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Monday, November 29, 2010


November 2010

Reviews and Excerpts

THE CRUISERS by Walter Dean Myers
Zander and his friends start their own newspaper,The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, they are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

» Click here to read our interview with Walter Dean Myers.
Faolan, a wolf formerly outcast from his pack because of a twisted paw, has been permitted to rejoin the MacDuncan clan. As a lowly gnaw wolf, Faolan must sleep on the edges of the pack’s territory and find shelter wherever he can, but he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
A GOOD HORSE by Jane Smiley
Eighth-grader Abby Lovitt knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch. It’s hard work tending to nine horses, but grooming Jack isn’t a chore at all. When the Lovitts receive a letter stating that Jack’s mare may have been sold as stolen goods, a mystery unfolds --- and it’s more surprising than Abby ever imagined. Will she lose her beloved Jack? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
ALIENOLOGY written by Professor Alan Grey, illustrated by Helen Ward, Gary Blythe, Jonny Duddle, Douglas Carrel and Fred Gambino
The year is 1969, and Professor Alan Grey is about to lead you to a world where space creatures interact with earthlings, unknown to all but a chosen few. On the one hand, this book is a field guide to everything --- from the solar system to alienology. But to others, it’s a cunning test. Those who solve its puzzles will reach enlightenment --- and some might represent mankind in the intergalactic community at large. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.
AGENT Q, OR THE SMELL OF DANGER!: A Pals in Peril Tale, by M.T. Anderson
It's time for Lily, Katie and Jasper to head home from their exciting Delaware adventure. But the Awful Autarch's spies and goons are everywhere, and it's clear that they have other plans for these three intrepid heroes. Full of ups, downs, twists, turns --- and even a band of sentient lobsters --- this latest excursion is every bit as wild, wacky and wonderfully outrageous as the others. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
Twelve-year-olds Henry, Riley and Reed are sick of living lives devoid of excitement, manliness and impressing girls. So they plan to carry out a series of daring experiences that will leave them Masters of Adventure. Nothing, though, goes according to plan, and the boys find themselves heading for hilarity and disaster. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
STORYTELLER by Patricia Reilly Giff
While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds something remarkable. It’s a portrait of her ancestor, Eliza --- known as Zee. And she looks just like her. A dreamy girl who grew up during the American Revolution, Zee was hopeful…until the war tore her family apart. Ever since, she’s been waiting for someone to rediscover her story. And as Elizabeth learns more about her, the past becomes as real as the present. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
After Rusty Larson’s sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Webster, encourages her students to get involved to help solve problems in their community, Rusty decides to take action and save a dog chained to a tree. He gets help from his best friend, Andrew, and an unexpected ally --- a ghost dog. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
ON THE BLUE COMET written by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
When the Crash of 1929 occurs, Oscar Ogilvie’s life is changed forever. His dad must sell their house --- along with all their model trains --- and head west in search of work. Forced to move in with his aunt and cousin, Oscar is miserable…until he meets a mysterious drifter and witnesses a stunning crime. Now he is catapulted on a journey that will take him coast to coast, from one decade to another. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
THE MEMORY BANK by Carolyn Coman
Hope Scroggins lives with her sister Honey and their Dursley-esque parents --- who are so horrible that they banish Honey and tell Hope to forget her. Hope knows she HAS to find her sister, but she’s taken to the World Wide Memory Bank. It’s where dreams and memories are stored, and the Clean Slate Gang wants to destroy it. But Hope doesn’t know they have her sister…and that they’re heading straight for the Bank. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

PENNY DREADFUL written by Laurel Snyder and drawings by Abigail Halpin

When Penelope Grey wishes for something to happen, her father quits his job, her family loses money, and her home becomes a pit of despair. So she makes another wish…and they inherit a house in the middle of nowhere. Almost immediately, their lives are transformed. But it feels too magical to be real --- and too real to be magic. And it may not last…unless Penny can make whatever it is work again. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Graphic Novels and Manga

AMELIA RULES! TRUE THINGS (ADULTS DON’T WANT KIDS TO KNOW) written and illustrated by Jimmy Gownley
Amelia McBride is still coping with her parents’ divorce and the fact that she now has to live in a small town rather than her beloved Manhattan. Plus, she must deal with popularity issues, schoolwork, and the attentions of a rival school’s popular boy…who may or may not be a good guy. Reviewed by John Hogan.
TOWER OF TREASURE: Three Thieves, Book One written and illustrated by Scott Chantler
Fourteen-year-old orphan Dessa Redd, an acrobat in a traveling circus, is recruited along with the circus strongman, Fisk, for the job of robbing the royal treasury. Hungry and desperate, both agree, setting off a series of adventures that will take the thieves from one end of the world to the other in search of Dessa's long-lost brother. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

Seasonal Feature

We’ve created a special What to Give, What to Get Guide with you in mind --- it’s just for kids! We have books that we know you’ll love to unwrap this season, so check it out. We’re sure you’ll end up spotting a title or two that you can add to YOUR holiday list. » Click here

Celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year” with! In our annual roundup of outstanding winter reads, we’ve compiled a number of titles that promise to put a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart. The holidays are a great time to reconnect with the ones we love. And what better way to do so than through the pages of a book? Fill this season with adventure, mystery, laughs and kind lessons that will stay with you for a lifetime. » Click here

Special Feature

The plan was simple. Ethan Cheeseman, along with his three smart, polite and relatively odor-free children, would travel back in time to end an ancient family curse and save their mother. Now that the LVR (a super-secret time machine) is in working order, it should be easy peasy. Except they didn’t account for one basic rule of science: Murphy’s Law, where everything that possibly could go wrong, does. So the Cheeseman family finds themselves on another madcap adventure, this time through stormy seas and haunted castles. And though their narrator, Dr. Soup, has a ton of unsolicited advice to offer young readers, he doesn’t have much to say to help the Cheesemans, except this one thing: Good luck!

» Click here to read a review of ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY.
» Click here to read an excerpt from ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY.
» Click here to read our interview with Dr. Cuthbert Soup.
» Click here to read Dr. Cuthbert Soup’s bio.
» Visit the official website of the series,

As mysterious circumstances bring three children together, their lives soon interlock, like the turning gears of a clock, and they realize that each one holds the key to the others’ puzzles. The trio’s adventures sweep them through the winding alleyways, and glittering plazas of their city, and along the way Giuseppe, Hannah and Frederick must learn to trust in one another --- and themselves --- for they risk losing the things they hold most dear, as the dangers they face quickly become all too real.

» Click here to read more about THE CLOCKWORK THREE.
» Click here to read a review of THE CLOCKWORK THREE.
» Click here to read an excerpt from THE CLOCKWORK THREE.
» Click here to read our interview with Matthew J. Kirby.
» Click here to read Matthew J. Kirby’s bio.

GIRL’S BEST FRIEND: A Maggie Brooklyn Mystery, by Leslie Margolis
Dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it. After all, she has a semi-secret after-school gig as a professional (ok, amateur) dog-walker. Maggie hates to see a pup in trouble, so she’s even willing to help her ex-best friend Ivy recover her rescue-dog, Kermit. Kermit is being held for ransom, and Maggie has noticed some suspicious behavior lately. But she never suspected her crush Milo could be involved…

» Click here to read a review of GIRL’S BEST FRIEND.
» Click here to read an excerpt from GIRL’S BEST FRIEND.
» Click here to read our interview with Leslie Margolis.
» Click here to read Leslie Margolis’s bio.

GHOUL STRIKE! by Andrew Newbound
Through a dank, rank portal in Pittingham Manor, icky demonic hordes from the Dark Dimension are pouring out, infesting planet Earth --- the halfway point to their planned attack on High. Into this foul maelstrom stumble ghost-busting psychic Alannah --- she’s got the gift for blasting ghouls to goo --- and her “business partner” Wortley --- a burglar who’s never met a lock he couldn’t pick.

Before the ghoul invasion, Alannah and Wortley only bounty-hunted tame, treasure-hoarding beasties, robbing them of their purloined booty. But now, allied with heavenly, silver-haired Officer Flhi and rookies Yell and Gloom of the A.N.G.E.L. police squad, they’re tangling with true evil. The strike is on to save the human race!

» Click here to read a review of GHOUL STRIKE!.
» Click here to read an excerpt from GHOUL STRIKE!.
» Click here to read our interview with Andrew Newbound.
» Click here to read Andrew Newbound’s bio.

Books into Movies

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Our Books into Movies feature is spotlighting the big screen’s latest take on C.S. Lewis’sThe Chronicles of Narnia, so kick back and celebrate the season by setting sail with Edmund and Lucy Pevensie. The long-awaited and highly anticipated follow-up to Prince Caspian will be in theaters on December 10th. Why not join the dynamic brother-sister duo as they team up with their cousin Eustace and embark on what might be their most dangerous adventure yet?

» Click here for more details about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Tangled is Disney’s three-dimensional take on “Rapunzel” --- the classic, unforgettable fairy tale originally written by the Brothers Grimm. Only this time, there’s a handsome bandit in the mix, so get ready for tons of action and a lot more adventure. But if you’re not a fan of super-cute criminals, don’t worry: There still will be a gorgeous princess with a whole lot of hair.

» Click here for more details about Tangled.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 has hit the big screen, so grab your wizarding gear and take a trip to your local movie theater, where you’ll enter a magical world of harrowing journeys, never-before-seen spells and hair-raising excitement. Based on the seventh installment of J.K. Rowling’s beloved series, this is the first of two riveting, full-length features (Part 2 releases on July 15, 2011) that will follow Harry and his friends as they try to outsmart the Death Eaters and put a stop to the Dark Lord’s evil doings once and for all.

» Click here for more details about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

Cool New Books

November’s roundup of Cool New Books includes DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE UGLY TRUTH, the latest installment in Jeff Kinney’s series starring Greg Heffley, who tries to deal with the pressures of boy-girl parties, having more responsibility, and a whole host of other awkward changes…alone; HERO, Mike Lupica’s action-packed tale of a 14-year-old who discovers that his dad was a superhero --- and that he has some pretty incredible powers of his own; THE FIVE FAKIRS OF FAIZABAD by P.B. Kerr, which continues the saga of John and Philippa Gaunt as they take on an evil djinn without the help of their mother’s powerful magic; THE STEPS ACROSS THE WATER, a follow-up to Adam Gopnik’s THE KING IN THE WINDOW, which tells the story of Oliver Parker’s mysterious, adopted and apparently otherworldly sister, Rose; and AMAZING COWS, Sandra Boynton’s fun-filled celebration of cows and the kind of craziness only bovines can bring. » Click here

New in Paperback

November’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes the latest Alex Rider novel from Anthony Horowitz, CROCODILE TEARS, which follows Britain’s favorite invincible boy hero as he sets out to stop a charity broker con artist from wiping out Africa with disease-spreading corn; MILLION-DOLLAR THROW by Mike Lupica, the story of a 13-year-old quarterback who gets a chance to win a million dollars at the New England Patriots Thanksgiving Day game, only to discover that his golden arm has somehow lost its magic touch; and THE TIME QUAKE, the conclusion to Linda Buckley-Archer’s Gideon Trilogy, in which Gideon and sidekicks Kate and Peter try once and for all to put an end to the Tar Man --- an evil monster who also happens to be Gideon’s brother. » Click here

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