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April 2009 Newsletter for Parents

April 2009


Beaches, Books and Children's Book Week

Earlier this month, I was on the Outer Banks with my family. When we travel there are clothes, golf clubs (for my husband and younger son) and lots and lots of books. Now we were only gone for 10 days, but I brought enough books to take up two shelves in the tiny office that they have at the rental house. My 14-year-old son had 10 books, plus all seven Harry Potter books. I am not sure what he was thinking when he packed the Potter titles. I guess he figured if he ran out of new books to read he would have some surefire backups! I am sure that since you love books like we do, you can relate. I am just glad we were driving this trip since we definitely would have been over the weight limit on the plane!

But now that we're back home, there are no limits to the books we can tote around with us, including the adorable collection of three tales starring Tumtum and Nutmeg, two small-size mice with world-size hearts. Get a sneak peek of TUMTUM & NUTMEG by Emily Bearn with our review and excerpt, and you and your children can even read the first adventure in its entirety here. And if the kids are looking for more books featuring furry friends, check out NEWS FOR DOGS, the follow-up to HOTEL FOR DOGS, following Andi and her brother Bruce as they start a new project --- a newspaper for dogs --- while dodging dog-nappers. By the way, for all you movie fans out there, the film Hotel for Dogs is now available on DVD.

Baseball season has begun, and to get in the spirit we have a review of Tim Green's latest, BASEBALL GREAT, and an excerpt. '
Tis also the season for the Children’s Book Council’s 2009 Children's Choice Book Awards. Click here to vote for your family's favorite books, authors and illustrators of 2008. The voting closes on May 3rd, and the winners will be announced on May 12th during Children’s Book Week.
Show your favorites of 2008 some love! I am going to be announcing the winner in the teen category at this event, and I will be sure to get some pictures from the event for you to see!

We have three series feature updates this month, including SUNRISE, the gripping conclusion to the Warriors: Power of Three saga, and two more additions to the Goosebumps Horrorland collection. WELCOME TO CAMP SLITHER and HELP! WE HAVE STRANGE POWERS! offer more of the bone-chilling, page-turning thrills you expect from R.L. Stine. And Geronimo's adventurous journalist sister stars in THEA STILTON AND THE DRAGON'S CODE, another book in the Geronimo Stilton series.

Also, not sure if you're familiar with our adult book review site, but we have been promoting's Fourth Annual Mother's Day Contest since April 17th. All entries are due in by 11:59 AM on May 1st (tomorrow!!!). Enter for your chance to win one of our five Mother's Day gift baskets (they are so cute!) filled with goodies moms will just love, as well as one copy of ALL 13 of our featured books. And if you miss out on the contest, you can still check out all of the featured titles through Mother's Day.

Be sure to take a look at our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups, as well as our updated Great Books for Boys feature and our latest reviews --- which now include graphic novel and manga titles --- for more great reads to enjoy in the warm spring weather.

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald for


Click here to vote for the Children’s Choice Book Awards and learn more about Children’s Book Week.

New Special Feature: TUMTUM & NUTMEG by Emily Bearn

TUMTUM & NUTMEG: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall written by Emily Bearn and pictures by Nick Price
Deep inside the broom cupboard of Rose Cottage, two mice live in great style.

Tumtum and Nutmeg lead cozy and quiet lives, secretly looking after Arthur and Lucy, the disheveled human children of the cottage, never dreaming that so many exciting adventures will soon find them. But when evil Aunt Ivy, a squeamish school-teacher named Miss Short, and pirating pond rats threaten the safety of those they hold dear, the courageous pair will stop at nothing to save the day.

In three thrilling tales of daring and wit, Tumtum and Nutmeg --- along with the valiant efforts of veteran hero General Marchmouse, Ms. Tiptoe's bouncing ballerina army, and a team of caged gerbils --- prove that small-size mice can have world-size hearts.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TUMTUM & NUTMEG.
-Click here to read Emily Bearn's bio.

-Click here to read the full first adventure of TUMTUM & NUTMEG.

Click here to read a review of TUMTUM & NUTMEG.

Now in Stores: NEWS FOR DOGS by Lois Duncan

NEWS FOR DOGS by Lois Duncan
Now that Andi is no longer running a hotel for dogs, she decides to start a new project --- a newspaper for dogs! With her brother Bruce and a few friends, the kids make a hit out of their paper. But they also attract the attention of some mysterious dognappers. Can the kids find the criminals and bring their dogs safely home? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


Click here to read a review of NEWS FOR DOGS.

Now in Stores: BASEBALL GREAT by Tim Green

Josh’s dad signs him up with Coach Rocky Valentine's youth championship team, the Titans. As Josh gets in deeper with the team, there are questions he needs to ask. As Josh and his new friend Jaden investigate their suspicions, they find themselves in a dangerous struggle with a desperate man who doesn't want them to expose the nasty secrets they uncover. Reviewed by Joy Held.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BASEBALL GREAT.

Click here to read a review of BASEBALL GREAT.


Series Feature Update: Warriors: Power of Three by Erin Hunter

In the gripping (and shocking) conclusion to the Power of Three series, the Clans search for a murderer. Meanwhile, Jayfeather, Hollyleaf and Lionblaze are on a more personal investigation, as they attempt to discover their true identities. Now that they know enough about their background to wonder about the gaps in their knowledge, the bigger question remains: What about the prophecy? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to play the updated Warriors: Power of Three trivia game.

-Click here to read our Warriors: Power of Three series feature.

Click here to read a review of SUNRISE.

Series Feature Update: Goosebumps Horrorland by R.L. Stine

Boone and his sister head off to summer camp. Boone is excited even though Roddy, a fellow camper on the bus, informs him there is major creepiness in their near future (swimming across a lake filled with snakes, for example). Boone knows Roddy is just the nervous sort…or is he? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Twins Jillian and Jackson get a (literally) shocking surprise when a fortune teller's booth malfunctions. Now they have super powers! So that means life will be easy from now on, right? Not unless you consider it pleasant to have someone who just happens to want to drain your brains stalking you. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to play the updated Goosebumps HorrorLand trivia game.


Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature.

Series Feature Update: Geronimo Stilton

THEA STILTON AND THE DRAGON'S CODE: Geronimo Stilton Special Edition by Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo's adventurous journalist sister stars in this special edition of the Geronimo Stilton series. When she returns to Mouseford Academy as an adult, she's ready to teach a journalism class. But as she sets sail for the remote school, little does she know that she is heading straight into an intriguing mystery. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to play the updated Geronimo Stilton trivia game.
-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

Click here to read a review of THEA STILTON AND THE DRAGON'S CODE.

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 her to enlist her son Cory, an avid reader, to compile a list of books that he 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 our last update in June 2008. Among our most recent additions are The 39 Clues, Goosebumps HorrorLand, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman, ONE SMALL STEP by P. B. Kerr, LOST AND FOUND by Andrew Clements, and updates to such popular series as Pendragon by D.J. MacHale, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and Atherton by Patrick Carman.

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

Children's Book Week

From May 11-17th, the Children's Book Council (CBC) is sponsoring its 90th annual Children's Book Week. Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs, private homes --- any place where there are children and books. Educators, librarians, booksellers and families have celebrated children's books and the love of reading with storytelling, parties, author and illustrator appearances, and other book-related events.

The CBC has announced the finalists for the second annual Children's Choice Book Awards. The favorite book finalists were determined by close to 15,000 children and teens. Thousands more can cast their votes for their favorite books, authors and illustrators at bookstores, schools, libraries and at until May 3rd. The winners will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Awards gala on May 12th in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week.

-Click here to vote for the Children’s Choice Book Awards.

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

The 2009 E.B. White Read Aloud Short List
On April 6th, the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) announced the short list for this year's E.B. White Read Aloud Awards. Now in its fifth year, the Awards were established to honor titles that reflect universal read-aloud standards, which were created by the works of E.B. White in his classic books for young readers, CHARLOTTE'S WEB, STUART LITTLE and THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN.

The final winners will be selected by ABC booksellers through an online vote, and revealed at the ABC's Not-A-Dinner and (Mostly) Silent Auction on May 29th, during Book Expo America in New York.

Click here to see the short list for the 2009 E.B. White Read Aloud Awards.


Coming Soon: Books Releasing in the Months Ahead

Curious about what books will be released in the months ahead? Then be sure to check out our Coming Soon section on We have titles for May through August listed. Please note that we have not included every book coming out, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.
Click here to see what’s Coming Soon.

Cool New Books for April

April's roundup of Cool New Books includes NEWS FOR DOGS, a sequel to Lois Duncan's HOTEL FOR DOGS that finds Andi, who's no longer running a hotel for dogs, starting a newspaper for dogs; WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE, the fourth installment in Loren Long and Phil Bildner's newly titled Sluggers series (formerly Barnstormers) featuring the return of the Travelin' Nine; JAKE RANSOM AND THE SKULL KING'S SHADOW, James Rollins's first book for young readers, in which the arrival of a mysterious envelope plunges Jake Ransom and his older sister, Kady, into a gripping chain of events; TUMTUM & NUTMEG by Emily Bearn, a delightful peek into the lives of a pair of mice who, in three captivating stories, are called on time and again to save the day; and two picture books --- MOONSHOT and ONE GIANT LEAP --- that celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for April.

April's New in Paperback Roundup

April's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY, the 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; RIVERS OF FIRE, a riveting follow-up to Patrick Carman's ATHERTON: THE HOUSE OF POWER, in which the world collapses and a new danger emerges; THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BAT MITZVAH, Nora Raleigh Baskin's novel about a seventh grader who has a growing interest in her Jewish identity; ELEVEN, a psychological mystery from Patricia Reilly Giff whose main character is a soon-to-be 11-year-old desperate to find out who he really is; and OGGIE COODER by Sarah Weeks, a chapter book that introduces readers to a fourth grader whose talent for charving (the carving and chewing of a piece of cheese with one's teeth) leads him on the path to fame and fortune.

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

This Month's Reviews Reviews:

ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SCIENCE FAIR: A Story of Mystery, Danger, International Suspense, and a Very Nervous Frog by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Grdankl the Strong, president of Kprshtskan, is plotting to take over the American government. His plan is to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School, located in a Maryland suburb just outside Washington. What transpires is a hilarious adventure filled with mystery, suspense and levitating frogs. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

In this sequel to ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN, Timothy Freshwater finds himself keeper of an ancient dragon confined in human form. Numerous obstacles stand in the way as Timothy races to overcome his disappointing past and, with the help of Alex Morningside, free the dragon. Reviewed by Ben Boche.

After collecting a strange parcel from a deserted ship in the fog of the docks and delivering it to the local schoolmaster, Barnaby Grimes soon realizes that all is not well at the school. But is the problem quite as he expects it? RETURN OF THE EMERALD SKULL is a gruesome tale of a school overrun by a terrible curse. Who will survive? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson loves cooking and plans to go to culinary school just as soon as she's old enough. But even Groovy's thoughtfully planned menus won't fix the things that start to go wrong the year she turns 11. Forgiveness and self-confidence intermingle with a memorable setting in Kathryn Fitzmaurice’s debut novel. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

This is an intriguing mystery, complete with adventure, excitement, clues, danger, treasure, puzzles, snooping, friendship, romance, and lots of hysterical humor. Join seventh graders Sophie, Margaret and Rebecca as they stumble into a 20-year-old mystery, where they have to depend on each other, and their brains, to help a new friend. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

CROWS & CARDS by Joseph Helgerson
In 1849, when Zebulon Crabtree turns 12, his father decides it’s time for him to learn a trade. After his folks scrape together enough money, they ship him off to apprentice as a tanner with his Great-Uncle Seth. On the voyage to St. Louis, Zeb meets a fancy riverboat gambler who has other plans for the impressionable young lad. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

TOBY ALONE by Timothee de Fombelle
Thirteen years old and one and a half millimeters tall, Toby Lolness is on the run from his own people throughout the great oak Tree they call home. Toby carries with him the secret of the Tree’s power, and his pursuers will do anything to possess it --- even kill. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE PROBLEM WITH THE PUDDLES written by Kate Feiffer and illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Meet the Puddles: Mr. and Mrs. Puddle, who agree to disagree about nearly everything; their son, Tom; and their daughter, Baby, who has three names because her parents could not agree on one. The Puddles have two dogs, a teacup Chihuahua and a Great Dane, both named Sally. Since Mr. and Mrs. Puddle disagree about so many things, their lives are often filled with confusion and chaos. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

Charlotte Hayes just does not get why everyone adores dogs so much. She doesn't detest them, but she could take or leave them. So it's ironic that she ends up taking care of a Saint Bernard named Killer (Charlotte nicknames him Beauregard). She has a plan that should result in a happy ending for both Charlotte and Beauregard, but she keeps running into one roadblock after another. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read our reviews.


Graphic Novel Reviews:

Kazu Kibuishi begins a new fantasy series in AMULET, BOOK ONE: THE STONEKEEPER. As a young girl and her brother seek to rescue their mother from an evil power, they also try to understand the strange new power that has come their way in the form of the young girl’s necklace. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Benny and Penny sneak into a new neighbor’s garden and accidentally wreck her mudpies, then scurry into the tall grass to hide. The situation descends into mudslinging, literally, but Geoffrey Hayes’s super-cute art and charmingly human characters keep the story light. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

LUKE ON THE LOOSE by Harry Bliss
A bored little boy chases a flock of pigeons through Manhattan and Brooklyn, leaving chaos in his wake, in this energetic slapstick comedy told with a cheery palette and charming details --- including a few winks to the grownups. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

Superman has always been a hero for the ages. This collection proves how true that is, reprinting stories from Superman's decades of comics history, all taking place in various points in the time stream. The Man of Steel translates in any period he finds himself in, thankfully. Reviewed by David Serchay.

Manga Review:

Vidia has never quite fit in with the rest of the Never Fairies in Pixie Hollow. But when she is framed for a crime she never committed, she will stop at nothing to clear her name. This manga is a delightful East/West amalgamation based upon the Disney Fairies franchise. Reviewed by Casey Brienza.

-Click here to read all our graphic novel and manga reviews.


Poll and Question: Bookish Conversations with Friends


Do you talk about books with your friends?

Yes, all the time
Yes, sometimes

No, I never talk about books with friends.
No, but I would like to do this

-Click here to answer the poll.


Name the last book (okay, you can tell us up to three titles since we know you will not be able to contain yourself to one) that you read that you just couldn't stop talking about.

-Click here to answer the question.


Remember to be safe online. NEVER tell anyone personal information --- which includes your real name, age, address, phone number or school. Hey, pretend you are undercover when you go online and protect yourself at all times!

Keep reading!

Booker T. Worm and Friends
The Book Report Network
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New York, New York 10107