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Late July 2007 Newsletter

Late July 2007

What's New on

The Summer is Zipping By....


Harry Central --- The All-New Harry Potter Site on

Special Feature: RANGER'S APPRENTICE Book Three: The Icebound Land, by John Flanagan

Special Feature: INTO THE WILD by Sarah Beth Durst

Great Books for Boys --- We've Updated Our List!


Now in Stores: FOOTBALL GENIUS by Tim Green

Series Update: Geronimo Stilton

Book #13 in R.L. Stine's Rotten School Series Has Been Released

Cool New Books for July

July's New in Paperback Roundup

This Month's Reviews

Poll: How Many Books Do You Take on Vacation?

Question of the Month: What Books Would You Take on Vacation?

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Word Scrambles

The Summer is Zipping By....

In households across the country this past week, this phrase is being uttered: "Did you finish it yet?" You know exactly what we mean. Everyone around my house was racing to read HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS the weekend it came out, and they seemed to be racing to see how it ended. I confess that I am reading this book slowly, so if any of you still are reading, or your children still are reading, do know you have company! I have told my husband and sons that they cannot tell me how it ends, which means there is lots of whispering going on around our house as they talk about what happens.

Now that the book is out, we are bringing you our review and a whole host of new features on our Harry Central site, including new trivia games and a poll that asks which book was your favorite. You vote as well as your children, if you have been reading. We also have the results of our big Harry Potter poll last month, so if you are curious about what others were thinking about this book, check out the tally here!

Are your children finished with Harry and not sure what to read? Well, we have some Cool New Books and New in Paperback titles that will keep you reading this summer, as well as new reviews and a special feature on THE ICEBOUND LAND, the third Ranger's Apprentice book, by bestselling author John Flanagan. We've also updated our Great Books for Boys feature, so be sure to take a look at it.

We hope you are enjoying your summer. Is it just us, or does it really feel like it's zipping by? My boys do not start school until after Labor Day, so there's still a lot more time for reading. If your children have summer reading for school, and they haven't started it yet, we recommend alternating a required read with a fun read, so their required reading feels less like school! That works around our house.

Happy reading...and we'll see you again in August.

Carol Fitzgerald for


Click here to let us know what your favorite Harry Potter book is.



Internal and external struggle, and eventually, peaceful resolution, are the key ingredients in the heady potion that is HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. Loyal readers get one final, long, complex draught from J.K. Rowling’s decade-old concoction in the concluding book of the series. So raise your glass --- this one really satisfies, and there’s nothing that tastes quite like it.

-Click here to play THE DEATHLY HALLOWS trivia games.

In the weeks leading up to the release of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, conducted a poll in which we asked readers to weigh in with their thoughts on the seventh and final book, the film adaptation of HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX and the series overall. Questions included "How long will it take you to read the book?" "What is your favorite book in the series?" and "Which characters will die?" 

-Click here for all the results.

Click here to read our review of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.


Harry Central --- The All-New Harry Potter Site on

We at are thrilled to unveil our all-new Harry Potter site, Harry Central!

Along with our DEATHLY HALLOWS review and trivia questions, we have an extensive Harrypedia, perfect for brushing up on the who, what and where in the magical world of the most famous boy wizard of all time. Peruse the fascinating Harry’s Spellbook for your favorite jinxes, potions and curses. And Hogwarts’s most confusing and mysterious Professor offered her predictions for the seventh and final exciting installment. How accurate was she?

What are the 7 biggest questions that fans were hoping J.K. Rowling would answer in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS? Download the bookmarks and see for yourself how many of these questions were ultimately answered.

Before its release, we had the opportunity to take a look --- a really close look --- at the cover of the new book. We thought that doing so might shed some light on what was to come. Visit Secrets of the Cover and see how right (or wrong) our analysis was.

Have you always wanted the inside scoop on the writing mastermind behind it all? Check out one fan's account of a live reading given by Rowling.

And if you’re one of the few people who has never been enticed to read about the boy wizard and his adventures before now, then you must check out So You’ve Never Read HP? You are about to embark on an incredible journey as you take a peak at the world of Harry Potter!

Click here to visit the all-new Harry Potter site on


Special Feature: RANGER'S APPRENTICE Book Three: The Icebound Land, by John Flanagan

In a recent interview with’s Sarah Wood, John Flanagan --- author of the bestselling Ranger’s Apprentice series --- describes how he created these stories as a way of encouraging his young son to read and explains how his characters have evolved over the course of several novels. He also discusses his interest in history and mythology, from which he draws inspiration, and shares what readers can look forward to in future installments, following the recently-released THE ICEBOUND LAND.

RANGER'S APPRENTICE Book Three: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan
Kidnapped after the fierce battle with Lord Morgarath, Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia as captives aboard a fearsome wolfship. Halt has sworn to rescue Will, and he will do anything to keep his promise --- even defy his King.

Expelled from the Rangers he has served so loyally, Halt is joined by Will’s friend Horace as he travels toward Skandia. On their way, they are challenged constantly by freelance knights --- but Horace knows a thing or two about combat. Soon he begins to attract the attention of knights and warlords for miles around with his uncanny skill. Even so, will they be in time to rescue Will from a horrific life of slavery?

This smash hit series continues with another heartstopping adventure.

-Click here to read our interview with John Flanagan.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ICEBOUND LAND.
-Click here to see John Flanagan’s bio.

-Click here to watch a trailer for the Ranger’s Apprentice series.
-Visit the official website of the series,

Click here to read a review of THE ICEBOUND LAND.


Special Feature: INTO THE WILD by Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst's imaginative debut work of fiction, INTO THE WILD, adds a new twist to the classic "happily ever afters" when famous fairy-tale heroes and heroines escape into the real world and must rely on a 12-year-old girl to save them when the stories want their characters back. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Durst discusses how the form and idea for this novel evolved over several years --- from a musical she wrote in high school to what it is today --- and describes how she ultimately chose which tales and figures to feature in the book. She also shares her thoughts on the much darker endings of the original Grimm stories, reveals which one of these she loves the most and touches on the possibility of a sequel.

INTO THE WILD by Sarah Beth Durst
The Wild is a fairy-tale world --- at least it was until the fairy-tale characters escaped -- but lately it's just a mass of hungry vines stuffed under Julie's bed. Julie, her mom Rapunzel (yep, that Rapunzel --- think long hair, tower, prince), and her brother Puss-in-Boots (okay, he's a cat) do their best to keep it hidden and under control. But Julie's sick of living with the Wild --- it eats her jeans and sneakers whenever it wants! Junior high is tough enough, even with a normal family.

When someone makes a dangerous wish that sets the Wild free, it grows and grows and quickly begins to devour Julie's entire Massachusetts town. The Wild is hungry, and this time it wants its characters back for good.

Julie must venture deep into the Wild and outsmart wicked witches, feisty giants, and super-cute princes in the ultimate quest to save her family. She fights her way to the heart of the fairy tale and discovers she must risk everything or lose her chance to live in the real world…and if Julie can't find a way to defeat the happily-ever-after, she'll never see her family again.

-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Beth Durst.
-Click here to read an excerpt from INTO THE WILD.
-Click here to read critical praise for INTO THE WILD.
-Click here to see Sarah Beth Durst's bio.
-Visit the author online at
Click here to read a review of INTO THE WILD.


Great Books for Boys --- We've Updated Our List! Founder Carol Fitzgerald frequently has been told by mothers how difficult it is to get their sons to read. Some are busy participating in sports and other extracurricular activities, watching television, playing video games and surfing the Internet, while others simply don't like to read, no matter how much free time they may have.

This inspired Carol and her 12-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.

UPDATED! We have added to our list to reflect those books that have been released since this feature launched in November 2006. Among our most recent additions are VAMPIRATES: TIDE OF TERROR by Justin Somper, SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT by Derek Landy, ON THE WINGS OF HEROES by Richard Peck and THE NAVIGATOR by Eoin McNamee.

Click here to see our complete list of Great Books for Boys.



Mercy Watson returns in this fourth installment of Kate DiCamillo’s series, in which doting Mr. and Mrs. Watson bribe her with promised treats if she will just dress up like a princess for Halloween. Naturally, a little porcine chaos ensues, along with a whole lot of joy. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Click here to read a review of MERCY WATSON: PRINCESS IN DISGUISE.


Now in Stores: FOOTBALL GENIUS by Tim Green

Troy White has a phenomenal gift: he can predict any football play before it happens. When Troy's single mother gets a job working in public relations for the Atlanta Falcons, Troy figures it's his chance to prove what he can do. But first he has to get to the Falcons --- and with tight security and a notoriously mean coach, even his mom's field passes aren't much help. Reviewed by Joy Held.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FOOTBALL GENIUS.

Click here to read a review of FOOTBALL GENIUS.


Series Update: Geronimo Stilton

Geronimo can barely sprint to the bus stop without collapsing, so it's hard to imagine him signed up for a marathon --- but he is. Is there any way he can get out of running the 26.2-mile race? If he does actually participate in it, will he live to tell the tale? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to see our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

Click here to read a review of THE MOUSE ISLAND MARATHON.


Book #13 in R.L. Stine's Rotten School Series Has Been Released

GOT CAKE?: Rotten School #13 by R.L. Stine

The most popular dude in school?

It has to be Bernie Bridges. Just ask him!

Bernie wants to win the Most Popular Rotten Student of the Year title. But first he has to prove he's the most popular dude on campus. How? Easy. He'll get Jennifer Ecch, the yearbook photographer, to follow him around. All she has to do is snap pictures of him being popular.

When that doesn't work, Bernie decides to throw himself the biggest birthday party ever.

But, look out, Bernie....

Some birthday parties turn out to be surprise parties!

-Click here to see our Rotten School series feature.
-Click here to play the Rotten School game.

Click here to read a review of GOT CAKE?


Cool New Books for July

As difficult as it may be to believe, there ARE books that released in July whose main character isn't a bespectacled young wizard. July’s roundup of Cool New Books includes CAVE OF THE DARK WIND, a continuation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s series of adventures featuring favorite characters from Never Land; ONE BEASTLY BEAST, a collection of four fun fantasy tales from internationally bestselling author Garth Nix; FOOTBALL GENIUS, in which former NFL player Tim Green tells the story of a 12-year-old boy’s struggle to realize his gridiron dreams; and THE GIRL’S LIKE SPAGHETTI by Lynne Truss, the author of EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES, who now turns her attention to apostrophes and illustrates why we can’t manage without them.
Click here to read our roundup of Cool New Books for July.


July's New in Paperback Roundup

July’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes additions to three popular series --- TWILIGHT, the fifth installment in Erin Hunter's feline fantasy series, Warriors: The New Prophecy; BOYS ROCK!, in which Phyllis Reynolds Naylor continues the feud between the Hatford brothers and the Malloy sisters; and AKIMBO AND THE CROCODILE MAN, another adventure from Alexander McCall Smith featuring a young boy who lives on a game preserve in Africa. Also re-releasing in July is THE KING OF MULBERRY STREET by Donna Jo Napoli, the fascinating and heartbreaking account of a nine-year-old Jewish boy who is sent from Naples to a new life in New York City --- alone.
Click here to see what's New in Paperback for July.


This Month's Reviews

ONE BEASTLY BEAST: Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales written by Garth Nix and illustrated by Brian Biggs
Respected fantasy author Garth Nix shows off his lighter side in ONE BEASTLY BEAST, a collection of four fantastic (and fantastically wacky) stories for younger readers. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

EGGS by Jerry Spinelli
David is a 10-year-old boy who recently lost his mom. Primrose is a 13-year-old girl who never bonded with her quirky mother. Together they make an unusual pair. However, both are hurting and in desperate need of a special friend. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

WHERE I LIVE by Eileen Spinelli
Diana, the main character in this gently written and beautifully illustrated book, leads a pleasant life that eventually gets turned upside down when her family decides to move across the state to live with her grandfather. Reviewed by Carole Turner. 

BILLY CREEKMORE by Tracey Porter
Ten-year-old Billy Creekmore has spent most of his life at a bleak and dismal orphanage, but he keeps his spirits up with his talent for storytelling and the hope that one day his father will come and claim him. Billy’s bad luck seems to change for the good when a kind man shows up proclaiming to be his uncle. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman. 

THE BAD LUCK CHAIR by Sue Wilkowski
Addison “Addy” Darby is a shy fourth grader with a big problem --- and an even bigger secret. After Addy is assigned to sit in Brookside Elementary’s Bad Luck Chair, she’s filled with fear and teased by some of her classmates. Only a special person can reverse the curse of the chair. But is Addy up to the challenge? Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt. 

MOSTLY MONTY written by Johanna Hurwitz and illustrated by Anik McGrory
Six-year-old Monty has asthma, which means he can’t run or own a cat or a dog. But that doesn't keep him from creatively figuring out a pet he can own, as well as a way to make some pals. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Click here to read our reviews.


Poll: How Many Books Do You Take on Vacation?

If you are going on vacation for a week, how many books do you pack?

More than 5
I do not pack books when I go on vacation.

Click here to answer our poll. /p>

Question of the Month: What Books Would You Take on Vacation?

This summer, what three books would you most want to pack for your vacation?

Click here to answer our question.


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