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Book Reviews

illustrated book cover featuring a dog running down a nature path
The Eyes & the Impossible
Dave Eggers
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5 Stars

“Freedom is the last, best hope on Earth.” – Abraham Lincoln

Johannes lives in the hollow of an ivy-wrapped tree in a park by the sea. He is an unkept and free dog who runs like the light. Being invisible in the park has earned him the title “The Eyes.” Johannes gathers information on anything new and troubling that may upset the equilibrium of the park and reports it to three bison who rule the park. Other companions include Bertrand, a seagull who is Johannes’s closest friend; Sonja, a one-eyed squirrel; Angus, the nocturnal raccoon, and Yolanda, the reading pelican. Under the leadership of Johannes, the animals rally to pull off the impossible: a complex scheme to liberate the bison from their large fenced-in area. With heroic cooperation and the assistance of Helena, a new weed-eating friend, the complicated yet simple escape plan is executed. The Eyes and the Impossible is thought-provoking and entertaining for children as well as adults. It is no wonder why this book earned the prestigious 2024 Newberry Award.

-Benita
Posted 6/12/2024

picture book cover with colorful illustrations of superhero characters stuck at a bus stop in the rain
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days
Shelly Becker
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5 Stars

“Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.”- Bob Riley

Superheroes can spin webs, tame beasts, and race to the rescue while chasing bad guys. However, superheroes do not always get their way. Just like us, Superheroes may become sad, maybe even mad, when they are having a bad day. Superheroes could use their power to cause a terrible scene like screeching a shriek, knocking over buildings, and watching the world fill with crime as they sit back feeling frustrated and defeated, but they don’t. They learn to deal with their emotions in constructive ways. Becker’s rhyming text combined with Kaban’s clever illustrations entertain the reader. The message is powerful: we must all learn to cope with sorrow and anger. Like Superheroes we have all sorts of choices. We must use our talents and superpowers within our hearts so we do no harm.

-Benita
Posted 6/10/2024

illustrated book cover with a cartoon giraffe dancing against a starry backdrop
Giraffes Can't Dance
Giles Andreae
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5 Stars

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – attributed to Dr. Seuss

It is time to celebrate Africa’s yearly Jungle Dance. While the warthogs waltz, the rhinos rock and roll, and the chimps cha-cha, the animals all laugh at poor Gerald the giraffe, because his dancing is really quite bad. He is rather clumsy and stumbles to the music as he desperately tries to fit in. An embarrassed Gerald leaves the celebration and encounters a violin-playing cricket who advises Gerald to embrace his uniqueness. Andreae’s rhyming lines inspire and teach us that sometimes our problems may be our greatest strength. We should all learn to dance to our own music just like Gerald and celebrate our differences.

-Benita
Posted 6/6/2024

book cover featuring a variety of illustrated characters
It's Great Being a Dad
Dan Bar-el
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

Have you ever wanted to be a unicorn, a sasquatch or a fairy-queen-ballerina-doctor? With the support of Dad, anything is possible! This book will keep the reader guessing with each page turn. A perfect Father’s Day story comes equipped with an overarching message that mythical & magical creatures are brought most to life, to laughter, and to love with the help of a father figure.

-Hannah
Posted 6/5/2024

white book cover with basketball hoop
The Playbook
Kwame Alexander
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5 Stars

“In golf, as in life, it’s the follow through that makes the difference.”-Unknown

Alexander’s book is a game-changer for youth as well as adults. The Playbook includes uplifting stories, inspiring life lessons, and motivating quotes from individuals who have excelled in the game of life by following their dreams with courage and passion. Michael Jordan, Pelé, Maya Angelou, Wayne Gretzke, and Wilma Rudolph are just a few of the athletes and role models featured. Fifty-two rules may sound like a lot but they are really quite simple: Believe in yourself. Demonstrate grit. Be resilient. Stay focused and motivated. Surround yourself with great people. The Playbook will inspire its readers to be participants, not spectators, in the game of life.

-Benita
Posted 5/14/2024

photo of picture book cover that features an illustrated young girl surrounded by flowers
Anxious
Luciana DeLuca
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5 Stars

Talking to children about mental health can be scary and difficult. This book not only helps a child relate to feelings of anxiousness and walks them through it, but is also a great resource for parents and caregivers to identify and assist children experiencing anxiety. Through descriptive language by Luciana De Luca, and beautiful illustrations by Natali Barbani, anyone can relate to Anxious.

-Lydia
Posted 4/23/2024

photo of book cover featuring an illustration of a young girl in a yellow shirt and purple shorts on a tropical island
Isla of Adventure: Welcome to the Island
Dela Costa
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4 Stars

The Island of Sol is a tropical oasis with lots of nature and wildlife to keep any adventurer entertained. Isla Verde is one such adventurer, but with a unique talent – she can talk to animals! When the prospect of making a new human friend comes along, Isla is worried that her ability to talk to animals will make her come across as weird. This book (and the series to follow) is all about making friends and celebrating their differences. Sometimes it’s the things that make us different that bring us together.

-Lydia
Posted 4/10/2024

photo of book cover that features an illustrated family at the dinner table
Ferris
Kate DiCamillo
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5 Stars

How could one’s life be anything other than whimsical as it nearly begins on a Ferris wheel ride?  Emma Phineas Wilkey, Ferris for short, is a spirited young lady on summer vacation. In tow, she has Billy Jackson, her piano-virtuoso best friend; Pinky, her outlaw-in-training sister, and her loving family. This cast of characters help Ferris embark on adventures imbued with life lessons– on upholding promises, harnessing the power of words, and unabashedly showing big love. DiCamillo’s new novel is laugh-out-loud funny and chock-full of candid conversations of self-discovery, friendship and penning a life story that is also a love story.

-Hannah
Posted 4/10/2024

book cover with an illustrated underwater scene with a unicorn swimming upwards
Not Quite Narwhal
Jessie Sima
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5 Stars

There is the family that you’re born into, and the family that you make. But what happens when you have to decide where you fit best? Not Quite a Narwhal is a short, sweet story of belonging and acceptance. This book takes us on a Kelp’s journey of figuring out whether he is a sea unicorn, or a land narwhal, and maybe…just maybe…he can be both.

-Lydia
Posted 3/28/2024

cover with illustrated forest scene
Into the Forest: Wander Through Our Woodland World
Christiane Dorion
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

Step onto the forest floor and what do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? Through Christiane Dorion’s vivid descriptions and Jane McGuinness’s lively illustrations, you are transported through the pages of Into the Forest, where you can answer these questions and more! Everything you could want to know about the life-cycle of the forest, the wildlife that inhabits it, and the experiences you can anticipate are documented in this stunning, easy non-fiction book. Crack open the spine and get lost on a “journey through our woodland world” from the comfort of your own home.

-Lydia
Posted 3/28/2024

Readers Advisory Staff

Looking for something new for your child to read? Are you a teacher looking for something to read to your children? The Villa Park Public Library has a fantastic Readers Advisory staff that is happy to recommend all sorts of genres and titles. Whether you’re looking for new authors similar to old favorites, or you’re ready for something completely new, our staff is here to help. They organize fun programs like Toddler story and song time to help make reading a more social experience. These folks know their stuff!

Looking for a Recommendation?

If you’re looking for a recommendation you can contact one of the readers advisory staff.

Amity
Favorite Genres:
Horror, Sci-Fi / Fantasy, Graphic Novels, and Young Adult Literature.
Amity’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
Benita
Favorite Genres:
Historical and realistic fiction for young adults, picture books, and inspirational quotes.
Benita’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
Hannah
Favorite Genres:
Contemporary romance, Mystery and Thrillers, and the occasional Young Adult novel.
Hannah’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
heidi gHeidi
Favorite Genres:
Historical Non-Fiction, Picture Books, and Fairy Tales.
Heidi’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
jean j_finalJean
Favorite Genres:
Books about animals that lose their hats and Mysteries.
Jean’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
Leo
Favorite Genres:
Sci-fi, Graphic Novels/Manga, YA Lit, and historical non-fiction books about the Italian Renaissance.
Leo’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
Lydia
Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Thrillers, Contemporary Romance, and children’s books that make you believe in magic.
Lydia’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
Nancy
Favorite Genres:
Literary Fiction and Regional American History.
Nancy’s bookshelf on Goodreads.