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Friday, July 30, 2010


July 2010

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

Reviews And Excerpts
CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Marla Frazee
It's Clementine's turn to be "Friend of the Week"! She gets to be line leader, collect the lunch money and feed the fish. Even better, the other kids will make her a booklet, full of the things they value about having her in the class. Fortunately, she has a lot of astonishing ideas for getting the kids to write great stuff about her. Unfortunately, just as she's working on the best one, something terrible happens to her beloved kitten. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE BRIMSTONE KEY: Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles, Book 1 by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis
The Grey Griffins are back for more adventure in an all-new series by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis. This time, Max, Natalia, Harley and Ernie are up against an ancient Templar foe who is stealing changelings’ souls. Will the Clockwork King succeed in powering his clockwork war machines, or will the Grey Griffins stop him before it’s too late? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

SEEKERS #5: FIRE IN THE SKY by Erin Hunter
The Seeker bears explore the unknown as they leave the safety of land and strike out onto the Arctic ice. But the ice presents new dangers to the bears, and shocking revelations about the past tear the foursome apart --- until they reunite to save one of their own from this unforgiving terrain. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

FAIRIES AND THE QUEST FOR NEVER LAND written by Gail Carson Levine and illustrated by David Christiana
In this third installment of Gail Carson Levine’s chapter book series, Peter Pan comes at last and blows fairy dust on Gwendolyn Carlisle. The instant they reach Never Land, she sets out to find fairies. But the fairies are not eager to meet her. Then the evil dragon Kyto escapes, intending to destroy Never Land, starting with Fairy Haven. As the fairies set out on their desperate quest to stop Kyto, they must decide if Gwendolyn can help or hinder. Reviewed by Joy Held.

HAWKSMAID: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian by Kathryn Lasky
Just before Matty turns 10, her entire world crashes to the ground. With King Richard away, his brother, Prince John, attempts to take control of the kingdom by terrorizing the people. During one of his evil rampages, Matty’s mother is murdered, and she and her father are reduced to scavenging the land just to feed themselves. But Matty and her friend Fynn refuse to sit by and watch their families starve. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE OCEANOLOGY HANDBOOK: A Course for Underwater Explorers
written by Professor Arronax, edited by Emily Hawkins and Clint Twist
What’s the difference between a steamer and a schooner? How would you navigate in stormy seas? How are underwater volcanoes formed? And which creatures lurk in the inky depths of the deepest oceans? All this and much more await eager young oceanologists in this exciting handbook, prepared for Zoticus de Lesseps, the young author of OCEANOLOGY, by his tutor, Professor Aronnax, during their around-the-world journey aboard the mysterious Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE GECKO & STICKY: THE POWER POTION written by Wendelin Van Draanen and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Thirteen-year-old superhero Dave Sanchez (aka The Gecko) and his kleptomaniac pet gecko Sticky are caught in a web of intrigue after Dave intercepts a package with a suspicious-looking amber bottle intended for the dastardly demonic Damien Black. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE DANCING PANCAKE by Eileen Spinelli
The grand opening of the Dancing Pancake isn't the only new thing in Bindi's life: new friends, a new apartment, maybe even a cute new crush? But there are other changes, like her dad's move to a new city, that have left Bindi confused and wondering: What will happen to my family? Will this new life ever feel normal? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

AMAZING MONTY: More First-Grade Adventures written by Johanna Hurwitz and illustrated by Anik McGrory
First-grader Monty Morris is quite the excellent reader. One morning, while in line in the school office, he happens to read an ad on the bulletin board offering a pair of parakeets for free. This discovery sets him off on a chain of satisfying adventures in this third book of Johanna Hurwitz’s early chapter book series. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Fadi Nurzai’s little sister, Mariam, was left behind as his family fled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001. As he begins middle school in California, he shoulders the responsibility of returning to find Mariam. When a photography competition offers a trip to India, Fadi eagerly searches for the perfect picture to win. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

13 TREASURES by Michelle Harrison
No one else can see the evil fairies that rouse Tanya from her sleep, torturing her at the slightest mention of their existence. It is her insistence on responding to them that has her banished to her grandmother's secluded countryside manor. There is much to explore and even more to fear in the woods surrounding the estate, and Tanya soon finds herself entangled in a mystery that could trap her in the fairy realm forever. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

MAMBA POINT by Kurtis Scaletta
Twelve-year-old Linus Tuttle has the chance to reinvent himself into a brave and fearless person after he and his family relocate to Liberia, Africa. He just needs the chance to prove himself. Linus didn’t expect, though, to have a mysterious connection to the black mamba, one of Africa’s deadliest snakes. 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 Interviews
Di Toft
Di Toft’s WOLVEN is a humorous fantasy adventure that centers on a young boy whose unlikely new pet seems to have caught the eye of government scientists looking to breed a new form of biological weapon. In this interview with’s Usha Reynolds, Toft talks about what inspired the unique relationship between her two main characters and discusses the new twist she has added to the traditional werewolf legend. She also reveals the real-life model for her shape-shifting protagonist, explains why she chose to incorporate historical events into the story, and hints at what’s to come in the next installment of the series.

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 for all the contest details.
- Click here to read a review of THE WORST THINGS IN LIFE ARE ALSO FREE.
- 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!
- Click here for all the contest details.

Special Features
Thirteen-year-old Taylor Henry is finally making progress with her beloved gelding, Prince Albert. But spoiled Plum Mason is still causing problems, overtraining her new horse, Shafir. Can Taylor and the other Wildwood girls protect Shafir from this reckless rider?

Taylor feels more at home at Wildwood Stables than she does anywhere else. But she still has so much more to learn! So when Daphne offers to teach her English-style riding, Taylor can’t wait to get started. But will her horse, Prince Albert, be as excited to try something new? Especially if it means competition --- and jumping?
- Click here to read an excerpt from RACING AGAINST TIME.
- Click here to read an excerpt from LEARNING TO FLY.
- Click here to read Suzanne Weyn’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 a review of MOVIE FOR DOGS.
- 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 a review of WOLVEN.
- 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 Features
It’s true. Over the last three years, the Candy Apple series has taken the nation’s tween readers by storm. What could be better than another book in the series? THREE more books! Plus, the summer trilogy is devoted to all things young girls love: cute boys, lounging on the beach, road trips, cute boys, art and poetry in hopping New York City, red velvet cupcakes, super hip sunglasses, surfing, moonlight raids of restricted swimming pools… Did I mention cute boys?

But these three books aren’t only about fun in the sun (and cute boys). There’s also some heart --- and heft --- to them. Best friends Liza, Mina and Samantha are sure their respective summers without each other will be dreadful, but it doesn’t quite turn out that way…thankfully. In fact, it’s precisely because the trio is without their usual safety nets that they grow, take chances and blossom. Before the girls realize what’s happening, they’re having what turns out to be one of the most amazing summers of their lives --- and it has nothing to do with cute boys! (Well, mostly.)
- Click here to read our Candy Apple Summer Vacation Trilogy 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.
- Click here to read our Molly Moon series feature.
- Play the new Molly Moon match game!

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.

here to read the full newsletter.

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