Category Archives: Childrens

Cabinet of Curiosities


Title: Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister

Authors: Stefan Bachmann, Emma Trevayne, Katherine Catmull, & Claire Legrand

Published:  Greenwillow Books, 2014

Summary/Review:  This book of short stories is presented by four outstanding children’s/YA authors.  Asked to collect their most horrifying stories, the authors have formed a “cabinet” to share amongst themselves and with the public the tales of terror they have found across the world. The tales are divided between themed sections including fairies, magic, music, and more.  The tales range between slightly creepy and odd to downright scary, many leaving the reader guessing about the future.  (Some of the less-satisfying endings are brought to a conclusion in the final chapter of the book, where the “curators” revisit some of the characters they have found.)  Adults will easily recognize the fine writing of the book, which does not rely heavily upon gore and shock factors, but instead relies on the quality of both the prose and the stories themselves.

This book would make a great read-aloud for parents (who may want to read the stories ahead of time, lest some of them are too scary for their children) but would also serve wonderfully for those busy children that can’t devote a ton of time to their pleasure reading.  Clocking in between 5 and 25 pages each (for the most part), children could skip around and find the story that suits their time limit.

Who will like this book?:  Someone looking for a creepy read.  While the book itself is over 400 pages, the actual stories themselves are short – so they could work well for a child who is pressed for time or who doesn’t have the patience to sit through 400 pages of the same story.

If you like this, try this:  If you’re looking for more creepy stories, try the Alan Schwartz “Scary Stories” series.  While those illustrations are far scarier than those found in “Cabinet”, the stories are the same caliber of scary (with slightly more gore).  The four authors of “Cabinet” are prominent children’s and YA authors, so if you like a particular writer’s stories, there’s plenty more from them available.  If you’re looking into more short stories, Jon Scieszka has a series of “Guy Reads” books, including one titled “Thrillers”.  And as always, these are NOT just for guys!

Recommended by:  Lauren O, Library staff

If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold

Walls Within Walls


Title: Walls Within Walls

Author: Maureen Sherry

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, June 2010

Summary/Review: CJ, Brid, and Patrick Smithfork (along with little sister Carron) don’t want to move from their cozy Brooklyn apartment to a sprawling penthouse in Manhattan.  But ever since their dad became a super-successful video game creator, it seems that their opinion matters less and less.  With their dad spending all his time at work and their mom spending all her time picking out décor for their new place, the Smithforks want nothing more than to just go home – their real home, in Brooklyn.  But when they find mysterious writing behind the wall, everything changes.  A mystery years in the making that won’t end until they’ve unraveled the clues hidden all over New York – and might end with a missing treasure…and a new idea of what “home” means.

This book doesn’t just have a typical Wizard of Oz “there’s no place like home” theme.  Instead, this is more of an underlying plot line which instead focuses on the beauty and history of New York City – complete with a study guide in the back which discusses what’s real and what’s fiction.  While the set up takes a while, the book’s pace picks up rapidly toward the second half, as the children focus on clues which incorporate history, literature, poetry, and more.  Although I was a little disappointed in how the librarian was represented, the author did a wonderful job of introducing late-elementary/early middle school readers to historical fiction.  It’s also a Nutmeg nominee for 2015, and is less heavy-hitting in the morality department than others, which could be a real plus.

Who will like this book?  A reader who wants to delve into the world of historical fiction.  Parents and children who are interested in mystery and suspense.

If you like this, try this:  There are tons of great mystery series available to children, some classic (Nancy Drew, Boxcar children) and some new (Mysterious Benedict Society, 39 Clues, All The Wrong Questions…).  If you’re looking for some more historical fiction, try Nathaniel Philbrick (who writes for adults, too!) and Richard Peck.  However, this book is unique in its history of New York architecture, literature, poetry, art, and everything else!

Recommended by: Lauren O, Library Assistant

If this looks like a book you or your child would like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!


Christmas is Here

christmas is here

Title: Christmas is Here : Words from the King James Bible

Illustrated by: Lauren Castillo

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2010

Summary/Review: Christmas is Here is a beautifully illustrated story for younger children depicting a live Nativity Event in a small town.  The two page spreads show a family with their little dog walking through gently falling snow to the town green event.  The little child peeps over the manger to see the sleeping baby portraying the infant Jesus.  The story continues with the “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,” the beautiful story and words from the King James Bible.  The illustrations end with families gathered under the softly falling snow singing carols and concluding on the final page with the family of Mom, Dad, baby and child and little doggie.  This is a peaceful, beautiful family Christmas story.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a beautiful, soothing book to read to their children over the Christmas holiday. It makes a perfect bedtime story for those who are too excited to go to sleep.

Recommended by: Cheryl, Children’s Librarian