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Thursday, March 31, 2011

 

March 2011

REVIEWS

BLESS THIS MOUSE written by Lois Lowry and illustrated by Eric Rohmann (Fiction)
Hildegarde is no run-of-the-mill mouse. In fact, some might call her a saint. As Mouse Mistress at Saint Bartholomew's church, Hildegarde is responsible for keeping safe and hidden all the mice that live there, including Lucretia, a jealous mouse who tries to undermine Hildegarde's authority whenever she can. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
LOST & FOUND: THREE by Shaun Tan(Fiction/Illustrated Short Stories)
The Lost Thing won Best Animated Short at this year's Academy Awards. This huge honor coincides with the release of LOST & FOUND, a collection of Shaun Tan's early picture books that includes the story on which the film is based, along with THE RED TREE and THE RABBITS. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy (Fiction)
A quiet, severely disfigured Afghan girl experiences a promising vision of her nation's future when American troops occupy her desert village and arrange surgery for her cleft lip. Based on an enlightening true story, WORDS IN THE DUST tells of a shy 13-year-old and how much her life changes because of the simple kindness of a few concerned American soldiers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith and excerpted.
LIAR, LIAR: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception, by Gary Paulsen (Fiction)
Kevin doesn't mean to make trouble when he lies. He's just really good at it, and it makes life so much easier. But as his lies pile up, he finds himself in big --- and funny --- trouble with his friends, family and teachers. He has to find a way to end his lying streak --- forever. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.
CLOSER by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams(Mystery/Action & Adventure)
Finally reunited with his dad, Will spends his days exploring the "land of the second sun," decoding glyphs, or eyeing wild animals with the renegade girl Elliott. Meanwhile, Chester has returned Topsoil, where his homecoming is becoming a horror show. But the ruthless Rebeccas have cheated death again, and they'll hunt Will to the innards of the earth. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
THE GENIUS FILES: MISSION UNSTOPPABLE by Dan Gutman (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Twelve-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald are facing the most nightmarish of situations --- a cross-country RV road trip with their parents. But it turns out that visiting the world's largest ball of twine won't be the worst part. Unbeknownst to them, Coke and Pep have been recruited for a new top-secret organization that enlists the help of young geniuses to solve the world's problems. Unfortunately, this honor also pinpoints them as targets for murder. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
STORM RUNNERS by Roland Smith (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Fourteen-year-old Chase Masters and his father are storm chasers. They travel across the country looking for the next big storm. When a category five hurricane hits Florida, Chase finds himself in the last place he wants to be --- lost in the middle of the storm of the century. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
THE VISCONTI HOUSE by Elsbeth Edgar(Mystery)
An enthusiastic Australian teen becomes infatuated with a mystery surrounding an old-world home that she and her family have moved into. The importance of fitting in loses its appeal once Laura finds a kindred spirit and partner with whom she can share her discoveries. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
HOW LAMAR'S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY by Crystal Allen (Fiction)
Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington freely admits that he's the best bowler in town. It's too bad that his father and brother Xavier are too consumed with basketball to notice. After Lamar decides to pull a prank on his brother, he realizes he could never have predicted the consequences of his actions. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
THE TROUBLE WITH CHICKENS: A J.J. Tully Mystery, written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornell (Mystery)
J.J. Tully is a former search-and-rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he's not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar and their chicken mom show up demanding his help in finding their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

GRAPHIC NOVEL AND MANGA REVIEWS
MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS: 300 MICKEYS written by Sergio Badino and Stefan Petrucha; illustrated by César Ferioli Pelaez, Floyd Gottfredson and Giorgio Cavazzano
Mouse mischief multiplies when a cloning experiment goes wrong, creating more Mickeys than you can shake a stick at. Then, Mickey and Minnie's vacation to Mt. Rushmore takes a monstrous turn when they're attacked by an army of robot Presidents. 300 MICKEYS also includes the classic Floyd Gottfredson tale “Dan the Dogcatcher.” Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.
THE CALL OF THE WILD written by Jack London, adapted by Lloyd S. Wagner and illustrated by Sachin Nagar
Buck is a four-year-old shepherd dog whose life changes when he's suddenly kidnapped and sold into service during the Klondike gold rush. He learns not only to survive, but also flourishes in it. Campfire has managed to carve a wonderful little niche for itself by adapting some of the world's most beloved classics to the comics format. THE CALL OF THE WILD is one of the true standouts in that lineup. Reviewed by John Hogan.
FRANCIS SHARP IN THE GRIP OF THE UNCANNY! Chapter 1, written by Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton, illustrated by Brittney Sabo
In the first chapter of what hopefully will become a long series, we're introduced to Francis Sharp, a young, lazy and stubborn boy living in rural 1930s New Jersey. Francis disobeys his parents, doesn't help around the farm, and often lies. He's also about to be swept off into a very strange and foreign realm. Reviewed by Tina Vasquez.

AUTHORS

Remembering Diana Wynne Jones
Kidsreads.com mourns the passing of famed British author Diana Wynne Jones, who died on March 26th at the age of 76 after a two-year battle with lung cancer. Wynne Jones wrote outstanding fantasy novels for more than 30 years and was one of the most distinguished writers in the field. With unlimited imagination, she combined dazzling plots, an effervescent sense of humor, and emotional truths in stories that have delighted readers of all ages. Her final book, EARWIG AND THE WITCH, will be published in February 2012. » Click here

Trent Reedy
A first-time novelist and a member of the Army National Guard, Trent Reedy is the author of WORDS IN THE DUST, the remarkable tale of an Afghan girl named Zulaikha who dares to hope for a better future --- and the surgery she'll need to fix her cleft palate --- when American soldiers arrive in her village. In this interview, Reedy talks about his own experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan, elaborating on the real-life figure who inspired his book. He also explains how the experience of war altered his feelings about the Afghan people, reflects on the challenges of writing his first-ever novel, and recalls the fan letter he wrote that helped launch his career as a writer --- and sparked the beginning of a long-lasting literary friendship. » Click here

CONTEST

Win a Copy of THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt
Being a loser is bad enough, but now comics-obsessed Danny is actually on the list: the Loser List --- it's right there, hanging in the girls' bathroom, for everyone (and one girl in particular) to see. There's only one thing for him to do about it. He must get his name off. But just when his world starts looking up again, Danny may find that being cool isn't all it's cracked up to be.

To celebrate the release of THE LOSER LIST, Kidsreads.com is giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of H.N. Kowitt's illustrated book. The deadline for entries is Thursday, May 26th at noon ET.

THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt (Illustrated Fiction/Humor)
When Danny gets caught trying to cross his name off the "Geek" list in the girls' bathroom, he's sent to detention. Bullies torment him mercilessly --- until they discover that Danny can draw. He enjoys his new "bad boy" status, supplying tattoos and graffiti, until he's unknowingly drawn into a theft. Turns out the bullies took a comic book from Danny's favorite store. Can he steal it back before they get caught --- and break off with the bullies before he gets in too deep?

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read a review of THE LOSER LIST.
» Click here to look inside THE LOSER LIST.
» Click here to read H.N. Kowitt's bio.

SERIES UPDATES

SCORPIA RISING: Alex Rider - The Final Mission, by Anthony Horowitz (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
Fifteen-year-old British spy Alex Rider enters his final mission with a sense of trepidation. Terrorist organization Scorpia is back in action, and this time they will stop at nothing until he's dead. No amounts of gadgets, weapons, or training are going to protect Alex this time. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

» Click here to read a review of SCORPIA RISING, the final Alex Rider book.
» Click here to read our Alex Rider series feature with updated trivia.

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND: HALL OF HORRORS #1: CLAWS! by R.L. Stine (Horror)
Mickey and Amanda are put in charge of their vacationing neighbors' cat, Bella, who ends up escaping from the house and disappearing. Amanda has an idea to replace the cat with a look-alike from the local pet store Cat Heaven. They find a cat that looks exactly like Bella, but the clerk won't sell it to them, so they decide to steal it. This is a big mistake, because these cats are more than they seem to be. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

» Click here to read a review of CLAWS!
» Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature with updated trivia.

THEA STILTON AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM ADVENTURE: Geronimo Stilton Special Edition, by Thea Stilton (Mystery)
The Thea Sisters are off to Japan on a cultural exchange program. While they're busy exploring Kyoto and admiring the beautiful cherry blossoms, a valuable doll is stolen from a wealthy Japanese collector. Will the five mice be able to track down the doll and catch the thief? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

» Click here to read a review of THEA STILTON AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM ADVENTURE.
» Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature with updated trivia and characters.

BOOKS INTO MOVIES

Mars Needs Moms and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
After a brief winter break, Kidsreads.com's Books into Movies feature is back with two fun-filled movies to help you get ready for the start of spring. Follow frustrated nine-year-old Milo as he tries to rescue his mother from a band of momless Martians in the big-screen version of Berkeley Breathed's MARS NEEDS MOMS!. It'll take a wild outer space adventure (and an underground earthman named Gribble) for Milo to find her. Hold onto your seatbelts, because this film will literally blow you out of this world.

But if you'd rather stick around on planet Earth, then Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules --- the soon-to-be blockbuster based on Jeff Kinney's bestselling book of the same name --- is now in theaters. Join the coolest wimpy kid ever as he takes on seventh grade and tries to rid himself of his main source of misery: his older brother, Rodrick. Unfortunately, things just never seem to get any easier for Greg Heffley, so make sure you find time to cheer him on in his latest (mis)adventure. This is a movie you definitely don't want to miss.

» Click here to read more about March's films.

COOL NEW BOOKS

March's roundup of Cool New Books includes SCORPIA RISING, Anthony Horowitz's final Alex Rider novel, in which the teen spy tries to track down the world's most dangerous terrorist organization once and for all (only this time, he might not get away with it); BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry, the tale of an extraordinary creature named Hildegarde and her quest to save her fellow church mice; SHIMMER, the continuation of Alyson Noël's Radiance series, in which Riley Bloom must help an angry ghost and somehow manage to steer clear of her own haunted past; and FANCY NANCY: ASPIRING ARTIST, which follows Jane O'Connor's charming protagonist as she attempts to overcome her spring vacation blues by becoming a serious artist.

And to help you get ready for the start of the Major League season, we're featuring a handful of home run-hitting books, including BEST OF THE BEST, Tim Green's latest Baseball Great novel; HOTHEAD by Hall of Fame third baseman Cal Ripken, Jr.; and Phil Bildner's new picture book, THE UNFORGETTABLE SEASON: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of '41. »Click here

NEW IN PAPERBACK

March's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT, award-winning author Kate DiCamillo's tale of a young orphan's remarkable search for his sister; LORD SUNDAY, the final installment of Garth Nix's The Keys to the Kingdom series, in which Arthur Penhalgion must defeat the most formidable Trustee of the Will; KINGDOM KEEPERS III: DISNEY IN SHADOW by Ridley Pearson, which follows Finn, Philby, Willa, Charlene and Maybeck's frantic search for their longtime mentor and Disney's chief Imagineer; WISHING FOR TOMORROW, Hilary McKay's magical, long-awaited sequel to the beloved classic A LITTLE PRINCESS; and SPHDZ Book #1, which kicks off Jon Scieszka's series about a fifth-grader whose school is being taken over by aliens posing as kids and a classroom hamster. » Click here



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