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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

 

June 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features are running on Kidsreads.com for the month of June.

Reviews and Excerpts
THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer
Enola Holmes is back on the case when her beloved landlady Mrs. Tupper is kidnapped over a mysterious message. It doesn’t help that her pesky older brother, Sherlock, is involved. Will Enola be able to keep her freedom from the overbearing Sherlock Holmes and find Mrs. Tupper in time? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

MAKE WAY FOR DYAMONDE DANIEL written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Dyamonde Daniel may be new in town, but that doesn’t stop her from making a place for herself in a jiffy. With her can-do attitude and awesome brain power, she takes the whole neighborhood by storm. The only thing puzzling her is the other new kid in her class. He’s awfully grouchy --- but Dyamonde is determined to get to the bottom of his frowning attitude and make a friend. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

OTTOLINE GOES TO SCHOOL by Chris Riddell
Intrepid Ottoline Brown and her hairy sidekick, Mr. Munroe, decide to join new friends at the Alice B. Smith School for the Differently Gifted. But Mr. Munroe is afraid of the ghost rumored to haunt the school halls at night. And Ottoline soon worries that she may not even have a special gift --- although she of course does! Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE DEEP by Helen Dunmore
Return once again with Sapphire to the underwater world of Ingo and the Mer people. In the third installment of this creatively combined land and nautical series, Sapphire must go back to the dangerous Deep, this time to confront the evil Kraken who has awoken and now demands a sacrifice. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

CORYDON & THE SIEGE OF TROY by Tobias Druitt
In this satisfying conclusion to the ancient Greece Corydon trilogy, Corydon reunites with his “monster” friends to help the besieged city of Troy fight against the impenetrable Akhilleus and the Greek army. It is up to Corydon to thwart the mighty Zeus and save his friends and Troy from destruction. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

HERBERT'S WORMHOLE by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao
It is a familiar but compelling story: two heroes, of different temperaments and philosophies, must unite to defeat a common enemy. HERBERT'S WORMHOLE by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao takes this literary theme and adds cartoon graphics, video games, space aliens and time travel for a rollicking and fantastic chapter book. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE PIRATES OF CROCODILE SWAMP by Jim Arnosky
In 1982, an abusive father takes off running with his sons, Sandy and Jack, to the Florida Keys. Fearing that their mother is dead, and fearful of their father’s wrath, the two boys sneak away from his fists. Survival and freedom become their goals as they hide out in the dangerous, life-filled Crocodile Swamp, preferring the company of sharks, snakes and crocodiles to their own father. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE PRINCE OF FENWAY PARK by Julianna Baggott
Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, has been the site of some of the most legendary (and infamous) episodes in baseball history. And now, in the pages of Julianna Baggott’s terrific new novel, it also plays a starring role in a great story about fathers, sons, history and the enduring power of baseball. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

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Graphic Novel Reviews
CORALINE: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by P. Craig Russell
Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE gets reenvisioned as a graphic novel in this treatment from P. Craig Russell. It turns out there just isn’t a bad adaptation of this story to be found. Reviewed by John Hogan.

G-MAN: LEARNING TO FLY by Chris Giarrusso
How hard can it be to fly? Not too hard if you have the right book. A magic cape helps too. All these things come in very handy for two young brothers in G-MAN: LEARNING TO FLY. Reviewed by John Hogan.


Manga Review
NINJA BASEBLL KYUMA!, Volume 1 by Shunshin Maeda
He is a lone ninja honing his skills in the mountains and waiting to be sent to battle. They are a ragtag baseball team with a gaping hole in their lineup. Throw in a cute dog, and you have a great summer manga. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

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Author Interviews
Tina Wells
In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Sarah Rachel Egelman, Tina Wells compares herself to Zee, the 12-year-old main character of her new novel MACKENZIE BLUE, and explains why she chose to write this story for middle-grade readers. She also mentions some of her favorite books from childhood, stresses the importance of writing as a form of self-expression, and shares what we can look forward to in future installments of the series.

Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin
Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin are the co-authors of Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, which chronicles the adventures of a group of street children who aid the world-famous Victorian detective in solving some very tricky cases. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Donna Volkenannt, the husband-and-wife team talk about why they chose to devote their series to these figures who played miniscule roles in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories and recall the true inspiration behind the characters' charming, ragamuffin personalities. They also explain how they divide their collaborative duties, discuss their hands-on research while visiting London, and share details about the third installment of the series.

Andy Briggs
Screenwriter Andy Briggs is the author of a new series for young readers, Hero.com, as well as its parallel anti-series, Villain.net, which both follow ordinary teenagers who stumble upon websites that allow them to download superhuman abilities to be used for good or evil. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Sarah A. Wood, Briggs discusses why he chose to write these stories as novels instead of the more typical comic-book format, and muses on the books’ theme regarding the fine line between heroes and villains. He also explains why he chose to give his characters seemingly strange and unusual superpowers, describes his need to balance action with humor, and shares details about the series' interactive website, www.heroorvillainbooks.com.


Special Features
MACKENZIE BLUE by Tina Wells
Meet Mackenzie Blue, aka Zee.

She has it all --- smarts, talent, humor and style. Is it enough to survive middle school?

Countdown to a 7th Grade Meltdown:

1. Your BFF moves away.
2. Someone steals your diary and reveals your deepest secrets --- to the ENTIRE class.
3. You have one chance to become a rock star and one chance to totally blow it.

Guess what!? All three happened to me! School's a disaster already. Don't get me wrong --- I love Brookdale Academy and I have a fabulous crew of friends. (At least, I think I do.) But, if I'm going to survive, I need all the help I can get!

Now that her secrets are out, Mackenzie’s world is turned upside down. Who can she trust?
- Click here to read a review of MACKENZIE BLUE.
- Click here to browse inside MACKENZIE BLUE.
- Click here to read our interview with Tina Wells.
- Click here to read Tina Wells’s bio.

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin
CASEBOOK NO. 1: THE FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS
Few know that Sherlock Holmes was assisted by a band of devoted boys, street urchins who loved to solve mysteries, called the Baker Street Irregulars. When a murder at the circus unravels to reveal another far more treacherous crime, Holmes calls on the gang for help. Can the Baker Street Irregulars solve the mystery before it’s too late?

CASEBOOK NO. 2: THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN
Casebook No. 2 in this exciting series gives Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars a most unusual case to crack. A young woman named Elsa Hoffman seeks out the detective when her aunt dies mysteriously. As Ozzie, Wiggins and the gang start investigating, seemingly real ghosts suddenly appear and Elsa is followed by shady characters. Holmes must decide if he and his assistants can solve the case without facing mortal danger. Join the Irregulars for a mysterious and fright-filled adventure and decide if this is a case of the supernatural --- or dark con men, thieves and murderers!

- Read reviews of THE FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS and THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN.
- Read excerpts from THE FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS and THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN.
- Click here to read bios of Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin.

THE 39 CLUES Book 4: BEYOND THE GRAVE by Jude Watson
A Clue found in Book 3 sends Amy and Dan jetting off to find out just what’s behind the fierce rivalry between the Tomas and Ekaterina branches of the Cahill family. Was a Clue stolen from the Tomas branch? Where is it now? And most important, can Amy and Dan get their hands on it before their rivals do?
- Click here to read an excerpt from BEYOND THE GRAVE.
- Click here to read a Q&A with Jude Watson.
- Click here to read Jude Watson’s bio.

HERO.COM: RISE OF THE HEROES (#1) by Andy Briggs
Toby, Pete, Lorna and Emily are just average kids --- until they stumble upon a Web site that turns them into real heroes. Hero.com allows them to download flying, invisibility, or teleportation abilities, and suddenly, Toby’s rivalry with his sister, Lorna, and Pete’s trouble with Jake Hunter, the school bully, don’t seem so bad! But when the supervillain Doc Tempest kidnaps Toby’s and Lorna’s mom, will they be able to combine their powers to fight evil and bring their mother home? Of course, little do they know that Villain.net is out there too, recruiting teens for the other side…

VILLAIN.NET: COUNCIL OF EVIL (#1) by Andy Briggs
Jake Hunter is your quintessential bully --- tough, mean and misunderstood. While he likes the power gotten from picking on the nerdy kids, he’s sick of his dumb buddies, and he craves some adventure in his dull life. So when he stumbles upon a Web site called Villain.net that lets him download superpowers, he’s eager to try out the laser vision and the radioactivity. But when he joins forces with a supervillain named Basilisk, Jake must decide if he truly wants to accept the consequences of being a villain. And of course, little does he know that Hero.com is out there too, recruiting teens for the other side….

Good or evil, would you be a HERO or a VILLAIN?
- Read excerpts from HERO.COM: RISE OF THE HEROES and VILLAIN.NET: COUNCIL OF EVIL.
- Click here to read our interview with Andy Briggs.
- Click here to read Andy Briggs’s bio.


Series Books
GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #11: ESCAPE FROM HORRORLAND by R.L. Stine
Siblings Lizzy and Luke are concerned about the 14 Very Special Guests who are in a dangerous situation in HorrorLand. Can they help the kids escape a dreadful fate? (Fair warning: Readers should be prepared to be completely creeped out. Don't say I didn't caution you!) Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #12: THE STREETS OF PANIC PARK by R.L. Stine
Yes, it's true: In the final book of the Goosebumps HorrorLand series, the kids have been captured by The Menace, the ultimate in Evil, who claims he must terrify them --- and then proceeds to do just that, in the most horrifying ways imaginable. Is there hope for any survivors? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
- Click here to play the updated Goosebumps HorrorLand trivia game.
- Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature.

SEPTIMUS HEAP: THE MAGYKAL PAPERS by Angie Sage
Have you ever wondered about the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the people and places surrounding that seventh son of a seventh son, the amazing Septimus Heap? In this highly illustrated supplementary book, generously larded with the series' trademark hilarious comments and asides, you can browse through a plethora of histories, tours, restaurant guides, journals, maps, and much more. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


Books into Movies
Though J.K. Rowling's spell-binding series ended with a bang last year, I'm sure many of you --- like all of us here at Kidsreads.com --- are having a hard time saying goodbye to Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the Hogwarts clan. Luckily, we still have a chance to see our favorite wizard trio on the big screen. So mark your calendars and let the countdown begin, as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theaters on July 15th. This sixth installment of the epic good-vs.-evil saga promises plenty of magic, mystery, heart-pounding adventure and hair-raising suspense, not to mention some long-sought answers to dark secrets, raging teenage hormones and a jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy ending.


Cool New Books
June’s roundup of Cool New Books includes BEYOND THE GRAVE by Jude Watson, the fourth installment in the multimedia series The 39 Clues; FOOTBALL CHAMP, Tim Green’s newest sports thriller and a sequel to his bestselling FOOTBALL GENIUS; EXTRA CREDIT, a middle-grade novel from Andrew Clements that tells of the growing friendship between a girl living in Illinois and a boy from Afghanistan; THE MAGYKAL PAPERS, a fully illustrated companion book to Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap fantasy series; and WARRIORS: CODE OF THE CLANS, Erin Hunter’s in-depth guide to the code that governs all warrior cats.


New in Paperback
June’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE SORCERER OF THE NORTH, book five in John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice fantasy/adventure series; PETER AND THE SECRET OF RUNDOON, the action-packed finale to Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Starcatchers trilogy; QUESTE, the fourth installment of Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, in which the protagonist continues his journey of Magykal self-discovery; and NO TALKING, a middle-grade novel from Andrew Clements that pits boys against girls in an experiment that will determine which team can say the fewest words during the course of two full days.


Click here to read the full newsletter.

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