Books by Kelly Murphy

Released: Jan. 7, 2014

""Historical Game Changers" doesn't have the teasing selling power of "Heartthrobs," but it may nail John Wilkes Booth more squarely. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)"
A hit-or-miss selection of notable personalities who made a dent in history. Read full book review >
ANTON AND CECIL by Lisa Martin
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"Cat lovers will be sorry to see Anton and Cecil suffer indifference and outright abuse from sailors and pirates, as well as facing other dangers, but they're still not likely to care overmuch about the eventual resolution. (Fantasy. 9-12)"
This collaboration by a respected author of literary fiction and her niece, an educator and writer of poetry for children, is an odd mix of talking cats, oceangoing adventure and mystical events. Read full book review >
ROMPING MONSTERS, STOMPING MONSTERS by Jane Yolen
Released: July 9, 2013

"Young ones will want to join in on this monster romp again and again, since it is all so silly, comforting and familiar. (Picture book. 2-4)"
The menagerie of monsters from Yolen and Murphy's previous pairing (Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters, 2011) returns for an adventure at the playground. Read full book review >
THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL by Richard Peck
Released: July 2, 2013

"This mouse-sized identity quest sparkles. (Animal fantasy. 8-12)"
Peck returns to the parallel mouse society he introduced in the effervescent Secrets at Sea (2011) for a rodent's-eye view of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Read full book review >
FACE BUG by J. Patrick Lewis
by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Kelly Murphy, photographed by Frederick B. Siskind
Released: March 1, 2013

"The attempt to present science in a humorous way is a well-meaning one, but the effect seems rather lame for today's visually sophisticated kids and might work better as an app than a book. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
For kids who love bugs! Gruesome but fascinating photomicrographs of 14 different bugs are the focus of this unusual science book that combines poetry, line drawings and scientific facts to bring bugs alive for curious children. Read full book review >
BEHIND THE BOOKCASE by Mark  Steensland
Released: Oct. 9, 2012

"Though the title and cover are promising, the writing is muddled with too many conveniently trumped-up figures. Stick with any of John Bellairs' books for a skillful gothic tale. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
What is behind the bookcase? A black tunnel that is a secret portal to an adventure for a girl and her younger brother. Read full book review >
ALEX AND THE AMAZING TIME MACHINE by Rich Cohen
Released: May 8, 2012

"This emotional disconnect makes Alex's adventure a little less than amazing. (Science fiction. 8-12)"
An enterprising young inventor goes to extraordinary lengths to rescue his kidnapped brother. Read full book review >
SECRETS AT SEA by Richard Peck
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 13, 2011

"Sheer delight. (final art not seen) (Animal fantasy. 8-12)"
Problem novels, ghost stories, historical fiction—is there anything Newbery Medalist Peck cannot do? Apparently not. Read full book review >
CREEPY MONSTERS, SLEEPY MONSTERS by Jane Yolen
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: July 12, 2011

"There's plenty in this scary-sweet book to please children all year round. (Picture book. 2-4)"
This brief lullaby-story provides just-right toddler-sized chills. Read full book review >
HAUNTED HOUSES by Robert D. San Souci
FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

"By turns poignant and downright scary, this is a solid addition for stouthearted middle-grade readers. (Short stories/horror. 8-12)"
As the title indicates, within this collection readers will find some ten haunted abodes, including a fun house that is not so much fun, a dollhouse, a Japanese tea house and a doghouse, among others. Read full book review >
THE BASILISK’S LAIR by R.L. LaFevers
ADVENTURE
Released: June 1, 2010

"This story is complete in itself, but the ending promises more adventure to come. (Guide to People, Places, and Things) (Adventure. 7-10)"
When his Aunt Phil flies to the western Sudan to recapture an escaped basilisk, she takes Nathaniel Fludd along, reassuring him that he is only to "watch and learn." Read full book review >
BRAND-NEW BABY BLUES by Kathi Appelt
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

"Older brothers and sisters will easily identify with this jaunty heroine and profit from her realizations—an excellent choice for a new older sibling. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A young girl is adjusting to life with her new baby brother. Read full book review >
THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX by R.L. LaFevers
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"Straightforward sentences, chronological narrative, short chapters and Murphy's plentiful black-and-white illustrations make this appropriate for middle-grade readers looking for a series to grow with. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
When his parents are declared lost at sea in 1928, ten-year-old Nate is sent to live with a cousin, who whisks him off to Arabia to watch the fiery death and rebirth of a phoenix. Read full book review >
MASTERPIECE by Elise Broach
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Murphy's charming pen-and-ink drawings populate the short chapters of this funny, winsome novel. (author's note) (Fantasy. 10-14)"
Eleven-year-old James Terik isn't particularly appreciated in the Pompaday household. Read full book review >
GALLOP-O-GALLOP by Sandra Alonzo
POETRY
Released: April 1, 2007

"An adequate addition to library collections that don't have Lee Bennett Hopkins's My Mane Catches the Wind (1979) or other better volumes. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)"
"Gallop-o-gallop-o-gallop along / singing-o-singing-o-singing a song / swift over hills, carry me there / the wind on my face / the sky in my hair." Read full book review >
FIONA’S LUCK by Teresa Bateman
FANTASY
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

"Using acrylic, watercolor and gel medium, Murphy creates simple, angular figures and soft, rich backgrounds, a combination that perfectly accentuates the folksy charisma of Bateman's story. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Like her Leprechaun Gold (1998), Bateman's latest exudes Irish flair. Read full book review >
GOOD BABIES by Tim Myers
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"In time, both families forget how much trouble their babies were, which, Myers notes, "is usually how it goes"—a point worth making to readers with new sibs of their own. (Picture book. 6-8)"
An evil witch outsmarts herself in this warm-hearted twist on the "changeling child" motif. Read full book review >
DANCING MATILDA by Sarah Hager
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2005

"A little kookaburra bird appears on most pages, and Matilda is tucked into bed with her toy bear—a koala bear, of course. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Matilda is an exuberant little kangaroo who dances all day long, from the moment she hops out of bed straight through to bedtime, and even into the night in her dreams. Read full book review >
LOONY LITTLE by Dianna Hutts Aston
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 2003

Aston adds a pointed environmental message to this inventive variation on the story of Chicken Little. Read full book review >
THE BOLL WEEVIL BALL by Kelly Murphy
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"A pleasant take on the idea, which children are always receptive to, that size and success are not necessarily related. (Picture book. 5-7)"
A tiny beetle finds the perfect dancing partner in this endearing, if awkwardly written, debut. Read full book review >