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November 2006 Newsletter

November 2006

What's New on

Happy Holidays...

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide for Kids

Series Feature: Harriet Bean by Alexander McCall Smith

Books Into Movies: Charlotte's Web

Great Books for Boys

2006 Holiday Roundup

Now in Stores: THE DRAGON'S EYE: The Dragonology Chronicles, Volume One by Dugald A. Steer

Author Talk: Chris Van Allsburg, Author of PROBUDITI!

Series Update: Rotten School by R.L. Stine

Series Update: Geronimo Stilton

Cool New Books for November

November's New in Paperback Titles

This Month's Reviews

Poll: The Best Part of the Holidays

Question of the Month: Favorite Holiday Books
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Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays from!!! We are already getting into the spirit here at, and our latest update --- with cool new features, interviews, reviews and series updates --- is our early gift to you and your kids.

Speaking of gifts, need some ideas for great books-gifts for the kids in your life? Check out our What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide --- it has all the info, including reviews and excerpts, for books you'll be excited to give and they'll be thrilled to get. More great books (and holiday gift ideas) can be found in our two NEW features ---- Great Books for Boys and our Holiday Roundup.

I'm giving full credit to my 11-year-old son (and avid reader) Cory for inspiring the Great Books for Boys feature --- together we came up with a list that has everything, from science fiction and fantasy to mysteries and thrillers. It's a perfect guide for moms and teachers and librarians too. Got a boy to shop for? May I suggest you print out the list and use it as a reference.

For more holiday gift-giving ideas for EVERYONE on your list, check out our What to Give/What to Get Guide on --- it features "reader perfect" suggestions in 13 categories. And don't forget to reward yourself by entering our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest.

Dreading stir-crazy kids home for the holidays? Cold gray winter days are ideal excuses to go to the movies, and have we got a perfect one for you and your kids! The film version of CHARLOTTE'S WEB stars Dakota Fanning and Julia Roberts and looks to be a worthy adaptation of E. B. White's beloved classic.

And there's more... Along with our reviews, Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups, we have an interview with PROBUDITI! author Chris Van Allsburg and series updates for Rotten School by R.L. Stine and Geronimo Stilton. We're also featuring THE DRAGON'S EYE by Dugald A. Steer, which is the first in a new series called The Dragonology Chronicles --- full-length novels by the creators of DRAGONOLOGY and THE DRAGONOLOGY HANDBOOK.

We may not have seen snow yet in New York --- and in fact it feels like spring around here --- but we have visions of snowmen and sipping hot chocolate curled up by the fire with a good book dancing in our heads, and we hope you and your kids are feeling as warm and cheery as we are. Snow or not, 'tis the season to celebrate. May we suggest you ring in the holidays Kidsreads-style --- with books, books and perhaps some more books?

Carol Fitzgerald for

What to Give/What to Get Gift Guide for Kids

We've created a special What to Give/What to Get Guide with your kids in mind. We have books that we know they'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 their holiday list.



Click here to read our What to Give/What to Get Guide for Kids.

Series Feature: Harriet Bean by Alexander McCall Smith

HARRIET BEAN by Alexander McCall Smith
Humor, suspense and a charming cast of characters abound in this delightful mystery series starring nine-year-old Harriet Bean. Fans of Nate the Great or Junie B. Jones will appreciate the antics of Harriet and her aunts as they discover each other and uncover baffling bedlam --- and have loads of fun doing both. These stories manage to feel both up-to-the-minute and enchantingly old-fashioned. Readers of series chapter books won't be able to resist them. Then again, why should they?'s Terry Miller Shannon interviewed Alexander McCall Smith, who explains why the idea of a girl with quirky relatives appealed to him and describes two hilarious real-life aunts who provided him with inspiration for them. He also reveals why many of his books tend to revolve around detectives and shares details about his future projects for young readers.

-Click here to read our interview with Alexander McCall Smith.

Click here to read our Harriet Bean series feature.


Books Into Movies: Charlotte's Web

Just in time for the holidays comes the movie everyone here at has been waiting for. Charlotte's Web snorts, squeals and oinks its way into theaters on December 15th, and we're ALL planning on being first in line. With an all-star cast that includes Julia Roberts, Dakota Fanning and Oprah (!), the film adaptation of E.B. White's classic story of friendship against all odds is a gift for all ages.

HarperCollins has made available a number of tie-in books --- many of which can be found here --- to coincide with the movie's release.
For more Charlotte's Web-related fun, including a complete list of all available tie-in books, games and quizzes, and a chance to enter the Charlotte's Web sweepstakes, visit the HarperCollins children's site here.


Click here for more details about the film.

Great Books for Boys Founder Carol Fitzgerald frequently has been told by mothers how difficult it is to get their sons to read. She has spent hours at baseball games, parties and at school meetings scrawling lists of books that she knows boys will love. This inspired her and her 11-year-old son Cory, an avid reader, to compile a list of books that Cory thinks are great reads for boys. Included are series titles and stand-alone fiction that cover a variety of genres: fantasies, mysteries, thrillers, action/adventure novels and historical fiction. While many of these selections also will appeal to girls, they especially will capture the attention of boys, who often are much more reluctant readers.

Click here to read our roundup of Great Books for Boys.

2006 Holiday Roundup



To celebrate the arrival of the holidays, we at have assembled a list of books guaranteed to get you into the spirit of the season. Among the gifts we're offering: a detailed and lavishly illustrated history of Jolly Saint Nick, three different versions of the classic poem "The Night Before Christmas," a brand-new Curious George adventure with a Yuletide theme, titles that focus on Hanukkah and the traditions associated with the Festival of Lights, and two magnificent pop-up books from legendary paper engineer Robert Sabuda.




Click here to read our 2006 Holiday roundup.


Now in Stores: THE DRAGON'S EYE: The Dragonology Chronicles, Volume One by Dugald A. Steer



THE DRAGON'S EYE: The Dragonology Chronicles, Volume One by Dugald A. Steer
In Volume One of The Dragonology Chronicles --- full-length novels by the creators of DRAGONOLOGY and THE DRAGONOLOGY HANDBOOK --- Daniel Cook and his sister Beatrice are caught up in the race to find the stolen Dragon's Eye jewel, which has the power to reflect the true Dragon Master, before it is stolen by evil dragonologist Ignatius Crook. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE DRAGON'S EYE.


Click here to read a review of THE DRAGON'S EYE.

Author Talk: Chris Van Allsburg, Author of PROBUDITI!

Chris Van Allsburg, the author and illustrator of THE POLAR EXPRESS, JUMANJI and ZATHURA, has recently published his next soon-to-be-classic children's book, PROBUDITI! In this interview, Van Allsburg explains why he chose to step away from his usual fantasy fare for this latest work, and how he came up with his unique and colorful titles. He also shares his thoughts on the film adaptations of his books and discusses some of his upcoming projects, including future book ideas and some very creative sculptures.



Click here to read an interview with Chris Van Allsburg.


Series Update: Rotten School by R.L. Stine


Bernie Bridges wants April-May June to ask him to the annual girl-invite-boy school dance. But April-May June doesn't want to go with Bernie. Instead, Jennifer Ecch --- the Nightmare Girl --- asks Bernie to the dance. How in the world can he convince Jennifer that he isn't worthy enough to be her date? Reviewed by Paula Jolin.


Click here to read our Rotten School series feature.

Series Update: Geronimo Stilton

Poor Geronimo must leave his nice warm apartment and his good book to play detective. The director of the Egyptian Mouseum needs his help because The Mummy With No Name is frightening away visitors. It isn't long before Geronimo encounters the mummy --- and then things start getting REALLY scary. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

As much as Geronimo loves Christmas, he is simply too busy to celebrate it this year. His persistent friends and family cannot change the course of his workaholic holiday. Will a sleigh ride to the North Pole be more effective? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.


Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

Cool New Books for November

November's roundup of Cool New Books includes THE DRAGON'S EYE by Dugald A. Steer, the first installment in The Dragonology Chronicles --- full-length novels that fans of DRAGONOLOGY and THE DRAGONOLOGY HANDBOOK will simply devour; PROBUDITI! a mesmerizing new tale from two-time Caldecott Medalist (and creator of THE POLAR EXPRESS) Chris Van Allsburg; Susan Patron's THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, about a 10-year-old girl who doesn't expect running away to turn into such a complicated adventure; and JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE by Wendy Mass, a thought-provoking novel in which a soon-to-be adolescent receives a box that claims to hold the meaning of life.


Click here to read our Cool New Books feature.

November's New in Paperback Titles

November's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes DAWN, the third installment in Erin Hunter's beloved feline fantasy series, Warriors: The New Prophecy; PERMANENT ROSE by Hilary McKay, a companion to SAFFY'S ANGEL and INDIGO'S STAR in which eight-year-old Rose takes center stage in the chaotic Casson household; and DRIFT HOUSE: THE FIRST VOYAGE, about three young children who go to Newfoundland to stay with an eccentric uncle and, much to their surprise, enter an extraordinary fantasy world.

Click here to read our New in Paperback roundup.
This Month's Reviews

Gerold Geronimus Goblynch is determined to put an end to children's wishes and turn the holiday season into his own personal moneymaking scheme. As the last real Santa, Niklas Goodfellow must save Christmas and needs the help of young Ben and Charlotte in order to make it happen. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

THE WHITE ELEPHANT by Sid Fleischman
The bond between a boy and his dog, or a girl and her horse, pale in comparison to the bond between young Run-Run and his elephant, Walking Mountain. When Prince Noi the Idle punishes Run-Run with an unusual gift, a white elephant, Run-Run soon learns that a curse can become a blessing. Reviewed by Patsy Side.

Twelve-year-old Maggie Haggerty's family is desperate for money and faces catastrophe. While her father and uncle sit in jail fighting phony charges, Maggie and her mother and brother must get their heavy cargo delivered to the other end of the Erie Canal in order to earn a much-needed bonus. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

WIND TAMER by P. R. Morrison
Archie Stringweed's 10th birthday becomes far from ordinary when he discovers that an ancient curse has made him its next target --- and it's up to Archie himself to end the curse once and for all. With plenty of mystery and adventure and some rather humorous moments, WIND TAMER is an exciting debut from P. R. Morrison. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

A long time ago a girl named Claire learned to knit by her mother's side. Soon Claire became known as the stocking girl and had many orders to fill for the town's wealthy people. One such order paid very well --- but then she came across someone truly in need. Reviewed by Renee Kirchner.

SMILE! by Geraldine McCaughrean
A stranded photographer introduces remote villagers to --- and reminds himself of --- the magic of photography while discovering a rich, mysterious culture. Geraldine McCaughrean develops a humorous but powerful message about memories, friendship and understanding in this small gem of a book. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DANGER IN THE DARK: A Houdini & Nate Mystery by Tom Lalicki
A surprising friendship develops between Harry Houdini and Nathaniel G. Makeworthy Fuller, as the word-famous daredevil tries to help the boy clerk and his family escape the grasp of a sinister stranger who is more cunning and dangerous than Nate could have imagined. Reviewed by Robert Oksner.

The Callahan cousins reunite to spend Christmas with Grandmother Gee on beloved Gull Island. Phoebe is determined to make this the perfect New England Christmas, complete with an enormous tree (decorated the way Phoebe wants it to be decorated), snow, caroling and traditional recipes. Will her holiday dreams come true? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Read our reviews and features here.


Poll: The Best Part of the Holidays

What do you like most about the holidays? (Check as many as apply.)

Family gatherings
The delicious food
Days off from school
Holiday-themed books
Holiday-themed music
Holiday-themed television shows/movies


Answer the poll here.
Question of the Month: Favorite Holiday Books

Name up to five of your favorite holiday-themed books.

Answer the question here.

Want to know my favorite part about this newsletter? You can forward it to a friend by clicking the button at the top the page. What could be easier? Now it's really easy to share your favorite book newsletter with friends, teachers and librarians! Can you tell I am excited? I hope you are too.

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Keep reading! Until next week...

Booker T. Worm and Friends
The Book Report Network
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