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Friday, October 30, 2009


October 2009

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

Reviews and Excerpts
Jack, an apprentice bard, and his friend Thorgil, a shield maiden, have survived many adventures together. They have traveled the Hollow Road deep underground. They have visited Jotunheim, land of the trolls. They have even seen Yggdrasil, the world tree. The ringing of a magic bell sets their third adventure into motion. Visiting the realm of the fin folk and quelling unrestful spirits are just a few of the stops in Nancy Farmer’s final volume of her Sea of Trolls trilogy. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED.

RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD written by David Benedictus and illustrated by Mark Burgess
It was 80 years ago, on the publication of THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER, when Christopher Robin said good-bye to Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. Now they are all back in new adventures, for the first time approved by the Trustees of the Pooh Properties. This is a companion volume that truly captures the style of A. A. Milne --- a worthy sequel to THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER and WINNIE-THE-POOH. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

Join the Mysterious Benedict Society as Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance embark on a daring new adventure that threatens to force them apart from their families, friends, and even each other. When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, the foursome must unravel clues relating to a nefarious new plot, while their search for answers brings them closer to danger than ever before. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

In the fourth installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Greg Heffley suffers through summer vacation, which doesn't quite turn out to be the three-month-long video game marathon of his dreams. Greg's droll commentary on his life, complete with dead-pan illustrations, is guaranteed to make even the dourest reader laugh out loud. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek --- and Ryan and Sarah are trying to find out why. Ryan writes down everything in his journal, and Sarah records everything on her videocam. The two move deeper into the mystery they've uncovered, determined to discover the secrets buried in Skeleton Creek, in the conclusion to Patrick Carman's thrilling series. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

THE DOOM MACHINE is a first-class adventure story from long-time illustrator Mark Teague. Readers will be caught up in the page-turning action, while at the same time they will love Teague's beautifully drawn evil space aliens --- and an unlikely friendship between Jack and Isadora, who seem to have nothing in common at the beginning of the tale. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE CIRCLE OF GOLD: The Book of Time III, by Guillaume Prevost
In THE CIRCLE OF GOLD, the final installment in The Book of Time trilogy, 14-year-old Samuel Faulkner once again travels through time to exotic and frightening places. During this quest, he risks his health and his life to rescue his love interest, Alicia, bring his father out of a coma and try to reverse his mother’s death. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

RUNAWAY TWIN by Peg Kehret
Thirteen-year-old Sunny Skyland has bounced between foster homes for most of her life, and not one of them has made her feel like a part of a real family. But when she stumbles upon a bag of unclaimed money, she sees it as a chance to make some changes. Sunny takes off across the country to find her twin sister, whom she hasn’t seen or heard from in 10 years. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE MONSTEROLOGY HANDBOOK: A Practical Course in Monsters, by Dr. Ernest Drake
Is it true that a humble stone can summon a sea serpent to your aid? Do you know the best way to remedy a cyclops’s "lazy eye"? How does one reliably tell true beasts from false, and what do stitches and glue have to do with it? Even monsterologists who know their bigfoots from their bakus can be stymied by the unexpected, and here is a no-nonsense source brimming with fun hands-on lessons guaranteed to leave the reader confident and prepared. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.

Graphic Novel and Manga Reviews
LITTLE MOUSE GETS READY written and illustrated by Jeff Smith
There is a lot to do before Little Mouse is ready to go visit the barn. Will he master all the intricacies of getting dressed, from snaps and buttons to Velcro and tail holes? Jeff Smith, creator of the Bone series, gives us another comic book perfect for the youngest readers. Reviewed by John Hogan.

THE STORM IN THE BARN written and illustrated by Matt Phelan
Eleven-year-old Jack Clark’s life is as bleak as the dust fields that used to be his family's farm. But when a mysterious figure appears in an abandoned barn, Jack finds an adventure he may not be prepared for. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

OUTLAW: The Legend of Robin Hood, written by Tony Lee and illustrated by Sam Hart and Artur Fujita
How did Robin of Loxley become Robin Hood? Why did he choose to fight injustice instead of robbing for his own gain? Expressive and gritty, this graphic novel whisks readers back to Crusades-era England, where the Sheriff of Nottingham rules with an iron fist. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

ROAD TO REVOLUTION!: The Cartoon Chronicles of America, written by Stan Mack and illustrated by Susan Champlin
Nick, an orphan and a pickpocket, and Penny, the daughter of a tavern owner, find themselves caught up in politics, war and espionage when the residents of Boston decide to fight back against the British government in 1775. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

STONE RABBIT: DEEP-SPACE DISCO written and illustrated by Erik Craddock
In his latest adventure, Stone Rabbit is transported to another planet while the evil Melvin the Plutarkian rampages across his hometown. Fortunately, Stone Rabbit has his wits, his friends and a lot of dumb luck on his side as he battles aliens and giant robots to save the earth. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

PEACH FUZZ, Volumes 1–3 written by Lindsay Cibos and illustrated by Jared Hodges
Nine-year-old Amanda gets a new ferret as a pet and names her Peach. Peach Fuzz is seen through the eyes of both Amanda and her animal companion, making for a cute and interesting story. Watch out for the handras! Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Author Interviews
Angie Sage
In this interview with's Terry Miller Shannon, Angie Sage --- author of the Septimus Heap series --- explains what drew her to writing fantasy novels and discusses the real-life inspirations behind a few of the quirky animals featured in her books. She also talks about why she chose not to create the art for the series despite her background in illustration, ranks some of her books in terms of the difficulty she had writing them, and shares details about what's in store for her characters after SYREN.

Special Features
Flora and Ruby couldn’t be more excited that their Aunt Allie is adopting a baby --- they’ve never had a cousin before, and they are full of helpful suggestions. Soon the whole family is going to New York City for the big event…a special delivery of the best possible kind. There’s only one question: Will it be a boy or a girl?
- Click here to read an excerpt from SPECIAL DELIVERY.
- Click here to read Ann M. Martin’s bio.

SYREN: Septimus Heap, Book Five by Angie Sage
In this fifth book in the Magykal series, Septimus ends up on a captivatingly beautiful island --- one of seven set in a sparkling sea. He’s stranded there with his badly injured dragon, Spit Fyre, along with Jenna and Beetle. There are some strange things about the island, including a Magykal girl named Syrah, a cat-shaped lighthouse that has lost its Light, and an eerie presence that sings to Septimus --- can he escape the persistent call? Trouble is also brewing for Lucy and Wolf Boy, who have become entangled with nefarious sailors at sea, and for Milo Banda, Jenna’s father, who is harboring a mysterious treasure chest in his ship’s hold…

Charismatic storyteller Angie Sage continues Septimus Heap’s Magykal journey with more laugh-out-loud adventures, more enchanting charms and spells, and an ever-deepening understanding of the rich interior life of a young hero.

To celebrate the release of this latest installment in the series, is giving 15 readers the chance to win a copy of the book.
- Click here for all the contest details.
- Click here to browse inside SYREN.
- Click here to read Angie Sage’s bio.
- Click here to read our Septimus Heap series feature.
- Click here to play the updated Septimus Heap trivia game.

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 to read an excerpt from AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES.
- Click here to read our interview with Gennifer Choldenko.
- Click here to read Gennifer Choldenko’s bio.
- Click here to see the winners of our AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES Giveaway.

FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL: The Shocking Raid on Westminster, by Berkeley Breathed
Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best friend --- and she needs one like never before. Living with her reclusive uncle is hard, but Sam has a way of making her feel soft and whole. Until the day Sam is framed by the jealous poodle Cassius, and is cast out by Heidy's uncle, alone on the wild streets, where he is roughed up by a world he was not bred for. Sporting a soup ladle for a leg, Sam befriends other abandoned dogs and journeys all the way to the Westminster Dog Show, where his plan for revenge on Cassius takes an unexpected turn when he and Heidy spot each other after years of being apart.

Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Berkeley Breathed's first illustrated novel is a heartwarming and humorous ode to the unconditional and lasting love we and our pets share.
- Click here to read more about FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL.
- Click here to read an excerpt from FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL.
- Click here to read Berkeley Breathed’s bio.

Win a Copy of MAIN STREET #1: WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS by Ann M. Martin
WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS, the first installment in the Main Street series, introduces readers to Flora and Ruby, orphaned sisters who move to Camden Falls to live with their grandmother. Much to their surprise, the new town soon becomes their home. To learn more about Flora and Ruby and their stories in Camden Falls, enter the WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS Giveaway to be one of 25 readers to win a copy of the book.
- Click here to read more about WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS.

Win a Copy of SINGING SENSATION by Geronimo Stilton
After being enrolled in the Song Festival, Geronimo Stilton's song, "Welcome to New Mouse City," goes to the top of the charts and makes him a star. But very few CDs are sold after the festival. Will Geronimo and his detective friend, Hercule Poirat, be able to solve the mystery? To find out, enter the SINGING SENSATION Giveaway and join Geronimo and Hercule as they try to crack this case. You could be one of 25 readers to win a copy of the book.
- Click here to read a review of SINGING SENSATION.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SINGING SENSATION.
- Click here to play the updated Geronimo Stilton trivia game.
- Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

In THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE, Thea's friends the Thea Sisters take off for Australia to solve a mystery. A flock of sheep at Nicky's family's ranch is losing all its wool, and the five mouselings are determined to search for a cure. is giving away 25 copies of this truly memorable outback adventure.
- Click here to read a review of THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE.
- Click here to play the updated Geronimo Stilton trivia game.
- Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

Books into Movies
The month's Books into Movies Feature includes:

A Christmas Carol
The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Cool New Books
October’s roundup of Cool New Books includes RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD by David Benedictus, the first authorized sequel to A. A. Milne's classic Winnie-the-Pooh books in over 80 years; THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED, the final volume in Nancy Farmer’s trilogy that started with THE SEA OF TROLLS and continued with THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES; THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA, the much anticipated third installment in Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society series; DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS by Jeff Kinney, which marks the return of Greg Heffley, whose vision of the ideal summer vacation is completely different from that of his parents; GHOST IN THE MACHINE, the conclusion to Patrick Carman's thrilling Skeleton Creek series; and THE DOOM MACHINE, award-winning author and illustrator Mark Teague’s novel about the out-of-this-world adventures of a small, sleepy town invaded by a flying saucer filled with hilariously bizarre space aliens.

New in Paperback Roundup
October’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes RUNEMARKS, a fresh, funny and wonderfully irreverent new take on the old Norse tales, marking the fantasy debut of acclaimed author Joanne Harris; THE MAYFLOWER AND THE PILGRIMS’ NEW WORLD, an adaptation for younger readers of Nathaniel Philbrick’s New York Times bestseller MAYFLOWER: A Story of Courage, Community, and War; ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE SCRIVENER’S BONES, a sequel to Brandon Sanderson’s ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS, in which Alcatraz Smedry finds himself on a mission to save Grandpa Smedry when he gets swept up by a flying glass dragon; and THE HUNT FOR THE SEVENTH by Christine Morton-Shaw, a chilling and suspenseful supernatural mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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