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Monday, May 30, 2011


May 2011


THE ROGUE CREW: A Tale of Redwall, by Brian Jacques (Fantasy)
Redwall Abbey has never seen a creature more evil or hideous than Razzid Wearat. Captain of theGreenshroud, a ship with wheels that can sail through water as well as the forest, this beast is a terror of both land and sea, traveling Mossflower Country, killing nearly everything --- and everyone --- in his path. And his goal? To conquer Redwall Abbey. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

» Click here to read a review of THE ROGUE CREW.
» Click here to read our Redwall series feature with updated trivia.

THE THRONE OF FIRE: The Kane Chronicles, Book 2 by Rick Riordan (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Saving the world has become a regular occurrence for siblings Carter and Sadie Kane. Apophis, the god of chaos, threatens to destroy the world again, and the only way to stop him is to resurrect Ra, the powerful sun god. One little problem, though: Nobody knows how to do it! Reviewed by Benjamin Boche and excerpted.

THE WIMPY KID DO-IT-YOURSELF BOOK (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Jeff Kinney
Wimpy kids everywhere can continue to follow Greg Heffley's example in this revised and expanded edition of 2008's DIARY OF A WIMPY KID DO-IT-YOURSELF BOOK. They can record all kinds of facts about themselves in this diary…I mean "journal." Of course, because this is a Wimpy Kid journal, Greg stars. He offers tips and advice, as well as fill-in-the-blank tidbits, lists, quizzes and much more. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

TROUBLETWISTERS by Garth Nix and Sean Williams (Fantasy)
Jack and Jaide Shields aren't sure what to think when their mysterious Grandma X invites them to come and stay with her. She and her house are odd and puzzling, as well as the evil presence that is slowly making its way into town. Can the twins save the day? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

JUNONIA written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes (Fiction)
Alice Rice is turning 10 --- double digits --- and the world is full of promise. She has friends and family to celebrate with her, as well as an eagerly anticipated beach vacation ahead of her, and she knows exactly how everything will be: perfect. But what happens when life isn't exactly what Alice expects? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

When summer comes around, it's off to the beach for Rosalind, and off to Maine with Aunt Claire for the rest of the Penderwick girls, as well as their old friend, Jeffrey. That leaves Skye as the Oldest Available Penderwick. Things look good as they settle into their cozy cottage. But can Skye hold it together long enough to figure out Rosalind's directions about not letting Batty explode? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SKELETON CREEK #4: THE RAVEN by Patrick Carman (Mystery/Suspense)
Strange things happen in Skeleton Creek --- and when they do, Ryan writes them down and Sarah captures them on video. They've solved old mysteries. They've followed clues all over the country and underground. They've investigated secret societies. They've found their answers. Or so they thought. Because there's still a shadowy figure standing in their path who doesn't want Ryan and Sarah digging up any more of the past. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

A TALE OF TWO CASTLES by Gail Carson Levine(Fantasy/Mystery)
Newly arrived in the town of Two Castles, Elodie unexpectedly becomes the assistant to a brilliant dragon named Meenore, and together they solve mysteries. Their most important case concerns the town's shape-shifting ogre, Count Jonty Um: Someone is plotting against him. Elodie must disguise herself to discover the source of the threat amid a cast of characters that includes a greedy king, a giddy princess and a handsome cat trainer. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

JAKE RANSOM AND THE HOWLING SPHINX by James Rollins (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
Jake Ransom survives a near-death experience during Tae Kwon Do practice, and then is rescued from a botched burglary and a kidnapping attempt. But when the middle-grade student and his older sister visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York, they're plunged into a strange and dangerous world. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

WARP SPEED by Lisa Yee (Fiction)
Rancho Rosetta Middle School seventh-grader Marley Sandelski is an avid "Star Trek" fan, a dedicated member of the Technical Services Club (aka one of the audiovisual geeks) and a super-fast runner. Marley is also invisible --- at least that's how he feels --- until he gets thrust into the spotlight at school. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE SILVER BOWL by Diane Stanley (Historical Fantasy)
Unwanted at home, Molly goes to work for the king of Westria as a humble scullery maid. Whenever she polishes the large ceremonial hand basin used by the royals, it quite literally comes to life, and its swirling patterns dissolve into visions that only she can see. The visions tell of a curse that has befallen each generation of the royal family --- and now it rests on Prince Alaric's shoulders. Molly is the only one who can destroy the curse and save the prince. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD written and illustrated by David Petersen
At the June Alley Inn, a bet is made to tell a story that is neither entirely true nor entirely false, and one that has never before been heard. What follows is a collection of short stories surrounding the heroics and heartbreaks of mice, each tale the stuff of legend. Spinning off from David Petersen's Mouse Guard, LEGENDS OF THE GUARD offers a strong group of artists and writers the chance to lend their voices to a rich, developing epic. Reviewed by Michael Hicks.

BEAUTY AND THE SQUAT BEARS written and illustrated by Émile Bravo
When Stepmother's magic mirror declares that Snow White is the fairest in the land, Snow flees the kingdom and finds herself at the doorstep of the seven squat bears' cabin. But the squat bears aren't interested in harboring fugitive princesses. Setting off to find a prince for her, they quickly learn that the lives of royalty are far more trying than they seem. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.


Win a Copy of RAIDERS' RANSOM #2: FLOOD AND FIRE by Emily Diamand
In RAIDERS' RANSOM, Lilly, Lexy and Zeph were thrown together by fate, as Lexy --- the Prime Minister's daughter --- was stolen from a village in a clan skirmish by Zeph's very own father. Now, in FLOOD AND FIRE, Lilly must return Lexy to her home, and Zeph wants to gain leadership over his clan before more savage raids take place. But there's something else afoot the three will have to overcome before they each reach their goals.

To celebrate the release of FLOOD AND FIRE by Emily Diamand, is giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Thursday, July 28th at noon ET.

RAIDERS' RANSOM #2: FLOOD AND FIRE by Emily Diamand(Science Fiction)
She survived the epic battle of the raiders on the rough waters that flood England. Now poor fishergirl Lilly is determined to return Lexy, the Prime Minister's kidnapped daughter, to her home. And since his father was killed in the clash, Zeph is equally determined to claim leadership of his family's clan before more savage tribes invade the marshlands. But will the electromagnetic pulse of an omnipotent computer set the world aflame and wipe out all humans so that artificial intelligence can take over the future?! It's up to the unlikely trio of children --- and their petulant, unpredictable gameboard PSAI --- to rage against the machines!

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read more about RAIDERS' RANSOM #2: FLOOD AND FIRE.
» Click here to read an excerpt from RAIDERS' RANSOM #2: FLOOD AND FIRE.

Win a Copy of BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Famed boxer Joe Louis is miles away from Otis, Willie and Hibernia, but that doesn't stop them from looking to him during times of hardship. Like Joe Louis, these three children are fighters in their own right --- when loss strikes their families, they refuse to let go of their dreams. And when the three finally meet, they'll have not only their idol to look to, but each other as well.

To celebrate the release of BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney, is giving 10 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, June 28th at noon ET.

BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Historical Fiction)
Otis, Willie and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they've all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won't stop fighting for what they want. And they're also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion.

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read a review of BIRD IN A BOX.
» Click here to read an excerpt from BIRD IN A BOX.
» Click here to see the reading group guide for BIRD IN A BOX.
» Click here to visit the book's official website.
» Click here to read our interview with Andrea Davis Pinkney.
» Click here to read Andrea Davis Pinkney's bio.

Announcing's First "Bunch o' Books" Giveaway!

In our first-ever Bunch o' Books Giveaway, is giving 20 lucky readers the chance to each win four books that we think they'll enjoy!

Each winner will receive:

- IN FRONT OF GOD AND EVERYBODY: The Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite
- IZZY'S POPSTAR PLAN by Alex Marestaing
- NO PLACE LIKE HOLMES by Jason Lethcoe
- THE SECRETS BENEATH by Kathleen Fuller

The deadline for entries is Wednesday, June 15th at noon ET.

» Click here to read all the contest details.
» Click here to read more about the prize books.


CANNONS AT DAWN: THE SECOND DIARY OF ABIGAIL JANE STEWART: Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779 by Kristiana Gregory(Historical Fiction)
Abigail Stewart's life falls into unbelievable hardship after a fire destroys her family home in 1779. With nowhere else to go, she, her mother and her siblings join the group of families that follow along behind their husbands in George Washington's army. While they cook and do laundry for the soldiers, they face starvation, blizzards and the powerful British military. Throughout the few good times and overwhelming bad, Abigail records it all in her diary. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

» Click here to read our Dear America series feature.


When 11-year-old Steven Sweeney is tricked into drinking an odd mixture of chemicals by his classmates, things begin to get strange. Either his toothbrush is growing, or he is shrinking! Steven has to navigate his way through gigantic dust bunnies, enormous birds, and other once seemingly harmless, everyday items to get to his best friend's house for help. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

» Click here to read a review of NIGHT OF THE GIANT EVERYTHING.
» Click here to read our Goosebumps Horrorland series feature with updated trivia and characters.


Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer and Mr. Popper's Penguins's Books into Movies feature is back with two magical movies to help you cool off when the sun gets a little too hot.

We're very excited about Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, which marks the big screen debut of Megan McDonald's popular character, Judy Moody. The third grader planned to spend the summer with her two best friends. But when they head off to exotic summer camps, a majorly bummed Judy is stuck in town with her second-best friend, Frank, and her little brother, Stink. Things go from bad to worse when her parents leave for a trip and her wacky Aunt Opal comes to say. Who knew the summer would take a turn for the surprising and adventuresome?

Another fun flick, Mr. Popper's Penguins, sees the very funny Jim Carrey trying to train a group of penguins for a circus act. We're guessing that isn't the easiest thing to do! This is also the first time Mr. Popper has appeared in theaters, since Richard and Florence Atwater's children's book of the same name was published in 1938. Seems like he's long overdue for some screen time.

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


In this book based on the movie screenplay of the same name, Judy Moody is being abandoned for the summer. With her parents and her best friends off on adventures, leaving Judy and Stink with "Aunt Awful," surely this will be the worst summer in Judy Moody history. Or will it? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
JUDY MOODY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD: Behind the Scenes with Judy Moody and Friends, by Megan McDonald (Movie Tie-In)
Here's the inside scoop on the Judy Moody and theNOT Bummer Summer film! It's fun to read this collection of all kinds of trivia, including photos of the movie being filmed, interviews with the cast, quizzes about the actors, information on how a movie is made, and much more. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


May's roundup of Cool New Books includes THE ROGUE CREW, the final installment of Brian Jacques's Redwall series, featuring an evil and hideous creature threatening to conquer Redwall Abbey; THE THRONE OF FIRE, Book Two in Rick Riordan's The Kane Chroniclestrilogy, which sees the offspring of the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane on a worldwide search for the Book of Ra; TROUBLETWISTERS, a spectacular new middle-grade fantasy series from Garth Nix and Sean Williams, in which a set of twins must act as wards against a threatening evil; and JUNONIA by Kevin Henkes, a fanciful tale of a girl who is hoping to find a junonia shell at the beach this summer --- and some luck to boot! » Click here


May's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THEODORE BOONE: KID LAWYER by John Grisham, which sees a 13-year-old dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial; FIRE IN THE SKY, Book Five in Erin Hunter's Seekers series, in which shape-shifter Ujurak learns firsthand what lurks beneath the ice; CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK, the fourth installment in Sara Pennypacker's series starring Clementine, who learns the true meaning of friendship when she's picked for Friend of the Week; and ADVENTURES OF A CAT-WHISKERED GIRL by Daniel Pinkwater, a sequel of sorts to the hilarious and zany THE NEDDIAD and THE YGGYSSEY, in which Big Audrey sets off on an adventure to solve the mystery of the cat-whiskered doppelganger. » Click here

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