Skip to main content

Early April 2008 Newsletter

Early April 2008

What's New on

Sailing Away With Books

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

The Debut Titles from TOON Books --- Comics to Get Young Children Reading!

Now in Stores: RANGER'S APPRENTICE Book Four: The Battle for Skandia, by John Flanagan

Now in Stores: STEEL TRAPP: THE CHALLENGE by Ridley Pearson

Now in Stores: STORM: THE INFINITY CODE by E. L. Young

Books into Movies: Nim's Island

Don't Miss: DON'T BUMP THE GLUMP! And Other Fantasies, by Shel Silverstein

Series Update: Rotten School by R.L. Stine

Coming Soon: Books Releasing in the Months Ahead

Cool New Books for March

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

Poll: Book Discussions with Friends

Question of the Month: Books You Can't Keep to Yourself

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

Sailing Away With Books

Ahoy! Next week, my family and I will be on the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), a humongous ship/ocean liner headed to London. The people who run this line do not like to call it a boat. I must remember this. The ship is like its own city: you can go to a movie theater, eat at a bunch of different restaurants, swim in THREE different pools --- even get a haircut! AND...they have a library with 6,000 books in it. Some towns do not have libraries that big! It’s a good thing there’s a lot to do because the rooms (called “cabins” on a ship) are tiny. When I need a break from exploring the ship, I will have lots of books packed in my suitcase that I can read --- and if I run out, there always is that library. I picture myself on a deck chair reading unless a storm blows in!

Sailing on a ship will be a big adventure for my sons. Some other kids who have a big adventure are the four siblings in Lois Lowry’s newest book, THE WILLOUGHBYS. When their parents abandon them (much to the children’s delight), old-fashioned fun begins. If this sounds like a book you’d enjoy, you’re in luck --- is giving away 25 copies! Click here for all the contest details. By the way, I met Lois Lowry at a lunch a few months ago and we had a lot of fun talking about this book. SHE did the drawings, as well as the writing, and had a lot of fun doing that. She even showed us the drawing that inspired the book. I love to hear where authors get their inspiration!

I know a lot of you are big fans of graphic novels. Last night, I met Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman, who have developed a new line of comics for young kids called TOON Books. These books are beautifully designed and such fun to read. You can see an interview with Francoise here, and then click here to read a review of their first three books. We will have more about graphic novels for you in the months to come!

My reading recommendations this month are kooky, scary and fantastical. In the kooky category, Bernie Bridges returns in three new Rotten School books by R.L. Stine. For slightly scary titles, check out STEEL TRAPP: THE CHALLENGE by Ridley Pearson and STORM: THE INFINITY CODE by E. L. Young. Both feature kids involved in the murky political underworld. Will they be able to save the day? Fantasy fans, I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting the fourth Ranger’s Apprentice book. Your wait is over! THE BATTLE FOR SKANDIA is on shelves now, and it’s packed with more magical action. With all these great books to choose from, I’ll have to pack carefully for the trip to London!

I don’t know what movies they’ll be showing on the QE2, but I hope one of them is Nim’s Island, based on the book by Wendy Orr. You can read more about this film in our Books into Movies feature. Also, check out our roundup of Cool New Books, see what’s New in Paperback and read our most recent reviews.

If you’re reading this newsletter, you probably love to read books. But do you talk about books with your friends? Let us know by answering our poll and question. I know I’ll chat with at least one person on my trip about what they’re reading!

Next week you have a double dose of April goodness: National Poetry Month continues (Shel Silverstein anyone?), and National Library Week is April 13th through 19th. Hooray for reading!

Wish me bon voyage and good luck (I’ll be going the same route as the Titanic on the 96th anniversary of the iceberg-induced sinking --- gulp!!). See you later this month (hopefully) and happy reading.

Carol Fitzgerald for


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, is awarding 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book.

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.


The Debut Titles from TOON Books --- Comics to Get Young Children Reading!

New Yorker art editor Francoise Mouly and her husband, acclaimed cartoonist Art Spiegelman, recently launched TOON Books, a new line of comics designed for children ages four and up. Its inaugural titles, now available in stores, are BENNY AND PENNY IN JUST PRETEND, SILLY LILLY AND THE FOUR SEASONS and OTTO'S ORANGE DAY. In an interview with Contributing Editor John Hogan, Mouly describes how her son, a reluctant reader, inspired the idea for this line and explains the benefits of these comics over conventional picture books. She also discusses how the books will be incorporated into school reading programs, shares some of the feedback they've received from teachers and librarians, and muses on the constantly changing attitudes toward comics.

-Click here to read a review of the TOON Books debut titles.

Click here to read our interview with Francoise Mouly about TOON Books.


Now in Stores: RANGER'S APPRENTICE Book Four: The Battle for Skandia, by John Flanagan

RANGER'S APPRENTICE Book Four: The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan
Still far from their homeland after escaping slavery in the icebound land of Skandia, Will and Evanlyn's plans to return to Araluen are spoiled when Evanlyn is taken captive by a Temujai warrior. Though still weakened by the warmweed's toxic effects, Will employs his Ranger training to locate his friend, but an enemy scouting party has him fatally outnumbered. Will is certain death is close at hand, until Halt and Horace make a daring, last-minute rescue. The reunion is cut short, however, when Halt makes a horrifying discovery. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BATTLE FOR SKANDIA.

Click here to read a review of THE BATTLE FOR SKANDIA.


Now in Stores: STEEL TRAPP: THE CHALLENGE by Ridley Pearson

Fourteen-year-old Steven “Steel” Trapp is on a train bound for the National Science Competition in Washington, D.C. While his ingenious mind and photographic memory earned him the right to participate in the Challenge, he has no idea that his talents are about to lure him into an international espionage adventure involving the FBI. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Click here to read a review of STEEL TRAPP: THE CHALLENGE.


Now in Stores: STORM: THE INFINITY CODE by E. L. Young

STORM is the name of an ambitious organization formed by three brainiac kids whose mission is to combat global strife. When the group uncovers a plot to create a deadly revolutionary weapon, the teens race from England to Russia, determined not only to find and dismantle the weapon, but to confront the psychopathic scientist behind it all. Reviewed by Brian Farrey.


Click here to read a review of STORM: THE INFINITY CODE.


Books into Movies: Nim's Island

That summer beach vacation we've been dreaming of all winter long is coming a full season early this year with the release of the big-screen adaptation of Wendy Orr's modern tale of survival, Nim's Island. Join Nim on her tropical adventure as she attempts to save both her missing father and the secret island where they live, with the help of her unlikely literary hero --- a reclusive and agoraphobic big-city author.

Click here to read our Books into Movies feature.


Don't Miss: DON'T BUMP THE GLUMP! And Other Fantasies, by Shel Silverstein

April is National Poetry Month, and a fun way readers can celebrate this special time of year is to pick up a copy of DON’T BUMP THE GLUMP! And Other Fantasies. Originally published in 1964 under the title UNCLE SHELBY'S ZOO and re-released in March by HarperCollins Children's Books, this is author Shel Silverstein’s very first poetry collection and the only children's book he created in full color. The poems revolve around a number of silly and scary creatures --- including the Wild Gazite, the Flying Festoon, the Slithergadee and the One-Legged Zantz --- that are sure to amuse, entertain and astound both fans of Silverstein and newcomers to his work.

-Click here to see our Shel Silverstein feature.

Click here to read more about DON'T BUMP THE GLUMP!


Series Update: Rotten School by R.L. Stine

NIGHT OF THE CREEPY THINGS: Rotten School #14 by R.L. Stine
Bernie Bridges wants to make the most terrifying movie of all. If he does, he'll win a part in the famous director B.A. Gool's next film: EEK III: Revenge of the Warts.
Bernie thinks he has some great creepy ideas. But he'd better watch out on Halloween night! Reviewed by Paula Jolin.

-Click here to read a review of NIGHT OF THE CREEPY THINGS.

CALLING ALL BIRDBRAINS: Rotten School #15 by R.L. Stine
Bernie Bridges is the luckiest kid at
Rotten School. For the good luck to stick, however, he has to keep his parrot, Lippy, on his shoulder wherever he goes. Lippy's luck is so powerful that Bernie's friends, Feenman and Crench, want to share in the wealth. But the minute they touch Lippy, everything changes --- and now nothing is going right for Bernie. Reviewed by Paula Jolin.

-Click here to read a review of CALLING ALL BIRDBRAINS.

DUMB CLUCKS: Rotten School #16 by R.L. Stine
Bernie Bridges tries to sell Stupid Chicken T-shirts to his pals. Unfortunately, half the school hates the cartoon character. Their hero is Drastic Duck, the Caped Quacker.
Now Bernie finds himself caught in the middle of the battle between the Clucks and the Quacks! Reviewed by Paula Jolin.

-Click here to read a review of DUMB CLUCKS.

Click here to read our Rotten School series feature.


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 April 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 March

March’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE WILLOUGHBYS by two-time Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry, in which four thoroughly old-fashioned children seek happiness, fortune --- and a way to get rid of their parents; THE BATTLE FOR SKANDIA, the fourth installment in John Flanagan’s hugely popular Ranger’s Apprentice fantasy/adventure series; STEEL TRAPP, an action-packed thriller from Ridley Pearson, whose main character’s photographic memory proves to be both a blessing and a curse; THE BIG FIELD, a middle-grade novel that marks the return of Mike Lupica to America’s pastime since his 2006 bestseller HEAT; and THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman, an inventive and interactive page-turner in which a determined young boy sets out to win the Golly Toy & Game Company's ultimate competition --- his future happiness depends on it.

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


March's New in Paperback Roundup

March’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, Trenton Lee Stewart's mind-bending, puzzle-packed debut novel for children in which readers are taken on a dazzling adventure that puts friends, family and enemies to the test; THE LOST COLONY, the fifth installment in Eoin Colfer's blockbuster fantasy series, Artemis Fowl; THE SIGHT by Erin Hunter, which marks the beginning of Warriors: Power of Three, the follow-up series to Warriors: The New Prophecy; Patrick Carman’s ATHERTON: THE HOUSE OF POWER, a riveting adventure set in an extraordinary satellite world that begins to collapse and forever change the lives of its inhabitants; and two picture books about baseball that step up to the plate just in time for the start of the Major League season: BALLPARK: The Story of America’s Baseball Fields, and ROBERTO CLEMENTE: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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

THE CASE OF THE BIZARRE BOUQUETS: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer
Dr. Watson is missing, and not even Sherlock Holmes has the slightest clue as to where he could be. Though intrigued, Enola is still hiding from her older brothers --- and getting involved could be disastrous. But when a bizarre bouquet shows up at the Watson residence --- full of convolvulus, hawthorn and white poppies --- Enola must act. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

DARKSIDE, Book 1 by Tom Becker
Jonathan Starling's home has been attacked, his dad is in an asylum, he's running for his life, and there's nowhere to hide. And now he has stumbled upon London's greatest secret: Darkside. Incredibly dangerous and unimaginably exciting, Darkside is the creepiest place Jonathan has ever seen --- and he has to find a way out. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

Ted and his older sister, Kat, watched their cousin Salim board the London Eye. But when it landed 30 minutes later, everyone got off --- except Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Ted and Kate must overcome their differences --- and Ted's differently-wired brain --- to track him down. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Sixth-grader Jessie Lou is in love with Conrad Parker Smith, the most popular boy in their small-town school. When Conrad hurts his leg and suddenly can't keep up with his old pursuits anymore, they start spending a lot more time together. But will Conrad forget about Jessie Lou when his leg brace comes off? Reviewed by Carlie Webber.

SHOOTING THE MOON by Frances O'Roark Dowell
How far are you willing to go to stand up for what you believe? And how much does it take before you're able to change your stance? This is the dilemma presented in SHOOTING THE MOON, a touching coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, by critically acclaimed author Frances O'Roark Dowell. Reviewed by Brian Farrey.

THE TALLEST TREE: The Paul Robeson Story by Sandra Belton 
Eight-year-old Little Catfish had never known his neighborhood to be any different, but anybody could see that it was dying, especially those old enough to have lived there in the past. Little Catfish’s friend, Mr. Odell Davis, decides they desperately need a hero to put some hope and spirit back into their lives. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

BARNSTORMERS: TALES OF THE TRAVELIN’ NINE – Game 3 by Phil Bildner and Loren Long
In Game 3 of the Barnstormers series, Griffith, Ruby and Graham Payne travel with their baseball team to Chicago, Illinois. On an August afternoon in 1899, the Travelin’ Nine are paired against some of the city’s finest players, including Johnny Evers, Joe Tinker and Ed Reulbach. The stakes in the Windy City are high --- both for the athletes involved in the game and to the entire Payne family. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.


Click here to read our most recent reviews.


Poll: Book Discussions with Friends

Outside of school assignments, do you talk about books with your friends?

All of the time
Some of the time
I would love to do this, but I do not.


Click here to answer the poll.


Question of the Month: Books You Can't Keep to Yourself

What book (name up to three) that you recently read would you most like to talk about with a friend?

Click here to answer the question.


Want to know my favorite part about this newsletter? You can forward it to a friend by clicking the button at the top the page. What could be easier? Now it's really easy to share your favorite book newsletter with friends, teachers and librarians! Can you tell I am excited? I hope you are too.

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
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107