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Tuesday, March 31, 2009


March 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features are running on for the month of March.

Reviews and Excerpts
THE 39 CLUES, Book Three: The Sword Thief, by Peter Lerangis
Amy and Dan Cahill are back for the third installment in this bestselling, multimedia series. In THE SWORD THIEF, Amy and Dan follow the latest clue and race to Japan. Unfortunately they lose Nellie, their au pair, at the airport, and reluctantly agree to join forces with their rivals. But can Amy and Dan trust them? Do they have any other choice? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt of THE SWORD THIEF.

ALLIE FINKLE’S RULES FOR GIRLS: Book Three – Best Friends and Drama Queens, by Meg Cabot
Allie Finkle is excited when a new girl, who comes all the way from Canada, joins her class at Pine Heights Elementary. Now Allie won’t be the new girl anymore! But her excitement turns to dismay when the new girl, Cheyenne, starts telling everyone in the fourth grade what to do. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BEST FRIENDS AND DRAMA QUEENS.

LUCKY BREAKS written by Susan Patron and illustrated by Matt Phelan
In this sequel to Susan Patron’s Newbery Award-winning THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, Lucky Trimble approaches age 11 with a new-found sense of intrepidness. But will the town of Hard Pan, California, and the assortment of new and familiar faces be able to handle all that Lucky throws at them? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

GREAT BEAR LAKE marks the return of Kallik, Lusa and Toklo. These three cubs --- a polar bear, a black bear and a grizzly bear --- come from different families and very diverse backgrounds. But they do have something in common --- they are alone and orphaned in a huge and dangerous world. Will they be able to survive long enough to complete their quests? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt of GREAT BEAR LAKE.

Nine-year-old Sassy Simone Sanford is not only the youngest sibling in her family, she’s also the tiniest. In fact, Sassy is generally small, physically, but she has an enormous personality. It sure does bother her when her family calls her "Little Sister" instead of her real name. On the other hand, Sassy has quite the delightful life, which she shares with us in this big-hearted and heartwarming story. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE YGGYSSEY: How Iggy Wondered What Happened to All the Ghosts, Found Out Where They Went, and Went There, by Daniel Pinkwater
Daniel Pinkwater offers readers another exuberant, creative road trip novel with THE YGGYSSEY, a follow-up to 2007’s THE NEDDIAD, featuring many of the same characters --- including Iggy, Neddie and Seamus --- and a quest to another plane of existence. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DEEPER by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
In this long-awaited sequel to TUNNELS, 14-year-old Will Burrows finally reunites with his best friend, Chester, and long-lost brother Cal. But that’s about the only good news. The three are now banished from the Colony, heading down to the dangerous Deeps. Will is determined to find his missing father, but in the chaotic war zone of the Deeps, mere survival becomes the first priority. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

In this sequel to Frances O'Roark Dowell’s THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF GIRLS, Kate and Marylin have both come to terms with their status as no longer BFFs. Yet each reveals a yearning to revisit that old connection in dual tales readers will find easy to relate to. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

For Emiline, a mousekeeper in the employ of wealthy Isiah Lovelock, there is no greater dream than becoming a famous mousehunter. So when she is given the opportunity to join the hunt for the legendary pirate Mousebeard, she sets off on the most dangerous, most thrilling, most swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

When Ariel and her best friend Zeke stumble upon a mysterious old telling dart, Ariel feels an unexplained need to figure out what it means. Magically flying great distances and only revealing their messages to the intended recipient, telling darts haven’t been used for years, and no one knows how they work. So when two strangers show up looking for the dart, Ariel and Zeke realize that their discovery is not only interesting but very dangerous. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SMOKE by Mavis Jukes
Twelve-year-old Colton “Colt” Hudson isn’t happy about leaving Idaho to move to Northern California, where he and his mom Celeste can live rent-free on her great-uncle’s ranch. Colt misses his friends, his grandfather and his bull-riding dad. After Colt’s 20-pound Maine coon cat, Smoke, disappears one night, Colt longs for his old life even more. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Don't Miss Reviews
THE COMPOSER IS DEAD written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Carson Ellis
If you’ve ever heard an orchestra play, then you know that musicians are most certainly guilty of the_composer_is_dead. Where exactly were the violins on the night in question? Did anyone see the harp? Is the trumpet protesting a bit too boisterously?

In this perplexing murder mystery, everyone seems to have a motive, everyone has an alibi, and nearly everyone is a musical instrument. But the composer is still dead. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

How do you handle an encounter with Medusa on the New Jersey interstate? What's the best way to take down a minotaur? Become an expert on everything in Percy's world with this must-have guide to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Complete with interviews, puzzles, games and original short stories by Rick Riordan, THE DEMIGOD FILES is perfect for those who can’t wait to get their hands on the fifth and final book in the series, THE LAST OLYMPIAN. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE MYTHOLOGY HANDBOOK: A Course in Ancient Greek Myths, by Lady Hestia Evans
Which god never leaves Olympus without his winged sandals? How do you stop a hydra from growing more heads? Who was Nike before she inspired running shoes? Can you find your way out of the Underworld? Sure to fascinate both avid mythologists and new fans alike, this lavish, highly informative handbook is brimming with facts and special features. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

Series Books
FROM RUSSIA WITH LUNCH: A Chet Gecko Mystery, by Bruce Hale
A mixture of supernatural crossed with high-tech shakes up Emerson Hicky Elementary, starting with the introduction of a bizarre invention during library period. Who can the beleaguered student body call? You guessed it: Chet Gecko, top lizard detective. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Geronimo is not the sportiest sort of mouse, so when his buddy talks him into biking in the Race Across America, you know it's going to be quite the wild ride. The "fun" starts with grueling training, and then things really get difficult. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Graphic Novels and Manga
AMELIA RULES! shows a nine-year-old’s world from the inside out, complete with well-intentioned adults, crazy nerd friends, battles with ninjas, scary walks through the woods, and the dreaded sneeze-barf. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

Pokémon meets Yugi-Oh in this vivid interpretation of the Bakugan Battle Brawlers anime series. Dan is a talented brawler, but when the fate of the Bakugan monsters' universe falls into his hands, he will soon discover that Bakugan is much more than a game. Reviewed by Courtney Kraft.

BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE: Ben 10 Returns
Ben Tennyson is back! After walking away from his alien powers to live a normal life five years ago, Ben is faced with a new threat. In order to save the world, he must don the Omnitrix once again and team up with his superpowered cousin Gwen and his rival Kevin to stop aliens from using powerful stolen technology to destroy Earth. Reviewed by Courtney Kraft.

MY MOMMY IS IN AMERICA AND SHE MET BUFFALO BILL builds an elegant, transitional bridge between children's picture books and graphic novels. But you don't need to be a child to like this book. Adults will find it rewarding as well. Reviewed by Casey Brienza.

Special Feature
The Nickelodeon Magazine Comics Awards
On March 26th, Nickelodeon Magazine announced the winners of the first-ever Nickelodeon Magazine Comics Awards. Over 17,000 readers of this leading entertainment and humor publication for kids selected winners in eight categories, which will be featured in the April 2009 issue. The Nickelodeon Magazine Comics Awards recognizes best comic books, strips and graphic novels for young readers published in the U.S., and marks the first major comics awards for kids.

Cool New Books Roundup
March’s roundup of Cool New Books includes LUCKY BREAKS, the sequel to Susan Patron’s Newbery Award-winning THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, which returns readers to the desert community of Hard Pan; THE SWORD THIEF by Peter Lerangis, the third installment in the multimedia series The 39 Clues; BEST FRIENDS AND DRAMA QUEENS, book three in Meg Cabot’s tween series that finds Allie Finkle excited (at first) not to be the new girl at school anymore; outstanding picture books from beloved authors Lemony Snicket (THE COMPOSER IS DEAD) and Neil Gaiman (BLUEBERRY GIRL); and FANCY NANCY: EXPLORER EXTRAORDINAIRE!, in which the fanciest girl in the world and her best friend set out to explore the Great Outdoors.

We’re also spotlighting a number of baseball-themed books just in time for the start of the Major League season. In the leadoff spot is Tim Green’s latest sports thriller, BASEBALL GREAT, followed by THE BROOKLYN NINE, THE PRINCE OF FENWAY PARK, THE DESPERADO WHO STOLE BASEBALL and ONE LAST TIME: Good-bye to Yankee Stadium.

New in Paperback Roundup
March's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE CASTLE CORONA, in which Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech weaves together two worlds that just might have more in common than meets the eye; OUTCAST, a continuation of Erin Hunter's Warriors: Power of Three series and a thrilling new chapter in the chronicles of the Clans; FOOTBALL HERO, an action-packed novel from Tim Green that will have readers on the edge of their seats rooting for the young protagonist; CASEY BACK AT BAT by Dan Gutman, a picture book sequel to the beloved poem "Casey at the Bat"; and RALEIGH'S PAGE, Alan Armstrong's tale of an 11-year-old boy who joins Sir Walter Raleigh's staff as a page and earns the opportunity to sail across the ocean to explore America.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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