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December 2010 Newsletter for Parents December 2010

Happy Holidays from!

In a few short days it'll officially be 2011! If you're still scratching your head about what you think your kids might want for the holidays, just keep reading and you'll be sure to find something that will spark their interest.

In stores now is HERO by Mike Lupica, about a young boy who is bullied at school and whose father recently died, but must come to terms with some incredible powers to become a hero. THE FIVE FAKIRS OF FAIZABAD, the sixth book in P.B. Kerr's Children of the Lamp series, is also available. In it, siblings John and Philippa Gaunt are ready to take the backseat when it comes to magic. Life should be normal now as their mom has given up her djinn powers. But in the face of a new threat, can they make it without her magic?

We also don't want you to miss BEAUTY & THE BEAST: A Pop-Up Adaptation of the Classic Tale by famed paper engineer Robert Sabuda. This classic favorite takes a new and exciting three-dimensional direction in this pop-up masterpiece.

To celebrate the end of 2010, we asked our reviewers what their favorite books of the year were. Take a look at their selections and see which ones your children have read or might be interested in reading. Also, we've compiled a list of all the author interviews we posted throughout the year. What an impressive lineup! And to wrap up the year, we're curious about how many books your children read in 2010. (We hope the number is high!). Click here to vote in our poll.

Heading to the movies with your family? Then you may want to check out Gulliver's Travels, a contemporary take on Jonathan Swift's enduring classic, which is sure to make a splash on the big screen when it releases on Christmas Day.

We continue to feature ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY by Dr. Cuthbert Soup. Fans of A WHOLE NOTHER STORY will love to read about the Cheeseman family as they find themselves ending an ancient family curse to save their mother, traveling through stormy seas and haunted castles. We feel honored to have had the chance to chat with Dr. Soup again. Take a look at our interview, and don't miss our review and an excerpt.

There's a new Goosebumps HorrorLand book out called SLAPPY NEW YEAR!, so check out our series feature update where new trivia awaits you and your kids!

We’ve also prepared an essential What to Give, What to Get Gift Guide that truly does have something for everyone --- from Justin Bieber's autobiography, to HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ, for tots still sorting out their letters. And if you’re looking for the perfect reads to stay in the holiday spirit, our Holiday Books roundup is sure to do the trick.

December's Cool New Books roundup includes SPHDZ Book #2!, the second installment of Jon Scieszka's Spaceheadz series, and LUNCH LADY AND THE BAKE SALE BANDIT, Jarrett J. Krosoczka's latest graphic novel featuring the crime-fighting cafeteria worker. A highlight of our New in Paperback feature this month is WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead, a thought-provoking and compelling novel in which four mysterious letters change a sixth-grader’s world forever.

As for reviews, we're featuring a classic that we highly recommend your children read if they haven't yet: LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE: 75th Anniversary Edition, a gorgeous new hardcover edition with full-color illustrations and a timeless story.

Enjoy the holidays, and have a Happy New Year! We'll see you in 2011!

Carol Fitzgerald for


Now in Stores: HERO by Mike Lupica

HERO by Mike Lupica

Billy Harriman is trying to keep it together. His father recently died in a mysterious plane crash, he’s having trouble with a bully at school, and a strange man tells him he possesses magic. The magic turns out to be incredible powers, and Billy finds himself in an impossible role --- hero. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HERO.


Click here to read a review of HERO.



THE FIVE FAKIRS OF FAIZABAD: Children of the Lamp, Book 6 by P.B. Kerr

Now that their mother has given up her djinn powers, John and Philippa Gaunt are ready for their lives to return to normal. But when the world’s luck changes, they’re drawn into another mystery. The key to the world’s fate lies with five fakirs who were buried alive, but there’s an evil djinn desperate to dig up secrets. Can the twins face him without their mother’s magic? Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

Click here to read a review of THE FIVE FAKIRS OF FAIZABAD.


Don't Miss: BEAUTY & THE BEAST: A Pop-Up Adaptation of the Classic Tale, by Robert Sabuda

BEAUTY & THE BEAST: A Pop-Up Adaptation of the Classic Tale by Robert Sabuda

True love blooms in this three-dimensional adaptation of a beloved fairy tale. Amazing paper structures and classically styled artwork lead readers through a magical tale. Magnificent pop-ups of a life-like Beast, a mysterious castle and a spectacular rose garden make this all-new pop-up masterpiece a must-have. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to read a review of BEAUTY & THE BEAST: A Pop-Up Adaptation of the Classic Tale. Reviewers Pick Their Favorite Books of 2010

Recently, we asked our reviewers to provide us with a list of some of their favorite books from 2010. Though it was difficult to narrow down, each reviewer chose up to 10 books that he or she enjoyed the most this year. Take a look and see if any of their selections match yours --- and which titles you may want to consider reading in the future. Please note that due to personal and professional commitments, some reviewers were not able to participate in this feature.

Click here to see our reviewers' favorite books of 2010.'s Author Interviews of 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, we invite you to take a look at the author interviews that were featured throughout the year on This is a great way to catch up on the discussions you may have missed --- and to re-read what some of your favorite authors had to say about their books.

Click here to see our roundup of 2010 interviews.


In Theaters December 25th: Gulliver's Travels

If you’re looking for some 3D fun this holiday season, then our Books into Movies feature is here to help. We’re currently spotlighting Gulliver’s Travels, giving bookworms and theatergoers alike the gift of an exciting adventure infused with a long-time favorite. A contemporary take on Jonathan Swift’s enduring classic, the film will be making a splash on the big screen beginning Christmas Day. Join Jack Black as he adds his own special brand of humor to the legacy of Lemuel Gulliver, who makes his way from the mail room of a New York newspaper to the fantastical land of Lilliput. There, Gulliver will find new friends, fight battles and learn what it really means to be a giant among men. So be sure to check it out, because this is a tall tale you definitely won’t want to miss!

Click here to read more about Gulliver's Travels.


Special Feature: ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

The devious Dr. Cuthbert Soup is back with ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY, a whole 'nother book of misadventures ---- and unsolicited advice --- that follows Ethan Cheeseman and his slightly less smelly kids as they combat stormy seas and haunted castles to save Mrs. Cheeseman from an untimely fate. In this interview with's Melanie Smith, Dr. Soup spills the beans on his series, elaborating on how the success of A WHOLE NOTHER STORY has changed his life and revealing his plans for even more ridiculous novels. He also shares his thoughts on why readers seem to love this eccentric bunch of characters, speculates on Ethan's theories of time, and explains the curse of the White Gold Chalice --- and why you should never, ever cross paths with a Viking.

The plan was simple. Ethan Cheeseman, along with his three smart, polite and relatively odor-free children, would travel back in time to end an ancient family curse and save their mother. Now that the LVR (a super-secret time machine) is in working order, it should be easy peasy. Except they didn’t account for one basic rule of science: Murphy’s Law, where everything that possibly could go wrong, does. So the Cheeseman family finds themselves on another madcap adventure, this time through stormy seas and haunted castles. And though their narrator, Dr. Soup, has a ton of unsolicited advice to offer young readers, he doesn’t have much to say to help the Cheesemans, except this one thing: Good luck!

-Click here to read a review of ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY.
-Click here to read Dr. Cuthbert Soup’s bio.

-Visit the official website of the series,


Click here to read our interview with Dr. Cuthbert Soup.


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


Ray Gordon wants to try out all the scariest rides at HorrorLand. His brother, Brandon, is scared of everything --- even the wooden dummy named Slappy that Ray gets at Jonathan Chiller’s gift shop. There’s something evil about Slappy, so Ray’s parents make him stop using it to scare Brandon. But strange things keep happening to his younger brother… Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

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

Click here to read a review of SLAPPY NEW YEAR!


What to Give, What to Get: A Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

We’ve created a special "What to Give, What to Get" Guide with you in mind --- it’s just for kids! We have books that we know you’ll love to unwrap this season, so check it out. We’re sure you’ll end up spotting a title or two that you can add to YOUR holiday list.

Click here to see our "What to Give, What to Get" Gift Guide for kids.'s 2010 Holiday Books Roundup

As the weather gets colder and the snow begins to fall, we at have been busy making a list of some of the best holiday books of the season and checking it twice. What better time than the holidays to share the gift of reading with someone you love? From retellings of favorite Christmas classics to new tales about a robotic Santa, spinning dreidels, and unique present-making, we are sure that these titles will warm up your insides quicker than a mug of hot chocolate!

Click here to see this year's roundup of holiday books.

Cool New Books for December

December's roundup of Cool New Books includes ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY by Dr. Cuthbert Soup, the hilariously funny sequel to A WHOLE NOTHER STORY, in which the relatively odor-free Cheesemans travel back in time to save their mother from an untimely fate; SPHDZ Book #2!, the second installment of Jon Scieszka’s Spaceheadz series, which finds Michael K. and his alien friends trying to accomplish yet another grueling mission --- and pass off as turkeys in their school’s Thanksgiving play; and LUNCH LADY AND THE BAKE SALE BANDIT, Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s latest graphic novel, which follows the Lunch Lady and the Breakfast Bunch as they do their best to determine who’s been sabotaging their bake sales --- and save money for the most awesome field trip ever.

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


December's New in Paperback Roundup

December's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead, the story of a sixth-grader who has to unlock the secret behind a series of mysterious notes while navigating the dangers of New York City life; THE FOURTH APPRENTICE, the first installment of Erin Hunter’s new story arc in the Warriors series, Omen of the Stars, which follows Jayfeather and Lionblaze as they search for the sign from the StarClan that will fulfill an ancient prophecy --- and let them hold the power of the stars in their paws; DIAL M FOR MONGOOSE by Bruce Hale, a tale of stink bombs, missing money and nasty bullies featuring Chet Gecko, the world’s best cold-blooded detective; and WILLIAM S. AND THE GREAT ESCAPE, Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s story of four runaways whose trip to their aunt’s house doesn’t go exactly as planned.

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


This Month's Reviews

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE: 75th Anniversary Edition written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and illustrated by Garth Williams
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder's timeless classic, this gorgeous new hardcover edition features Garth Williams's charming illustrations in vibrant full color. For anyone who has ever read and loved LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE --- and for those who have yet to discover Laura's world --- this is a volume to cherish. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Four kids have been chosen to find the tastiest confection in the country. So who will invent a candy that’s better than the Neon Lightning Chew? Will it be Logan, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch? Miles, who’s allergic to the color pink? Daisy, who can lift a 50-pound taffy like it’s a feather? Or Philip, who’s always scribbling in a secret notebook? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE RISE AND FALL OF MOUNT MAJESTIC written by Jennifer Trafton and illustrated by Brett Helquist
Persimmony Smudge leads a dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything…until she overhears a life-changing secret. The moving mountain in the middle of the island is actually the belly of a sleeping giant, and now Persimmony and her friend Worvil the Worrier have to convince everyone --- including the silly Rumblebumps, the impeccable Leafeaters and the stubborn king. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE STEPS ACROSS THE WATER written by Adam Gopnik and illustrated by Bruce McCall
The steps across the water beckon Rose to cross and enter the fantastical city of U Nork, which is hidden somewhere in New York. When she enters the city, she discovers that U Nork is in danger of being destroyed, and it’s up to her to save the day. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

GROUNDED by Kate Klise
After most of her family dies in a plane crash, Daralynn Oakland receives 237 dolls, earning her the nickname “Dolly.” But dolls can’t help her deal with dramatic changes, including her mother’s new job as a hairstylist at a funeral home. Dolly gets a job, too…and has to save a business, solve a mystery, and revive the broken hearts of Digginsville, Missouri. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

Thirteen-year-old Hayaat is a Palestinian girl living on the West Bank in Bethlehem. Her best friend Samy is a teenage Christian boy. The lives of both teens have been touched by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although fearful of soldiers who patrol the area, they embark on a dangerous journey to bring back cherished soil from Jerusalem for Hayaat’s ailing grandmother. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Lucy knew Lob was there, from the way she felt inside: There was a sparking of mischief in her head, and she wanted to be everywhere at once. Her parents don’t believe in Lob, but Lucy’s Grandpa Will says you have to be a special person to see him. And when she sees the Green Man in Grandpa’s garden, Lucy knows he’s real --- now and forever! Reviewed by Carole Turner.

Graphic Novel Reviews:

ROBOT CITY ADVENTURES written and illustrated by Paul Collicutt
The Robot City stories are good old-fashioned futuristic yarns with a modern attitude, in which robots and humans work side by side, and the humans don't always get the last word. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

RIP M.D. written by Mitch Schauer; illustrated by Mike Vosburg, Michael Lessa and Justin Yamaguchi
Rip is a weird kid who’s obsessed with the dark side of life (and death). Luckily for him, he lives next to a cemetery, so he has plenty of opportunities to feed his bizarre interest. He stalks the grounds every night (careful to be in by curfew, because when his parents get mad, then he’s really scared) looking for otherworldly figures. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Manga Review:

CHI’S SWEET HOME, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Kanata Konami
Chi is a mischievous newborn kitten who, while on a leisurely stroll with her family, finds herself lost. Overcome with loneliness, she breaks into tears in a large urban park meadow when she’s suddenly rescued by a young boy named Yohei and his mother. The kitty is then quickly and quietly whisked away into the warm and inviting Yamada family apartment...where pets are strictly not permitted. Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.


This Month's Poll: How Bookish Were You in 2010?

How many books did you read in 2010?





More than 100


I'm not sure.

Click here to answer the poll.


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