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Late July/ Early August 2008 Newsletter for Parents

Late July/Early August 2008

What's New on

A Character-Driven Update

New Special Contest and Feature: TREASURE HUNTERS: Bone, Volume 8 by Jeff Smith

New Special Feature: ALEC FLINT, SUPER SLEUTH by Jill Santopolo

New Series Feature: Goosebumps HorrorLand by R.L. Stine

Series Feature Update: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Series Feature Update: The Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix

Special Feature: SAVVY by Ingrid Law

Special Contest and Feature: MOVING DAY and THE NEW GIRL by Meg Cabot


Now in Stores: ONE SMALL STEP by P.B. Kerr

Cool New Books for July

July's New in Paperback Roundup's Most Recent Reviews

Poll and Question: Characters from Books 

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Word Scrambles

A Character-Driven Update

This month, is full of characters. I got to see a bunch of people dressed up as their favorite comic book characters at a conference called Comic-Con last week. It felt like Halloween! I was surprised at how amazing some of these costumes were. People captured soooo many of the details just right. Because of The Dark Knight movie, there were many "Jokers" roaming the floor. It was a lot of fun, but no, I am not planning to dress up next year!

I did not see anyone dressed up like the characters from Jeff Smith’s Bone comic book series --- I imagine they would have looked like big marshmallows. The eighth installment, TREASURE HUNTERS, is now available as a full-color graphic novel. Your child can win a copy by filling out a form and having you sign it. See all the contest details here 

I DID get to see Eoin Colfer at Comic-Con where he performed his “Fairies, Fiends and Flatulence” show, which was part of his U.S. book tour (he even had a tour bus!). By the way, his name is pronounced "Owen." In case you missed the show, you can see some video clips here. Many of the characters in his books are based on his own brothers, and he had pictures of them as little kids that he showed as part of the program. EVERY time I see Eoin, even just to say hello, I laugh. Thus I laughed a lot during his one-and-a-half-hour show. They gave out green flashlights at the event, and they came in VERY handy last week when my sons and I were touring a lighthouse after dark. The park rangers had suggested a flashlight, but since we were staying at a hotel, we did not have a regular one. Instead my younger son pulled this one out, and by the green light we found our way!

So here's more about his latest book.... What if the character you had to battle was yourself? That’s the challenge facing Artemis Fowl in THE TIME PARADOX. He must go back in time and challenge his past self in order to save his mother’s life. Is your child not caught up on the Artemis Fowl series? He or she can read about the other books in this blockbuster series here. 

A brand-new character has entered your local bookstore and library: Alec Flint, Super Sleuth. He and his clever friend Gina are detectives-in-training. Will they be able to solve their first mystery in THE NINA, THE PINTA, AND THE VANISHING TREASURE? Maybe your child can find a clue in this excerpt! Read our interview with Alec’s creator, Jill Santopolo, for more about this sleuthalicious series. 

Some characters are villains --- the bad guys, the criminals, the…haunted masks? This spooky villain is the star of the fourth book in the Goosebumps Horrorland series by R.L. Stine. Read all about the series here, and make sure your child tests his or her knowledge of the series with the trivia and word scramble games! There are plenty of bad guys in these pages just waiting to give kids chills. 

Lots of characters change over the course of a book or series. They go from silly to serious (or sometimes the other way around), or maybe selfish to generous, or any other kind of change you can imagine. Throughout Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series, the main character, Arthur Penhaligon, has gone from timid to courageous, and from weak to strong. Find out more in our review of SUPERIOR SATURDAY. 

Some characters can be found all around the world. In ENCYCLOPEDIA MYTHOLOGICA: FAIRIES AND MAGICAL CREATURES, the masters of pop-up, Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda, show us fairy stories from different countries. Your child will love looking at all the similarities and differences between these characters.  

You’ll find lots more crazy characters in our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups and in our most recent reviews. Some of these characters would make great friends. Your child can let us know which individual from a book he or she would like to be friends with, and whether or not he or she would be interested in coming across bookish characters in real life, in our poll and question 

Here's to enjoying these last days before summer vacation's wishing you and your family happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald (


New Special Contest and Feature: TREASURE HUNTERS: Bone, Volume 8 by Jeff Smith

In 2005 Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, began publishing Jeff Smith's comic book series Bone as full-color graphic novels. The eighth and next-to-last volume, TREASURE HUNTERS, is the most current reissue, and is giving 10 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book.

TREASURE HUNTERS: Bone, Volume 8 by Jeff Smith
The Bone cousins, Gran'ma Ben and Thorn reach the city of Atheia, where they reunite with old friends and prepare to battle The Lord of the Locusts. The Pawan army has joined forces with Briar and the rat creatures, and danger increases as Thorn's visions become more threatening. Meanwhile, Phoney Bone is convinced Atheia is rich in gold, and he is determined to find it!

-Click here to read a review of TREASURE HUNTERS.
-Click here to look inside TREASURE HUNTERS.
-Click here to read Jeff Smith's bio.


Click here for all the contest details.


New Special Feature: ALEC FLINT, SUPER SLEUTH by Jill Santopolo

In this interview with's Chris Shanley-Dillman, Jill Santopolo --- author of the new children's mystery Alec Flint, Super Sleuth --- explains how her own reading habits as a child inspired the idea for this series, and describes from where her hero obtained his unique and endearing personality traits. She also discusses her collaboration with illustrator C. B. Canga, shares what she hopes readers will take away from her book, and reveals details about future installments in the series.

ALEC FLINT, SUPER SLEUTH: The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure by Jill Santopolo
Alec Flint is a super sleuth --- well, maybe just a super sleuth-in-training. But he has a sweatshirt with a convenient pocket, a cool detective pen that writes upside down, and a handy detective notebook. So, when the Christopher Columbus exhibit goes missing from the local museum, Alec is on the case.

With the help of his sleuthing partner, Gina, Alec Flint races to solve the mystery of the missing treasure!

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE NINA, THE PINTA, AND THE VANISHING TREASURE.
-Click here to read our interview with Jill Santopolo.
-Click here to read Jill Santopolo's bio.


Click here to read a review of THE NINA, THE PINTA, AND THE VANISHING TREASURE.


New Series Feature: Goosebumps HorrorLand by R.L. Stine

Are you looking for a hilarious series that will also give you a serious case of the heebie-jeebies? The master of spooky storytelling, R.L. Stine --- author of the incredibly popular Goosebumps books --- has just the thing: a 12-book series called Goosebumps HorrorLand. Be prepared to laugh out loud, even as you break out in a cold sweat of terror!

Experience Goosebumps HorrorLand in a unique, exciting manner by reading the books and by visiting, where the stories develop further and readers can discover more clues to the HorrorLand mystery.


Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature.


Series Feature Update: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

THE TIME PARADOX: Artemis Fowl, Book 6 by Eoin Colfer
With his mother on death's door, teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl vows to save her by any means possible. The brain fluid of a silky sifaka lemur is her only hope. Unfortunately, the lemur is extinct, snuffed out by a younger Artemis Fowl. Now Artemis must travel back in time to face his most fearsome opponent yet --- himself. Reviewed by Jonathan Snowden.

-Click here to read our Artemis Fowl series feature.
-Click here to play the updated Artemis Fowl trivia game.


Click here to read a review of THE TIME PARADOX.


Series Feature Update: The Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix

SUPERIOR SATURDAY: The Keys to the Kingdom, Book Six by Garth Nix
Arthur Penhaligon has wrested five of the Keys from their immortal guardians, the Trustees of the Will. But gaining the Sixth Key poses a greater challenge than any he has ever faced before. Superior Saturday is not just one of the Trustees, she is also the oldest Denizen and the most powerful and knowledgeable sorcerer within the House. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

-Click here to read our Keys to the Kingdom series feature.
-Click here to play the SUPERIOR SATURDAY trivia game.
-Click here for the SUPERIOR SATURDAY word scramble.

Click here to read a review of SUPERIOR SATURDAY.


Special Feature: SAVVY by Ingrid Law

Ingrid Law's debut novel, SAVVY, is an imaginative coming-of-age tale about a gifted family whose members are given a supernatural power when they turn 13. In this interview with's Chris Shanley-Dillman, Law explains what inspired this innovative storyline and discusses the similarities and differences between herself and her protagonist, Mibs. She also describes how she infused the book with life lessons she's learned the hard way, shares details about an upcoming sequel and reveals what kind of savvy she would choose for herself if she was ever given the opportunity.

SAVVY by Ingrid Law
For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a “savvy” --- a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn 13. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity…and now it’s the eve of Mibs’s big day.

As if waiting wasn't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs’s birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman’s bus…only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up --- and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SAVVY.
-Click here to read our interview with Ingrid Law.
-Click here to read Ingrid Law’s bio.
-Visit the author's official website,

Click here to read a review of SAVVY.


Special Contest and Feature: MOVING DAY and THE NEW GIRL by Meg Cabot

To celebrate the August 5th release of the second installment in Meg Cabot's Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series, is giving 10 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the first two books, MOVING DAY and NEW GIRL.

MOVING DAY by Meg Cabot
When nine-year-old Allie Finkle's parents announce that they are moving her and her brothers from their suburban split-level into an ancient Victorian in town, Allie is sure her life is over. She's not at all happy about having to give up her pretty pink wall-to-wall carpeting for creaky floorboards and creepy secret passageways --- not to mention leaving her modern, state-of-the-art suburban school for a rundown, old-fashioned school just two blocks from her new house.

With a room she's half-scared to go into, the burden of being "the new girl" and her old friends all a half-hour car ride away, how will Allie ever learn to fit in?

THE NEW GIRL by Meg Cabot
Allie is very excited for her first day of school at Pine Heights Elementary. She is going to be in the same class as her new friends Erica, Caroline and Sophie, and she loves her new teacher, pretty and stylish Mrs. Hunter. Plus, she’s getting a new kitten --- the first pick of showcat Lady Serena Archibald’s litter!

There is only one problem in Allie’s perfect new life: one of the girls in Allie’s new class, Rosemary, doesn’t like her. In fact, Rosemary says she’s going to beat Allie up after school!

Everyone has an opinion on how Allie should handle the situation: Erica thinks she should tell Mrs. Hunter. Caroline thinks Allie should handle it with nonviolent conflict resolution. Dad teaches Allie how to fight, while Uncle Jay says you have to psych out your opponent. How can Allie tell who’s right?

-Click here to read a review of MOVING DAY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MOVING DAY.
-Click here to read our interview with Meg Cabot.
-Click here to read Meg Cabot's bio.

-Visit the official website of the series,


Click here for all the contest details.



Despite the sad-looking fairy on the front cover, FAIRIES AND MAGICAL CREATURES by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda is lovely to look at and great fun to read. This first installment in the Encyclopedia Mythologica series is a colorful and imaginative pop-up book that goes beyond the simple unfolding of paper. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Now in Stores: ONE SMALL STEP by P.B. Kerr

It’s 1969, and 13-year-old Scott MacLeod is about to explode into an adventure of a lifetime. It all starts when Scott’s Air Force dad begins teaching him how to fly an airplane. His amazing piloting talents attract the attention of NASA, and before long, he undergoes intensive training for a secret mission --- a mission involving him and two chimps blasting into space. Reviewed by Chris Shanley Dillman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE SMALL STEP.

Click here to read a review of ONE SMALL STEP.


Cool New Books for July

The sixth installments of two popular fantasy series finally have been released. Eoin Colfer’s THE TIME PARADOX continues the story of teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, and in SUPERIOR SATURDAY, Garth Nix’s protagonist, Arthur Penhaligon, struggles to gain possession of the Sixth Key from its immortal guardian.

July's roundup of Cool New Books also includes MERCY WATSON THINKS LIKE A PIG, Kate DiCamillo's fifth rollicking adventure featuring the irresistible pig who this time must outwit Animal Control; LOST AND FOUND, an entertaining and thought-provoking chapter book from Andrew Clements about twin brothers who hatch an elaborate plan to fool everyone at their new school; TOM TRUEHEART AND THE LAND OF DARK STORIES by Ian Beck, which continues the unlikely adventures of an ordinary boy who risks his own life to save his six older brothers and their princess brides; and FAIRIES AND MAGICAL CREATURES, the first installment in Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda's dazzling pop-up series, Encyclopedia Mythologica.

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


July's New in Paperback Roundup

July's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes DEXTER THE TOUGH, Margaret Peterson Haddix's chapter book about a boy whose life has been anything but smooth sailing so far and who pretty much hates everyone at his new school; LEEPIKE RIDGE, N. D. Wilson's page-turning adventure of an 11-year-old who finds himself lost in a series of underground caves; MY TEACHER FOR PRESIDENT by Kay Winters, in which a savvy second grader believes his teacher would be the perfect candidate for president of the United States; and WHO WON THE WAR?, the final installment in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's series about the rivalry between the Hatford boys and the Malloy girls.

Click here to see what's New in Paperback for July.'s Most Recent Reviews

Atherton was once a magnificent three-tiered world, but few inhabitants know the truth of its dark origin: it is a giant man-made satellite, created as a refuge from a dying Earth. Now this strange place is torn apart. However, a gifted climber named Edgar is determined to discover the secret of Atherton's survival and embarks on a life-or-death quest to find its mad maker. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ATHERTON: RIVERS OF FIRE.

OUTCAST: The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Book Four by Michelle Paver
For two moons Torak has hidden a terrible secret --- and now it is revealed. He bears the mark of a Soul-Eater and must pay the price. Cast out of the clans and on the run from clan members who will kill him, he settles on an island in the Lake for the summer. But he is not safe there, either. Relentlessly pursued by Seshru the Viper Mage, one of the strongest Soul-Eaters, Torak must defend himself and the clans from her terrible plans. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-Click here to read an excerpt from OUTCAST.

New York City has been the setting for several recent fantasy novels that shed light on the many secrets lurking behind (or beneath) Manhattan's famous landmarks. Add to that list Scott Mebus's debut work of fiction, GODS OF MANHATTAN, which melds New York City history with modern geography in a thoroughly entertaining start of a promising new series. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Twelve-year-old Athene hates her pesky little brother, Zach. While on a family vacation she tricks him into being captured as a slave by the Gloam, magic folk who live in underground caves. But now that he is finally out of her life, Athene misses Zach and embarks on a daring rescue to bring him and the other Gloam captives back home. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.

THE CROSSROADS by Chris Grabenstein
Eleven-year-old Zack Jennings knows that not everyone senses the spirits trapped in trees that he does. Luckily he, his father and new stepmother are moving out of New York to North Chester, Connecticut, where his father grew up. Little does Zack know, however, that he also will be encountering sinister spirits all over in the country. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

ATTACK OF THE GROWLING EYEBALLS: Who Shrunk Daniel Funk?, Book 1 written by Lin Oliver and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Eleven-year-old Daniel is the only male in a house filled with females, including the dog. So imagine his double surprise when, first he shrinks down to the size of a toe, and second, he discovers he has a twin brother also the size of a toe. The adventure factor in Daniel's life blasts into a growth spurt of 100%! Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Like all good independent girls who will grow up to be adventurous, spirited and independent women, Thumbelina doesn't understand why her mother wants to oppress her so much and keep her safe from the big, bad world. Thumbelina decides to venture away from Anne Marie, her desperately clutchy mom, and finds out what the real world has in store for her, good and bad. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

Click here to read our most recent reviews.


Poll and Question: Characters from Books 


Do you ever find yourself wanting to meet some of the characters from the books you read? 

Not sure

-Click here to participate in the poll.


What character from a book could you see yourself being best friends with?

-Click here to answer the question.


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