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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


June 2010

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

Reviews and Excerpts
SPHDZ Book #1! by Jon Scieszka
Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn't hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with are aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. Their mission is to convince 3,400,001 kids to BE SPHDZ. But with a hamster as their leader, "kids" who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K. as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment? Reviewed by John Hogan and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from SPHDZ Book #1!

The legendary John Grisham brings his crafty storytelling and legal knowledge to a new children’s series in THEODORE BOONE: KID LAWYER. Theo knows the truth about the Duffy murder, but what judge will believe a 13-year-old wanna-be lawyer? Theo, however, won’t let anything get in the way of justice being served. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE 39 CLUES, Book Nine: STORM WARNING by Linda Sue Park
Throughout the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan have encountered some of the darkest aspects of history…and had to deal with the role their family played. But are they ready for the truth? In this thrilling ninth installment, Amy and Dan hit the high seas as they follow the trail of some infamous ancestors to track down a long lost treasure. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

In this latest installment of the popular Ranger’s Apprentice series, the Outsiders, a religious fanatical group, are threatening Clonmel, a southern kingdom bordering Araluen. Will, Halt and Horace are dispatched by the Ranger Corp to discover the threat and stop it. Halt, however, has ties to Clonmel that run deep and could potentially endanger the mission. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Casey and Lacey Nicefolk, who were introduced in THE ADVENTURES OF VIN FIZ, are back for another magical adventure. This time, the twins have entered the Hotsy Totsy into the Gold Cup powerboat race along the California coastline. Will the Hotsy Totsy have enough to overcome dangerous conditions, the Boss and his henchman, and a high-speed race? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

CHASING ORION by Kathryn Lasky
It’s a hot Indiana summer in 1952, and public places are closing to slow the spread of polio. Despite all the headlines, 11-year-old Georgie never thought she’d come as close to the fearful disease as she does when she spies a silver glint in her neighbor’s yard. There she discovers a monstrous, hissing machine, and inside is Phyllis, a girl encased in an iron lung. Phyllis’s ability to breathe may be limited, but her strength to manipulate is boundless. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE BOY WHO CLIMBED INTO THE MOON written by David Almond and illustrated by Polly Dunbar
There are some strange ideas floating around in Paul’s apartment block. There’s Mabel, who now calls herself Molly and whose brother hides under a paper bag. Then there’s Clarence, the poodle who thinks he can fly. But the strangest notion of all is Paul’s. Paul believes that the moon is not the moon but a great hole in the sky. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

HOUSE OF DOLLS written by Francesca Lia Block and illustrated by Barbara McClintock
Madison’s dolls have a secret life that she wishes she was a part of. Her grandmother pays more attention to them than to her, and while the dolls have each other, Madison is all alone in her big, empty apartment. Then one day, everything changes.... Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE SHADOWS: The Books of Elsewhere, Volume 1 by Jacqueline West
When her parents buy the ancient mansion on Linden Street where old Ms. McMartin died, 11-year-old Olive expects life will continue much like usual. Which means she’ll be just as lonely as ever since no one wants to be her friend. But Olive could never have prepared herself for the adventures that await her. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

BLIMPO: The Third Circle of Heck, by Dale E. Basye
Siblings Milton and Marlo Fauster are back for more in this tasteful third installment of the Circle of Heck series. Marlo has begun her new Infernship program but is failing miserably, and Milton is on a quest to save his best friend, Virgil, from the circle of Heck that is punishing overweight children. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Graphic Novels and Manga
Frankie Pickle’s overactive imagination keeps him company whether he’s (not) cleaning his room or building the ultimate model race car. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

GARGOYLES: CLAN BUILDING, Volume One written and illustrated by Greg Weisman
“Gargoyles,” a Disney-animated series from the ’90s, gets new life in the form of comic books. While officially aimed at children, both the program and the comic books attract fans of all ages. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

FAIRY NAVIGATOR RUNA, Volume 1 written by Miyoko Ikeda and illustrated by Michiyo Kikuta
Runa was left at an orphanage as a baby and never knew her parents. Nonetheless, she loves her life at the orphanage and has a close circle of friends. Then one day, two strangers arrive with startling news: Runa is really a fairy princess --- and she is in great danger! Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

THE LIZARD PRINCE, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Asuka Izumi
Princess Canary and Prince Heath are supposed to get married, but it’s not going to work out that way. Instead, Canary falls in love with Prince Heath’s talking lizard! Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

Author Interview
Cornelia Funke
In February we shared the exciting news that Cornelia Funke, the internationally bestselling author of THE THIEF LORD and the Inkheart trilogy, would be answering questions from our readers in an online video from her home in California. The long-awaited interview is now available, and we are thrilled to be sharing it with you! Click here to see Cornelia answer questions submitted by kids from all around the world, along with a special thank you from her to readers and the intriguing trailer for RECKLESS, the first installment in her new fantasy series that will be releasing on September 14th.

Special Features
EMILY’S FORTUNE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
From Newbery Award winner Phyllis Reynolds Naylor comes a witty tale of the Wild West filled with comical cliffhangers and featuring a cast of plucky orphans and dastardly villains.
- Click here to read an excerpt from EMILY’S FORTUNE.
- Click here to read our interview with Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.
- Click here to read Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s bio.

MOVIE FOR DOGS by Lois Duncan
When Andi's brother Bruce wants to enter a dog-themed film-making contest, Andi jumps at the opportunity to become a screenwriter. But neither of them expects what happens next --- a producer wants their movie! Can Andi and Bruce's show (and dogs) go Hollywood?
- Click here to read an excerpt from MOVIE FOR DOGS.
- Click here to read Lois Duncan’s bio.

WOLVEN by Di Toft
With his big snaggly teeth, patchy black fur, and glowing golden eyes, Woody is far from the cutest of dogs, yet Nat is strangely drawn to the rough mutt that howls at the moon. And before long Nat discovers that Woody's not a dog at all --- he's a wolven: a shape-shifter who changes from wolf to boy without much warning. A secret government agency knows about Woody's mutant status, too, and wants to trap him and turn him into a hairy new breed of bioweapon. To escape capture, and to make sense of Woody's strange identity, the two friends --- boy and werewolf --- set off on a great adventure.
- Click here to read an excerpt from WOLVEN.
- Click here to read our interview with Di Toft.
- Click here to read Di Toft’s bio.

Series Feature
MOLLY MOON Series by Georgia Byng
Like most of you, Molly Moon is a preteen. But, probably not at all like you, Molly just happens to be a master hypnotist with a few other skills up her sleeve, such as time traveling and mind reading. The girl has a potato-shaped nose, mesmerizing green eyes, and a droning voice…all the better to hypnotize villains. She also has the ability to attract the kind of amazing adventures any fantasy lover enjoys.

Molly invites you to come along as she uses her unusual talents to stop bad guys. Get ready to time travel, snack on a few ketchup sandwiches, and cheer for your new favorite hero. Hang on tight --- you have a wild ride ahead of you!

Molly Moon is back and braver than ever in the fifth book in the wildly popular Molly Moon series. Not only can she hypnotize anyone who crosses her path, travel through time and read minds, now she has a new power: morphing! From human to animal and back again, Molly must find her way back to her own body --- and save the world while she’s at it --- before it’s too late.
- Play the new Molly Moon match game!

Summer is here, and that makes everyone at Mackerel Middle School very happy. But what happens when a few of the students have too much time on their hands…and not enough money in their pockets? Sneak a peek inside the diary of Jamie Kelly to find out! is giving away 15 copies of THE WORST THINGS IN LIFE ARE ALSO FREE, the 10th installment in Jim Benton’s hilarious series. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, August 25th at noon ET.

School's out for the summer, and that means no more Meat Loaf Thursdays, Sunday homework-cramming, or teachers (way way unsuccessfully) trying to act cool. It also means that certain Mackerel Middle Schoolers have a lot of time on their hands…and seriously empty pockets.

Isabella is going to change all that. And Jamie and Angeline are going to help --- whether they like it or not. It's the best kind of teamwork: When a whole bunch of people work together to do something wrong, instead of doing it wrong one at a time.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE WORST THINGS IN LIFE ARE ALSO FREE.
- Click here to read Jim Benton's bio.

Win a Copy of THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF NATE BANKS #1 and #2 by Jake Bell
SECRET IDENTITY CRISIS and FREEZER BURNED kick off The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks, a fantastic new action-packed series by Jake Bell that introduces readers to sixth grader Nate Banks, a comic book expert who’s determined to save the day. Each book in the series includes a very cool extra --- an eight-page full-color comic book insert! is giving 15 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the first two installments in the series. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, August 25th at noon ET.


As the three-time winner of the Ultimate Comic Book Trivia Championship of Knowledge, Nate Banks has always been the sixth grade's biggest comic book expert. But when a mysterious new superhero shows up in town, not even Nate knows who she really is. And when he sets out to discover Ultraviolet's secret identity, all of the clues seem to lead Nate to the least likely suspect --- his uptight history teacher, Ms. Matthews! Could she really be moonlighting as a super-powered crime fighter? It's up to Nate to find out!

For a town in the middle of the desert, Kanigher Falls has been awfully cold lately. Sixth grader Nate Banks knows something odd is going on, especially when it starts to snow, and the snow smells like rotten cabbage! It's clear that the supervillain Coldsnap is on the loose. Nate thinks he knows how to defeat him, but superhero Ultraviolet thinks the case is too dangerous. When Coldsnap goes after an American treasure and Ultraviolet can't go it alone, it's up to Nate and his friends to save the day!

Win a Copy of COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles
Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, COUNTDOWN by award-winning author Deborah Wiles is a documentary novel that will put you right alongside 11-year-old Franny Chapman as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history. It is an experience you will never forget, and is giving 10 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Friday, July 23rd at noon ET.

COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles
It’s 1962, and it seems the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Eleven-year-old Franny Chapman doesn’t know how to deal with what’s going on in the world --- no more than she knows how to deal with what’s going on with her family and friends. But somehow she’s going to make it through.
- Click here to read more about COUNTDOWN.
- Click here to read a review of COUNTDOWN.
- Click here to read an excerpt from COUNTDOWN.
- Click here to read Deborah Wiles’s bio.

Win a Copy of DARK LIFE by Kat Falls
Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land that is left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment. To celebrate the release of Kat Falls’s debut novel, is giving 20 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Friday, July 23rd at noon ET.

DARK LIFE by Kat Falls
The oceans rose, swallowing up the lowlands. Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor, the Dark Life.

Ty has spent his whole life living deep undersea, helping his family farm the ocean floor. But when outlaws attack his homestead, Ty finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her brother, Ty ventures into the frontier’s rough underworld and discovers some dark secrets to Dark Life...secrets that threaten to destroy everything.
- Click here to read a review of DARK LIFE.
- Click here to read an excerpt from DARK LIFE.
- Click here to read our interview with Kat Falls.
- Click here to read Kat Falls's bio.

Books into Movies
On July 23rd, a rambunctious little tyke by the name of Ramona Quimby tears her way to the big screen in a charming family-friendly film with a star-studded cast boasting the likes of Selena Gomez, Joey King, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh. Ramona and Beezus --- based on the classic bestselling series by Beverly Cleary --- brings to life one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature in all her mischievous, hyperactive, accident-prone glory as she goes from pesky little sister one minute, to hero the next.

Series Books
THEA STILTON AND THE SECRET CITY: Geronimo Stilton Special Edition by Thea Stilton
In this amazing adventure, Thea's friends the Thea Sisters head to Peru, where a good friend of Paulina's is in danger. There, the five mice climb the Andes mountains in search of a mysterious treasure that's hidden in the Secret City of the Incas. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.
- Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature --- with updated trivia and characters.

Cool New Books
July’s roundup of Cool New Books includes CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK, the fourth installment in Sara Pennypacker’s series starring Clementine, who learns the true meaning of friendship when she is picked for Friend of the Week; THE OCEANOLOGY HANDBOOK, the perfect resource for eager young oceanologists looking to discover some lesser-known secrets of the sea; Sue Stauffacher’s SPECIAL DELIVERY!, which marks the return of the Animal Rescue Team, who this time has two mysteries to solve as the Carter family tries to sort out what, and who, is creating all kinds of mayhem around town; AMAZING MONTY by Johanna Hurwitz, in which first grader Monty Gerald Morris faces a number of surprises --- some good, some not so much --- both at school and at home; and AMELIA BEDELIA’S FIRST APPLE PIE, the third in a series of picture books by Herman Parish featuring a young Amelia Bedelia, who learns that the best thing about autumn is choosing apples to bake an apple pie.

New in Paperback
July’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes INKDEATH, the conclusion to Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy; HEROES OF THE VALLEY by Jonathan Stroud, an epic fantasy thriller featuring murder, revenge and a slightly diminutive protagonist; CLASH OF THE SKY GALLEONS, the ninth installment in Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s The Edge Chronicles fantasy series;PEACE, LOCOMOTION, a thought-provoking companion to Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award finalist LOCOMOTION; MIGHTY MONTY, Johanna Hurwitz’s follow-up to MOSTLY MONTY, which marks the return of first grader Monty Gerald Morris, who, despite his small size and shyness, is mighty enough to take karate; and THE DANGEROUS ALPHABET by Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly, a tale of adventure, piracy and heroism told in 26 alphabetical lines --- 13 short rhyming couplets.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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