins, cardinals) and enjoy learning about new ones (Eurasian jays, bay-headed tanagers, ortolan buntings).  A fun, beautiful, and informative game of bird hide-and-seek that kids will want to play again and again!  (J 598)

DINOSAURS  by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris

This book travels through time to introduce the great dinosaurs of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.  Learn about fossils, fossil hunters, and amazing dinosaur record setters along the way.  (J 567.9)

THE GYMNASTICS BOOK:  THE YOUNG PERFORMER’S GUIDE TO GYMNASTICS  by Elfi Schlegel

This is a beginner’s guide to gymnastics.  The book gives advice on how to find an appropriate program from beginner to the competitive level.  It also gives advice on exercises to warm up and cool down before and after practice.  Gymnasts from the past also give advice.  (J 796.44)

IF YOU WERE A CHOCOLATE MUSTACHE  by J. Patrick Lewis

Open this book and you will meet a hippopotabus, a girl who battles a dragon with a squirt gun, and the germ that’s out to get you.  You will hear from a spotted park bench.  You will learn the “Rules for Tightrope Walking Between Tall Buildings.”  You will find riddles, limericks, story poems, nonsense rhymes, haiku, and a startling array of other poetic forms.  (J 808.81)

IT’S OUR GARDEN  by George Ancona

If you like gardening, you might enjoy this book.  Read the story of a multicultural school community gardening project.  During a year-long project the students and teachers created a beautiful edible garden from seed to harvest.  (J 635)

MEGA TRUCKS  by Deborah Jane Murrell

If you have a little one who LOVES trucks, you have to get this book. The bright, colorful pictures of some of the biggest trucks out there are sure to captivate the imagination, and the fun features like finding lights, pulleys and wheels in the pictures help make this book interactive as well.  Dig in!  (J 629.224)

MY FIRST BOOK OF KOREAN WORDS  by Henry J. Amen and Kyubyong Park

My First Book of Korean Words introduces the Korean language and culture to preschool children in a fun way.  Ji-min and her friends help children learn 26 Korean words.  Kids will love the colorful pictures.  (J 495.7)

POCKET GUIDE TO THE OUTDOORS:  BASED ON MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN  by Jean Craighead George

Survival skills books should be a bookshelf staple for all kids.  This is an excellent one, written by the woman who has inspired readers for years to go out and be self-sufficient.  Grab this book and a good pair of hiking shoes and re-discover your own environment.  You may be surprised at how much fun doing things the “old-fashioned way” can be!  (J 796.5)

SNEAKY ART:  CRAFTY SURPRISES TO HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT  by Marthe Jocelyn

Written for the “sneaky artist” inside any kid, this collection helps kids get inspired to create simple art and craft items that will cause surprises, second-looks, and smiles, not harm.  Most of the needed materials are easily found around the house or bought inexpensively, and the projects are intentionally simple and adaptable.  Buy this one for the crafty kid or trickster at your house, and be prepared for smiles.  (J 702)

THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR YOU  by Barbara Kerley

Introduce your small children to the world and its infinite possibilities with this book.  Glorious photographs and encouraging text will inspire them to dream about what they want to do or be on this beautiful planet.  Real-life magic awaits.  (J 910)

 

Updated 12/17/2013