Skip to main content

April 2012

Kidsreads.com Newsletter April 2012
Celebrate Your Love of Reading During Children’s Book Week --- and Every Day on Kidsreads.com!
As the weather gets warmer (or changes every day, if you live in the New York metro area!), and the school year starts to wind down (I know, I know --- lots of homework and tests --- we feel your pain), we at Kidsreads.com hope you still have time for some pleasure reading even if it’s just a few chapters before you fall asleep! As usual, we have plenty of reviews, features and news to share with you.

In stores now is THE EXTRAORDINARY EDUCATION OF NICHOLAS BENEDICT, the prequel to Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy. Nicholas Benedict, an orphan who has always wanted to be a detective, is bullied over his looks and his narcolepsy. But he is secretly a genius --- and soon discovers a life-changing case.

Another young detective is featured in THE GREAT CAKE MYSTERY: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case, a chapter book prequel to Alexander McCall Smith’s series for adults, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Here, readers are introduced to Precious, an African school girl who wants to be a detective and finally has her first case --- a slice of cake gone missing and a classmate who’s falsely accused.

Meanwhile, two boys who look exactly alike may have a chance to fulfill their dreams in PINCH HIT, Tim Green’s new sports-themed novel. Trevor and Sam have the same looks and totally opposite lives --- but when they meet on a movie set, they decide to switch places.

Alyson Noël continues her Riley Bloom series with WHISPER. Riley wanted a more challenging Soul Catch, but she never expected Roman Gladiator Theocoles. Now, in this fourth installment, she has a chance to enter the other world.

Another girl faces a different kind of challenge in SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS by Sara Pennypacker. Although she misses her very unreliable mom, Stella loves Cape Cod. But after an unexpected tragedy, she finds hope in an enemy-turned-friend.

Attention Junie B. Jones fans! Junie has an exciting event coming up --- it’s the 20th anniversary of the series! To celebrate, there is now a brand-new edition of the very first Junie B. Jones book, JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS. This special collectors' edition has not only the original story, but also full-color artwork and photographs, interviews with the author and illustrator, and exclusive behind-the-scenes features. And even more exciting, Junie herself is starring in a play that will be visiting 15 cities this summer. Be sure to get in on this special celebration. Visit JunieBJones.com for tour information, Junie B. activities and more. I had fun playing one of the matching games!

Reviewer Danica Davidson had a chance to chat with Donna Gephart about her new book, OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN. Olivia always dreamed of using her trivia knowledge to get on “Jeopardy!” Kids Week --- and finally, with the help of her friends and family, she gets her big chance. In our interview, Gephart talks about the creation of Olivia and reveals if she’d ever go on “Jeopardy!” herself.

We also have some new series feature updates for you. We’ve added THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI and THEA STILTON AND THE SECRET OF THE OLD CASTLE to our Geronimo Stilton/Thea Stilton feature, and THE BIRTHDAY PARTY OF NO RETURN to our Goosebumps HorrorLand feature.

Our Cool & New Books and New in Paperback roundups include such notable titles as SHELL GAME, the fifth installment in Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers series; NANCY CLANCY, SUPER SLEUTH by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, Fancy Nancy’s very first chapter book; FORGE, the sequel to Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning novel, CHAINS; and THE ABDUCTION, John Grisham’s second thriller featuring 13-year-old aspiring lawyer Theodore Boone.

Don’t forget to vote in our latest poll. This time, we want to know what your summer plans are. We hope they will not keep you from reading and checking in with us here on Kidsreads.com!

Finally, we’d like to remind you that Thursday, May 3rd will be your last chance to vote for your favorite books, authors and illustrators of 2011 in the Children's Choice Book Awards. The winners will be announced live at the annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on May 7th in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 7-13), the oldest national literacy event in the United States. During this special week, we encourage you to celebrate your love of reading by telling stories, attending author and illustrator appearances, and heading out to other book-related events. Click here to learn more about Children's Book Week and how to celebrate in your area.

Happy reading, and may the countdown to summer begin!

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

 
Now in Stores: THE EXTRAORDINARY EDUCATION OF NICHOLAS BENEDICT by Trenton Lee Stewart
THE EXTRAORDINARY EDUCATION OF NICHOLAS BENEDICT by Trenton Lee Stewart (Mystery)
Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict is not only an orphan with an unfortunate nose, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst possible moments. Now he's being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances --- and a mystery that could change his life forever. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

 
Click here to read a review.
 
Now in Stores: THE GREAT CAKE MYSTERY by Alexander McCall Smith
THE GREAT CAKE MYSTERY: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
When a piece of cake goes missing from Precious' classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way, she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

 
Click here to read a review.
 
Now in Stores: PINCH HIT by Tim Green
PINCH HIT by Tim Green (Fiction)
Trevor is a Hollywood star who wishes he could play baseball like a real kid. Sam is a real kid who wouldn’t mind taking a swing at acting. It seems everything might work out if the boys switch places. That is, if they can get away with it. Reviewed by Joy Held.

 
Click here to read a review.
 
Now in Stores: WHISPER by Alyson Noël
WHISPER: A Riley Bloom Book by Alyson Noël (Fantasy)
After practically begging the Council for a more challenging Soul Catch, Riley is assigned an actual Roman gladiator --- Theocoles, the Pillar of Doom. How is Riley, a skinny 12-year-old, supposed to get through to him? The beautiful Messalina convinces her that her only chance is to become part of this world. To accomplish this, Messalina helps Riley through a dramatic, mystical makeover. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

 
Click here to read a review.
 
Now in Stores: SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS by Sara Pennypacker
SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS by Sara Pennypacker (Fiction)
When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, two girls who are seemingly opposites are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. Over the course of the summer, they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

 
Click here to read a review.
 
Celebrate 20 Years of Junie B. Jones with a Full-Color Edition of JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS!
Attention Junie B. Jones fans! Junie has an exciting event coming up --- it’s the 20th anniversary of the series! To celebrate, there is now a brand-new edition of the very first Junie B. Jones book, JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS. This special collectors' edition has not only the original story, but also full-color artwork and photographs, interviews with the author and illustrator, and exclusive behind-the-scenes features. And even more exciting, Junie herself is starring in a play that will be visiting 15 cities this summer. Be sure to get in on this special celebration. Visit JunieBJones.com for tour information, Junie B. activities and more.

JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS: 20th-Anniversary Full-Color Edition written by Barbara Park, illustrated by Denise Brunkus (Fiction)
She's spunky, she's sassy, she's one-of-a-kind! Now, for the first time ever, the book that started it all, JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS, is available in a full-color, hardcover edition with original, never-before-seen material --- including an interview with Barbara Park conducted by the world's funniest first-grader herself!

 
Click here to visit the official website of Junie B. Jones.
 
Kidsreads.com Talks to Donna Gephart, Author of OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN
Donna Gephart’s third novel, OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN, is about a girl determined to get on “Jeopardy!” Her father left the family two years before and is living in California, the same state where Olivia would go to tape the program. If she makes it on the game show, will this also give her a chance to patch things up with her dad? Answering trivia questions is easy compared to dealing with all the issues a 12-year-old has to face. In this interview, conducted by Kidsreads.com’s Danica Davidson, Gephart talks about the creation of Olivia, explains how she got into writing middle-grade books, and reveals if she’d ever go on “Jeopardy!” herself.

OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN by Donna Gephart (Fiction)
Olivia Bean’s friend-turned-nemesis, Tucker, offers to help her bulk up her geography knowledge so she can compete on "Jeopardy!" during kids' week. Before Olivia knows it, she’s getting help from all sorts of unexpected sources: Soon she has breezed through the audition rounds and is headed for Hollywood. But will the one person she wants to impress more than anyone else show up to support her?

-Click here to read more about the book.

 
Click here to read our interview.
 
Series Feature Update: GOOSEBUMPS HALL OF HORRORS #6: THE BIRTHDAY PARTY OF NO RETURN by R.L. Stine

GOOSEBUMPS HALL OF HORRORS #6: THE BIRTHDAY PARTY OF NO RETURN by R.L. Stine (Horror)
Lee Hargrove only wants one thing --- to win a scholarship to Summer Sports Camp. His school is holding a competition, and the winner gets to attend the camp for free. But how can anyone compete with his friend Cory's good luck streak? Lee has an idea, and he's about to give Cory an unforgettable birthday present that will really get the party started.

Click here to see our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature.
 
Series Feature Updates: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI by Geronimo Stilton and THEA STILTON AND THE SECRET OF THE OLD CASTLE by Thea Stilton
THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI by Geronimo Stilton (Mystery/Adventure)
Geronimo Stilton and Wild Willie travel to Japan in search of an ancient, legendary samurai scroll that holds the secret to a long-lost fighting technique. The scroll had fallen into the wrong hands, and it's up to them to track it down and save the day. But first, they have to fight a group of talented ninjas.

THEA STILTON AND THE SECRET OF THE OLD CASTLE by Thea Stilton (Mystery/Adventure)
When the Thea Sisters' good friend Bridget has to return to Scotland to help her family repair their ancient castle, the five mice offer to help their friend in whatever way they can. Little do they know that Bridget will be kidnapped, and they'll have to rush to Scotland to help find her.

 
Click here to see our Geronimo Stilton/Thea Stilton series feature.
 
Celebrate Children’s Book Week!
From May 7-13, the Children's Book Council (CBC) is sponsoring its 93rd annual Children's Book Week. Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs, private homes --- any place where there are children and books. Educators, librarians, booksellers and families have celebrated children's books and the love of reading with storytelling, parties, author and illustrator appearances, and other book-related events.

To kick off Children's Book Week, the winners of the fifth annual Children's Choice Book Awards will be announced live at the annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on May 7th in New York City. You have until May 3rd to vote for your favorite books, authors and illustrators of 2011, so click here to make your voices be heard!

 
Click here to learn more about Children's Book Week and how to celebrate in your area.
 
Cool & New Books for April
April’s roundup of Cool & New Books includes THE EXTRAORDINARY EDUCATION OF NICHOLAS BENEDICT, the prequel to Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy that serves as an introduction to Nicholas Benedict as a nine-year-old orphan with an unfortunate nose, narcolepsy and genius status; KINGDOM KEEPERS V: SHELL GAME by Ridley Pearson, an ocean-filled adventure packed with a Disney cruise ship, Walt Disney’s diary, and a fight between good and evil; Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser’s very first Fancy Nancy chapter book, NANCY CLANCY, SUPER SLEUTH, which gives Nancy and her best friend Bree a chance to solve a classroom mystery; and FARM BOY by Michael Morpurgo, the sequel to WAR HORSE that focuses on Albert's son (now an old man) coming to terms with a secret of his own through stories of his childhood farm.
 
Click here to read our Cool & New Books feature for April.
 
April’s New in Paperback Roundup
April’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE LOST HERO, the first installment in Rick Riordan’s follow-up series to Percy Jackson & the Olympians that brings readers back to the world of Camp Half-Blood, where a new group of heroes will inherit a quest; THEODORE BOONE: THE ABDUCTION, which marks the return of Theo, a young lawyer (in his own mind) who sets out to solve the disappearance of his best friend; BINK & GOLLIE, a chapter book by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee introducing two precocious little girls who are the very best of friends; and FORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson, the sequel to CHAINS that tells of a young slave’s struggle to survive the American Revolution --- and somehow forge a path to freedom.
 
Click here to see what's New in Paperback for April.
 
This Month's Reviews
QUEST FOR THE SECRET KEEPER: Oracles of Delphi Keep, Book 3 by Victoria Laurie (Fantasy/Adventure)
Delphi Keep is awash in activity, and for Ian, Theo and Carl, their safe haven might be nearing its end. But more important than their safety is deciphering the third prophecy. All clues point to a quest. The orphans don't know where they have to go, but they know they must rescue the Secret Keeper. To do that, however, they need to work out who this Secret Keeper is and what secrets he's keeping. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

STORM RUNNERS #3: ERUPTION by Roland Smith (Fiction/Adventure)
The adventures aren't over yet for Chase Masters and his dad. In this third installment of the Storm Runners series, Chase heads south of the border with his friend Nicole Rossi to track down the Rossi Brothers' Circus after a massive earthquake hits Mexico. With a volcano about to erupt as a result of the disaster, Chase has never faced such a serious threat to his survival. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

KING OF THE MOUND: My Summer with Satchel Paige by Wes Tooke (Historical Fiction)
Nick, an aspiring star baseball player, is diagnosed with polio, a life-threatening disease in the 1930s. He seems to be the only one who thinks he can get back in the game. Then Nick meets Satchel Paige, who faces obstacles of his own --- his skin color prevents him from joining the major leagues --- and he encourages Nick to overcome the odds and step out of the dugout. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF JOHN SMITH, JR. AKA HOUDINI by Peter Johnson (Fiction)
When an author comes to speak to his class in a rundown area of Providence, Houdini decides to make money by writing his own novel. But it’s hard to find a way to write about his dad losing his job, or his brother, Franklin, who is first reported missing in action in Iraq and then still seems to be missing when he comes home. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

THE MASTERMIND PLOT by Angie Frazier (Historical Mystery)
Suzanna "Zanna" Snow can hardly believe her luck: She's just arrived in Boston, the city she's wanted to visit for as long as she can remember. Think of all the mysteries waiting to be solved here! Her famous detective uncle, however, doesn't want her meddling in his current case involving a string of mysterious warehouse fires along the harbor front. But Zanna can't help herself. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE STORM MAKERS written by Jennifer E. Smith, illustrated by Brett Helquist (Fantasy/Adventure)
A stranger informs Simon that he is a Storm Maker --- part of a clandestine group of people entrusted with controlling and taming the weather --- and that he is in great danger. Soon Simon and his twin Ruby must race against the clock as they try to master Simon's powers in time to stop a rogue Storm Maker's treacherous --- and potentially deadly --- plans. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

BEEP AND BAH written and illustrated by James Burks (Graphic Novel)
Beep is a robot who hungers for adventure. Bah is a goat who wants to stay out of trouble. When Bah discovers a single sock, Beep knows there's only one thing to do: find its match! Together, Beep and Bah begin a winding journey that takes them up high hills and into the deep ocean. On the way, they'll meet monkeys, whales and angry bears. But will they find the missing sock? Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

 
This Month's Poll

What are you doing this summer? Please check as many as apply.

I'm going on vacation with my family.
I'm attending a sports camp.
I’m doing sports/activities in my hometown.
I'm taking summer classes.
I’m attending an educational camp.
I'm attending a day camp for the whole summer.
I'm attending a day camp for part of the summer.
I'm attending a sleepaway camp for the whole summer.
I'm attending a sleepaway camp for part of the summer.
I'm participating in a program abroad.
I’m not sure what I’m doing yet.
Other (Please specify)

Click here to answer the poll.

Remember to be safe online. NEVER tell anyone personal information --- which includes your real name, age, address, phone number or school. Hey, pretend you are undercover when you go online and protect yourself at all times!

Keep reading!

Booker T. Worm and Friends
Kidsreads.com
The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107
connect with us twitterfacebook