Staff Picks: Picture Books, Poetry and More From Warrenton Youth Services Staff

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Warrenton Youth Services staff has diverse interests in books, so we have a potpourri of wonderful titles to share with you today!


I recently read The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (And an Even Smaller Ant) by Avi and believe it would be a perfect read aloud – particularly for young children. It’s a sweet and whimsical story with the sort of humor found in Winnie the Pooh; half silly, half profound. When Avon the snail begins his journey, he meets an ant who agrees to go along with him, but not until they’ve said a proper good-bye to each other- because “Half the fun of going away is saying good-bye.”  Along the way the two meet many creatures, including a ‘dragon,’ who qualifies as a dragon only because that’s the way they happen to look at him. “It all depends on you. If you want it to be different, it will be different. Don’t look at the world with your eyes but with your heart.” There’s a lot of heart in this little book, graced with whimsical pencil sketches by Tricia Tusa.

~Becca, Youth Services Assistant

A book is always a winner in my eyes when a child (particularly one of my grandchildren) asks me to “Read it again!” and then spends time looking through the book on her own. Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg was just such a book. It is a fun romp through fairy tale land, meeting old favorite characters as we step through a window, a pantry door or even a hole in a cheese wedge into another story. Each page is rich in details that keep the reader guessing and examining the illustrations for the answer to the question, “Where are we?”

~Nancy, Youth Services Assistant


As a staff member of Youth Services I get the pleasure of reading (and rereading) the wonderful juvenile literature we have available in Fauquier County. Over the past year, I have read the four volumes of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. Although these are children’s books, they captivated me as much as any adult novel. They chronicle the story of the Penderwick family, comprised of Mr. Penderwick ( a very absent-minded professor) and his four daughters aged four, ten, eleven and twelve in the first novel. Mrs. Penderwick died of cancer shortly after the birth of baby Batty. Each sister has a well-developed, individual personality and the love that binds the family together is palpable. The books also abound with humor. Each novel takes place a year later chronologically, and the girls mature, face challenges, and deal with additions to their growing family. Jeanne Birdsall explained on her website that she is now writing the fifth novel in the series, and it will be the last. I read some of the books and listened to some in the CD version. The reader for the audio books, Susan Denaker, is excellent. These would be wonderful books to share with your children on a car trip. The books are reminiscent of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Theatre Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

~Ellen, Youth Services Assistant

You can never start a love of poetry early enough, so in honor of National Poetry Month, check out Helen Frost’s latest poem, Among a Thousand Fireflies. Frost’s use of evocative photography to enhance her poems is a trademark; children and adults will be amazed at the clear detail in each photo. This story in verse of two fireflies that discover each other among thousands of other fireflies is a sweet and gorgeously told story poem perfect for upcoming summer nights in the country. Birdwatchers young and old will also thrill to Sweep Up the Sun, which captures eleven different birds in flight.

~Jennifer, Youth Services Librarian

Book listsreviews from our book clubs and favorites from library staff are great resources when searching for your next book. Or stop by the reference desk at your local library.


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