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Book Reviews

Pawcasso
Remy Lai
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

Jo’s bored and forlorn attitude shifts one fateful day when she encounters a canine courier on its weekend errands. Equipped with a basket, a list, and a tail-swishing “can-do” attitude, Jo and Pawcasso set off on all kinds of accidental adventures, like a painting class. But what happens when Jo weaves herself into the community through a web of little white lies? This sweet story speaks to the importance of strong connections – to community, to family, and to furry friends.

-Hannah
Posted 3/4/2024

The Happy Shop
Brittany Long Olsen
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

Do you ever live a moment you wish you could bottle up and access later? That is the foundation of The Happy Shop, run by sisters Frida and Flora. Residents of the town aren’t inextricably drawn to the storefront until they’re in dire need, like new-to-town Darcy. A clumsy mishap leads her to begin part-time work with the sisters where she discovers the hidden power of emotions, happy and otherwise. This middle-grade illustrated novel candidly explores vulnerability, family and self-exploration.

-Hannah
Posted 2/26/2024

Not Quite a Ghost
Anne Ursu
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4 Stars

As she enters middle school, Violet must face another change: a new house and her attic bedroom, covered in unnerving old wallpaper. Soon after the move, Violet contracts a mysterious illness and begins to suspect she’s sharing her room with an evil force. Incorporating aspects of the literary classic The Yellow Wallpaper, this middle-grade retelling features an emotionally intense narrative with beautiful prose and a fully developed cast of characters.

-Amity
Posted 2/13/2024

The Hug
Eoin McLaughlin
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5 Stars

Differences have a way of pulling us apart when trying to connect. Hedgehog really wants a hug, but he has a big pokey problem! Every animal he encounters has a reason they’d rather not give him a squeeze (like counting acorns, practicing a birdsong or hibernating)… that is, until Turtle. This sweet story drives home a message about how the right friend will pick to love you, regardless of a few pesky prickles.

-Hannah
Posted 2/13/2024

Courage Hats
Kate Hoefler,
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5 Stars

Mae meets a bear cub as she travels by train, which she doesn’t like to do; Bear is nervous to be surrounded by humans. Bears and humans don’t spend much time together normally… but what happens when these two travelers filled with trepidation overcome their fears? In a touching tale of creativity, friendship and exploration, this book tips its hat to the courage it takes to be kind.

-Hannah
Posted 12/12/2023

Brooms
Jasmine Walls
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

The people of 1930s Mississippi are down on their luck and in need of some magic. The problem is, it’s outlawed everywhere except elusive broom-races. If you know where to look, you’re lucky… and those who race are luckier to not be caught and face the harsh consequences of reformatory school – or worse. Billie Mae and her team of spirited teammates must overcome prejudice, sexism and survive a witch-hunt to be immortalized in history. With strikingly beautiful illustrations and themes of sexuality and gender expression, family, love, faith and tenacity, Brooms is a story that will sweep you away.

-Hannah
Posted 10/30/2023

Rainbow Hands
Mamta Nainy
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

When words don’t do the trick, how do you convey your mood? Nail polish! With each turn of a page, a new color and corresponding feeling are revealed. Majestic purple, dazzling orange, sunshine-y yellow, and when the emotions intermix… you get rainbow hands! Lacquered up with a sweet message of self-expression, this is a must-read for colorful individuals.

-Hannah
Posted 10/30/2023

Land of the Cranes
Aida Salazar
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5 Stars

9-year-old Betita and her family have settled in Los Angeles after fleeing Mexico to seek political asylum. But in a sudden flurry of events, her father is deported, and she and her pregnant mother are sent to a detention center, stuck in a limbo of increasingly inhumane conditions. As each day threatens to break her spirit, she finds solace in her fellow migrants and picture poems written to her father. A beautifully complex tale wrapped in simple verse that both younger and older readers alike can engage with.

-Megan
Posted 10/21/2023

Garlic & the Vampire
Bree Paulsen
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5 Stars

Garlic and her vegetable friends were brought to life by a witch to tend her vegetable farm in this spooky-themed, cute, and wholesome story. Follow Garlic as she faces responsibilities and anxieties of the unknown, just as the farm’s attention has been drawn to a supposed vampire’s house on the hill. Her friends depend on her since vampires don’t like garlic, to challenge the assumed monster. Through all this, she learns why she shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

-Caitlin
Posted 9/26/2023

Animalicious: A Quirky ABC Book
Anna Dewdney & Reed Duncan
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

What do you call a snake in a hardhat? A boa constructor. With puns or play-on words, we are introduced to characters in the animal kingdom, from A to Z. Stupendously silly illustrations work in tandem with made-up animal names like dust bunny, flatapus, and piethon to reinvent the classic ABC story for a memorable lesson on letters.

-Hannah
Posted 9/7/2023

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, Graphic Novels, Young Adult Literature, and Books about unusual animal friendships.
Amity’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.
Nancy
Favorite Genres:
Literary Fiction and Regional American History.
Nancy’s bookshelf on Goodreads.