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Late April/ Early May 2008

Kidsreads.com Newsletter for Parents

Late April/Early May 2008

What's New on Kidsreads.com

Sizzling Spring Reads

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney

Now in Stores: THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY by Trenton Lee Stewart

Now in Stores: THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET by Jeanne Birdsall

Author Talk: R. L. Stine, Author of the Goosebumps Horrorland Series

Author Talk: Blue Balliett, Author of THE CALDER GAME

Books into Movies: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

New Special Feature: SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER by Michael Reisman

New Special Feature: ELVIS & OLIVE by Stephanie Watson

Book Giveaway: Enter to Win a Copy of THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry

Tony Abbott's Time Surfers Have Landed in Stores!

Cool New Books for April

April's New in Paperback Roundup

Kidsreads.com's Most Recent Reviews

Poll and Question: Library Visits

Some Links on Kidsreads.com
 
Go to Kidsreads.com here.
Read Our Newsletter Online Here
Series Feature
Play a Trivia Game here
Word Scrambles

Sizzling Spring Reads

Summer vacation is just around the corner. I got a preview of the great weather that screams summer when I visited Los Angeles last week for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. It was in the 90s every day! While there, I attended a panel discussion with Rick Riordan, Erin Hunter and Cornelia Funke as the author speakers. I loved that the audience was filled with lots of children who asked some really fabulous questions. Funke talked about the highly anticipated Inkheart movie (scheduled for release in January 2009), and the publication of INKDEATH, which marks the conclusion of the Inkheart trilogy and will be in stores in October. There were lots of cheers about this. Hunter spoke about how she writes her Warriors series with two other authors. She scripts out each book and writes the storyline, and then the other two authors work on the rest of the writing. She was quite humorous about her role of "being in charge." Riordan talked about his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that incorporates Greek myths into the storylines; the latest book is THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH. His fans should note that he has a new series coming out this fall called The 39 Clues.

Three sequels to some outstanding, bestselling books are now in stores. In DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES, Greg Heffley deals with his bully of an older brother. I love the mix of writing and cartoons in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series --- it makes for really fast and interesting reading. (My son read both Wimpy Kid books in one afternoon!) In THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET (the follow-up to the National Book Award-winning THE PENDERWICKS), the Penderwick sisters team up to keep their dad from dating new people. Will they succeed? THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY was a particular hit with the staff at Kidsreads.com, so we were beyond thrilled to get our hands on THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY. In this story, the four exceptional children we met in the first book need to travel around the world in order to save their own dear Mr. Benedict from the clutches of Mr. Curtain --- solving puzzles and dodging Ten Men all the while. My younger son thinks this one is even better than the first book in the series and encourages your child to get to reading it!

We have FOUR interviews to share with you --- with one VERY well-known writer, one with a few books under her belt, and two brand new authors. The first is R. L. Stine, who recently launched his Goosebumps Horrorland series. What made him decide to continue the Goosebumps series after all this time? Read the interview to find out! I had the pleasure of sitting with Stine at an awards ceremony last week, and once again I was surprised how such a nice man writes such chilling books! Blue Balliett is the author of THE CALDER GAME, the third installment in her series of artful mysteries starring Calder, Petra and Tommy. Click here to find out why she chose to feature the sculptor Alexander Calder in this book. My younger son LOVED this new book...he snatched it right out of my hands when I brought it home.

Stephanie Watson talks about the inspiration for her debut novel, ELVIS & OLIVE, and Michael Reisman, author of SIMON BLOOM: THE GRAVITY KEEPER, describes what it was like for him to get a book published and what kind of jobs he's held before --- hint: movie stars!

If you haven't already entered your child in our contest to win a copy of Lois Lowry's THE WILLOUGHBYS, don't worry --- there's still time. We also have a new giveaway for the aforementioned ELVIS & OLIVE, in which two friends take up a mission to spy on their neighbors --- but wind up having trouble keeping the secrets they learn.

Summer is traditionally a time for big blockbusters at the movie theater, and a great one for people of all ages will be releasing on May 16th. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is based on the classic book by C. S. Lewis and is a follow-up to 2005’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A number of awesome movie tie-in books, from the original text to word games to brand new stories, are now available.

Looking for more great reads? Check out our roundups of Cool New Books and New in Paperback, as well as our newest reviews. Is your child a fan of the library? Tell us all about it by answering our poll and question.

Reminder: Mother's Day is on Sunday! For any of the moms in your life --- be it your own, your wife, your friend or even yourself --- be sure to check out the Bookreporter.com Mother's Day Feature, which spotlights 13 books that we think will make wonderful gifts for mothers.

And last but certainly least, we’d like to remind you that Children’s Book Week is May 12-18. Since its conception in 1919 by the Children’s Book Council --- a nonprofit trade organization of publishers and packagers of trade books for children and young adults --- this yearly event aims to celebrate the written word and introduce young readers to new authors and ideas. The group works to support literacy, and advocates making reading a part of America's educational and social goals. Celebrate this special week by visiting www.cbcbooks.org (and of course by checking out some of our suggested titles in this newsletter). 

Wishing you and your child lots of sunny moments with a good book.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@Bookreporter.com)
 

Click here to learn more about Children's Book Week and how to celebrate in your area.


 

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID by Jeff Kinney
In this hilarious blend of comics and prose, fifth-grader Greg Heffley grapples with his classmates ("bunch of morons"), girls ("I have ALWAYS been into girls") and various misguided and ill-fated schemes to make himself popular and wealthy, all while avoiding the dreaded Cheese Touch. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES by Jeff Kinney
In this sequel to DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Greg Heffley continues his deadpan, laugh-out-loud funny tale of woe. But no matter how bad his life is, he can rest easy knowing that his big brother Rodrick lives to make it way worse. And Rodrick (who will gladly stoop to blackmail) also knows Greg's darkest secret. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES.
 

Visit the official website of the series, www.WimpyKid.com.


 

Now in Stores: THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY by Trenton Lee Stewart

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY by Trenton Lee Stewart
The fabulous foursome readers embraced as The Mysterious Benedict Society is back with a new mission, significantly closer to home. After reuniting for a celebratory scavenger hunt, Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance are forced to go on an unexpected search --- a search to find Mr. Benedict. It seems that while he was preparing the kids' adventure, he stepped right into a trap orchestrated by his evil twin Mr. Curtain. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY.

-Click here to read a review of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY.

-Visit the official website of the series, www.MysteriousBenedictSociety.com.

 

Click here to read a review of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY.

 

Now in Stores: THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET by Jeanne Birdsall

THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET by Jeanne Birdsall
The beloved Penderwick family returns for a second outing --- but this time they're home on Gardam Street in a rollicking, romantic family novel that hearkens back to an earlier time with old-fashioned storytelling and a feel-good ending. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET.

-Click here to read a review of THE PENDERWICKS.
 

Click here to read a review of THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET.
 

 

Author Talk: R. L. Stine, Author of the Goosebumps Horrorland Series

R. L. Stine is the bestselling author of --- literally --- hundreds of books for children and young adults, including the titles in his popular Goosebumps, Fear Street, The Nightmare Room, Mostly Ghostly and Rotten School series. In this interview, Stine talks about the inspiration for his latest series, Goosebumps HorrorLand, and explains why these books are even scarier than his previous works. He also discusses how he started writing horror stories at a young age, gives advice to aspiring authors and shares his favorite "fan" letter.

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #1: REVENGE OF THE LIVING DUMMY by R. L. Stine
For the millions of fans who mourned the end of the Goosebumps series, rejoice! Master horror storyteller R. L. Stine kicks off a new 12-book series with this enjoyably creepy tale about a ventriloquist's dummy with mayhem on its mind --- directed at 12-year-old Britney Crosby. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of REVENGE OF THE LIVING DUMMY.

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #2: CREEP FROM THE DEEP by R. L. Stine
In the second book of this eerie series, Billy and Sheena go on a deep-sea treasure hunt with their uncle. But what they find is a monstrous shock and a life-threatening adventure that will terrify readers, in the very best way. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of CREEP FROM THE DEEP.
 

Click here to read an interview with R. L. Stine.

 

Author Talk: Blue Balliett, Author of THE CALDER GAME

In Blue Balliett's latest novel, THE CALDER GAME --- the sequel to CHASING VERMEER and THE WRIGHT 3 --- Calder, Petra and Tommy set out on another adventure to investigate a new piece of art located in a remote English village. In this interview, Balliett describes why she's always been drawn to the work of sculptor Alexander Calder and discusses the research she performed on both the artist and setting of this third installment in the series --- from getting lost in hedge mazes to eating Cadbury chocolate. She also explains how her upbringing in New York has impacted her storytelling abilities, reveals what she learned about children from teaching grade school and shares what she hopes readers will take away from her books.

THE CALDER GAME by Blue Balliett
In Blue Balliett’s third art-centered mystery (following CHASING VERMEER and THE WRIGHT 3), Petra and Tommy must leave their home base of Chicago and travel to England in order to uncover two missing Calders --- a sculpture and their best friend. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of THE CALDER GAME.

-Read reviews of CHASING VERMEER and THE WRIGHT 3.

 

Click here to read an interview with Blue Balliett.


 

Books into Movies: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The wait is finally over for those of you (like all of us at Kidsreads.com!) who have been anxiously anticipating the next movie in the Chronicles of Narnia series, because Prince Caspian hits theaters on May 16th. This guaranteed summer blockbuster sequel, based on the classic good vs. evil tale by C. S. Lewis, will surely enthrall and enchant moviegoers of all ages with its epic adventure, whimsical fantasy and dazzling special effects.

To celebrate this enormous cinematic release, a number of special edition books have been published that give readers the opportunity to relive the magic and wonder of the land of Narnia through photos from the movie, word puzzles, mazes and much more!

-Click here to see the Prince Caspian movie tie-in books.
 

Click here to read more about The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

 

New Special Feature: SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER by Michael Reisman

In Michael Reisman's debut novel, SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER, readers are introduced to an inquisitive 11-year-old boy who stumbles upon a way to control the laws of physics. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Brian Farrey, Reisman describes what inspired the concept behind this series and explains how the story gradually evolved over the course of several drafts. He also reveals plans for recurring characters in future installments, shares his favorite compliment from a fan and recalls the various odd jobs he held before becoming a writer.

SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER by Michael Reisman
Sixth-grader Simon Bloom can’t believe his luck when he finds a book that enables him to control the laws of physics. By simply reciting the formulas it contains, he can cancel gravity to fly around his bedroom, or decrease friction so he can slide down the street as if he were on Rollerblades. When two thugs with evil intentions come after Simon, he must use the formulas to save himself and the book from falling into their hands. This funny, fast and imaginative novel from first-time author Michael Reisman will appeal to fans of both fantasy and action adventure.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER.
-Click here to read our interview with Michael Reisman.
-Click here to read Michael Reisman's bio.

-Visit the author’s official website, www.MichaelReisman.com.
 

Click here to read a review of SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER.

 

New Special Feature: ELVIS & OLIVE by Stephanie Watson

Stephanie Watson's debut work of fiction, ELVIS & OLIVE, follows two unlikely friends who form a spying club in order to uncover secrets in their neighborhood. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Alexis Burling, Watson explains how and why she kept the writing of this novel a secret, and describes some of her own childhood friends and memories that inspired elements of the story. She also elaborates on the book's lesson concerning forgiveness, shares a few of her non-writing hobbies and reveals the unusual things she does when she thinks no one is looking.

ELVIS & OLIVE by Stephanie Watson
Natalie Wallis thought she'd be spending her summer riding her bike around and around her block --- but that was before she met her quirky new neighbor, Annie Beckett. Before long, Annie is revealing the hiding place beneath her porch, the dead bird she keeps in her pocket, and the details of her mother's death. Natalie and Annie become fast friends, and soon, they've hatched a plan to spy on their neighbors, using the inscrutable code names Elvis and Olive. Spying is the most fun Natalie's ever had --- but are some things best kept secret?

-Click here to enter the ELVIS & OLIVE giveaway for your chance to win a copy of the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ELVIS & OLIVE.
-Click here to read our interview with Stephanie Watson.
-Click here to read Stephanie Watson's bio.

-Visit the author’s official website, www.Stephanie-Watson.com.
 

Click here to read a review of ELVIS & OLIVE.

 

Book Giveaway: Enter to Win a Copy of THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry

Abandoned by their ill-humored parents to the care of a less than pleasant nanny, Tim and his siblings --- twins Barnaby A and Barnaby B, and sister Jane --- attempt to fulfill their roles as good old-fashioned children. To celebrate the release of THE WILLOUGHBYS, a glorious tongue-in-cheek romp through the images and icons of classic stories by two-time Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry, Kidsreads.com is awarding 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book.

THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry
From serious, Newbery Award-winning fare such as NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER to brilliantly funny family comedy in the Anastasia Krupnik series, Lois Lowry has successfully explored many different genres and moods in her fruitful career. Now, in THE WILLOUGHBYS, she demonstrates her range once more. Specifically, this book exhibits her extensive knowledge of the history of children's literature and playfully re-purposes those occupants of the bookstore's "Classics" shelf into a clever parody. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of THE WILLOUGHBYS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE WILLOUGHBYS.
-Click here to read Lois Lowry’s bio.
-Click here to watch a TIME for Kids interview with Lois Lowry.

 

Click here for all the contest details.


 
Tony Abbott's Time Surfers Have Landed in Stores!

TIME SURFERS #1: SPACE BINGO by Tony Abbott
Ned Banks is miserable. He's the new kid in school --- and he sticks out like a sore thumb. His life is going downhill fast. Until something happens. Ned's not sure how he did it --- but he beamed two kids from the year 2099 into his bedroom closet! Roop and Suzi are Time Surfers --- cool kids who travel through time. And they want Ned to join them! Of course Ned says yes. He's ready for excitement! Action! But he might get more than he bargained for.

-Click here to read more about SPACE BINGO. 

TIME SURFERS #2: ORBIT WIPEOUT! by Tony Abbott
Things are looking up for Ned Banks. His best friend, Ernie, is on his way to visit for a whole week! But then Ned gets an urgent call from the Time Surfers and he has to travel into deep space with Roop and Suzi to check out Centaur One --- an abandoned space station. When they arrive, they find Vorg --- the biggest villian of the century --- waiting for them, along with the evil Klenn from Ned's comic books! But if the bad guys come to life, Ned wonders if the good guy --- the hero, Zontar --- can too? Otherwise the Time Surfers might be trapped forever!

-Click here to read more about ORBIT WIPEOUT!

 

Cool New Books for April

April’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY, the highly anticipated sequel to Trenton Lee Stewart’s bestseller about four children who are brought together to go on secret missions that only the most intelligent and inventive youngsters can complete; THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET, a feel-good follow-up to the National Book Award-winning THE PENDERICKS by Jeanne Birdsall; THE CALDER GAME, Blue Balliett’s third art-centered mystery featuring University of Chicago Lab School students Calder, Petra and Tommy; QUESTE, the fourth installment in Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, in which the protagonist continues his journey of Magykal self-discovery; and picture books that mark the returns of Fancy Nancy (who is determined to enhance her readers’ vocabulary) and Curious George (who offers words of encouragement to those entering a new phase in their lives).
 

Click here to see our roundup of Cool New Books for April.

 

April's New in Paperback Roundup

April’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE TITAN'S CURSE by Rick Riordan, the third adventure featuring Percy Jackson and the other half-blooded Olympians who populate Camp Half-Blood; JOHNNY AND THE BOMB, which marks the intriguing end of Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell Trilogy; THE TALENTED CLEMENTINE, the sequel to Sara Pennypacker’s New York Times bestseller starring a third grader who has the spunk of Ramona Quimby and the curiosity of Jo March; VANISHING ACT, another fast-paced, action-packed sports mystery from John Feinstein that takes place at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in New York; and THE DRAGON'S EYE, the first installment in The Dragonology Chronicles --- full-length novels that fans of DRAGONOLOGY and THE DRAGONOLOGY HANDBOOK will simply devour.
 

Click here to see what's New in Paperback for April.


 

Kidsreads.com's Most Recent Reviews

THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman
Twelve-year-old Gil Goodson prepared as well as he possibly could, and the day is finally here! He and nine other finalists are about to begin the Golly Toy & Game Company’s absolutely amazing Gollywhopper Games, a competition requiring clever brains, swift feet and a knowledge of Golly Toy history. Gil has all three, but will it be enough to win? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE BUDDHA'S DIAMONDS by Carolyn Marsden and Thay Phap Niem
A tale both quiet and dramatic, the story of 10-year-old Tinh is at once an adventure, a coming-of-age tale and a religious text. THE BUDDHA'S DIAMONDS is based on Thây Pháp Niem’s own experiences as a young boy in post-war Vietnam. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BAT MITZVAH by Nora Raleigh Baskin
For most young people, cultural and religious identity is clear-cut; they are what their parents are. But for children of interreligious or multicultural families, it can be a bit confusing, especially if the backgrounds of the parents are seemingly at odds. In THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BAT MITZVAH, Nora Raleigh Baskin explores the issue of identity through the story of 12-year-old Caroline. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE MOZART QUESTION written by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman
Like any young boy, Paolo becomes obsessed with what he can’t have --- in his case, a violin. Michael Morpurgo's THE MOZART QUESTION, touchingly illustrated by Michael Foreman, might be a small volume in size, but this ode to history, bravery, family and music has an enormous heart. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE BRONZE PEN by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Set in California in 1973, THE BRONZE PEN is a nostalgic story about Audrey Elgin Abbott, a lonely girl who dreams of becoming a writer. One day, while sitting outside writing in her notebook, Audrey follows a strange duck to a vine-covered cave, where she meets an old woman with special powers --- and a unique gift. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

LOST BOY by Linda Newbery
While Matt Lanchester explores his new surroundings, he notices a cross nailed to a tree marking the site of an accident and a death. The initials on the cross match his own, sending chills down his spine. Though he soon learns that M.L. are the initials of a kid who had been killed years ago, Matt begins to feel the dead boy’s presence and his urgings to make something right. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

TENNYSON by Lesley M. M. Blume
In 1932, times are tough for everyone. When Tennyson and Hattie’s mother disappears and their father sets off to look for her, they find themselves with relatives in their historically rich yet quickly deteriorating southern plantation house. Though she painfully butts heads with her rigid aunt, Tennyson slowly begins to bond with the house, despite all of its horrific secrets. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

TUB TOYS written by Terry Miller Shannon and Timothy Warner, illustrated by Lee Calderon
One enthusiastic bather and more than 20 tub toys make for an excellent (if crowded) bath and a charming read. TUB TOYS is the story of one little guy’s attempts to stall his bath --- not to avoid it, but to make sure that all his favorite things get to go into the tub with him! Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

 

Click here to read our most recent reviews.


 

Poll and Question: Library Visits

Poll:

How often do you go to the library?
More than once a week
Once a week
A few times a month
Once a month
Every couple of months
A few times a year
Once a year or less
I never go to the library. 

At the library what do you borrow most often? (Check as many as apply.)
Books
Graphic Novels/Manga

Audiobooks
eBooks
DVDs and videos
CDs
Magazines and Periodicals
Other
I do not go to libraries.

-Click here to participate in the poll.
 

Question:

What was the last book (name up to three) that you borrowed from the library?

-Click here to answer the question.

 


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