Wise and Witty Mo LoBeau, 11-Year-Old Mystery Solver

Middle grade readers who are looking for a good book for the summer, check out Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage. This was a Newbery Honor book for 2013 and it is an excellent mystery story for readers in about fourth through seventh grades. It's also available as a book on CD, so if you have a car trip planned, take this one on the road.

The story stars 11-year-old Mo LoBeau, a wise and witty “rising sixth grader” who lives in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Mo was discovered as an infant washed ashore during a hurricane and has grown up with the Colonel, a restaurant owner with a mysterious past, and Miss Lana, hostess at the restaurant. When a murder occurs in her quiet town, Mo and her pals are on the case. While touching on a few serious issues such as family abuse and alcoholism, the novel is mostly light and highly entertaining. There are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you reading. Mo has a wonderful quirky sense of humor, and when she talks about the people in her town, readers won’t be able to stop laughing. A sequel is planned.

A Little Book of Sloth: A great book if you startle easily

Have you ever come across something so hideous it is adorable? That is how I feel about sloths. I love them. I love everything from their quiet and reserved nature to their fabulous hair (just look here to see what I’m talking about). So, when I stumbled across A Little Book of Sloth in the AADL catalog, I immediately knew I had to get my hands on it and once I did, it did not disappoint me. This book chronicles the efforts of the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, but mainly focuses on its inhabitants and their varying personalities. Highlighting the two different species of sloths, this book contains many fun little facts about these very, very slow creatures. For example, did you know that no one really knows how long a sloth can live? Or that the sloth has extra neck vertebrae so they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees? Amazing!

The author of this book is the zoologist Lucy Cooke who has a passion for those creatures that most people would not think of as cute or lovable. You can check out some of Lucy Cooke’s older blog posts at The Amphibian Avenger, which highlight some unlovable creatures she has worked with in the past, but be advised that she is writing for an adult audience so some of the content might not be appropriate for younger readers. If you want to follow her current adventures you can check out her Facebook page.

A Dog-Gone Good Audiobook for Kids

Meet O.J., a dog like no other, in When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl.

When Zelly Fried’s parents refuse to let her get a dog, her grandfather comes up with a crazy plan. Zelly will care for a “practice dog” to show her parents she is responsible enough to care for a dog of her own. The problem? This “practice dog” just happens to be an old orange juice container, and Zelly is terrified about what her classmates will think if they see her feeding it and taking it for walks! Will Zelly be able to stick it out long enough to earn a real live dog?

While the hilarious “practice dog” plot is sure to hook listeners, there is also much more to this heartfelt story. It takes on timely kid issues like being the new kid, feeling like an outsider, dealing with the death of a grandparent and worrying about losing a best friend. This book is also a 2012 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers, awarded for its authentic portrayal of the Jewish experience.

If you enjoy realistic stories with just the right blend of humor and heart, you should definitely check out When Life Gives Your O.J. You'll find it on our NEW shelf.

An Old-Fashioned Audiobook for Kids

Fans of audiobooks like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess or Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase may want to check out The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, narrated by Patricia Conelly.

Abandoned by her mother as a baby, Annika grows up as a “kitchen child” in the home of three eccentric professors, and even though she loves her guardians – the professors’ cook Ellie and housemaid Sigrid – she cannot help dreaming of her long-lost mother. When an elegant mother finally does arrive and sweeps her away to a crumbling German castle, Annika’s dream-come-true is plagued by homesickness for her warm Viennese kitchen and troubling hints that all is not right with her newfound family.

Ibbotson herself grew up in early 20th-century Vienna, and her descriptions of life in the city – the aging emperor, performances of the Lipizzaner stallions, rides on the giant ferris wheel – make the world of the story truly come to life. If you love stories of the vivid past, love old-fashioned tales of kind heroines and dastardly villains, then give this audiobook a listen.

Summer Game Kick-Off Concert @ TOP: Ice Cream Vendors

Sunday June 16, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Top of the Park

Kids Rock@Top Concerts return!! Kick off the 2013 AADL Summer Game at this family-friendly concert with Ice Cream Vendors on the Rackham stage!

Chicago's unique musical institution-Ice Cream Vendors-are not just a musical duo but a mysterious life force! Songs about beta data, bacon men, and sharing eyeglasses will have you smiling and geeking out right alongside them!

Sign up for the AADL Summer Game at the concert, and be one of the leaders for great summer game prizes.

In the Mood for Magic? Try Magyk!

If you enjoy children's fantasies with ghosts, princesses, evil wizards and plenty of good wizards too, then give Magyk by Angie Sage a listen. It will take you to a magical world where young wizards’ eyes turn green when they learn magic and where magic spells may be written on a piece of breakfast toast!

Excellently narrated by Allan Corduner, this story begins on the day that the wizard Silas Heap discovers a baby girl in the snow and his own newborn son, Septimus Heap, is supposed to have died. But ten years later, the Heaps learn that everything is not as it appeared. Their daughter is really a princess who must now outwit the assassins who killed her mother, the queen, a decade before, and their son…well, you’ll just have to check out the audiobook to learn what happened to him.

The series continues with Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren, Darke and Fyre.

Bernard Waber, creator of the beloved Lyle the Crocodile picture books, has died

Bernard Waber, who turned his commercial graphic arts training into a successful career as a children's book author and illustrator, died May 16th.

Waber, a World War II veteran and devoted movie buff, first introduced Lyle the lovable crocodile in his 1962 book, The House on East 88th Street. In this fanciful, gentle, funny story, the Primm family discovers Lyle hanging out in the bathtub of their Upper East Side brownstone. Lyle made several more appearances, including in Lyle Finds His Mother (1974) and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (1965). His final Lyle book, Lyle Walks the Dog: A Counting Book (2010), was a collaboration with his daughter Paulis Waber.

While most of Waber's books involved whimsical illustrations of animals -- The Mouse that Snored and the delightful A Lion Named Shirley Williamson (1996) -- Waber also had a gift for using human subjects to zero in on and allay common childhood anxieties. In Ira Sleeps Over (1972), little Ira frets about whether or not he can bring his teddy bear to a sleepover. In 2002, Waber published Courage in response to September 11th. He had started it before the attacks, but added firemen and police officers to his examples of people, both ordinary and extraordinary, who exhibit courage every day.

Waber forever endeared himself to book and movie lovers when he said that the way he endured frequent relocations as a child was to seek reassurance from his parents that wherever they moved, a library and movie theater would be close by. "...The Library and cinema were life-giving urgencies, a survival kit for any new neighborhood."

Waber, who was 91, died at his home in Long Island.

Let’s Listen to a Story, Pardner

If you’ve got a hankering for life on a ranch, then you might enjoy these audiobook tales.

For the youngest cowpokes, there’s Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, a series of short friendship stories about a young cowgirl and her horse. It's a 2006 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award nominee. The series continues with Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Rain or Shine, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Horse in the House, and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies.

Slightly older buckaroos may also enjoy the adventures of Hank the Cowdog, who acts as the Head of Security at his ranch. You can listen to Hank’s hilarious adventures in The Case of the Tender Cheeping Chickies, The Case of the Monkey Burglar, The Case of the Booby-Trapped Pickup, The Case of the Most Ancient Bone, The Case of the Blazing Sky and The Quest for the Great White Quail.

The Adventures of Theater Kids

From the gregarious Glee kids to the harmonious horde of High School Musical, kids these days love their theater! And it’s not just on TV or in music. Check out one of these great books and read about awful auditions, big solos that bring the house down, backstage drama and pursuing your dreams! There’s no business like show business!

Better Nate Than Ever – Unbeknownst to his parents, Nate skips school and runs off to the Big Apple to audition for a fabulous role in E.T. The Musical. Will Nate be the next big Broadway star, or will his parents catch him and drag him back to his mundane small town life?

Starring Jules (as herself) – Jules can’t wait to be on TV! She has an audition for a mouthwash commercial, but everything keeps going wrong! Can Jules land the part, and also befriend the new girl?

Drama – Callie is the stage manager for this year’s big musical, and she is committed to making it the best one the school has ever produced. Enter, the twins, stage right. Justin and Jesse both have amazing voices, as well as a knack for getting Callie into confusing romantic entanglements. What’s a young theater professional to do?!?

Jim Gill Workshop for Anyone Who Has Young Children or Works with Young Children

What a rare opportunity for anyone who has small children in the family or teachers and caregivers who work with small children. Jim Gill is coming to Ann Arbor to give a workshop and a family concert.
The workshop will be at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the Downtown Library. The concert will follow at 7:00 p.m. At the workshop he will talk about how music plays such an important part in children's development. You will learn a lot but you'll also be entertained.
A Jim Gill family concert is fun for the whole family.
Don't miss these great events that are a part of our Children's Book Week celebration.

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