Media Reviews

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent


Ralph's teacher always says, "Stories are everywhere!" But while the other kids in his class are coming up with funny, interesting, exciting stories, Ralph has no stories, and nothing to put on his blank paper. When his teacher makes him share with the class one day, will Ralph be able to come up with a story after all? An extremely entertaining look into the ups and downs of the writing process for the young authors in your life. FOR AGES 5 TO 7.


In this non-fiction work, illustrations of children building with common materials such as boxes, blankets and playing cards are juxtaposed with photos of similar architectural masterpieces from around the world. For example, a young girl carefully balancing wooden blocks is on a spread with Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. Each illustration is also paired with a concrete poem that describes the building process. The real-life buildings and their architects are described at the end of the book. With its many entranceways to enjoyment, it's difficult to imagine a child or adult that this visual feast would not appeal to and inspire. FOR AGES 3 TO 8.


A prophetic tapestry is unveiled, and it shows that only our young hero, Jaxter Grimjinx, and his family can save the town of Vengekeep from a series of disasters including a flood, a firestorm and a horde of flying skeletal monsters. The only thing is, Jaxter's mother secretly made the tapestry, and it's a forgery designed to help the Grimjinx family trick the townspeople and get away with their biggest heist ever. The Grimjinxes are con artists and thieves, not heroes. So what will Jaxter do when all of the terrible prophecies his family made up start coming true, and it's suddenly up to him to save Vengekeep from total destruction? FOR AGES 9 TO 12.

"THE DIVINERS"by Libba Bray

It's the 1920's and Evie O'Neill's fed-up parents have shipped her away from small-town Ohio to New York City. Once there, she lives with her Uncle Will, the curator of a museum of supernatural artifacts. Evie meets a wide cast of characters, from a streetwise thief to a glamorous Ziegfeld girl, all of whom have secrets to hide. And she has her own secret, a mysterious psychic power that has brought her nothing but trouble. It's this power that gets Evie deeply involved in a police case her uncle is helping to investigate - a series of gruesome murders that are terrorizing the city. As Evie and her friends draw closer to the killer they will need all of their hidden skills, because he is an unworldly monster with powers of his own. FOR TEENS.

-Laura Nawojchik, Youth Services Librarian, Whetstone Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library


If you've read Frazier's semi-regular "Cursing Mommy" articles in The New Yorker magazine, you'll know his protagonist is a stay-at-home mom with a short fuse and a vivid vocabulary. I had more than a few LOL moments reading this book, which follows her through a very trying year with hapless husband Larry, a heavily medicated 12-year-old and an 8-year-old with a fainting problem. The whimsical absurdity reminded me of my favorite satirist P.G. Wodehouse (though it's not quite in the same league), but as long as the liberal and creative use of profanities doesn't bother you, there's plenty to enjoy here.

-Jane Hawes


To access Disney Digital books for free, go to, follow the link for "Free Library eBooks," and then click on the Disney Digital link on the left-hand side. Disney Digital books are always available so there is never a waiting list. Check out the book using your library card number, then click "Launch" to view on your PC or laptop.

You can read hundreds of Disney digital books featuring new and classic characters. The books are interactive; kids can page through, use a magic wand to hear any word they don't know read aloud, and use dictionary and trivia features. Some of the titles are look-and-listen, with the whole text being read aloud.

-Laura Nawojchik


The folks at Touch Press are leading the way in terms of interactive books for the iPad. Their Barefoot World Atlas ($4.99) is a delightful way for children to explore the world through 3D graphics and in the most entertaining of ways. This app is multi-lingual. It's also multiplatform, meaning it works on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. This is a great way for your child to see how people around the world live, and to let them experience the animals, natural features and landmarks of other nations. Touch Press has a host of similarly wonderful immersive, interactive publications, including The Orchestra, Solar System, The Sonnets by William Shakespeare, The Elements, March of The Dinosaurs and much more.

-Phil Pikelny