South Branch Staff Picks Category: Youth

Funny Girl

Funny Girl is a LOL-worthy collection of short stories by some of your favorite lady authors, arranged for your enjoyment by Betsy Bird. Think of it as a smorgasbord of scrumptious literary offerings by Raina Telgemeier, Shannon Hale, and other gals who are guaranteed to make you laugh. The great thing about this short story collection is that it has something for everyone. Looking for an essay on a germaphobic mother? Check out “One Hot Mess” by Carmen Agra Deedy. A goofy graphic short? Cece Bell has just the fix with “A Most Serious Recitation of the Poem ‘Trees.’” All of the pieces pack a punch to pique the reader’s interest while moving quickly so as not to lose it. Funny Girl is perfect for reluctant readers (or readers with a short attention span) and those who are already fans of the featured authors in the collection.

If you liked Funny Girl, then you’ll love Real Friends by Shannon Hale, Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon, and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

Reviewed by Anique A.

Creepy Pair of Underwear

They’re green, they’re sinister… and they’re underwear! Jasper Rabbit discovers the unspeakable horror of unmentionables in “Creepy Pair of Underwear!” by Aaron Reynolds. Devoted readers may remember Jasper Rabbit from his first book “Creepy Carrots!” in which Jasper encounters villainous vegetables. In his latest epic, Jasper is making a big-boy purchase of underwear with his mom when he finds the very cool, very creepy titular underwear. Jasper brings home a pair of the Frankenstein’s monster-inspired briefs only to discover a terrifying truth about them that is only revealed at night. Parents and caregivers will enjoy making the journey with Jasper as he searches for a solution to his underpants problem, and kids will love giggling at the juxtaposition between fear and underwear, the silliest thing they can imagine.

If you liked “Creepy Pair of Underwear!” then you’ll love the aforementioned “Creepy Carrots!” as well as “I Am (Not) Scared” by Anna Kang and “The Dead Family Diaz” by P.J. Bracegirdle.

Reviewed by Anique A.

Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers by Megan McDonald

Stink and the World's Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers

Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers

Did you know there is an exhibit at the science museum called Everybody Stinks? Well there is, and according to Stink Moody, it is amazing! Meet Stink, a second grader and the shortest kid in his class at 3 feet 8 inches tall. During Stinks visit to the museum, he not only discovers incredible facts on smell but learns there is a stinky sneaker contest. With his nose, stink knows he has a chance to win. How you ask? Stink can smell a corpse flower a mile away – gross! Want to know if Stink wins the Golden Clothespin Award? Read Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers as Stink and his fellow classmate Sophie of the Elves challenge each other to see who has the best sniffer.

You may also like: Horrible Harry in room 2B by Kline, Suzy; I even funnier by Patterson, James; Mr. Klutz is nuts! by Gutman, Dan

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s

Willow Chance is not your normal everyday 12-year old girl. She a young genius that is obsessed about counting by 7’s, passionate about all medical conditions, and is a strict vegetarian.  But after moving to a new school, Willow is immediately seen as an outcast after being accused of cheating on a test.  To fix the problem, the school district has Willow see Dell Duke, the schools counselor who has issues of his own.  Though she is an outsider at school, Willow loves who she was and loves her life until the day she discovers her parents have been involved in a tragic accident.  Until now, Willow did not need to adjust the outside world but now is forced to adapt.  Her new friend, Mai Nguyen convinces her mom to take Willow in as a temporary guardian which sparks the future for Willow. Counting by 7s is a heartbreaking story that follows Willow Chance through her personal stages of loss, grief, and happiness.

You may also like: Wonder by R.J. Palacio; Out of My Mind by Draper, Sharon; Mockingbird by Erskine, Kathryn