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Early October 2010 Newsletter for Parents Early October 2010

What Did the Tree Say to the Wind?

LEAF Me Alone!!!

This week, we moved servers for our websites, which is always an experience that sounds easier than it is. It’s always a bit tougher than copy/move, files/paste. As a result, some things were not working quite right, and there were a few hours that you might not have been able to “find us” during the week. We hope to have our poll page fixed as quickly as possible, so your kids can let us know their thoughts on Halloween costumes. First, we're trying to figure out why it is not performing right! We apologize for the lateness of this newsletter, and we thank you in advance for your patience.

Now on to the update…

The leaves are falling, school is in full swing, and summer is a memory. The cool breeze that's been blowing here in New York City has been pretty nice. Autumn is a great season for everyone to read --- who wouldn't want to find a big tree, sit under it, and crack open a great book? And has some fabulous recommendations for your kids!


There are two books in stores now that everyone has been anxiously awaiting. The first, RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke, is a slightly darker fairy tale. In it, Jacob Reckless must search for a cure for his brother Will's disease that is slowly turning him to stone. If your child has been reading, they'll know about the videos that Cornelia did specifically talking to readers. If they missed them, click here. The second BIG book is INTO THE GAUNTLET, the final installment in The 39 Clues series, in which Amy and Dan Cahill must face the truth about their family. Are they ready for the key that will grant them ultimate power?

In our special feature spotlight is TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord. When Tess's family takes in Aaron, a foster child, it becomes clear that he has a special talent for music. But his birth mother reconnects with him, and Aaron doesn't know what to do. Should he stay with Tess's family, or seek out his mother? We have been hearing raves for TOUCH BLUE.

If you are in need of a family movie night, you've probably seen that Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is currently in theaters. This 3D adventure is based on the first three installments of Kathryn Lasky's beloved series, The Guardians of Ga’Hoole, in which our brave little owlet Soren tries to outwit evil and escape the treacherous talons of the Pure Ones. Click here to learn more about it.

There's also a super funny picture book out called IT'S A BOOK, and we have an interview with the author, Caldecott Honor recipient Lane Smith. It’s about a book-loving monkey, a tech-savvy donkey and a straight-talking mouse, and it reminds us that in the end, whether we’re talking about a Kindle, a Nook, an iPad, or a Book, it's still a book, and we love to read. The last page has become a bit controversial; let's just say we did warn you.

Also in stores is THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA by Spiderwick Chronicles co-author Tony DiTerlizzi, the story of Eva's quest for humanity in a futuristic world; BINK AND GOLLIE, Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee’s introduction to two precocious little girls who are the very best of friends; and THE FENCES BETWEEN US by Kirby Larson, the first Dear America book in five years.

Two more installments are out in R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps HorrorLand series, just in time for the scariest season: WEIRDO HALLOWEEN and THE WIZARD OF OOZE. THE PECULIAR PUMPKIN THIEF by Geronimo Stilton is also in stores, and it's the perfect read for after you and your family have carved your pumpkins and set them outside to scare off would-be thieves. And if you're looking for more spooktastic titles for your children, check out our 2010 Halloween Roundup here.

Our latest Cool New Books feature includes such standout titles as GUYS READ, a funny collection of short stories from big-name authors like Eoin Colfer, Jeff Kinney and Jon Scieszka (a few of us heard Eoin and Jon talk about this at an event a few weeks ago; more on that in a bit); THE ODIOUS OGRE, a picture book by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer (of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH fame), and OLIVIA GOES TO VENICE, the hyperactive piglet’s first escapade in three years. Featured titles in our New in Paperback roundup include THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU, the third book in Pseudonymous Bosch’s Secret series; A WHOLE NOTHER STORY, as told by Dr. Cuthbert Soup; and THE SOLDIERS OF HALLA, the conclusion to D.J. MacHale’s Pendragon series.

We’re also reviewing a number of outstanding books, so you'll definitely want to read about THE CROSSBONES, Patrick Carman’s third Skeleton Creek novel; BLAST FROM THE PAST, Meg Cabot’s latest book featuring Allie Finkle; and THE DANGER BOX, an all-new mystery from CHASING VERMEER author Blue Balliett.

We got out and celebrated the latest Artemis Fowl release, THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX, earlier in the month at the first stop on Eoin Colfer's Artemis Rocks! Tour. My younger son, Cory, and his friend Josh had been humored by Eoin in the past, and this time was just more of the same. You can see a photo of me with Artemis above with both of us looking super-spy-like. If you missed the tour, you can see some video clips of it here.

And lastly, we still want you to weigh in on our Redesign Survey, which closes on October 15th, so if you have about 10 minutes to spare, give us a hand by taking our survey and answering some questions about various aspects of the site. We want to know what you think!

Bring on October....with its own kind of spoooooky fun. Ever notice how the weather and the creeping in darkness around Halloween is just right for trick or treating? Seriously, it would not work in the heat of summer. Something else pretty cool about fall.


So get out there with your kids and enjoy the weather with one of these great reads!

Carol Fitzgerald for

Now in Stores: RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke

RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke

Once upon a time, Jacob Reckless searched through a fantastical mirror world for a cure for his brother Will’s disease that was slowly turning him to stone. Most fairy tales would have someone or something that could help. As fairy tales go, however, there is no happy ending this time. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

here to watch nine-year-old Harper interview Cornelia Funke.


Click here to read a review of RECKLESS.


Now in Stores: The Final 39 Clues Book

THE 39 CLUES, Book Ten: INTO THE GAUNTLET by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Throughout the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan Cahill have uncovered history's greatest mysteries and their family's deadliest secrets. But are they ready to face the truth about the Cahills and the key to their unmatched power? After a whirlwind race that's taken them across five continents, Amy and Dan face the most difficult challenge yet --- a task no Cahill dared to imagine. When faced with a choice that could change the future of the world, can two kids succeed where 500 years worth of famous ancestors failed?

-Click here to read an excerpt from INTO THE GAUNTLET.


Click here to read a review of INTO THE GAUNTLET.


New Special Feature: TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord

TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord
“Why take chances?” asks 11-year-old Tess Brooks. “Especially when it’s so easy to let the universe know what you want by touching blue or turning around three times or crossing your fingers.”

But Tess is coming to know that it’s not always that simple. The state of Maine plans to shut down her island’s schoolhouse, which would force Tess’s family to move to the mainland --- and Tess to leave the only home she has ever known. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan, too: increase the number of students by having several families take in foster children. So now Tess and her family are taking a chance on Aaron, a 13-year-old trumpet player who has been bounced from home to home. And Tess needs a plan of her own --- and all the luck she can muster. Will Tess’s wish come true, or will her luck run out?

-Click here to read an excerpt from TOUCH BLUE.
-Click here to read Cynthia Lord’s bio.
-Visit Cynthia Lord’s official website,


Click here to read a review of TOUCH BLUE.


Books into Movies: Now Featuring Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Fall is finally here, so why not celebrate the start of the new season with a trip to the movies? Director Zach Snyder’s highly anticipated Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole has finally hit theaters, making this a great time for family excitement and some 3-D fun. Based on the first three installments of Kathryn Lasky’s beloved series, Legend of the Guardians brings the exploits of the adventure-seeking Soren to life, following this brave little owlet as he tries to outwit evil and escape the treacherous talons of the Pure Ones. So go grab your scarves and hold on to your hats, because this action-packed flick is one that you definitely won’t want to miss.

Click here for more details about Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.


An Interview with Lane Smith, Author of IT'S A BOOK

Caldecott Honor recipient Lane Smith is wooing audiences once again with his most recent illustrated work, IT’S A BOOK, a story about a book-loving monkey, a tech-savvy donkey and a straight-talking mouse that reminds readers of all ages just why they became bookworms in the first place. In this interview, Smith talks about his inspiration for his latest tale and the books that influenced him as a child, weighing in on the debate over the perks of technology and the importance of print, and sharing a few of his favorite authors. He also addresses some of the controversies that have surrounded his picture books, speculates on why grown-ups are always underestimating kids, and muses on how being torn between three states has affected his work.

IT'S A BOOK written and illustrated by Lane Smith

In this playful and lighthearted picture book sure to tickle readers of all ages, a patient monkey tries to read while his progressive yet clueless donkey buddy struggles to figure out what a nonelectronic gadget called a "book" might possibly have going for it. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of IT’S A BOOK.

Click here to read an interview with Lane Smith.

Now in Stores: THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA by Tony DiTerlizzi


When the Sanctuary where Eva Nine has lived all 12 years of her life is destroyed, she must learn to survive in the outside world. Outside is nothing like she has been taught to expect, and much of the technology she depends upon no longer works. With little more than a photograph showing a picture of a human, a robot and a child, and bearing the mysterious letters “WondLa,” Eva embarks on a quest with her new friends to discover where she is, who she is, and if there are any other humans left in her world. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA.


Click here to read a review of THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA.


Now in Stores: BINK AND GOLLIE by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

BINK AND GOLLIE written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

In these three irresistibly good-natured and high-spirited tales, best friends Bink and Gollie share their exploits with each other and with young readers. We join them as they attain new socks, compromise (or not), journey to the Andes Mountains, welcome a goldfish into a new home, and --- most of all --- celebrate a joyous friendship. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Click here to read a review of BINK AND GOLLIE.


Now in Stores: DEAR AMERICA: THE FENCES BETWEEN US by Kirby Larson

DEAR AMERICA: THE FENCES BETWEEN US: The Diary of Piper Davis - Seattle, Washington, 1941 by Kirby Larson

Before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Piper Davis was a normal girl. But now her brother is stationed in the Pacific, and her brother-in-law is fighting in Europe. To make matters worse, her father’s congregation gets interned, and she has to move to Idaho. But with the help of a new friend named Betty, Piper realizes the importance of these events --- and that she has to write them down. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Click here to read a review of DEAR AMERICA: THE FENCES BETWEEN US.

Series Feature Updates: Goosebumps HorrorLand and Geronimo Stilton


Chris and his twin Meg have a problem --- a problem named Weirdo, a smelly, pink alien who won’t leave them alone. And when hundreds of other aliens start invading their town, the twins are forced to use the HorrorLand souvenir. But will it save or hurt them? Suddenly Chris and Meg find themselves sucked back into HorrorLand on a terrifying Halloween adventure inside the mysterious park. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


While visiting HorrorLand, Marco Gonzales and Gabriella Smith discover a rare edition of The Wizard of Ooze, a popular graphic novel series, inside Jonathan Chiller’s creepy store. But when Marco finds instructions on how to gain super powers on the back of the comic, things go horribly wrong. Some unsavory characters want the book for themselves, making Marco wish he really had those powers. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


-Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature --- with updated trivia and characters.


Halloween is a few days away when all of the pumpkins in New Mouse City disappear! There's a thief on the loose, and the thief wants to stop Halloween. At the same time, all of the mice in New Mouse City receive an invitation for a free trip to the brand new Mystery Mouse Theme Park. Geronimo knows something strange is going on, but will he and his detective friend Hercule Poirat be able to solve the mystery in time to save Halloween? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read a review of THE PECULIAR PUMPKIN THIEF.

-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature --- with updated trivia and characters.'s 2010 Halloween Roundup

Autumn is finally here! While you’ve been busy picking and carving pumpkins, choosing the creepiest Halloween costumes, and deciding which candy you want to devour, we at have been stirring up a witches’ brew of this season’s most spook-tacular stories. Look into our bubbling cauldron, and you’ll see tales of howling ghosts, sinister schools, haunted houses, and even vampires! We hope you enjoy drinking up all of our spine-tingling suggestions (with the lights on, of course).


Click here to read our 2010 Halloween feature. is Getting a Makeover --- and We Want YOUR Input! is getting a new look this fall! We are conducting a survey of our readers to find out what changes and updates you would like to see as we redesign the site. After reading your answers to our 2009 Reader Survey about what you like on, we are coming back to you with more in-depth questions that will help us give you, the readers, what you are looking for.

We estimate that it will take about 10 minutes to complete the survey.

Both kids and adults are invited to weigh in and tell us what they think will make even better. If you know of other readers who may be interested in responding to this survey, we ask that you forward this link to them. The more input we get, the better will be. Anyone who completes the survey will be eligible to enter a drawing to win a $25 gift card to the bookstore of his or her choice. Five gift cards will be awarded at random.

The survey will close on Friday, October 15th at 11:59PM ET.

-Click here for more information about the survey.



Click here to take the Redesign Survey.


Cool New Books for September

September’s roundup of Cool New Books includes RECKLESS, the highly anticipated new novel from Cornelia Funke, who was inspired by the Brothers Grimm to create a world filled with danger, mystery and magic, with fairy tales and legends reimagined as never before; BINK AND GOLLIE, a chapter book by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee that introduces readers to two precocious little girls who are the very best of friends; GUYS READ, a sidesplitting collection of short stories from such big names as Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Jeff Kinney and Jon Scieszka; THE ODIOUS OGRE, a picture book that reunites Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, the author and illustrator of the 1961 classic THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH; and updates to such popular series as Dear America (which returns after a five–year absence), Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, Skeleton Creek, Olivia (the hyperactive piglet’s first escapade in three years) and The Edge Chronicles (the 10th and final tale in the sequence).

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


September's New in Paperback Roundup

September’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning tale of an unusual boy who is the only living resident of a graveyard; THE SOLDIERS OF HALLA, the breathtaking conclusion to D.J. MacHale’s Pendragon series, in which Bobby Pendragon and his fellow Travelers must join forces one last desperate time; THE PORCUPINE YEAR, which completes the trilogy based on the life of an Ojibwe girl and her family that began with THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE and continued with THE GAME OF SILENCE; THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU, the third book from Pseudonymous Bosch that sees our intrepid heroes facing off against an evil dessert chef and chocolatier; and A WHOLE NOTHER STORY, as told by (the one and only) Dr. Cuthbert Soup, who chronicles the madcap adventures of Ethan Cheeseman and his children as they’re being chased by international super spies, top secret government agents, and a genius monkey.

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


This Month's Reviews Reviews:


Strange things always happen in Skeleton Creek, and when they do, Ryan writes them down, and Sarah captures them on video. But now the spookiness is spreading, and this time the mystery is going to take them far beyond the Creek itself…into places both unexpectedly sinister and spine-chillingly haunted. Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts.


Allie is excited about her class field trip. Sure, it’s to a one-room schoolhouse, but at least she gets to ride the bus. But when Mrs. Hunter announces that every student has been assigned a buddy, Allie finds herself stuck next to Mary Kay, the ex-best friend who betrayed her right before she moved. Can Allie survive this blast from the past, or is it time to make some new rules? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BLAST FROM THE PAST.

THE DANGER BOX by Blue Balliett

A boy in a small town who has a different way of seeing things. A mischievous girl who won't stay in one place. A mysterious notebook. A fire. A stranger. A death. These are some of the things you’ll find inside THE DANGER BOX, a new mystery by bestselling author Blue Balliett. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

RADIANCE by Alyson Noël

Twelve-year-old Riley Bloom feels cheated out of life when she died in a car accident. She lingered on the earth plane for quite a while, watching her older sister, Ever, live her life and peaking in on some of her favorite celebrities. When she finally crosses over the bridge to the next phase of her existence, Riley has trouble adjusting to the afterlife. So she jumps at the chance for an assignment --- to return to earth as a Soul Catcher. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE SMOKY CORRIDOR: A Haunted Places Mystery by Chris Grabenstein

Zack is starting at a new school --- a school with a haunted janitor’s closet, the specter of a dead crossing guard, and the ghosts of two brothers who perished in a suspicious fire. But there’s also an evil zombie lurking, whose bites turn living people into living dead. Can Zack deal with midterms, monsters and a friend who’s put him on their menu? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

THE CASE OF THE GYPSY GOOD-BYE: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer

Enola’s brother Sherlock has been searching for her --- he’s come across a message from their long-lost mother, one that only Enola can decipher. Now Sherlock and their brother Mycroft must follow her into London’s reeking tunnels to solve a triple mystery: What has happened to their mother and Lady Blanchefleur? And what do they have to do with Mycroft, who holds Enola’s future in his hands? Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

THE GRIMM LEGACY by Polly Shulman

Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library --- a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime --- or captured by the thief. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.


The final book in the fascinating Magic Thief trilogy has thief-turned-wizard Conn leaving the city of Wellmet in desperate search of a locus magicalicus, a stone with which to perform his magic and save the city from a perilous enemy who is approaching. What Conn finds at the end of his journey --- a long-forgotten, magical being out of myth and legend --- will change his life and his city forever. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.

Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy, Henry, Evie, Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class, bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

MY LIFE AS A BOOK written by Janet Tashjian and cartoons by Jake Tashjian

Derek Fallon wants to spend his summer doing anything and everything but reading. When his parents sign him up for learning camp, he thinks his life is over. Derek learns, though, that the best adventures are found in the most unexpected places, especially when a mystery needs to be solved. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Graphic Novel Reviews:


Caveboys Ook and Gluk have a pretty awesome life growing up together in Caveland, Ohio, in 500,001 BC --- even though they’re always getting in trouble with their nasty leader, Big Chief Goppernopper. But Ook and Gluk’s idyllic life takes a turn for the terrible when an evil corporation from the future invades their quiet, prehistoric town. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

CARS: RALLY RACE written by Alan J. Porter and Mark Cooper, illustrated by Allen Gladfelter, Magic Eye Studios and Travis Hill

Alan Porter returns with an all-new, never-before-seen original adventure with your favorite Disney/Pixar’s THE WORLD OF CARS characters, as Lightning McQueen organizes a Radiator Springs rally race to raise money for his favorite charity…but finds some of his old rivals are feeling somewhat less than charitable! Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

Manhwa Review:

ONE FINE DAY, Volume 2 written and illustrated by Sirial

With No-Ah's childhood friend/tormenter added to the mix, all sorts of new adventures are brewing at the green-roofed house. Nanai the dog, Guru the cat, and Rang the mouse have cooked up even more fun this time around: visiting the library, searching for treasure --- and tailing Rang on her first date?! Reviewed by Danica Davidson.


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!

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