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Tuesday, March 30, 2010


March 2010

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

Reviews and Excerpts

THE BATBOY by Mike Lupica
Brian Dudley has every baseball kid’s summer dream job: he’s a batboy for his hometown’s major league team, the Detroit Tigers. Even more exciting, his idol, Hank Bishop, is returning to the sport after a 50-game suspension to play for the Tigers. Will Bishop be able to make a comeback after the steroids scandal that nearly ended his career? Will Brian find the hero he so desperately needs? Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE BATBOY.

ALLIE FINKLE’S RULES FOR GIRLS: Book Five – Glitter Girls and the Great Fake Out, by Meg Cabot
Allie plans on having the best weekend ever when she finds out that her best friend Erica's sister Missy is in the regional Twirltacular baton competition. She's going with all her friends...until Allie's mom announces that Allie has to go to Brittany Hauser's birthday party instead! Reviewed by Jana Siciliano and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT.

The bears have finally reached The Last Great Wilderness in their fourth adventure, but is this where they’re meant to be? Before they can find out, one bear is pushed to the brink of death, and saving him means venturing into the dangerous territory of the human world. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper

Multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper tackles disability and prejudice in OUT OF MY MIND, a deeply personal, moving story full of heartache and hope inspired by Draper’s own family experiences. Eleven-year-old Melody is a girl whose voice readers will never forget. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

STINK: SOLAR SYSTEM SUPERHERO written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
In Stink’s latest energetic fact-filled adventure, Judy Moody’s little brother learns all about the planets…and what he finds out about poor Pluto makes him determined to rescue it from non-planet status. But the path to hero-hood is filled with obstacles. Is “Pluto Head” Stink up to the challenge? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

COSMIC by Frank Cottrell Boyce

How does 12-year-old Liam find himself (along with his "daughter" and four other kids) hurtling through outer space in a rocket --- and what has gone so dreadfully wrong that they have no hope of setting foot on Earth again? The explanation, relayed by Liam in flashbacks, evolves into a hilarious and exciting page-turner. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


As a newborn, Cirrus Flux was abandoned at an orphanage and left with only a tiny sphere rumored to hold the Breath of God. Twelve years later, Cirrus has no idea what the sphere holds or that people are willing to do anything to get it --- including murder. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

SLUGGERS #5: BLASTIN’ THE BLUES by Phil Bildner and Loren Long

In the fifth book of this turn-of-the-20th-century baseball series, Ruby, Graham and Griffith Payne and the Travelin’ Nine venture south from Minneapolis to barnstorm in St. Louis and New Orleans. On their journey, they meet a baseball legend, become aware of a spy in their midst and discover secrets about the magic baseball. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

A NEST FOR CELESTE: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home, written and illustrated by Henry Cole

On a large plantation near New Orleans, a small, orphaned mouse named Celeste searches for a safe place to call home. Her task is made more difficult by a vigilant house cat, a large dog, two aggressive rats, and a severe thunderstorm. The famous wildlife artist Audubon and his young assistant, Joseph, just happen to be staying at the plantation. In exchange for providing dance and art lessons, Audubon is free to stay on the plantation to sketch and paint the abundant local wildlife. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

THE LOST CHILDREN by Carolyn Cohagan

In this outstanding fantasy/suspense novel, Josephine Russing is pulled from her regular home and life into a world full of people who face a mysterious villain named the “Master.” Magic is in the everyday fabric of this world, and as Josephine tries to find her way home, several children join her on the journey. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children. Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only 15 years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them eliminate their canine tendencies. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


With a mesmerizing voice and delightful imagination, debut novelist Diane Zahler delivers a dazzling retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." She creates a sparkling world of enchanted princesses, spellbinding magic, true love --- and the young girl determined to save them all. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Graphic Novel Reviews
BABYMOUSE BURNS RUBBER written and illustrated by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Babymouse's big dreams of becoming a race car driver come true when she and her best pal, Wilson, enter the Race of the Century (or at least the school year). But will she and Wilson crash and burn? Or will they cruise to the Winners’ Circle? Reviewed by Merideth Jenson-Benjamin.

AMELIA EARHART: THIS BROAD OCEAN written by Sarah Stewart Taylor and illustrated by Ben Towle

Amelia Earhart discusses her background and her dreams with a young girl as she waits to embark on her first transatlantic journey in this quiet story. The backgrounds and scenery evoke the world that was passing away rather than the future Earhart was rushing toward. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

Manga Review
DINOSAUR KING, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Yohei Sakai
Max is obsessed with dinosaurs. When he discovers a stone tablet that transports him to the age of dinosaurs, it's a dream come true --- until it becomes a nightmare. An evil genius named Dr. Z has enslaved the dinosaurs so he can use their hidden powers to take over the world. Now Max has to defeat Dr. Z and his Alpha Gang to save the ancient beasts and life as we know it. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

Manwha Review
ONE FINE DAY, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Sirial
Take one fussy dog, a rain-loving cat and a little mouse with a big sweet tooth, mix in a sprinkle of sunshine and a dash of magic, and you have a recipe for adventure! Whether they're baking cookies, cleaning up, or helping out a friend, this trio always manages to stir up a healthy helping of mischief and fun. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Don't Miss
THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY: How Greg Heffley Went Hollywood, by Jeff Kinney
If you've ever wondered how a movie gets made, you're not alone. Author and illustrator Jeff Kinney didn't know either, but when his bestselling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, was turned into a live-action movie by 20th Century Fox, he learned how a book gets adapted into a major motion picture. Complete with photographs, script pages, storyboard sketches, costume designs and original art by Kinney, THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY is the perfect companion to the bestselling series. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Author Interview
T.T. Sutherland
T.T. Sutherland is a prolific author who has written a number of books under the pen names Erin Hunter, Tamara Summers and Heather Williams. In this interview with’s Donna Volkenannt, Sutherland discusses her latest work, OH NO, NEWF!, the fifth installment in her Pet Trouble series, and describes how --- from watching “Dogs 101” to getting a part-time job as a dog walker --- she researched the animals she portrays in her books. She also talks about her own furry friend, Sunshine, recounts a recent experience as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” and shares details about future books currently in the works.

Win a Copy of SAVVY by Ingrid Law
SAVVY is an imaginative coming-of-age story about a gifted family whose members are given a supernatural power when they turn 13. To celebrate the long-awaited paperback release of Ingrid Law's award-winning debut novel, is giving away 15 copies of this charmingly magical tale.

SAVVY by Ingrid Law
For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a "savvy" --- a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn 13. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity... and now it's the eve of Mibs's big day.

As if waiting weren't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs's birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman's bus... only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up --- and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SAVVY.

Special Features
Amazing photos accompany a fun search-and-find game by Walter Wick, the creator of award-winning picture books and photographer of the bestselling I Spy series.

A pirate ship and a chest of gold take readers on a journey through time that leads to the location of purloined treasures. Beginning with a zoom of a gold coin, photographs pull back to reveal the story of the coin’s travels from the hull of a pirate ship in the 1700s to the shore of a beach town today. Wick has built a series of sets that tell a story and create a game that will delight and challenge readers of all ages.
- Click here to read Walter Wick’s bio.

PET TROUBLE #5: OH NO, NEWF! by T.T. Sutherland

Heidi always thought that she was energetic enough for any dog. She loves to play and run around and wants a big, enthusiastic dog to play with her and love her. But Yeti the Newfoundland might be a little more love than Heidi bargained for. He’s HUGE, and massively furry, and everything he does --- jumping, wrestling, flopping --- makes the whole house shake. Heidi loves Yeti, and she loves how much he loves her…but is there really room enough for both of them?
- Click here to read an excerpt from OH NO, NEWF!.
- Click here to read T.T. Sutherland’s bio.

Series Books
Sam Waters is desperate to have a pet. But his parents say that first, Sam must prove he's responsible. So he takes an after-school job in a pet store called Little Shop of Hamsters. To his horror, Sam soon finds that cute, little hamsters can become very UNCUTE monsters. Suddenly, Sam isn't fighting for a pet --- he's fighting to survive! Could the souvenir he got in HorrorLand have anything to do with this? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.
- Click here to read our Goosebumps Horrorland series feature --- with updated trivia and characters.

During a marine biology lesson at Mouseford Academy, the Thea Sisters learn about a mysterious shipwreck off Whale Island. According to legend, a very rare diamond called Jasmine's Heart was on the ship when it sank. When biology teacher Professor Van Kraken disappears, the Thea Sisters have to dive into the deep ocean to find him and the jewel. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.
- Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature --- with updated trivia and characters.

Books into Movies

Whether it’s Tim Burton’s whimsical Alice in Wonderland, the hilarious “survivor tale” Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or the animated action/adventure comedy How to Train Your Dragon, a trip to the movies this month is sure to be a hit with children of all ages. The three films spotlighted in our latest Books into Movies feature promise to transport you to mysterious and faraway lands for larger-than-life adventures --- from overthrowing an evil monarch of the fantastical Underland, to taming mythical beasts on the dragon-inhabited island of Berk, to…dodging the bullies of Crossland Middle School? Well, two out of three ain’t bad!

Cool New Books

March’s roundup of Cool New Books includes LORD SUNDAY, the thrilling conclusion to Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series, in which Arthur Penhaligon must confront Lord Sunday, save the Kingdom he is heir to --- and save his own world; GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT, book five in Meg Cabot’s tween series that finds Allie Finkle’s weekend plans turned upside down when her mom announces she must attend the birthday party of a girl she doesn’t even like; THE BATBOY, Mike Lupica’s latest sports novel about an unlikely friendship that slowly develops between a man in need of a family and a boy in need of a father; RIVALS by Tim Green, which marks the return of Josh LeBlanc and his friends Jaden and Benji from BASEBALL GREAT; and Jane O’Connor’s FANCY NANCY: POET EXTRAORDINAIRE!, in which Fancy Nancy is determined to write a superb poem for her class assignment --- but what happens when she can't think of a good idea?

New in Paperback

March’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE WILLOUGHBYS by two-time Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry, in which four thoroughly old-fashioned children seek happiness, fortune --- and a way to get rid of their parents; THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET, a feel-good follow-up to Jeanne Birdsall’s National Book Award-winning THE PENDERWICKS; SAVVY, an enchanting first novel from Ingrid Law about the Beaumont family, whose members have harbored a magical secret: they each possess a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn 13; THE DIAMOND OF DARKHOLD, the fourth and final Book of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau that finds Linda and Doon having to go back underground; and ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL, a moving portrayal of family, love and bravery in which Nora Raleigh Baskin shows readers the world through the unique perspective of an autistic 12-year-old boy.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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