The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Viji believes that she and her sister Rukku are in danger at their home and decides that the best way to avoid that danger is to leave. They find that living on the streets of the big city is harder than she thought it would be. They do find some friends and helpers along the way, including Muthi and Arul, boys who have been living on their own for some time.

I thought the writing in this story was beautiful, and at many points in the tale I did not want to put the book down. There were both mean people and kind people that the girls meet, and it’s not always easy to tell who is who when you encounter them. I did enjoy reading this book, but it is a bit sad, so just know that going in! If you liked The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley or A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata then you would probably like this book as well. Don’t miss reading the author’s note at the end!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC VENKATRAMAN)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End by Jeff Kinney

Reviewed by Ethan H (Library Patron)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End by Jeff Kinney is a book mostly about the struggles that Gregory (the main character) faces after having to move into his grandparent’s home, because of what happened in the previous diary of a wimpy kid book. Greg is a boy in 6th grade who feels he needs some time away from his family because of how close they have been recently. His mom is not fond of this idea though because she thinks they should spend more time as a family before Greg and his siblings grow up. All of a sudden, Greg’s dad gets a call from his grandma saying there’s an old camper that Greg’s uncle left behind and that the camper is up for the taking. Greg’s family see this as an opportunity to get out of Grandma’s house and to just take a road trip for however long it is needed. Everything is going great on the road trip but after a day or two and getting kicked out of multiple places they start to get tired. Greg’s family starts to consider going home when they see a sign called “Campers Eden.” They decide to give this resort a try and find out they actually like it. There are a lot of activities to keep them busy and everything seems to be going amazing but after half a week or so things start to fall off the deep end. When it’s all over can they save their vacation “or are they already in too deep”?

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC KINNEY)

The Ice Cream Machine by Adam Rubin

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

What do a giant robot, a grouchy ice cream man, a strange professor, an alien, a sorcerer, and a cow named Bubbles have in common? I’m so glad you asked! They are all characters in Adam Rubin’s middle grade debut, The Ice Cream Machine. This is a fun collection of short stories, each with a different take on an ice cream machine. Each story takes you in a fun new direction.

Of the six stories, I think the second one with the ice cream eating contest was my favorite. There are only two humans in the story, and it was interesting to imagine what it might be like to live in a town with just you and a lot of talking animals. It’s also interesting to imagine what my own story about an ice cream machine might be like – and Mr. Rubin invites kids to write their own stories and send them to him! Also, watch for some elements that appear in every story, like a cherry tree and the number 347.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC RUBIN)

The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

A cross between a novel and a picture book, this illustrated 145-page retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses is such a delight. I picked it up after finishing the author’s recent book, Medusa (also lavishly illustrated), looking for more elegant, lyrical writing and I was not disappointed. Burton reimagines my favorite fairy tale with humor and compassion, bringing us strong characters and a fabulous updated ending that literally had me grinning. You won’t regret dancing the night away with this one.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Becca would like to be very good at something, but she just can’t seem to find the thing for her. Then a piglet enters her life, and she is sure that saving this little piglet will be the thing for her! The problem is, the pig, whom she names Saucy, is just not cut out to be a house pet. How can she be good at something she might have to give up?

Fans of Mercy Watson who are looking for a longer tale would enjoy this one very much. Saucy gets into all kinds of mischief while still being beloved by the family. I also liked how Becca is trying to understand her place in her family, her school, and life in general. A delightful story.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC KADOHATA)

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Ana Dakkar thinks that she’s about to endure the equivalent of finals at her small private school named Harding-Pencroft, but things don’t turn out the way she or anyone else expects them to. Now she must take charge of the expedition and lean into her heritage in ways she doesn’t expect. A solid cohort of friends and enemies draws you into this nautical adventure.

I have enjoyed the pacing of Rick Riordan’s other novels, and while this one is slightly more sedate, the new discoveries and plot twists kept me engaged. I am also a big fan of his humor – I mean, everybody puts their enemies in pink ducky water wings, right? If you like adventure, fun characters, and dolphins named Socrates, this is the book for you.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC RIORDAN)

While I Was Away by Waka T. Brown

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Waka lives in Kansas with her Japanese born parents, and they speak both Japanese and English at home. Concerned that Waka’s Japanese is not strong enough, her parents decide to send her to Japan for four months to live with her grandmother and attend Japanese school. Waka has always been a strong student, so struggling with reading is very frustrating to her, and getting along with her grandmother proves tricky as well.

I have always loved Japanese culture, so I really enjoyed this inside look at a Japanese school in the 1980s. Japanese words are sprinkled liberally throughout the text, as well as explanations for how some of the kanji are derived. I enjoyed Waka’s journey, her honesty, and her recollections of what this time in her life were like. If you like true stories (this is a memoir), like learning new things, and enjoy reading about relationships, this might be the book for you.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC BROWN)