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Monday, August 31, 2009


August 2009

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

In this latest installment of John Flangan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, the Ranger Will and his Knight friend Horace are at odds with the traitorous Sir Keren, who has overtaken the Castle Macindaw. The future of Araluen is threatened, and it’s up to the young warriors to defend those they love. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

CHANGE-UP: Mystery at the World Series by John Feinstein

An underdog team stuns the baseball world by winning the National League Championship Series. An obscure minor leaguer is called up late to pitch in the “Bigs.” In John Feinstein’s latest sports mystery, teen reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson uncover a secret that could affect the outcome of the World Series. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Judy Moody and Stink travel with their parents to "Artichoke Island" (otherwise known as North Carolina's Ocracoke Island), where they meet a swashbuckling pirate and join forces in an exciting hunt for pirate treasure. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

SENT: The Missing, Book 2 by Margaret Peterson Haddix
In FOUND, Jonah’s life turns completely upside down when he finds out that he is a stolen kid from history. Now J.B., a time officer, is trying to fix the damages by sending the children back in time to “when” they belong. Jonah’s friend, Chip, is one of the first, and Jonah and his sister, Katherine, latch onto Chip and Alex as they speed back in time. They end up in the year 1483, where Chip and Alex are the king and prince of England --- and someone is out to murder them. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

OATH BREAKER: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Book Five by Michelle Paver

Nine moons ago, Torak was an outcast --- the hunted. Now he turns hunter when he vows to avenge the murder of his kinsman. Torak follows the killer into the Deep Forest, where the clans are on the brink of war, for they have succumbed to the lies of the Soul Eaters. Here Torak must face fire, violence and, ultimately, overwhelming evil as he comes face to face with his kinsman’s murderer at last. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

When a mysterious envelope arrives for Jake Ransom, he and his older sister, Kady, are plunged into a gripping chain of events. An artifact found by their archaeologist parents on the expedition from which they never returned leads Jake and Kady to a strange world inhabited by a peculiar mix of long-lost civilizations, a world that may hold the key to their parents' disappearance --- if Jake and Kady can survive long enough to solve the mystery. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE GECKO & STICKY: VILLAIN’S LAIR written by Wendelin Van Draanen and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

Thirteen-year-old Dave Sanchez finds himself mixed up with a talking kleptomaniac gecko lizard, Sticky, who has stolen an ancient Aztec wristband that promises the wearer special powers. The dastardly Damien Black, however, possesses the power ingots that click into the wristband. Thus begins Dave and Sticky’s zany quest to become superheroes. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE GECKO & STICKY: THE GREATEST POWER written by Wendelin Van Draanen and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
The evil treasure hunter Damien Black needs some quick cash --- so he robs the local bank. But Damien Black didn’t figure Dave Sanchez into his plan. Dave has been itching to try out the Invisibility Ingot in his magical wrist band, and here’s the perfect opportunity to make like a superhero! So Dave and Sticky set off after the robber, determined to retrieve the bank’s money. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

RAPACIA: The Second Circle of Heck, by Dale E. Basye

Siblings Marlo and Milton Fauster are once again subject to the whims of Heck. Marlo is drawn to a large metal rabbit that has mysterious plans for her kleptomaniac skills. Back on the surface, Milton has his own struggles as he attempts to reach Marlo and somehow reconnect his body and soul. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

STRAWBERRY HILL by Mary Ann Hoberman
When 10-year-old Allie learns that her family will be moving from their two-family home to their very own house in the country, she's hesitant until she finds out they will be living on a street with the magical name of Strawberry Hill. From her struggle to find a new best friend, to her quest for acceptance at her new school, Allie takes readers on her journey to make Strawberry Hill feel like home. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

CONFETTI GIRL by Diana López
Lina Flores and her father are recovering from her mother's death. Meanwhile, she invents quite the sock system, fumbles in academics (and so loses out on her beloved sports), embarks on her first romance, and tries to maintain best friendship equilibrium. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE CURSE OF THE ROMANY WOLVES written by S. Jones Rogan and illustrated by Christian Slade
The creatures of Porthleven are suffering from a mysterious illness that looks like Febra lupi, the curse of the Romany wolves, which has no known cure. The dashing apothecary fox Penhaligon must find a cure or risk losing everyone he holds dear. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

DARKWOOD by M. E. Breen
Darkness falls so quickly in Howland that the people there have no word for evening. But darkness comes in other forms, and for 13-year-old Annie, the misery she endures in her uncle’s household makes the black of night seem almost soothing. When Annie escapes, her route takes her first to a dangerous mine where a precious stone is being stolen by an enemy of the king, and later to the king’s own halls, where a figure from Annie’s past makes a startling appearance. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Don’t Miss Review
OCEANOLOGY: The True Account of the Voyage of the Nautilus, written by Ferdinand Zoticus deLessups and edited by Dugald A. Steer
What if a 16-year-old assistant traveled aboard the storied Nautilus, the narwhal-shaped submarine of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA? And what if he were the sole survivor of the ill-fated voyage and went on to relay his adventures to a certain…Jules Verne? Find this brave young man’s own account in OCEANOLOGY, a tale of an 866 voyage of discovery that investigates diving bells and shipwrecks; coral reefs and ice canyons; sharks, giant octopi and luminous sea monsters; underwater volcanoes; and even the legendary island of Atlantis. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Graphic Novel Reviews
AMULET, BOOK TWO: THE STONEKEEPER’S CURSE written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi
After running into deadly trouble in the magical kingdom they've been led to, Emily and her brother Navin must go on separate quests in order to rescue their mother from death. Reviewed by John Hogan.

KNIGHTS OF THE LUNCH TABLE #2: THE DRAGON PLAYERS written and illustrated by Frank Cammuso
Knights of the Lunch Table must do battle with the school bullies --- not in person, but with remote-controlled robots. There’s a touch of medieval magic in this story, but the real appeal lies in its kinetic humor and kid-first point of view. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

Author Interviews
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Growing up in Pennsylvania, siblings Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm developed a love of comics early on. Years later, the two parlayed their reading habits into one of the most successful series for kids: Babymouse. With nearly a dozen books in the Babymouse series already published, the duo is now releasing BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER, a hilarious book that pits Babymouse against a might dragon. The two talked to’s John Hogan about how they work together, how the series came about, and what’s next for their tiny protagonist.

Special Features
THE 39 CLUES, Book Five: THE BLACK CIRCLE by Patrick Carman
The hunt for the 39 Clues leads Amy and Dan to their most treacherous destination yet --- a frozen land of Cahill secrets and betrayals. With danger chasing close behind, the siblings must track down one of history’s greatest lost treasures. Governments were toppled and rulers were killed during the last attempt to find it. Do Amy and Dan even stand a chance? is giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of THE BLACK CIRCLE. Enter the giveaway today and join the international clue hunt!
- Click here for all the contest details.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE BLACK CIRCLE.
» Click here to read Patrick Carman’s bio.

BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY) written by Lisa Yee and illustrated by Dan Santat
Meet Robert Carver Ellis-Chan --- a perfectly normal fourth grader who gets into perfectly crazy situations! Like when he was running for class president and discovered his big sister's panties (static-) clinging to the back of his sweater. Or when he got stuck to the rare, sticky (and stinky) Koloff tree on a field trip…. Then there's his family --- busy mom, ex-pro football player dad, a bossy older sister, and an adoring younger one --- and best friends (one of whom is a secret, because she's a *girl*). Life may be complicated for Bobby, but it's going to turn out just fine.
- Click here to read an excerpt from BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY).
- Click here to read Lisa Yee’s bio.

AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko
Moose and the cons are about to get a lot closer in this much-anticipated sequel to AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS.

It’s 1935. Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz with his family, the other families of the guards, and a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, mad dog murderers and a handful of bank robbers too. And one of those cons has just done him a big favor.

You see, Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose’s freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.

As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can’t risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?
- Click here for all the contest details.
- Click here to read an excerpt from AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES.

“Mom always said my dad is the devil. I never knew she meant it literally!”

All Angel’s father (a.k.a. the Devil) wants is to be a part of her life. And in return he has the power to give her anything she wants --- including popularity and a date with her long-time crush, Cole Daniels. But Angel will only accept him on her terms: get out of the devil business and leave his special powers out of the equation. Is Angel condemning herself to an eternity of lunch at the losers’ table? Or can she and Daddy Dearest strike some kind of deal?
- Click here for all the contest details.

Cool New Books
August’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE SIEGE OF MACINDAW, the sixth installment in John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice fantasy/adventure series; THE BLACK CIRCLE by Patrick Carman, book five in The 39 Clues series, in which the hunt for the 39 Clues leads Amy and Dan to their most treacherous destination yet --- a frozen land of Cahill secrets and betrayals; WILD GIRL, an irresistible story from Patricia Reilly Giff about a girl who is determined to befriend and ride the wild filly her father has just bought; THE FACELESS ONES, the third outrageous adventure of Valkyrie Cain (aka 14-year-old Stephanie Edgley) and snappy sidekick Skulduggery Pleasant, skeleton detective; and Lauren Child’s delightful retelling of the classic fairy tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

New in Paperback
August’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE TIME PARADOX, the sixth installment in Eoin Colfer’s fantasy series that continues the story of teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl; THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES, the highly anticipated sequel to THE SEA OF TROLLS from National Book Award winner and Newbery Honor author Nancy Farmer; KINGDOM KEEPERS II: DISNEY AT DAWN, which marks the return of our heroes from Ridley Pearson’s DISNEY AFTER DARK as they embark on another adventure to save Walt Disney World; THE NEW GIRL, book two in Meg Cabot's middle-grade series featuring Allie Finkle, who's starting fourth grade at a brand-new school; and THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman, an inventive and interactive page-turner in which a determined young boy sets out to win the Golly Toy & Game Company's ultimate competition --- his future happiness depends on it.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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