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October 2004 Newsletter for Parents October 2004
What's New on
Meet Our Reviewers! Talks to Chris Van Allsburg, Author of THE POLAR EXPRESS
A NEW Series, MOSTLY GHOSTLY by R.L. Stine
Halloween Books Talks to P.B. Kerr, author of THE CHILDREN OF THE LAMP Trilogy Talks to Lady Grace Cavendish and Introduces a NEW Series: The Lady Grace Mysteries
Reviews and Features
Poll: Dressing Up for Halloween
Question of the Month
Some Links on
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Read our newsletter online here
Series Feature
Play a Trivia Game here
Word Scrambles
Read our Books Into Movies feature here. Read more about THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON here. Read more about AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL here.
Meet Our Reviewers!
Ever wonder who writes the reviews that you see on This month we've added brief biographies on all of our reviewers. You can see these by clicking on the link at the end of this note.

Three wonderful interviews this month: I spoke with Chris Van Allsburg, the author of THE POLAR EXPRESS, Shannon McKenna spoke with Lady Grace Cavendish about her new series, the Lady Grace Mysteries and my son Cory (who can be seen to the right) and I interviewed P.B. Kerr, author of The Children of the Lamp trilogy.

Did you like the book? Well, now you can see the movie! Check out the newest fall flicks that are based on books to get another dose of the stories you love. Standouts include The Polar Express, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (which is based on Nickelodeon's popular animated series). Plus, Simon & Schuster has released a cool new book that ties in perfectly with the SpongeBob film! Click on the link above for more details.

Robert Sabuda is one of the most innovative and inventive creators of children's books today. ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ were all New York Times bestsellers. His latest pop-up creation is AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, and his interpretation of this treasured anthem is dazzling. Each of the seven spreads brings to life some of the most famous images of America --- including the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Rushmore, the Capitol, and of course, the Statue of Liberty. Sabuda's award-winning trademark white pop-ups against colorful backgrounds make this latest book a must-have for all Americans. Click on the link above to see more.

Stephen King has written more than forty books, all of which are worldwide bestsellers. Now his award-winning 1999 novel, THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON, is being re-told in a stunning pop-up book, King's first. Click on the link above to see more.

Halloween is here and that's reason enough to pick up the new Mostly Ghostly series by R.L. Stine for your own little ghost or goblin. Still thinking Halloween? Well, we have a great roundup of Halloween books.

For all of you with teen readers in your house, keep in mind that this is Teen Read Week --- a celebration of teen reading to encourage MORE teens to read. We love events like this.

Happy trick or treating. I will don my witch costume on more time. There are times I think I enjoy the trick or treat neighborhood walk more than the kids!

Carol Fitzgerald (
Read more about our reviewers here. Talks to Chris Van Allsburg, Author of THE POLAR EXPRESS
According to author and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg, his Caldecott Medal-winning picture book THE POLAR EXPRESS originated with the image of a train standing alone in the woods. He then asked himself, What if a boy gets on the train? What does he do, and where does he go? From there, ideas of Christmas, Santa Claus and faith began to take shape. Founder Carol Fitzgerald talks to Allsburg about this cherished holiday classic and his thoughts on the film adaptation, which will be released on November 10th.

We have a Reader's Guide for those of you who may want to do a "book group" about this book, as well as information about the movie and a link to the official movie website to get details about THE POLAR EXPRESS Reading Challenge, which you need to enter by October 22nd!
Read our interview with Chris Van Allsburg and more about THE POLAR EXPRESS and the movie here.
A NEW Series, MOSTLY GHOSTLY by R.L. Stine
Ooooh, is there anything better than snuggling down with a nicely ghastly ghost story? Maybe just one thing: settling in with a whole series of heebie-jeebie-inspiring books. The MOSTLY GHOSTLY series by R.L. Stine celebrates friendship between Max, and brother and sister Nicky and Tara.

Ooooh, you are going to love being scared to death!

Terry Miller Shannon of interviews R.L. Stine, the #1 bestselling children's author of all time. Stine talks about his inspiration for the MOSTLY GHOSTLY series, explains why he enjoys writing books for children, and offers advice to young people who would like to follow in his footsteps.
Read more about the Mostly Ghostly series here.
Halloween Books
Halloween is creeping up faster than you can say "Trick or treat!" Prepare yourself for this eerie holiday's spine-tingling chills and thrills. Read all about witches, ghosts and monsters, and share in the adventures and antics, festivities and friendships that an unpredictable All Hallow's Eve can bring.
Read our Halloween Feature here. Talks to P.B. Kerr, author of THE CHILDREN OF THE LAMP Trilogy Founder Carol Fitzgerald and her nine-year-old son Cory interviewed P.B. Kerr, author of the CHILDREN OF THE LAMP trilogy. The first book in the series, THE AKHENATEN ADVENTURE, introduces readers to brother and sister John and Philippa Gaunt, who possess magical powers. Kerr explains why he decided to make his two young characters twins, how his older son's dislike of reading influenced him to write his first book for children, and what readers can look forward to in the next two installments of the series.

In this first book of a fantasy trilogy by P. B. Kerr, fairly ordinary twins John and Philippa Gaunt embark on an amazing adventure and find out something astonishing about themselves and their heritage. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon and excerpted.
Read our interview with P.B. Kerr here, along with a review of THE CHILDREN OF THE LAMP. Talks to Lady Grace Cavendish and Introduces a NEW Series: The Lady Grace Mysteries
The year is 1569, and Lady Grace Cavendish is chronicling her adventures in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. She became a protégée to the monarch when her mother, one of the Queen's most trusted friends and a Gentlewoman of the Bedchamber, lost her life in a plot to kill the Queen. When she's not attending to Her Majesty, Lady Grace spends her time romping through the royal gardens with her friends, a laundry maid and a tumbler --- and unravelling mysteries that need to be solved. Chats with Lady Grace Cavendish contributing writer Shannon McKenna traveled back in time to the year 1569 to speak with Lady Grace Cavendish, Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I. Lady Grace talks about life at the Queen's court, what she likes best about being Her Majesty's Lady Pursuivant, and why she would never be able to conduct her investigations without the help of her two friends, Ellie and Masou.

Read more about our Lady Grace Mystery series feature here.
Reviews and Features
THE GRIM GROTTO by Lemony Snicket
Surprising new characters and familiar enemies fill the pages of this eleventh installment in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.

LIONBOY: THE CHASE by Zizou Corder
Charlie Ashanti and his motley band of lions are back in this riveting sequel to last year's page-turner LIONBOY. They make it safely to Venice --- but it turns out that their journey has only just begun. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DRAGON RIDER by Cornelia Funke
A young silver dragon and his friends set out on a quest to find The Rim of Heaven in this new adventure story by popular author Cornelia Funke. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
In this hugely entertaining prequel to PETER PAN, two accomplished storytellers imagine what happened before Peter became the boy who never grew up. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

A HOUSE OF TAILORS by Patricia Reilly Giff
Thirteen-year-old Dina Kirk will do almost anything to avoid sewing --- even move to America from her small town in Germany to join her uncle's family in Brooklyn. Reviewed by Renee Kirchner.

When Molly McGinty, an unusually organized seventh-grader, loses her prized notebook, she spends the rest of her day in chaos. Her wacky grandmother certainly doesn't help matters! Reviewed by Renee Kirchner.

Young Lucy Wickwright is an obedient maidservant who tends to the Baron of Cant's mischievous daughter Pauline. But her eagerness to please results in her becoming a key player in a mysterious rebellion. Reviewed by Ashley Hartlaub.

In the spring of 1897 Nate Tanner befriends Johnny, who does dangerous work in the coal mines for Nate's father. When he discovers that Johnny and the other mine workers are plotting a strike, Nate is faced with a dilemma: Should he warn his family, or protect his friend? Reviewed by Ashley Hartlaub.

Series Updates:

MURDER, MY TWEET: A Chet Gecko Mystery by Bruce Hale
Chet Gecko's associate, Natalie Attired, is accused by the vice principal of blackmailing her and is suspended. Chet instantly tackles the case, which leads him into danger and many snack feasts along the way.

Book 12: MERRY CHRISTMAS, GERONIMO! by Geronimo Stilton
It's Christmas Eve and Geronimo Stilton is getting ready for an enormous party. Unfortunately, one disaster after another happens to the poor mouse. Can Geronimo's Christmas be saved?
Read our reviews and features here.
Poll: Dressing Up for Halloween
Have you ever wanted to dress up as a character from a book for Halloween?

Not sure
Answer the Poll here.
Question of the Month
What character from a book would you like to dress up as for Halloween?
Click here to answer our Question of the Month.

Carol Fitzgerald
The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107